Longhorns see final meet as ‘Last Chance’ to advance

Kristin Otto

Although the Last Chance Meets might sound melodramatic, their slightly intimidating description accurately embodies the essence of Week 7, the last of the regular season for Division I NCAA women’s track and field.

At the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Texas’ primary concern was to earn overall points in an attempt to claim a conference title as a team. However, this weekend the focus will shift to individual performances.

Numerous Texas athletes currently occupy spots in the top-35 national ranks but have yet to attain NCAA qualifying marks. Consequently, the team will split up this weekend to compete in the Last Chance Meets — the final opportunities for Longhorns to qualify in their respective events for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

Beverly Owoyele, as well as Victoria Lucas and Shanay Briscoe, who both have personal bests this season that are within a half-meter of the event’s automatic qualifying mark, 1.85-meters, will compete in the high jump today at the Last Chance meet in Fayetteville, Ark. In other field events, long jumper A’Lexus Brannon and shot putter Amanda Van Dyke will also be looking to qualify for Nationals.

With a time of 3:32.42, the No. 4 Texas 4×400-meter relay team, composed of Stacey-Ann Smith, Allison Peter, Briana Nelson and Kendra Chambers, qualified for Nationals at the Big 12 conference championships. However, UT 400-meter runners Chambers and Nelson will travel to Fayetteville and try to qualify for the NCAA Championships as individuals, challenged by the event’s 52.60 qualifying mark.

The eighth Longhorn looking to qualify at the Last Chance Meet in Arkansas will be freshman Morgan Snow who will compete in the 60-meter hurdles.

Hoping to hit the NCAA qualifying mark in the mile, sophomore Marielle Hall will make a solo appearance at the Last Chance Meet in Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday.

The athletes who succeed at the Last Chance Meets in reaching qualifying marks will compete in the NCAA Championships on March 9-10.