Texas women’s track & field wins Big 12 indoor Title

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Texas women's track & field celebrates the Big 12 Indoor Title. (Photo: UT Athletics Photography)

Texas women win Big 12 Indoor Track and Field title, men finish second
Fifth-ranked women win six individual titles, including two from Hall (mile and 3,000); No. 17 men claim four individual crowns

AMES, Iowa – Powered by six individual victories, including wins by senior Marielle Hall in the mile and 3,000 meters on Saturday, the fifth-ranked Texas women’s team cruised to the 2014 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field title.

The Longhorn women, who won five events Saturday, posted 147 points to outdistance second-place Baylor which collected 102 over the two-day meet held at Iowa State.

The 17th-ranked men had individual victories Saturday from sophomores Ryan Crouser (shot put) and Zack Bilderback (400 meters), freshman Senoj-Jay Givans (60 meters) and the 4x400-meter relay unit, but were unable to defend their team title, finishing with 108.50 points. Oklahoma State won the men’s crown with 112.50. Texas Tech was third with 95 points.

The women’s team, which was edged by Kansas 150.5 to 148 in the 2013 Big 12 Indoor meet, also collected individual titles Saturday in the 60 meters (Morolake Akinosun), 400 meters (Ashley Spencer) and high jump (Shanay Briscoe).

For the women, it was their sixth Big 12 Indoor title and first in eight years.

“The goal coming in was to win on both sides and to come away with the women’s first indoor conference championship since 2006 was exciting,” first-year head coach Mario Sategna said. “We had some phenomenal performances. We were happy with the individual conference champions we had, but also about the number of people we had reach the top eight to score."

Crouser won his third Big 12 shot put title, including second indoors. His winning toss of 67 feet, 8 1/4 (20.63m) was off his school-record and national-leading mark of 69-8 (21.23m) posted last month at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic, but still ranks as the second-best performance in school history.

Spencer, a junior transfer from Illinois competing in her first postseason meet as a Longhorn, set a Lied Recreation Center record and posted the second-best mark in the nation by winning the 400 in 51.54 seconds. It was the third-best time in school history. Sophomore Courtney Okolo posted the third-fastest time in the nation this year and No. 4 in school history (51.56) with her second-place finish in the 400.

Bilderback took home the men's 400-meter title in a school-record 46.03. It marked just the second Big 12 indoor 400m title in school history (former school record holder Ashton Collins won in 2003). He was also sixth in the 200 meters (21.49) and helped steer the 4x400-meter relay to its first Big 12 conference title.

Bilderback, a sophomore who ran the second leg of the 4x400m relay, was joined by three freshmen – Pieter Conradie, Givans and Chris Irvin. That foursome clocked a season-best time of 3:09.47, a mark which ranks No. 9 on the all-time school performance list. It was first win in that event at a league meet since capturing the mile relay title at the 1977 Southwest Conference Championships.

Givans won the third 60-meter men’s crown in UT history and first in 11 years. He matched his career best by clocking a 6.64. He was also fourth in the 200 (21.36).

At one point Saturday, the Longhorns won three straight races. Right after Akinosun (7.29) and Givans won back-to-back 60 meter titles, Hall captured her first league indoor mile crown after finishing second each of the last two seasons. The 2013 Big 12 cross country champion, Hall won the mile in 4:41.78, the third-best time in school history.

She came back a couple hours later to win the 3,000 meters in a personal-best 9:15.57, earning the women’s top point producer (20) of the meet.

“It was great to see Marielle step up,” Sategna said. “We saw that all fall during the cross country season where she led the charge on the women’s side. I couldn’t be more proud because I know there are even better things to come during the outdoor season.”

Kaitlin Petrillose had the women’s first individual title, defending her pole vault crown with meet-record clearance of 14-5 1/4 (4.40m) on Friday when the men’s and women’s teams sent a number of athletes from prelims to Saturday’s running finals.

The women’s team advanced a combined 13 from the prelims to Saturday’s finals in the 60, 200 and 400 meters, and 60-meter hurdles. Six athletes scored in the 200 led by Akinosun’s second-place finish (a season-best 23.54) and four in the 400 meters.

Freshman Kendall Baisden (23.77), sophomore Courtney Okolo (23.93) and seniors Christy Udoh (24.10) and Danielle Dowie (24.43) went 5-6-7-8 in the 200. Baisden was also fourth in the 400 in a personal-best 52.59.

Morgan Snow got the women off to a fast start, finishing second (8.24) in the 60-meter hurdles, the first running event of the day.

Briscoe followed up her second-place performance in Friday’s pentathlon by winning the indoor high jump title for the second-straight season with a clearance of 5-10 3/4 (1.80m).

Next up is the NCAA Indoor Championships, which will take place March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Longhorns should be well represented. The top 16 marks in individual events and best 12 relay times earn berths to the meet.

For a complete release and links for results:

Courtesy UT Athletics Communications

James Schleicher

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.