31 Jul

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Texas track sending 12 to IAAF World Championships

Texas track & field legend Ashley Spencer and 12 other current or former Longhorns will represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships this fall (Photo courtesy Texas Sports).

Texas track & field is ready to shine on the international stage this fall.

Twelve incredibly talented athletes with ties to the Longhorns’ program qualified for the 2019 IAAF World Championships, which are scheduled to begin Sept. 28 in Doha, Qatar.

With a great showing this past weekend at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, 10 of the 12 earned their way onto Team USA for the championships in September.

From Texas Sports:
Leading the way once again was Teahna Daniels. The Orlando, Fla. native was the highlight of the weekend, as she ran an 11.20 in the women's 100-meter final to win her first national championship. She is the first Longhorn to win the women's 100-meter national title since Carlette Guidry in 1991. Daniels also came within inches of completing the elusive sprint double with a fourth-place finish in the women's 200 meters on Sunday. The former Longhorn ran the final in 22.73, but was bested by Angie Annelus – the 2018 and 2019 NCAA Outdoor 200-meter champion – by two one-hundredths of a second for the final qualifying spot.

Daniels was a 10-time All-American while competing for The University of Texas, making her one of 20 women in program history to earn double-digit All-America honors. She joined that list of Longhorn greats by earning a trio of first-team All-America nods (100m, 200m, 4x100m) at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Morolake Akinosun, a 22-time USTFCCCA All-America honoree and 2016 Olympic gold medalist (4x100m relay), joined Daniels in qualifying for the World Championships in the 100m meters. She ran an 11.28 in the women's 100-meter final to finish third behind Daniels and English Gardner.

Friday's action in Des Moines also saw Ryan Crouser reclaim his status as the United States' kind of the shot put. The former Texas thrower posted three attempts longer than 21.90m and capped his national-championship performance by launching the orb 22.62m/74-2.5 on his fifth throw. Crouser's put set a new facility record and was .03m shy of matching the meet record, which he set in 2017. The Texas Ex has now won three of the last four national championships, claiming gold in 2016 and 2017, and bringing home the silver medal a year ago.

During his historic career on the Forty Acres, Crouser was a four-time NCAA Shot Put champion (2016 Indoor; 2014 Indoor & Outdoor; 2013 Outdoor), a nine-time USTFCCCA First Team All-American and two-time second-team honoree. Crouser was named the 2014 USTFCCCA Men's National Field Event Athlete of the Year after his national-title sweep and was twice nominated for Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year. Just months after concluding his collegiate career, Crouser won the gold medal in the shot put at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. His 22.52m/73-10.5 effort in Rio set an Olympic Record.

Michelle Carter, another legend in the shot put and on the Forty Acres, threw a season-best 18.69m/61-4 mark to finish second in the women's shot put. Carter, a three-time Olympian and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, is one of the most successful track and field stars in UT history. During her time on the Forty Acres, Carter was a seven-time All-American in the shot put and won the Big 12 Conference title five times.

Thirteen-time USTFCCCA All-American and two-time NCAA national champion Ashley Spencer joined Carter in qualifying for Doha on Sunday. The Texas Ex matched her personal best in the final, running the event in 53.11 to finish third and secure her spot with Team USA. Spencer brought home a bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2016 Olympic Games and is a former world champion, as she helped the American 4x400-meter relay team win gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

In the women's 400-meter final, Courtney Okolo finished fourth with a 50.86 mark. Her fourth-place finish and World-standard time qualifies her for the U.S. relay team in Doha. Okolo, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x400-meter relay, was a 10-time USTFCCCA First Team All-American, a seven-time NCAA national champion, the 2016 USTFCCCA Women's Track Athlete of the Year and a finalist for The Bowerman in 2014 during her historic Texas career.

Steffin McCarter qualified for his first Worlds team on Sunday in the long jump, launching himself 7.89m/25-10.75 (2.6) mark in the long jump placed him sixth among a stacked field. McCarter launched himself 8.25m/27-0.75 earlier this month in Chula Vista, Calif., to join two-time NCAA Outdoor long jump champions Eric Metcalf and Marquise Goodwin as the only 27-footers in Texas history. His sixth-place finish left him outside of the three qualifying spots, but national champion Will Claye elected not to jump in Doha and McCarter was the highest non-qualifer to meet the World Championships standard, giving him his first opportunity to compete with Team USA for a world title.

Sunday's final day of competition in Des Moines also saw volunteer coach Valarie Allman win her second consecutive national championship in the discus throw. Allman is part of a quartet of UT volunteer coaches that will compete for Team USA in Doha. She won the discus national title on Sunday (64.34m/211-1) to clinch her second World Championships bid. Keni Harrison, the world-record holder (12.20) in the 100-meter hurdles, won the national championship on Saturday with a 12.44 (-1.2) mark to secure her third trip to the World Championships (2015, 2017). Shakeela Saunders joined her with a bronze-medal performance in the long jump, while Kori Carter earned an automatic bid to Doha as the reigning world champion in the 400-meter hurdles.

Prior to the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships, freshman sprinter Jonathan Jones qualified for the IAAF World Championships as the 400-meter national champion in Barbados. Jones owns the three fastest 400-meter times in Texas history and ran a personal-best 44.63 at the IAAF Diamond League event in London earlier this month.