Sophomores shoulder load at NCAA championship

Kristin Otto

More than 300 schools across the country traveled to the Potato State to compete at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Nampa, Idaho last week.

Out of hundreds of athletes, seven Longhorn women were on a mission to make a big impression, and they did, with the sophomores leading the way.

In the 200-meter dash, Christy Udoh fell short of her 23.46 season-best performance from the conference meet; her time held her to twelfth place and denied her a spot in the finals.

It was a different story for sophomore Allison Peter who earned her way to Nationals with a personal record of 23.11 at the Big 12 Championships. In the finals, she excelled to 22.95 but it was not enough to hold back LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan, who held Peter to second place.

In her first appearance at an NCAA Championship, sophomore Sara Sutherland made school history in the 5-kilometer, taking fifth in the event. With a 15:53.73 run, Sutherland shaved just over six seconds off her personal best and beat the 22-year standing UT record by more than three seconds.

Yet another sophomore had a top-5 performance. A 1.81-meter mark landed Shanay Briscoe in fourth place in the High Jump.

Briana Nelson and Stacey-Ann Smith, who finished tenth and sixteenth, respectively, were unable to push past the prelims in the 400-meter dash.

Nevertheless, the trio of top-8 finishing Texas sophomores racked up 17 points, propelling Texas to the top of the pack at the end of day one.

With only one race left in the meet, the Longhorns went into day two knowing that they would be surpassed in the ranks. Ultimately, they would finish fourth with a total of 25 points.

However, Saturday’s sole event for UT was perhaps the most critical race not only of the meet, but of the season as well. It was the 4×400-meter relay, the last race of the 2012 Championships. And it was Texas’ last stand.

Going into Nationals, the Longhorns were ranked fourth behind Kansas, Texas A&M and LSU, respectively.

With the memory of being beat out of a Big 12 title by the Aggies in College Station still fresh in their minds, the Longhorns were determined not to fall again to the soon-to-be SEC school.

Trailing LSU by less than one second, Texas clenched second with a time of 3:32.36, breaking its season-best from the conference championship and besting A&M before its departure from the Big 12 conference.