Texas Relays on the horizon


Lawrence Peart

Texas Hurdler Kieron Stewart is a favorite in his events. He finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles last year.

Lexy Gonzalez

Thousands will descend on Mike A. Myers Track & Soccer Stadium this week for the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

The mass of energized fans will be overwhelming, and the athletic talent even thicker. Professional track stars will compete, as well as colleges from around the country and local high schools.

The four-day event beginning Wednesday will feature some of the most elite competitors yet, including nine former Longhorn elites. Each day will consist of a morning and afternoon session, as well as the annual fish fry on Thursday evening from 6:30-9 p.m.

Among the most notable of the four men to compete is Trey Hardee, a two-time World Champion and 2005 NCAA Decathlon Champion. Thrill-seeking Hardee plans to amp up the level of competition and excitement as he competes in the long jump and discus on Friday and 110-meter hurdles on Saturday.

Three other former UT stars — Leonel Manzano, Jacob Hernandez and Kyle Miller — will debut together in the 800-meter run. Manzano and Hernandez each won multiple NCAA titles, and Miller is also an All-American.

As essential parts of an historical event, Longhorns young and old will attempt to create an unbreakable bond and steal this year’s Most Outstanding College Team award back from rival Texas A&M. The Aggies’ men claimed that spot at the 84th Relays with four individual relay titles in the 4×100, 4×400, 4×800 and sprint medley.

Texas’ men show great potential in hopes to improve upon the amount of burnt orange atop this Relay’s medal stand. In 2011 the Longhorns finished with 10 events featuring athletes finishing among the top six. And even more astonishing is the fact that a majority of those men are returning competitors.

Longhorns fans will also get their first glimpse at highly touted football recruit Johnathan Gray. The state’s top running back won’t be in pads, though. Gray is scheduled to run in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100 relay with Aledo High School.