Men's Track and Field preview: NCAA Championships
NO. 8 TEXAS HEADS TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The eighth-ranked Texas men's track and field team will head to the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships from Wednesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 14. The four-day meet, which is being hosted by Drake University at Drake Stadium, will feature the nation's top collegiate athletes. Action will kick off at 10 a.m. on Wed., June 11 with the decathlon.
FOLLOW THE ACTION: The CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) will air the action from Des Moines on Friday, June 13 from 7-10 p.m. (Central), while CBS will cover the event on Saturday, June 14 from 3-5 p.m. (Central). Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Ato Bolden (analyst), Carol Lewis (analyst) and Dwight Stones (sidelines) will have the call.
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 six times under head coach Bubba Thornton and in the top five three times ÂŠ Texas has recorded top 10 finishes in three of the last four years ... UT enters the NCAA Championships with two national leaders in Jacob Hernandez (800 meters) and Leo Manzano (1,500 meters) ... Texas athletes hold two of the top 15 times nationally in the 800 meters behind juniors Jacob Hernandez (First/1:45.68) and Tevan Everett (13th/1:47.82) ... the Horns also have three of the top 20 marks nationally in the 1,500 meters led by senior Leonel Manzano, who has the nation's fastest time at 3:36.24 ...senior Hamza Deyaf's time of 50.50 in the 400-meter hurdles ranks 16th on the national list ... junior Raymond Harris' mark of 2.22 meters in the high jump is fifth best in the country ... freshman Maston Wallace's clearance of 5.50 meters in the pole vault is the third-best mark in the country ... senior decathlete Donovan Kilmartin won the Big 12 Championship with 7,675 points, which ranks eighth nationally entering the national meet.
MIDWEST REGION REVIEW: Junior Jacob Hernandez used a 1:45.68 to set UT, meet and stadium records in winning the 800 meters at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lincoln, Neb. Hernandez, along with senior Leo Manzano, who won his fourth regional title in the 1,500 meters, led a group of five Longhorns that qualified for the NCAA Championships. In addition to Hernandez and Manzano, senior Darren Brown (1,500 meters), junior Tevan Everett (800 meters) and freshman Maston Wallace (pole vault) automatically qualified for the national meet. The Horns placed fourth in the team competition with 54 points.
NCAA EXPERIENCE: Six of Texas' nine individuals scheduled to compete at the 2008 NCAA Championships have gained experience at previous outdoor national meets. Senior Leo Manzano has already won one outdoor title, the 1,500 meters when he was a freshman in 2005, and finished second in '07 and fourth in '06. Senior Donovan Kilmartin earned a fifth-place finish in the decathlon in '07 and a fourth place in '06. Senior Hamza Deyaf will be making his fourth appearance at the national meet in the 400-meter hurdles and has claimed one All-America honor with an eighth-place finish last season. Senior Darren Brown will be making his second consecutive appearance in the 1,500 meters at the national meet. Juniors Jacob Hernandez and Kyle Miller will each be making return trips to the NCAA Championships. Hernandez reached the semifinals in the 800 meters last year, while Miller qualified in the 1,500 meters as a freshman. Juniors Tevan Everett (800 meters) and Raymond Harris (high jump) and freshman Maston Wallace (pole vault) will be making their first appearances at the outdoor national meet.
2007 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP: The Texas men's track and field team finished 14th at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships and first among Big 12 schools with 17 points. Leo Manzano scored eight points with a runner-up finish in the 1,500-meter run, while Andra Manson also scored eight points with a second-place finish in the high jump. Hamza Deyaf added a point in the 400-meter hurdles to round out UT's scoring.
2008 BIG 12 INDOOR CHAMPIONS: By securing the 2008 Big 12 Indoor Championship, Texas rewrote league history by becoming just the second program to win three consecutive indoor conference championships. UT outscored host-school and second-place Nebraska by two points, 106-104, for its fourth overall league crown. UT won four individual titles and captured one relay championship. Senior Leo Manzano became the first Longhorn to win four consecutive titles in the mile run, and juniors Tevan Everett (600 yards) and Jacob Hernandez (800 meters) defended their event wins from 2007.
IN THE POLLS: Texas has been a mainstay in the USTFCCCA Rankings since the initial poll was released on March 27. The Horns started the season ranked 12th and will enter the NCAA Championships ranked eighth. In between, UT spent four weeks ranked in the top 10.
