With three weeks left until the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Texas Longhorns appear to be gearing up for the postseason after posting a number of impressive performances Friday and Saturday at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic.
Sophomore Ryan Crouser shattered the school record in the shot put while junior Kaitlin Petrillose smashed her own UT pole vault mark and entered the collegiate record book on Saturday at the non-scored meet featuring athletes from 24 other schools and as well as post-collegians.
Crouser, the 2013 NCAA outdoor shot put champion, cemented his status as the favorite for the 2014 national indoor title for the 18th-ranked UT men with one of the top performances in the world this year. The sophomore beat the 19-man shot put field by nearly four feet and the school record my more than two feet with his winning toss of 69 feet, 8 inches (21.23m), a mark which ranks No. 3 on the 2014 world performers list.
Not to be outdone, Petrillose easily defeated the 26-woman pole vault field with a clearance of 14 feet, 7 1/4 inches (4.45m). That height easily passed her previous school record of 14-2 1/4 set in winning the title at the 2013 Big 12 Championships in Ames, Iowa. Petrillose also moved to the top of the 2014 NCAA leaderboard with a mark that ranks tied for eighth on the all-time collegiate indoor performers list.
The second-ranked women's team posted top-five national times Saturday in three other events – the 60 meters, 400m and the 4x400-meter relay.
Courtney Okolo led an impressive 1-2-3 finish in the 400 meters with a personal-best time of 52.40 seconds (52.51 after altitude conversion), a time that places her No. 2 on the 2014 NCAA performers list. Danielle Dowie was second in 53.46 (53.57 after conversion – No. 14 nationally). Kendall Baisden, who is already tied for eighth in the country with her personal-best 53.27 clocked last week, was third in 53.59.
Sophomore Morolake Akinosun, a transfer from Illinois, continued her strong first season in Burnt Orange by capturing the 60-meter (Section A) title with a career-best time of 7.23 (7.25 following conversion). She moved from a fifth-place tie (7.28) nationally into sole possession of fourth with that effort.
Baisden, Akinosun, Dowie, and Okolo teamed up for the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the meet, and cruised to victory in 3:32.80, ahead of Texas Tech and Kansas State, two teams they will see at the Big 12 meet at the end of the month. The altitude-converted time places the UT foursome No. 3 on the 2014 collegiate performers list.
The top 12 relay units and best 16 marks in each individual event qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships which will be held at the site of this weekend's meet, the Albuquerque Convention Center, March 14-15.
"It was definitely a great meet for us," head coach Mario Sategna said. "We are getting more familiar with being on this track which is important since the NCAA meet will be here."
Crouser and Petrillose probably won't mind returning to Albuquerque for the national meet.
Crouser entered the New Mexico Classic with the second-best mark in the nation at 67 feet (20.42m), which he posted two weeks ago in the Cherry and Silver Collegiate at the same venue.
He broke Jacob Thormaehlen's school record of 67-3 1/4 (20.50m) set at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Crouser moves to No. 1 on the 2014 collegiate performers list with Stephen Mozia of Cornell now a distant second at 67-4 (20.52m).
Crouser would have set the record with each of his final two of six attempts Saturday. His fifth throw traveled 69-2 1/2 (21.09m). Saturday's record toss is the best at a collegiate indoor event in nearly four years. Ryan Whiting (formerly of Arizona State) won the 2010 NCAA title with a toss of 70-7 (21.52m).
Petrillose also snapped the school record on her final two clearances. She cleared each of her first three bars – 13-8 1/4 (4.17m), 14-0 (4.27m), 14-4 (4.37m) – on her first attempt, the final one snapping the UT record. It did take her three attempts to make her eventual winning height of 14-7 1/4 (4.45m), but only 11 other collegiate women have cleared a bar that high indoors.
Petrillose, a transfer from South Dakota in her second season at Texas, also attempted to snap the indoor collegiate record of 14-11 (4.55m) set by Tina Sutej of Arkansas at the 2012 SEC Championships, but missed all three tries.
The Longhorns had other solid performances Saturday, though not quite to the level of Crouser and Petrillose.
Senior Morgan Snow had a season-best time of 8.24 (8.26 after conversion) in the 60-meter hurdles prelims, which moved her from tied for 25th (8.38) to tied for 15th on this year's NCAA performers list.
Sophomore Zack Bilderback, competing in the seeded section of the 400 meters, finished fourth after clocking a 47.41, his second best time of season. Freshman Charles Anumnu was second in the 60-meter finals (Section B) with a career-best time of 6.87 (converted to 6.89).
Friday's action saw UT All-American Shanay Briscoe win the high jump (5-10/1.82m) and a career-best indoor pole vault by All-American Reese Watson (17-9.75/5.43m).
