Men's Track and Field: Three for three
By virtue of their eighth place finish at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Texas men's track and field team became one of only four teams in the country, men or women, to finish in the top 12 at the NCAA Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Championships last year. The University of Arkansas was the only other men's team to accomplish the feat, while Georgia and BYU did it on the women's side.
The Longhorns placed 12th at the cross country championships and 10th at the indoor championships to go along with the eighth-place finish at the outdoor championships. The last time Texas finished in the top 12 at all three meets was 1986, when Texas finished ninth in cross country, tied for fifth indoors and placed ninth at the outdoor meet.
The 2004-05 season got underway with associate head coach Jason Vigilante taking a new, more laid-back approach to the cross country season. Everything was geared towards the postseason and specifically, the NCAA Championships.
After second-place finishes at both the Big 12 Championships and the South Central Regional, Texas was the 20th-ranked team in the country headed into the national meet. They ended up finishing in 12th place with 360 points. Junior Andrew Middleton earned All-America honors by finishing 30th to lead the Longhorns to their best finish since 1991. Junior Jeff Cutrer turned in his top performance of the season as the Longhorns' second finisher followed by Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Mark Nichol, sophomore Matt Munoz and senior Jon Von Letscher.
During the indoor track and field season, Texas placed second at the indoor conference meet and then traveled six athletes to the NCAA Championships. The Longhorns scored 20 points at the national meet to finish in a tie for 10th place with Arizona.
Sophomore Donovan Kilmartin scored 5,925 points to finish second in the heptathlon, while junior Trey Hardee notched 5,859 points to take third. Kilmartin ended up winning three out of the seven events (long jump, high jump, pole vault) and scored eight points for Texas. Hardee took the top spot in the 60 meters and added six points to the Longhorns' total. Sophomore Andra Manson added another six points after finishing third in the high jump with a clearance of 7-3.75.
During the outdoor season, the Longhorns followed up a third-place finish at the conference meet with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Texas traveled 11 athletes and a relay to the national meet and ended up scoring 25 points and setting two school records.
Hardee won an individual national title in the decathlon after posting personal bests in four of the 10 events and setting a school record with 7,881 points. Sophomore Donovan Kilmartin earned All-America honors with a fourth-place finish (7,662 points).
Freshman Leonel Manzano used a new school record of 3:37.13 to win the national championship in the 1,500 meters. His time broke Paul Craig's school record, which was set in 1977, and is the second-fastest time by an American this year.