INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA officially awarded the top-ranked University of Texas women's track and field team 10 automatic berths Tuesday to the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships slated for June 7-10 in Sacramento, Calif.
Eight Longhorns will head to Sacramento to provide Texas 10 entries in nine events. Texas earned all 10 automatic berths by way of its performances over the weekend at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Austin. The NCAA did not award any at-large berths to the Longhorns.
Notably, junior Marshevet Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), the defending NCAA 100-meter champion, will be unable to defend her crown in Sacramento. The nine-time All-American suffered a mild hamstring strain about 60 meters into the 100-meter final at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships and was unable to finish the event. Hooker later scratched from the 200-meter final. NCAA rules require competitors to complete their respective events at the NCAA regional meets to be considered for an at-large bid. UT will not appeal to the NCAA for Hooker's inclusion in the 100- and 200-meter events.
"We're going to focus on what we have and where we are at this time," said UT coach Bev Kearney. "We can't afford to worry about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair. We have to focus on what we have in front of us."
Freshman Alex Anderson (Chicago, Ill.) will look to fill UT's void in the 100 meters after automatically qualifying for the event with a personal-best time of 11.10 (wind-aided) at the NCAA regional meet. She holds the fifth seed in the event.
Senior LaTashia Kerr (Houston, Texas) holds the ninth seed in the 400 meters after clocking 52.39 at the NCAA regional meet. Senior Melaine Walker (Kingston, Jamaica) holds the third seed in the 100-meter hurdles at 12.77 and the second seed in the 400-meter hurdles at 54.87. Sophomore Alandra Sherman (Houston, Texas) will make her NCAA Championships debut as the 23rd seed in the 100-meter hurdles (13.29).
Texas' 4x100-meter time of 42.84 set at the Texas Relays remains tops in the nation. The relay likely will remain in tact with Marshevet Hooker on the anchor leg at the NCAA Championships. The UT 4x400-meter relay quartet of Anderson, Kerr, junior Jerrika Chapple (Lancaster, Texas) and Walker holds the nation's fifth-fastest time at 3:30.85. Freshman Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) enters her first NCAA outdoor championship meet as the second seed in the high jump behind SMU's Gaelle Niare, whom Hooker defeated at the NCAA regional meet. Marshevet Hooker, who took the long jump on the first day of competition at the NCAA regional meet, will enter the meet as the event's top seed with a top mark of 21-11.75. Junior Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas), the 2006 NCAA indoor shot put champion, enters the outdoor meet as the nation's No. 3 seed in the shot put.
College Sports Television (CSTV) will air live coverage from day three of the event on Friday, June 9 from 7-9 p.m. CDT. CBS Sports will pick up live coverage on the final day, Saturday, June 10, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.