National Championship moments: 1998 Women's Indoor Track and Field
Behind the strength of four individual national titles, the Longhorns breezed to victory at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Women's Track and Field Championships.
Texas chalked up 60 points at the two-day meet to dethrone five-time defending champion LSU. The Tigers finished second with 30 points, followed by Pittsburgh and Georgetown tied for third with 26 points apiece. The Horns' 30-point margin of victory was the largest ever in the 15-year history of the NCAA Indoor Championships, and their 60 total points were the most since LSU's 61 in 1989.
The victory marked the program's first national championship since UT won the indoor crown in 1990.
Texas put 20 points on the board on day one despite some troubles in the qualifying rounds that saw 1997 NCAA Indoor 200-meter dash champion Nanceen Perry and Angie Vaughn fail to advance in the event, and freshman sensation Nicole Hoxie failed to qualify for the 55-meter hurdle finals. But Vaughn atoned for her absence in the 200, breaking her own school record to win the 55 hurdles national title. It was the first national title in a hurdle event in school history, indoors and outdoors, and was even more remarkable considering Vaughn had never advanced to the finals in the 55 hurdles in her three prior trips to the NCAAs.
Just under five minutes later, LaKeisha Backus stunned the field when she became the fifth Longhorn in school history to win the 200-meter national championship, running a personal best 23.18 to edge runner-up Debbie Ferguson (23.22) of Georgia, who ran in a separate heat.
Texas didn't hold back on day two, rolling up 40 points highlighted by a pair of titles from Suziann Reid and Erin Aldrich. Aldrich capped off her undefeated indoor season by clearing 6' 4 ¼" on her first high jump attempt to defeat SMU's Kajsa Bergqvist and become UT's second national high jump champion. Reid, the 1996 NCAA Outdoor 400-meter run champion, became the Longhorns' first indoor 400-meter title holder, crossing the line in 52.57. Toya Brown added six points by finishing third in 53.23.
The 55-meter dash provided nearly as much excitement when Backus came within one one-hundredth of a second of winning her second title of the meet. In a dead-heat finish, Backus settled for third (6.779) behind LSU's Kwajalein Butler (6.773) and Georgia's Debbie Ferguson (6.775).
UT's 4x400-meter relay of Alex Valles, Brown, Sheneka Griffin and Reid closed out the meet with a runner-up finish (3:34.06) to Baylor (3:33.93) who ran its time in another section.
On the season, Texas also produced wins at the Houston Indoor Opener, Oklahoma Track Classic and Big 12 Indoor Championships. Aldrich (high jump), Brown (400), Liz Diaz (1,000), Kim McGruder (55), Perry (200), Reid (600), Vaughn (55 hurdles) and the 4x400 unit all claimed Big 12 titles as the Longhorns racked up 156 points, topping their nearest competitor, Nebraska (101), by 55 points. It marked UT's 13th indoor conference title over the last 14 years.