By Riley Zayas
- Part 1: Tough breaks for Texas Football
- Part 2:Rowing receives high marks from CRCA
- Part 3:Big 12 to give men's basketball players Election Day off
- Part 4: Get to know: Yuya Ito
This past week in Longhorn history featured a superb performance from the 2006 track and field teams, as the men placed third overall at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, California, and the women finished sixth. It was the Horns' best finish at the event since 1988.
It all started to go the Longhorns' way when the men's 4-by-100-meter relay of Trey Griffin, Ronald Hill, Jamaal Charles and Quincy Boles crossed the finish line fifth, less than a second behind LSU, which took first. As solid as that run was for the Longhorns, the women's 4-by-100-meter relay one-upped that performance, finishing in first and scoring 10 points.
Senior shot putter Brian Robison was the first big story Saturday for the Horns as his 6-foot-3, 259-pound frame helped him reach the podium in the shot put finals with a throw of 20.25 meters, behind only Florida State's Garrett Johnson. Robison also played defensive end for the Texas football team and went on to play for 13 seasons in the NFL. On this day, however, he was UT's top finisher in the field events, helping the Longhorns in a fight for the team title with Florida State and LSU.
Later in the day, Leo Manzano, a future silver medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics, rose to the occasion in his best event, the 1,500 meters, finishing fourth in his second NCAA Championships.
If the name Jamaal Charles rings a bell, it is probably because of his gridiron talents. A workhorse at running back from 2005-2007 for Texas head coach Mack Brown, Charles was named the Big 12's Offensive Freshman of the Year just months before he laced up his track spikes. During his freshman campaign on the track, Charles drew momentum from a phenomenal football season (he rushed for 878 yards in 2005), and proceeded to win the Big 12 title in the 100 meter dash. He placed fifth in the event at the NCAAs.
On the women's side, Michelle Carter was the big story. Following up her 2006 NCAA Indoor Title in the shot put, she claimed third with an impressive throw of 17.91 meters. That performance was a foreshadowing of what was still to come in Carter's decorated career, as she currently holds the American record in the event (20.63 meters), and won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Controversy was without question the most frustrating part of the entire meet for the Longhorns, as an NCAA record and UT record in the 400-meter hurdles was stripped after senior Melanie Walker finished first with a performance that would have broken multiple records. But minutes after the event finished, an official disqualified Walker after ruling she had not cleared the sixth hurdle. Instead, the official said, her leg went to the side of it. Despite a protest from Texas head coach and video replay showing she had indeed fully cleared the hurdle, the ruling was upheld. It put a damper on a phenomenal meet for Texas, but could not take away from Walker's fabulous performance in her final hurrah.