NEW ORLEANS – The women were ranked No. 1 and the men 15th in the preseason indoor national team rankings which were released Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The UT women have a strong nucleus returning from last season and have added a solid group of newcomers.
The USTFCCCA computer rankings list four Longhorns among the top 10 in the 400 meters and three in the 200 meters. Junior Ashley Spencer, a transfer from Illinois, is the top-ranked 400-meter runner in the nation, while placing No. 6 in the 200 meters. Senior Christy Udoh is fourth in the 200.
Senior Briana Nelson, sophomore Courtney Okolo and senior Danielle Dowie rank 7-8-9, respectively, in the 400m.
Morolake Akinosun, who also transferred from Illinois in the offseason, is tied for sixth in the 100 and tied for 10th in the 200 on the preseason event rankings.
In addition, Dowie, Udoh, Nelson and Okolo finished third in the 4x400-meter relay at the 2013 NCAA Indoor meet.
Junior Morgan Snow is third on the 60-meter hurdles list and senior Shanay Briscoe is second nationally among high jumpers.
The men's team should be led during indoors by Ryan Crouser and Johannes Hock.
Crouser did not compete during the 2013 indoor season after recovering from an offseason injury, but went on to capture the shot put title at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He is the favorite to capture the indoor title.
Hock won the decathlon crown at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor meet and was sixth in the heptathlon during the indoor season. The sophomore is sixth in the preseason heptathlon rankings.
Will Spence is No. 20 in the nation in the shot put and Ryan Dohner is 13th in the 3,000 meters and 14th in the 5,000.
The national team rankings will be complied by mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. For the preseason ranking and early-season rankings, data will be taken from previous seasons as well as the current season.
The Texas women finished No. 18 at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships, while the men were tied for 23rd.
The Longhorns open the 2014 indoor season on Friday when they face Arkansas on the road in a dual meet. The competition gets underway at 6 p.m. Central.
(Press Release - University of Texas Athletics)