SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- University of Texas rising sophomore Andra Manson (Brenham, Texas) cleared 7 feet, 4.25 inches on his second attempt to finish in a tie for eighth in the finals in the men's high jump on Sunday, July 18, in front of a record-setting 24,323 fans on the final day of competition at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex. In addition, former Longhorn Nichole Denby (Moreno Valley, Calif.) advanced to the finals in the 100-meter hurdles and placed seventh.
Manson, the reigning NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion, opened the high jump finals by topping 7-0.25 (2.14m) on his first attempt. In the next round, Manson cleared 7-2.25 on his first attempt and was one of just seven athletes in the field to clear the first two heights without a miss. The bar was then raised to 7-4.25 and Manson failed to clear that height on his first of three attempts. He soared over the bar on his next attempt, but missed 7-5.25 (2.27m) on his first attempt and passed on his next two jumps which resulted as one miss toward the next height. With just two attempts remaining at 7-6.50 (2.30), Manson failed to clear the bar on either one and finished in a tie with Jesse Williams of USC.
"I just didn't jump as well as I could today and that's the bottom line," Manson said. "My steps were off a little bit. Overall, it was a great experience."
"It is still very early in (Andra's) career and the last thing he is going to look at right now is turning this experience into a positive," assistant coach Mario Sategna said, who primarily works with UT's field event performers. "As time goes on he will improve. Andra is one of the top high jumpers in the country and in the world, but yet he is still young. The athletes he was competing against today are veterans.
"Andra has had a tremendous season," Sategna continued. "When he comes back here in four years, obviously the expectations will be for him to make the (Olympic) team. I think he understands that. As nice as it would have been for him to make it this year, and it seems like there were a lot of collegians to make it, it just wasn't his day."
Local favorite Jamie Nieto captured gold with a personal-best clearance of 7-7.25 (2.33m), followed by Matt Hemingway (7-6.50, 2.30m) and Tora Harris (7-5.25, 2.27m).
In the 100m hurdles, Denby advanced to the finals by finishing second in her semifinal heat in 12.79m, despite a headwind measured at 0.6 meters-per-second. Her time was the fifth-fastest heading into the finals. In the second semifinal, Texas ex Raasin McIntosh (Houston, Texas) failed to qualify for the finals as she finished sixth in her heat in 12.94. The top four from each heat made the final.
After two solid performances in the quarterfinals and semifinals, fate was not on Denby‚s side in the final. She fell coming out of the blocks at the start and had to battle back to finish seventh in 13.00 with a headwind measured at 1.6.
Sanya Richards (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) is the lone current or former Longhorn to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team following the conclusion of Trials. Richards earned a spot on the squad with a runner-up finish in the 400 meters on Saturday, July 18, in a personal-best 49.89. Texas exes Moushaumi Robinson (Columbus, Ohio) and McIntosh may still have a chance to make the Olympic roster as a member of the women‚s 4x400-meter relay pool.