Women's Track and Field preview: NCAA Midwest Regional Championships
May 26, 2009
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HORNS BRINGING YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE TO NCAAS ... Out of the Longhorns' 13 regional participants, eight are freshman and three are on UT's 4x400m relay, which is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation. Coupled with the young squad, is a group of five student-athletes (two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore) that account for five individual National Titles and 23 All-America accolades. UT's 4x400m relay is also the only squad in the nation's top 25 to house three freshman on its relay card.
HOOKER DOMINANCE... Junior Destinee Hooker will look to continue her reign as the top high jumper in the nation this weekend as she starts her route to her third NCAA Outdoor National Title. The 2006 and 2007 High Jump champion most recently became the second female high jumper in Big 12 history to collect six Big 12 Titles as she claimed the 2009 league crown with a meet record and nation-leading clearance of 6-4.75 (1.95m). Hooker's winning height also ties her for the fifth on the world list. After taking a year off to train with USA Volleyball, Hooker has made herself the high jumper to beat this year after winning the NCAA Indoor Championship in demanding fashion with an NCAA record clearance of 6-6, breaking a nine-year old collegiate indoor record and an 11-year Texas indoor record.
SMITH MAKING A SMOOTH TRANSITION ... Freshman Stacey-Ann Smith has quickly made an impact for UT since the beginning of the 2009 season. The newcomer joined UT as a 100m-200m sprinter but has since transitioned to the 200m-400m events. The change has been smooth for the freshman out of Bloomfield, Conn., as she holds the fastest-freshman 400-meter time in the nation with her regional-qualifying mark of 52.90 at the Texas Twilight meet.
NCAA REGIONAL QUALIFIERS ... Texas has collected 61 regional qualifying marks in 13 events this season, 25 of which were reached by freshman. Newcomers Stacey-Ann Smith (200m and 400m), Judy Nwosu (400m), Angele Cooper (400m hurdles), Destiny Lumas (100m and 400m Hurdles), Mia Behm (5,000m run) and Amanda Van Dyke (shot put) have all earned the opportunity to compete at the NCAA regional meet. Senior Alexandria Anderson (100m, 200m and 400m), senior Kelly Heinbaugh (javelin), junior Jordyn Brown (shot put), sophomore Chantel Malone (400m, triple jump and long jump) and the Horns 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays have also regionally qualified.
ANDERSON MAKING A NAME FOR HERSELF ... Texas women's track and field has its fair share of household names in its record books with the latest to join being Alexandria Anderson. The senior currently own the fastest 100m time in the nation (11.09), a time that also ranks as the fourth-fastest in the world. Also, after earning three All-America honors at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships, the senior moved her career total to 17, tying her for the second-most in UT history. Anderson joins Suziann Reid (1996-99) with 17 and sits behind Carlette Guidry who holds the UT record with 23 All-America accolades during her four year career on the Forty Acres (1988-91).
ANDERSON GETS HER MEDAL ... Senior Alexandria Anderson claimed her first Big 12 100m title last weekend at the 2009 league meet in Lubbock (May 17). The sprinter clocked an 11.25 for her first title after finishing second for the last three years. Anderson, the nation's leader in the event, outlasted second-ranked Porscha Lucas, (Texas A&M), third-ranked Tiffany Townsend (Baylor) and fourth-ranked Gabby Mayo for the win.
A CHECK OF THE RANKINGS ... After starting the 2009 outdoor season with a No. 14 ranking by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches of America (USTFCCCA), the Longhorns have climbed up to the No. 7 spot.
FROM WALK-ON TO ALL-AMERICAN ... Junior shot putter Jordyn Brown has come along way since going into Assistant Coach Rose Brimmer's office and asking to walk on to the UT Track and Field Team. Since joining the squad in 2006, Brown has gone on to garner six All-Big 12 honors and earned her first All-America accolade with a fourth-place finish in the shot put at the 2009 National Indoor meet. Brown currently ranks 11th in the nation in the event.
BEHM NOT MISSING A STEP ... With the loss of middle distance specialist Betzy Jimenez to injury, freshman Mia Behm has successfully filled the junior's shoes as she posted a seventh-place finish at the 2009 Big 12 Outdoor Championships in the 5,000m in a personal-best and regionally-qualifying time of 16:47.50. Behm is just two seconds shy of joining the UT All-Time Top 10 Performers list in the event and would be just the second person to crack the list since 2000, joining Jimenez who ranks eighth (16:37.27).
VAN DYKE IN PURSUIT... Freshman shot putter Amanda Van Dyke, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Olympian and Texas Ex Michelle Carter and current All-American junior Jordyn Brown, is well on her way after throwing a regional qualifying mark of 14.65m (48-0.75 feet) at the Texas Relays (4/3). Van Dyke also earned All-Big 12 honors at the indoor league meet and will look to advance to her first national championship this weekend in Norman.
KEARNEY HONORED BY BCA ... Head coach Beverly Kearney added to her already staggering list of awards after being named the Black Coaches & Administrator's 2009 Female Coach of the Year. During the recent 2009 Indoor season, Kearney took her team from a No. 15 national ranking to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Despite having only seven individuals on her roster competing at the meet, the Horns earned eight All-America honors, one individual national title in high jumper Destinee Hooker, and their second straight top-five finish at the Championships.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSIHP RECAP (5/15-17)... The Longhorns brought home a fifth-place finish at the 2009 Big 12 Outdoor Championship behind 79 points and individual titles from high jumper Destinee Hooker and sprinter Alexandria Anderson. Here's a look at how UT placed at the league meet: