Distance Medley Relay, Petrillose win conference titles on first day of Big 12 Championships
Feb. 23, 2013
AMES, Iowa - The No. 13 Texas Women's Track & Field team earned 46 team points on the opening day of the Big 12 Indoor Championships on Saturday, led by one individual and one relay title. The Longhorns are currently in second place after six scored events.
"I thought the team did absolutely amazing," interim head coach Rose Brimmer said. "You need to have a solid first day in order to have a shot on the second day. We're not the type of team that typically scores much on the first day, but today we excelled. And tomorrow we have one, two, even three competitors in almost every event final. If we compete like we did today, good things are going to happen."
Texas picked up victories in two events on Saturday. Sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose took home the pole vault title, the first ever won by a Longhorn at the indoor conference meet, in record-setting fashion. Petrillose cleared 4.33 meters (14-2.5) to earn the victory, eclipsing her indoor personal best and bettering a school record that she previously broke on Jan. 25 of this year.
Petrillose was joined in the pole vault by senior Natasha Masterson, the 2012 Big 12 Outdoor champion in the event, who cleared a season-best 4.03 meters (13-2.5) for third place. Together, the pair tallied 16 team points.
"Winning felt amazing, but being able to score points for the team with Natasha was even better," Petrillose said. "It's exciting to make a mark on the record books at a place like Texas, especially when it really counts at the conference meet."
"Kaitlin really stood her ground today and showed what she is capable of," Brimmer said. "She just hung in there, kept fighting and was not going to be intimidated by some of the best competition in the country. That was a tremendous win."
Texas also competed a distance medley relay team, composed of All-Americans Sara Sutherland, Briana Nelson, Kendra Chambers and Marielle Hall, which posted a first-place time of 11:15.90, the second-fastest time in school history. The quartet bested an Oklahoma State team that had won the event at Big 12 Indoors the previous two years to give UT its first DMR conference title since 2003.
"That was my first time ever doing the DMR and it was a lot of fun," Nelson said. "Kendra and I knew that we really wanted to open up the gap for Marielle, just to take some of the pressure off her. Sara ran a gutsy first leg. It was a total team effort."
Just 20 minutes earlier, Sutherland had placed third in the 5,000-meter in a season-best 16:12.02 to pick up six points.
"Sara Sutherland comes off a 5,000, doesn't even get off the track, and goes into the first leg of the DMR. That's an indication of how big team play was today. It was all about the team. We wanted to come in here and fight for each other and that was a perfect example."
"I finished the 5,000 and I didn't know I was going to be running the DMR," Sutherland said. "But as soon as I stepped on the starting line, the nerves were gone. Coming around every curve and having all of the sprinters, all of the distance runners, all of the girls, all of the guys, chanting `Texas Fight,' was so much fun. It's so cool to be on a team where that is the dynamic."
Also contributing to the team effort on Saturday was junior Shanay Briscoe, who competed in the first pentathlon of her collegiate career. Briscoe finished with 4,027 points in fourth place out of 18 participants, winning the high jump (1.87m/6.15) and shot put (12.29m/40-4) and placing sixth in long jump (5.59m/18-4.25), ninth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.13) and 11th in the 800-meters (2:31.76).
The Longhorns had a pair of scorers in long jump in junior A'Lexus Brannon and senior Alicia Peterson. Brannon leaped 6.15 meters (20-2.25) for fourth place and five team points. Peterson, competing in the indoor long jump for the first time in her collegiate career, was sixth with a jump of 6.06m (19-10.75) for three points.
Texas had 15 qualify for Sunday's finals out of eight event preliminaries on Saturday. Three Longhorns will race in the 200-meter final, including junior Christy Udoh and senior Chalonda Goodman, who qualified second and third overall. Udoh (23.45) and Goodman (23.50) both posted indoor career bests in the event. They will be joined by freshman Courtney Okolo, who advanced seventh with a season-best time of 23.79.
Texas will also have a trio competing in the 400m finals. Nelson (53.02), Okolo (53.16) and junior Danielle Dowie (53.84) each finished first in their heat to qualify first, second and fourth overall.
Goodman and Udoh also moved on in the 60-meter. Goodman recorded a career-best 7.41 to qualify third, while Udoh finished in 7.48 to advance eighth.
Prior to their victory in the DMR, Chambers and Hall advanced to Sunday's final in the 800-meter and Mile, respectively. Chambers breezed to a win in the first heat of the 800m prelims, qualifying second overall, with a time of 2:11.16. Hall earned an automatic qualification in the Mile prelims, crossing in 4:54.90. She will be joined in Sunday's final by sophomore Jessica Harper (4:52.88).
In the 60-meter hurdles prelims, sophomore Morgan Snow earned an automatic qualification out of the first heat and enters the final seeded third overall with a time of 8.26. Brannon also moved on in the event after posting a season-best time of 8.51
Rounding out finals qualifications for the Longhorns were freshman Melissa Gonzalez, who placed second in the 600-yard prelims in 1:22.23, and junior Katie Hoaldridge, who advanced seventh in the 1,000-yard prelims with a time of 2:55.58.
"The thing that we talked about before we came here was that all we wanted to do is score," Brimmer said. Today, we were walking around saying, `one point, two points, however many you can get, just score.' Beyond that, we have one, two, or three people in almost every event final tomorrow. I think this is the best start we've had since I've been at Texas."
TEXAS RESULTS - SATURDAY, FEB. 23
P- 60m hurdles
TEAM RESULTS (POINTS)