Women's Track and Field preview: NCAA Indoor Championships
AUSTIN, Texas -- The top-ranked University of Texas women's track and field squad looks to pick up the program's sixth NCAA indoor team championship this weekend when it competes in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend. The action begins Friday, March 10 at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville and continues through Saturday evening, March 11. The women's competition begins Friday with the weight throw at noon CST.
Texas earned 10 NCAA bids - seven automatic, three at-large - after winning its fifth Big 12 indoor championship last month at the University of Nebraska. The Longhorns overtook the host Cornhuskers late in the meet behind four, day-two victories and a number of top-five finishes. The Big 12 crown was Texas' first since 2003.
Junior All-American Marshevet Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) leads UT with NCAA automatic berths in the 60 meters, 200 meters and the long jump. The 2005 NCAA 100-meter outdoor champion, Hooker enters the 60 meters as the nation's third seed after clocking 7.22 to win the event at the Big 12 Championships. She placed fifth in the event at the 2005 NCAA Indoors.
Hooker's personal-best time of 23.11 in the 200 meters landed her the Big 12 title and the fourth seed in this weekend's event. She will make her first career NCAA indoor 200-meter appearance in Friday's preliminary round. Hooker also won the long jump at the Big 12 Championships and tallied a NCAA automatic mark in the event at the Tyson Invitational. She placed second in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA Indoors.
Freshman Alexandria Anderson (Chicago, Ill.) topped off an impressive indoor season with NCAA provisional marks in the 60 meters and 200 meters. After taking third place at the Big 12 Championships, Anderson holds the nation's ninth seed in the 60 meters with a top time of 7.30. Anderson placed fourth in the 200 meters at the Big 12 indoor meet and owns the 13th seed in that event.
Freshman Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) enters her first NCAA indoor meet as the nation's top women's high jumper. After graduating one semester early from San Antonio's Southwest High School, Hooker topped 6-3.50 at the Big 12 Championships to win her first conference title. She now ranks second on UT's all-time list of top high jumpers.
Senior Melaine Walker (Kingston, Jamaica) and junior Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) enter this weekend's meet with the third seeds in their respective events. A sixth-place finisher at the 2005 NCAA Indoors, Walker enters the 60-meter hurdles with a top time of 8.06 after placing second at the Big 12 Championships. Carter, the 2005 NCAA indoor shot put runner-up, took second at the Big 12 indoor meet.
Senior LaTashia Kerr's (Houston, Texas) provisional mark at last weekend's Alex Wilson Invitational was enough to land her a spot in the 400 meters at the NCAA Indoors. Kerr clocked 53.42 on Saturday and enters the event with the No. 14 seed.
Texas also will compete in the 4X400-meter relay after earning a NCAA automatic mark of 3:32.08 at the Tyson Invitational. UT holds the third seed behind LSU and Auburn.
Texas placed ninth at the 2005 NCAA Indoor meet with 23 points. The Longhorns won two NCAA indoor team championships under coach Bev Kearney in 1998 and 1999, as well as team titles in 1990, 1988 and 1986.