Women's Track and Field preview: 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship
June 7, 2010
HORNS LOOK TO EXTEND OUTDOOR SUCCESS ... UT's women's track and field team has claimed four outdoor NCAA titles (2005, 1999, 1998, 1986) and have finished in the top 10 in 15 of the last 16 years. Texas posted a fifth-place finish in 2009 after two individuals and one relay brought home three titles (100m, high jump, 4x400m) and a third place finish in the 200m. Texas' seven individuals and relay mark its most at the NCAA Outdoor meet since 2006.
FIVE HORNS TO MAKE NCAA DEBUT ... Five of Texas' qualifiers will be making their first NCAA Championship appearance in Oregon - sophomores Mia Behm (5,000m), Victoria Lucas (high jump), Okwukwe Okolie (discus), Stacey-Ann Smith (400m, 4x400m) and freshman Alicia Peterson (4x400m). Junior Chantel Malone and sophomore Angele Cooper will be returning for the second-straight year while senior Jordyn Brown will be making her third-straight shot put appearance.
COOPER RETURNS TO NCAA SEMIS ... Sophomore Angele Cooper will be making her second-straight NCAA semifinal appearance in the 400m hurdles next week at the outdoor championships. Cooper finished second in the west region with her time of 57.36 and is seeded 10th in the semifinals. The sophomore has been ranked in the top 10 in the event throughout the season and recently finished second at the Big 12 Championships in the event. Cooper will also be running a leg of the Longhorns' mile-relay that will be looking to defend its 2009 title.
MALONE CONTINUES TO GROW ... Along with becoming the fifth athlete in Big 12 history to sweep the league's long jump crowns in the same year, Chantel Malone has continued to grow in the event. The 18-year-old junior enters the meet with the top seed after posting a personal-best leap of 21-6.25 (6.56m) at the West meet. The junior will be looking to pick up her second-individual All-American honor of the year after finishing seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championship. Malone will also be running a leg of the Horns' 4x400m relay and looking to score in the triple jump for the first time of her career.
RELAY LOOKS TO REPEAT ... With the NCAA Championships underway, so is the Longhorns' run to their second-straight 4x400m national title. Texas returns two of the four legs from last year's mile relay that brought home the national crown for the first time since 2005. Sophomore Angele Cooper and junior Chantel Malone are all back for the Horns along with the addition of sophomore Stacey-Ann Smith, who qualified for the open 400m as well, and freshman Alicia Peterson. Texas currently has the fifth-fastest time heading into the semifinals.
SMITH TO HOLD DOWN 400m ... Sophomore Stacey-Ann Smith became the first Longhorn to advance to the 400m semifinals since 2005 with her PR of 52.83 at the West Regional meet. Texas owns four 400m national titles, more than any other school in NCAA history. Smith, who placed second at the Big 12 Championships, only to current NCAA leader Jessica Beard (Texas A&M), is the 14th seed heading into the national meet.
LUCAS ADVANCES TO FIRST NCAA FINALS... Sophomore Victoria Lucas saved her best jumps for the right time as she advanced to her first NCAA Championship after clearing 5-11.25 (1.81m) at the West meet to tie for first. The height was Lucas' highest cleared as a Longhorn and was done easily as she cleared on her first attempt at all five heights of the competition. Lucas also earned her first Big 12 Outdoor high jump title earlier in May, to become the second-straight Longhorn to win the league's crown.
BEHM QUALIFIES FOR 5K ... Sophomore distance specialist Mia Behm is making the most of her second year on the Forty Acres as she posted the fourth-fastest time in the 5K semifinals at the West meet. Behm has already etched her name into UT 5K history as she posted the fastest time by a Longhorn since 1988 with her 16-minute-flat effort at the Payton Jordan Invite in California. Behm will be looking to become the first Horn to score in the event since 1988 this Friday in Oregon.
BROWN PEAKING AT RIGHT TIME ... From walk-on to All-American, senior Jordyn Brown knows to save her best for last, which is just what she did at the West meet when she posted a season-best shot put mark of 53-11.25 (16.44m) to finish fourth and qualify for her third-straight NCAA Championship appearance. Brown is seeded eighth overall and will be looking to pick up her second All-American honor after finishing fourth at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships.
OKOLIE SHOCKS WEST REGION ... Sophomore Okwukwe Okolie qualified for her first NCAA Championship after finishing seventh in the discus at the West meet. Okolie was seeded 36th in the 48-person field and climbed 28 spots with her personal-best mark of 167-8 (51.12m) to advance to the finals in Oregon. Okolie is the Horns' first qualifier in the event since Michelle Carter in 2007.