AUSTIN, Texas -- The NCAA awarded the top-ranked University of Texas women's track and field team 10 automatic berths 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 at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Austin. The NCAA did not award any at-large berths to the Longhorns.
Senior Melaine Walker is slated for four events and is seeded in the top five in all four. Sophomore Alandra Sherman and freshmen Alex Anderson and Destinee Hooker will make their respective NCAA outdoor debuts this week.
Walker Ready for Busy NCAA Finish
Two-time national champion Melaine Walker looks to add more titles to her resume this outdoor season. She currently holds the nation's second-fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles at 54.87, which she set at the Texas Relays, and the No. 3 time in the 100-meter hurdles at 12.77. Walker also runs the third leg of Texas' sterling 4x100-meter relay team anchored by Hooker and has been a staple of Texas' nationally-ranked 4x400-meter relay team. The native Jamaican will wrap up her Texas career this weekend as the busiest Longhorn with four events on the docket.
Marshevet Hooker Off to Hot Start in Outdoor Season
Junior All-American Marshevet Hooker displayed the same form this outdoor season that made her a national champion during the 2005 outdoor and 2006 indoor seasons. At 11.09, Hooker holds the nation's fourth-fastest time in the 100 meters. She owns the No. 1 national mark in the long jump at 21-4.25 (6.51m).
If that weren't enough, Hooker anchored the Longhorns' 4x100-meter relay team to the nation's top time of 42.84 at the Texas Relays and to a victory in the 4x100-Meter Relay Championship of America at the Penn Relays Carnival.
Hooker was on her way to competing in four events this week in Sacramento, but a mild left hamstring strain prevented her from finishing the 100 meters and kept her out of the 200 meters at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships. She is scheduled to compete in the 4x100-meter relay and the long jump.
Destinee Hooker Making Waves
Freshman Destinee Hooker, the younger sister of Marshevet Hooker, seemingly became an All-American as quickly as she joined the Longhorns. Destinee graduated one semester early from San Antonio's Southwest High School and enrolled at UT in January. A three-sport standout who worked out with the Texas volleyball team throughout the spring semester and will compete with the team in the fall, Destinee became UT's No. 2 all-time indoor high jumper in February when she cleared 6-3.50 at the Big 12 Championships to win the conference title. She went on to tie for second at the NCAA Indoor Championships and completed the indoor season with wins in each regular season meet.
Destinee's stellar performances continued in the outdoor season, as she captured the high jump at the Texas Relays with a then-personal-best outdoor clearance of 6-1.50. She won the event at the Texas Invitational before winning again at the Penn Relays with a new personal-best clearance of 6-2. She went on to take the Big 12 title at 6-2.25 before clearing 6-2.75 at the NCAA regional meet.
Carter Looks for First Outdoor Title
Junior Michelle Carter landed her first national championship in March when she claimed the shot put title at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Judging by her performances thus far during the outdoor season, Carter is on pace to contend for her first outdoor shot put title, as well. The 2005 NCAA outdoor runner-up, Carter holds the nation's No. 3 mark in the event at 59-0 (17.98m).
"Alex the Great"
Freshman Alexandria Anderson joins Destinee Hooker as another impact newcomer for the Longhorns. Nicknamed "Alex the Great" in her native Chicago after winning countless Illinois state high school titles, the Track and Field News All-American is off to a solid start in college. Anderson was a finalist in the 60 meters and the 200 meters at the Big 12 Indoor Championships and qualified for both events at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She took second in the 100- and 200-meter events at the recent Big 12 Championships and a posted a second-place personal best time of 11.09 in the 100-meter final at the NCAA regional meet. She will compete in the 100 and the 4x100-meter relay this week in Sacramento.