Men's Track and Field preview: NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 9, 2009
1. Jake Morse, 8:34.57
25. Elliot O'Hare, 13.89
15. Texas (D. Fortson, Tn. Everett, Ts. Everett, A. Thomas), 3:06.29
12. Raymond Harris, 2.20m (Fifth-best mark nationally)
3. Maston Wallace, 5.56m
23. Brandon Drenon, 57.07m
TEXAS AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Texas men's track and field team will head to the 2009 NCAA Championships from Wednesday to Saturday, June 10-13. The four-day meet is being hosted by Arkansas at John McDonnell Field. The Longhorns will have seven individuals and a relay competing at the national meet, including two national leaders in senior Jake Morse (Steeplechase) and junior Tevan Everett (800 meters). The Horns are looking for their fourth Top 10 finish in the last five years, which includes Top 5 finishes in two of the last three years.
FOLLOW THE ACTION: For meet information and complete results from the 2009 NCAA Championships, visit either TexasSports.com or NCAA.com. The action will be televised by CBS College Sports on Friday, June 12 (6-9 p.m.) and by CBS on Saturday, June 13 (12-2 p.m.). In addition, there will be live streaming through NCAA.com and ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Live streaming will take place whenever CBS College Sports and CBS are not airing events live. There will NOT be a live stream of CBS College Sports' events Friday night on their Web site.
TEXAS TIDBITS: Texas has finished second at the NCAA Championships on three different occasions (1972, '88, '97) ... the Horns have finished in the Top 10 seven times under head coach Bubba Thornton and in the Top Five four times ... Texas has recorded Top 10 finishes in three of the last four years ... UT enters the NCAA Championships with two national leaders in Tevan Everett (800 meters) and Jake Morse (Steeplechase) ... Morse's time of 8:34.57 is over two seconds faster than the second-best time this season ... Texas athletes hold two of the top 16 times nationally in the 800 meters behind juniors Tevan (First/1:47.39) and Tevas Everett (16th/1:48.58) ... Texas is also without defending National Champion at 800 meters Jacob Hernandez who was unable to compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional due to a hamstring injury ... senior Raymond Harris' mark of 2.20 meters in the high jump is fifth best in the country ... sophomore Maston Wallace's clearance of 5.56 meters in the pole vault is the third-best mark in the country.
2008 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Jacob Hernandez (800m), Leo Manzano (1,500m) and Maston Wallace (pole vault) won individual national titles to help Texas finish fourth overall and first among Big 12 teams at the 2008 NCAA Championships with 35 points. Texas' three individual national titles tied for the most in school history with the Horns' performance at the 1986 NCAA Championships. In addition to the event winners, the Horns received points from Darren Brown (7th, 1,500m), the 4x400-meter relay of Tevan and Tevas Everett, Danzell Fortson and Hernandez (7th) and Raymond Harris (8th, high jump).
MORSE RETURNS: Senior Jake Morse redshirted during last year's outdoor campaign, but that doesn't mean he wasn't running. Morse used the time to focus on his training for the 3,000-meter Steeplechase in hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Morse started with an impressive showing at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City, where he finished fifth with a personal-best time of 8:30.19. After competing in various meets the rest of the season, Morse was ready for the Olympic Trials. After qualifying seventh in the semifinals with a time of 8:34.08, Morse ran an 8:34.48 to finish fourth, missing out on an Olympic berth by just one place. Morse ran his first Steeplechase of the season at Stanford on May 2 and clocked an 8:34.57, which is the nation's fastest time this season. He followed that up by winning the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA Midwest Regional title, cruising to victory by over five seconds at each meet.
