Former UT standouts return for 2009 82nd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays presented by State Farm
April 5, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- Records always seem at peril at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays presented by State Farm, especially when a few guys are around.
In 2006, Trey Hardee set the NCAA decathlon record with a score of 8,465. Last year, Leo Manzano shattered the record in the Jerry Thompson mile with his time of 3:56.98, and later in the summer Manzano went on to win his second NCAA Outdoor title.
On Saturday, Andra Mason won his fourth-straight Texas Relays title in the high jump with a personal best leap of 7 feet, 8-1/2 inches. And he narrowly missed on three attempts to set a new American high jump record.
Hardee, Manzano and Mason are all former Longhorns -- and all former Olympians. Manzano was the only one not competing this year at the Texas Relays, but he was around on Saturday for an autograph session. About an hour after former UT great and Beijing Olympian Marshevet Hooker anchored her pro team to a victory in the 4x100 meter relay, Hardee, Manzano and Mason sat down on the north side of Mike A. Myers track and signed autographs for an energetic cluster of fans.
Manzano, who even had his own picture cards courtesy of Nike, gladly posed for pictures with eager fans.
Even though none of them were competing in burnt orange, some feelings don't change.
"It's always electric to be here," Hooker said. "I love running on this track, in this event. It's the same feeling every time, no matter what."
The former Longhorns talked with TexasSports.com about the Relays experience.
Did you spend some time after the Olympics to eat some hamburgers and not run? Oh yeah. Actually, after my last race in the Olympics I told myself I would stop training for a little bit. I just need to go out and relax. So, I went back and had a big McDonald's hamburger. And fries.
How long did your break last? Probably two or three weeks, and then it started up again. I went down and did some altitude training down in Mexico. Now, I'm training full-time in Austin. It's a great place to train. The people here are very fit. Austin is a great running community, and running city, really.
Can you tell one thing about (UT 800 runner) Jacob Hernandez that nobody knows? Well, I am his roommate. But a really big thing about Jacob Hernandez is that he's into shoes. He's a big shoe guy. So the next time you see him, the shoes he's wearing he probably just bought or only worn three or four times.
Considering where this meet is in your training schedule, are you pleased with your mark? I had a good indoor season, so coming in I just kept training hard, and we'll see where it goes. I feel like I can keep getting better.
What do you like about training here? Just the atmosphere. To still be able to be around the guys and have them push me and me push them, it's like I'm still at UT in so many ways. I love UT. It holds a special place in my heart, and any time I get to compete on this track, it's even more special.