National Championship moments: 1986 Women's Indoor Track and Field
There are times in life when things don't go exactly as planned but still seem to work out just right. This was the story of the 1986 Texas Women's Indoor Track and Field team.
Texas expected great things out of this season. After all, they had more depth and power in the sprint races than ever before. The top returnee was Jamaican Olympian and 1985 national champion Juliet Cuthbert. She had already claimed UT and SWC records in the 100-meter and 200-meter, and was looking to improve on her indoor performance.
Running along side her would be senior sensation Terri Turner, a very versatile athlete. Head coach Terry Crawford counted on this talent because she was able to score major points for Texas in several events.
With only seven meets before the NCAA championships, the Longhorns wasted no time on the track. They practiced hard at home and performed great on the road. It wasn't until the end of the SWC Championships that Texas realized an NCAA championship was only a few sprints away.
The Longhorns dominated the SWC Championships in Fort Worth, posting a final score of 180 points to claim first place. Houston trailed with a score of 79 to put them in second. Rice finished third with 53 points. Texas won eight individual events and both relays in the landslide victory.
Turner was the meet's high scorer as well as a triple jump champion (42-2 ¾). Karen Nelson won the long jump and finished the 60-yard hurdles with a time of 7.72. Cuthbert claimed a victory in the 60-yard run with a time of 6.83. Texas also triumphed in the one-mile run, two-mile run, 600-yard run, 1,000-yard run, one-mile relay and two-mile relay.
Texas competed in a few more meets before finally finding its way to the NCAA championships in Oklahoma City to prove it was the best team in the nation.
Turner got Texas on the scoreboard early with her performance in the triple jump, finishing second with a mark of 44-10½. Karole Davidson also aided the team with her performance in the 1,000-meter run. Her time 2:42.68 placed her in first, adding much needed points for Texas.
Performances in other events were beneficial to Texas. Mary Bolden and Cuthbert scored in the 55-meter run with Bolden finishing in sixth (6.89), and Cuthbert right behind in seventh (6.96). Liz Natale finished in a time of 9:09.40 in the 3,000-meter run to finish in fourth place. The 1,600-meter relay team of Turner, Leslie Hardison, Barbara Flowers and Cuthbert also made a great contribution, finishing second with a time of 3:35.46.
At the end of the meet, Texas totaled 31 points second to Alabama's 41 points. Despite all the hard work and effort, the team had come up short -- until the NCAA committee discovered ineligible student-athletes on NCAA Champion Alabama's roster. The Tide forfeited their crown, giving Texas the title of team champion.