WONDER TWINS: Juniors Tevan and Tevas Everett have been heavily involved in UT's success over the past few seasons. After transferring from Kansas State prior to the 2007-08 season, the twins have accounted for three Big 12 Championships, 10 All-Big 12 honors and four All-America honors. The duo finished first and fifth in the 800 meters at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships and Tevan went on to win the 800 at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Both will be competing in the 800 at the NCAA Championships. Currently, Tevan has the nation's fastest time at 800 meters with a 1:47.39, while Tevas ranks 16th (1:48.58). Earlier this year, the twins placed 1-2 in the 600 yards at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Tevan went on to claim his first individual All-America honor by finishing sixth in the 800 meters at the indoor national meet. Tevan's 600-yard victory at the conference meet was his second-consecutive indoor conference title in that event at Texas and his third overall. The pair was also half of UT's All-America 4x400-meter relay last year and will again be competing in that event at the national meet. Last year, Tevas ran the opening leg and handed to Tevan for the second leg.
DEFENDING CHAMP: Sophomore Maston Wallace completed a dream freshman season at the national meet in 2008, when he fought through a windy day and was the only competitor to clear 17-6.50 (5.35m) to win the NCAA Championship. After struggling during the indoor season in 2009, Wallace quickly returned to form outdoors, posting an 18-2.50 (5.55m) clearance at the Texas Relays. Wallace continued to jump well throughout the outdoor season, finishing second at both the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA Midwest Regional. In fact, Wallace set a personal best at the regional meet with a clearance of 18-2.75 (5.56m), which currently ranks third on the national list.
HARRIS' TRIBUTE: Throughout Raymond Harris' career, he's had one thing driving him to succeed, his mother, Brenda. Brenda was there when Harris took up high jumping as a junior in high school and she, along with Harris' high school coach, helped get him going in the sport. It went so well that Harris earned a scholarship in track and field to Texas, turning down offers to play football at LSU and basketball at Baylor. But, Harris had a tough transition to collegiate competition and he was struggling to find his niche. Then, in the winter of his sophomore season, Harris found out that his mother's appendix had burst without her knowing and gangrene had set in, leaving to question whether or not she'd survive. Fortunately, she did and Harris has used her inspiration ever since. Since that time, he's been more focused on high jumping and the result, two All-America honors, one at last year's outdoor meet and one indoors earlier this season, and a Big 12 Indoor Championship. At the Big 12 outdoor meet, Harris finished second on misses despite matching the winner's mark of 2.20m (7-2.50). Harris will be looking to improve on his eighth-place finish from last year's national meet.
POINT PRODUCER: During his four-year career, senior Elliot O'Hare scored in seven of his eight Big 12 competitions with the lone exception coming during the indoor season of his freshman year. He scored in three different events, the hurdles, triple jump and 4x100-meter relay. After scoring in four consecutive meets in the triple jump at the beginning of his career, O'Hare shifted his focus to the hurdles, where he scored in the last four conference meets. But, O'Hare was never able to get over the hump and get to the national meet, until now. Initially, it appeared O'Hare would again miss out after finishing sixth at the NCAA Midwest Regional. In that race, O'Hare was running in lane seven when Nebraska's Lehann Fourie, who was running in six, pushed the ninth hurdle with his hand. The hurdle ended up in O'Hare's lane, impeding his progress. Fourie was disqualified and it was determined that O'Hare had an unfair chance at qualification due to the infraction and he would be placed in the national meet. As it turned out, O'Hare's preliminary time of 13.89 at the regional was fast enough to get him in as an at-large qualifier.
DRENON'S DISC: When junior Brandon Drenon was looking for a college, he wanted a good business school that would give him the chance to experience a new environment, one that was different from his home in Pearland, Texas, right outside of Houston. His choice was Notre Dame. After spending two years there, Drenon's academic focus shifted from business to filmmaking and his eyes turned to Texas and its prestigious Radio-Television-Film major. Now, not only is Drenon working to become a director, but his athletic prowess is starting to flourish. The 2008 Big East Champion in the discus, Drenon finished third in the shot put and fourth in the discus at the Big 12 Championships. He set a personal best of 57.07m (187-3) in the discus at the conference meet and then finished fifth at the NCAA Midwest Regional with a mark of 54.86m (180-0) to earn his first trip to the national meet.