Women’s Track Indoor NCAA Championships: Seven Longhorns set to compete for title

Kristin Otto

And then there were seven.

Over the course of the season, they have pushed themselves to physical and mental extremes in the pursuit of proving themselves worthy of a shot at performing on a national stage. And on March 9-10, the best of Texas’ women’s track and field team will finally get this opportunity at the Division I NCAA Indoor Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

The Championship will begin on Friday morning, but the first Longhorns will take to Jacksons Indoor Track at 6:15 p.m. to compete in the 400-meter dash prelim. While both senior Stacey-Ann Smith and sophomore Briana Nelson competed in the event at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, they were unable to make it past the preliminary round. This year, they’re back and are determined to finish among the top eight of the 16 runners, the feat required in order to advance to Saturday’s final.

At 7:45 p.m., a pair of Texas sophomores will take on the 200-meter dash. With a second-placing, automatic qualifying time of 23.11 at the Big 12 Championships, No. 3 Allison Peter earned her spot at Nationals. Peter will be joined in the 5-heat 200-meter prelim by her teammate, No. 9 Christy Udoh.

The only Longhorn who was able to take advantage of the Arkansas Last Chance Meet in the quest to qualifying for Nationals, Shanay Briscoe, who is currently tied for seventh in the nation with a 1.83-meter mark after last weekend, will compete in the high jump final at 8 p.m. After taking second place at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championship with a 1.87-meter leap, the sophomore is set on upgrading to a national title.

To conclude Friday’s events for Texas, No. 13 sophomore Sara Sutherland will participate in the 5000-meter run, marking her debut at an NCAA Championship.

On Saturday, Smith, Peter, Nelson and Kendra Chambers will unite to represent UT in the last race of the meet, the 4×400-meter relay final. Like Peter, the Texas team, currently ranked fourth in the nation, qualified for Nationals at the Big 12 Championships where it placed third. With the Longhorns vying for a victory against teams including Texas Tech, Kansas and Texas A&M, the 4×400-meter relay final will be an opportunity for the Longhorns to prove their conference superiority.

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Seven Horns head to Idaho to compete for championship