AUSTIN, Texas – Texas closed the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds on Saturday night with an impressive showing from the women’s team and the men’s sprinters. The Longhorns qualified all seven of their women’s entries on the final day of the meet and the men saw two sprinters advance to the NCAA Championship meet and one relay.
“We had a great final push today,” said Head Coach Mario Sategna. “Today was going to be a big day with the 4×400 and 4×100 relays. We started off on a great note with the women leading off with our veteran Morgan Snow and Morolake Akinosun on the second leg of the 4×100. It was great to see a true freshman, Shania Collins, run a phenomenal turn and blazin’ [Kendall] Baisden bring home the gold. That really set the tone for the running this evening.”
In addition to the women’s and men’s 4×100 relay squads Texas advanced Spencer Dunkerley-Offor in the 110 meter hurdles and Senoj-Jay Givans in the 200 meters. The women advanced Akinosun and Caitland Smith in the 200, and the pair of Snow and BJ Adeokun in the 100 meter hurdles. Sandie Raines advanced to Eugene, Oregon, in the 5,000 meters and Texas closed the women’s races out with a qualifying run in the 4×400 relay.
Sategna gave credit to his coaching staff for the hard work to get his team ready for this meet. He said by having all seven women’s entries advance on Saturday, plus the other entries that moved on earlier over the weekend, Texas is poised to make a move at the NCAA Championships in two weeks.
“It goes back to the coaches and their preparation, their attention to detail on the little things, and when to put the right people in the right place at the right time,” Sategna said. “It’s not by chance. Like anything, there will be a few ups and downs. We still have to go out there and compete. People stepped up. No meet will go perfect. The big thing is to get everyone healthy and rested up this coming week and go to Eugene to put ourselves in a position to win the team title.”
Texas will head to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Championships scheduled for June 10-13 at Hayward Field. The Longhorns will see a field of 24 in each event they have qualified in. The men’s team will take a total of nine entries. The women will have 12 entries.
Texas Relay Squads Respond After Weather Delay
Texas started the night off strong in the running events with the men’s and women’s 4×100 meter relays both qualifying for the NCAA Championships on Saturday evening.
Following a lightning delay, the running events started approximately an hour behind schedule, but that did not stop the Longhorns from running well in the first event on the track.
The women’s team of Morgan Snow, Morolake Akinosun, Shania Collins and Kendall Baisden dominated its heat with a win and time of 43.41 seconds. Texas finished second overall behind Texas A&M’s 43.29 seconds. It was the fastest time of the season for Texas in the event this year.
Texas finished third in its men’s 4×100 heat to grab an automatic spot at the NCAA Championships. Charles Anumnu, Carlton Anumnu, Basil Fares and Senoj-Jay Givans clocked in at 39.80 seconds to finish 10th overall and move onto Oregon in two weeks.
Horns Hurdle into Championship Meet
Texas entered the day with three Longhorns in the quarterfinals in the short hurdles events. Both women, Morgan Snow and BJ Adeokun, advanced to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, and Spencer Dunkerley-Offor qualified for his first outdoor championship meet.
Snow ran an impressive 12.97 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles to dominate her heat and finish second overall on the night. Adeokun crossed the line in 13.42 seconds and grabbed the last at-large bid for Eugene.
“BJ making it to the national meet, the hat goes off to her. She’s had some huge improvement,” Sategna said. “Even after the race she came up to us and thanked us for letting her be at The University of Texas. We’re excited about her future. She’s getting better and better each and every week.
“Morgan Snow running the fasted time for the region. She’s a senior. She’s been on the outside looking in. She just keeps it loose and that’s what seniors do. It was great to see her get through.”
In the men’s race, Dunkerley-Offor ran 13.68 seconds to get one of the automatic qualifying spots and finish sixth overall.
“Spencer has done a nice job for us. He’s put up some phenomenal times,” Sategna said. “He’s a big guy and doesn’t need wind behind him to run fast. He’s going to have a chance to make a national final if he runs like that up in Eugene.”
Texas Double in Women’s 200
Morolake Akinosun defeated NCAA indoor champion Jenna Prandini heads-up in their heat of the 200 meter quarterfinals to advance to the NCAA Championships with her time of 20.68 seconds, and in the process she pulled freshman Caitland Smith along with her to finish fourth in the heat and grab an at-large spot for the championship meet as well.
Smith ran 23.38 to take 11th overall and qualify for her first national championship meet and give Texas two valuable spots in the field at Oregon.
