Texas Track & Field Teams Perform Well at Nationals
By Lee Nichols,
1:10PM, Wed. Jun. 13, 2007
I'm embarrassed to admit that, as the Score's resident track & field nut, I haven't been making enough postings on the Texas Longhorns' excellent programs this season (sorry, I have this "political journalist" job that actually pays the bills), so let me take a minute to note their performances in this past weekend's NCAA Outdoor Championships.
It speaks well for Texas traditions that Bev Kearney's women's squad finished sixth this season, which is considered an off year by her standards. The Lady Longhorns' scored 29 points this year, well behind champion Arizona State's 60. (The NCAA scores the Top 8 places in each event: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1.) Their lone individual champion came from sophomore (and defending champion) Destinee Hooker in the high jump, who had a tough fight with Alabama's Miruna Mataoanu. Both women cleared 6 feet, 3.5 inches, but Hooker won with fewer misses.
Other UT points came from Alexandria Anderson (sixth in the 100-meter dash and seventh in the 200), Chauntae Bayne (eighth in the 100), Temeka Kincy (seventh in the 800), the 4x400 relay team (fifth), and Michelle Carter (fifth in the shot put and sixth in the discus throw).
Theoretically, the Lady Horns could have finished as high as third, but a dropped baton in the 4x100 relay cost them crucial points.
In March, the men's team (led by 2008 Beijing Olympics U.S. coach Bubba Thornton) placed a stellar fourth at the indoor championships but lost big point potential in the decathlon outdoors when NCAA record-holder Trey Hardee graduated and All-American Donovan Kilmartin decided to redshirt. That caused the Horns to drop to 14th outdoors, with 17 points. Sixteen of those came from second-place finishes by junior Leonel Manzano in the 1,500 meters (an event he won as a freshman) and senior Andra Manson in the high jump (ditto).
Both events were thrilling, and both Longhorns lost the lead right at the end. Manzano was passed in the homestretch; his time of 3 minutes, 37.48 seconds (the 10th fastest in NCAA history) was only .41 behind Northern Arizona's Lopez Lamong. Similarly, Manson had the lead (based on fewer misses) when he cleared 7-6, but then Kansas State's Scott Sellers (a former Texas high school champion) jumped 7-7.25, Manson couldn't match it.
The Longhorn men also picked up another point from Hamza Deyaf, who placed eighth in the 400-meter hurdles.