MANZANO'S MAGIC: Texas senior Leo Manzano will wrap up his storied career at Texas with his fourth visit to the NCAA Championships. Manzano has claimed four NCAA Championships (two mile/one 1,500 meters/one DMR) and eight All-America honors. He has also claimed 10 Big 12 titles (four mile/three 1,500 meters/three DMR), including seven individual titles, and four NCAA Regional titles. With his victory in the 1,500 meters at the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional, Manzano became the first athlete in region history to claim four titles in the same event. He holds three individual school records (indoor and outdoor mile, 1,500 meters) and is a part of four school relay records (indoor DMR, outdoor DMR, 4x800 and 4xMile). In addition, earlier this season, Manzano was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the Texas Relays and Penn Relays. At the Texas Relays, he demolished the school record with a time of 3:56.98, bettering Richard Romo's time of 3:58.80 from 1966. At the Penn Relays, Manzano anchored both the distance medley relay and the 4xMile to wins, while helping UT become just the fifth school in Penn Relays history to pull off the distance triple, which also includes the 4x800-meter relay. It was his second consecutive MOP at the Penn Relays.
SUB-FOUR: When Texas senior Darren Brown crossed the Texas Relays' finish line in 3:59.99, he joined his father, Barry Brown, as the only father-son combo to run sub-four minute miles in U.S. history. Brown's father was an All-American at Providence, where Darren started his career, and went on to set numerous Master's running records.
ELUSIVE OUTDOOR TITLE: Texas junior 800-meter runner Jacob Hernandez claimed his first career outdoor conference championship at the Big 12 meet by crossing the finish line in 1:47.58. After starting his career at TCU and finishing second at the Conference-USA Championships, Hernandez placed fourth at last year's Big 12 Championships before winning the event this season. The Magnolia, Texas native did have two indoor conference crowns to his name after winning the 800 meters in both 2007 and '08. Hernandez got one step closer to his first NCAA title, when he broke the 20-year-old school record in the 800 meters (Pablo Squella, 1:45.98, 1988) on his way to a regional championship with a time of 1:45.68. That time was the fastest run by an American this year before Khadevis Robinson posted a 1:45.55 at the Reebok Grand Prix later that day.
FRESH FACE: Texas freshman pole vaulter Maston Wallace has already made his presence felt at the collegiate level after a stellar prep career at Houston Clear Brook High School. After finishing second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships with a clearance of 5.20 meters (17-0 3/4), Wallace went on to place third at the NCAA indoor meet with a mark of 5.40 meters (17-8 1/2), making him the top finisher from the Big 12. He then went on to take the Big 12 outdoor title with a career-best clearance of 5.50 meters (18-0 1/2), which currently stands as the third-best mark in the nation. Wallace qualified for the national meet with a fourth-place finish at the Midwest Regional behind a clearance of 5.31 meters.
BRAINS AND BRAWN: Senior Donovan Kilmartin was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 6 first team for the third time in his career. A graduate student pursuing a Master's degree in petroleum engineering, Kilmartin earned his undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering from Texas in August 2007 with a 3.55 GPA. He was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team in 2006 and '07 and is a four-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 team. In addition to his academic exploits, Kilmartin has won five Big 12 titles and is the reigning Big 12 decathlon champion after capturing the crown with a tally of 7,675 points, a score that ranks eighth nationally. He finished fifth in 2006 and fourth in '05 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Eagle, Idaho native also is a three-time NCAA Champion in the heptathlon (indoors), the only male in NCAA history to win the event three times.
LATE BLOOMER: Junior Raymond Harris started the season by posting some modest marks in the high jump. He twice cleared the regional mark of 2.10 meters, but he was looking to take the next step in his progression. That time came at the Penn Relays, the midway point of the season. His mark of 2.16 meters (7-1) not only set a new personal best, but was good enough for second place at the meet. Then, three weeks later, Harris advanced a little further, clearing 2.18 meters (7-1 3/4) at the Big 12 Championships. After seeing the progress, Harris had his sights set on a 2.20 clearance or better at the NCAA Midwest Regional and he did just that, making it over the bar at 2.22 meters (7-3 1/4). That mark landed him fourth in a region that has four of the top six marks nationally. The 2.22-meter clearance is tied for the fifth-best mark in the country.