“To make a national meet as a true freshman out of this region, let alone a sprints, your hat definitely has to go off,” Sategna said. “I’m definitely happy for her and it gives us a lot of options for what we can do for our 4×100 relay. It’ll be valuable experience for her in an individual event.”
Akinosun’s time tied her personal best set last year at this meet. It also ties her fastest time of the season when she ran a wind-aided mark at the Big 12 Conference Championships.
On the men’s side of the 200 meters, Senoj-Jay Givans took care of business to ensure his spot at the NCAA Championships in two events. A night after qualifying in the 100, he finished fourth in his heat but took the top at-large spot with his time of 20.72 seconds. Charles Anumnu ran hard but finished 16th overall after he was unable to keep up with the leaders in his heat over the final few meters.
Lutz, Pinales Run Last Race at Myers Stadium
Seniors Craig Lutz and Mark Pinales ran their final race at Mike A. Myers Stadium wearing Burnt Orange on Saturdaynight and they were up against some of the top distance runner in the nation. Lutz ran with the lead pack of his heat for much of the 5,000 meters before falling back into eighth place with two laps to go.
Lutz closed well to move closer to leaders and finish in eighth in his heat at 14:01.33. That time was also eighth overall but did not qualify him for the NCAA Championships because the top five finishers in each of the two heats, plus the next two fastest times advance. Pinales finished 36th with a time of 14:42.95.
“We knew it would be a tough double for Lutz,” Sategna said. “He took a huge load advancing in the 10K the other night. He was in a tough heat. Craig is a veteran leader in our distance group and he will run well and close his career out in the Burnt Orange strong in Eugene.”
Raines Ready for Eugene
Sophomore transfer Sandie Raines won the Big 12 title two weeks ago in the 5,000 meters and on Saturday night she showed her poise by running stride for stride and leading much of her heat with a national champion at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.
Raines finished second to advance to the championship site and clocked in at 15:51.57 after keeping with Arkansas’ Dominique Scott until the final 300 meters. The Razorback won in 15:50.07.
“Sandie Raines was a young Longhorn on a mission and wasn’t afraid to mix it up. It was great to see her run with a national champion like that,” Sategna said. “She’s been a huge team player all year long. She stepped up for us prior to winning the conference championship. She took a lot of pressure off the 4×400 in Iowa. Tonight, she just showed she’s a competitor. I know when she goes in the finals, it’s not about the experience. She’s there to score as many points as possible.”
Texas Women Use Depth to Secure 4×400 Spot
The Texas women showed their quality depth in the sprints to close the night in the 4×400 meters. The Longhorns won their heat in 3:30.53 and finished second overall with the team of Melissa Gonzalez, Kendall Baisden, Ariel Jones and Ashley Spencer.
For Texas to qualify for the NCAA Championships running a relay team with two athletes usually on the alternate list, it allows Texas to potentially use different lineups in Oregon to allow for rest.
“We had two veterans on there with Ashley and Baisden. With Melissa and Ariel Jones, our two 400 hurdlers, they did a great job. That was a great time and gives us a lot of options for what we are going to do.”
The men’s team finished fourth in their heat with a time of 3:06.31. The Longhorns opened with Carlton Anumnu before handing off to Chris Irvin. Wolf Mahler ran the third leg, and Zack Bilderback was able to move into the lead on the back stretch. He ran out of steam near the finish and was caught from behind by Nebraska, Baylor and Long Beach State. Texas finished 13th and missed qualifying for the NCAA meet by one spot.
Watson, McNeil Fall Victim to Deep Pole Vault Field
Parks McNeil tied his personal best and Reese Watson cleared the same bar on his first attempt in the men’s pole vault, but the pair of Longhorns could not advance through the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds to the NCAA Championships.
Watson entered the meet ranked third but 15 competitors were able to clear 5.30 meters (17-4.50) and knock him out of the running for a spot in Eugene two weeks from now as he was able to clear just 5.20 meters (17-0.75).
Like the women’s pole vault yesterday, the men’s competition saw more jumpers clear higher bars, making it more difficult to qualify for the national meet out the West region than in some time.
McNeil cleared 5.20 on his first attempt with ease to tie his personal record, but he could not get over at 5.30 similar to Watson.
Dohmann Finishes 20th in Javelin
Fabian Dohmann could not punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships in the men’s javelin on Saturday afternoon as he finished 20th in the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. Dohmann posted a mark of 64.58 meters (211-10) on his second attempt and could not improve during the third round of throws to move into the top 12.
It took nearly 221 feet to qualify out of the region. Dohmann recently finished third at the Big 12 Conference Championships with a mark of 225-7 but was unable to replicate that performance and advance to the national championship meet.