The Longhorns have one more weekend of competition before the Big 12 Championships in Ames, Iowa. They sent 40 men and women to the New Mexico Collegiate Classic, but will split on Feb. 14-15, sending groups to the Iowa State Classic and another to Tyson Invitational (Fayetteville, Ark.).
TEXAS RESULTS – New Mexico Collegiate Classic
Albuquerque, N.M. • The Albuquerque Convention Center • All Times Central
Friday, Feb. 7
• 200 Meters: 2. Christy Udoh, 23.97; 3. Danielle Dowie, 23.99; 10. Bernice Bamgbade, 24.68; 12. Nia Dorner, 24.98
• 600 Meters: 14. Cody McCrary, 1:46.72
• High Jump: 1. Shanay Briscoe, 5-10 (1.82m)
• 200 Meters: 10. Charles Anumnu, 21.87; 11. Adrian Colbert, 21.91; 12. Montrel Meander, 22.04; 14. Antwuan Davis, 22.20; 15. Pieter Conradie, 22.23
• 400 Meters Unseeded: 3. Josh Brudnick, 49.45
• High Jump: 4. Logan Brittain, 6-11.75 (2.13m)
• Pole Vault: 3. Reese Watson, 17-9.75 (5.43m); 4. Mark Thomas, 17-0.75 (5.20m); 8. Hayden Clark, 17-0.75 (5.20m); -- Noah Zorsky, NH
• Long Jump: 4. Johannes Hock, 24-1.75 (7.36m); 8. Logan Brittain, 23-6.25 (7.17m); 12. Basil Fares, 23-2.50 (7.07m); 13. Nick Phynn, 23-0.50 (7.02m); -- Chris Irvin, ND
• Weight Throw: 3. Blake Jakobsson, 58-4 (17.78m); 4. Clint Harris, 57-5.50 (17.51m); 5. Will Spence, 57-3 (17.45m)
Saturday, Feb. 8
• 60 Meters (Section A) - Prelims: 1. Morolake Akinosun, 7.29; 5. Morgan Snow, 7.51; 10. Bernice Bamgbade, 7.61; 11 Christy Udoh, 7.67
• 60 Meters (Section A) - Final: 1 Morolake Akinosun, 7.23; 6. Morgan Snow, 7.50
• 400 Meters Seeded: 1. Courtney Okolo, 52.40; 2. Danielle Dowie, 53.46; 3. Kendall Baisden, 53.59; 10. Nia Dorner, 55.60; -- Ashley Spencer, DNF
• Mile: 16. Kailtlin Barry, 5:23.27
• 60-Meter Hurdles (Section A) - Prelims: 7. Morgan Snow, 8.24; 16. Shanay Briscoe, 9.18
• 60-Meter Hurdles (Section A) - Final: 8. Morgan Snow, 8.27
• 4x400-Meter Relay: 1. Kendall Baisden, Morolake Akinosun Danielle Dowie, Courtney Okolo, 3:32.80
• Pole Vault: t6. Anne Harwig, 11-6.50 (3.52m); -- Alyssa Gullo, NH
• 60 Meters (Section A) - Prelims: -- Senoj-Jay Givans, FS
• 60 Meters (Section B) - Prelims: 3. Charles Anumnu, 6.94; 8. Basil Fares, 7.04; 9 Chris Irvin, 7.04; 11. Jake Wohlford, 7.09; 12. Montrel Meander, 7.11; 14. Adrian Colbert, 7.18; 17. Antwuan Davis, 7.25; 19. Nick Phynn, 7.40
• 60 Meters (Section B) Final: 2. Charles Anumnu, 6.87; 8. Basil Fares, 7.06
• 400 Meters - Seeded: 4. Zack Bilderback, 47.41; 6. Pieter Conradie, 48.39; -- Andrew Whyte, DNF
• 60-Meter Hurdles (Section A) - Prelims: 3. Jake Wohlford, 8.05
• 60-Meter Hurdles (Section B) - Prelims: 1. Johannes Hock, 8.35
• 60-Meter Hurdles (Section B) - Finals: 1. Johannes Hock, 8.33
• 60-Meters Hurdles (Section A) - Final (1:40 p.m.): 4. Jake Wohlford, 8.00
• 4x400-Meter Relay: 3. 'A' Zack Bilderback, Andrew Whyte, Senoj-Jay Givans, Pieter Conradie, 3:12.18
• Shot Put – 1. Ryan Crouser, 69-8 (21.23m); 5. Will Spence, 60-4.50 (18.40m); 13. Blake Jakobsson, 48-8.25 (14.84m); 14. Clint Harris, 47-7. (14.50m)