06 Feb

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Okolo runs world’s fastest 400 of year

UT's Courtney Okolo ran the fastest 400 meters in the world this year at Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

UT's Courtney Okolo ran the fastest 400 meters in the world this year at Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

By Steve Lansdale

LINCOLN, Neb. — After winning the 400 meters, and setting a Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational record and a Bob Devaney Facility record, Courtney Okolo actually did not sound overly pleased with her effort.

"That was my goal to run faster than I did last year in my opener," Okolo said. "I still don't think I executed that well. I didn't start my kick where I normally start. I just need to work on getting my race strategy down and I should be good by the end of indoor season."

What she managed to avoid saying was that her performance was the fastest in the world this year, as she blazed across the finish line in 51.16 seconds.

Teammates Ashley Spencer and Chrisann Gordon finished second and third in 51.57 and 52.64, respectively. If not for Okolo, Spencer’s time would be the world’s fastest this year.

Okolo was the headliner in a strong team effort in which the Longhorns won four events and played second in eight more.

"It was a great all-around team effort,” Texas head coach Mario Sategna said. “It was great to be back at Nebraska. They run a first-class meet at a first-class facility. It was great to see teams like Kansas and Kansas State because those are two teams we're going to be battling it out with in three weeks at the conference championship."

Other victories came from sophomore Ashtin Zamzow, who posted the second-best pentathlon score (3,861 points) in UT history in her first competition as a Longhorn after transferring from Texas A&M; freshman Teahna Daniels, who won the 200 in in a personal-best 23.98, and Melissa Gonzalez, who won the 600 in 1:33.78.