Men’s and women’s track and field win team titles at Texas Invitational


Jenna VonHofe

At the Texas Invitational, sophomore pole vaulter Reese Watson became the eighth Longhorn ever to top 18 feet. 

Grant Gordon and Daniel Clay

The Longhorns hogged the podium at the weekend’s Texas Invitational in Austin, with the women winning seven events and the men emerging victorious in five. 

Led by sophomore sprinter Courtney Okolo, the Longhorn women dominated team competition. Okolo took charge with a national-best time of 51.36 seconds in her 400-meters season debut.

“I was just trying to run a fast time, so I could not have to worry about if my time would make it into regionals,” Okolo said. “I was just happy that it was fast.”

Representing the women’s basketball team, track newcomer Nekia Jones transitioned from playing forward on the court to making her throwing debut on the field. The dual-sport freshman and former Texas high school discus and shot put runner-up finished in third
but wasn’t satisfied.

“For my first meet, I felt pretty good, [but] I know I can do better,” Jones said. “I’ve just been patient and let it come to me.” 

The men won five events and scored 184 points in their team victory. Sophomore pole vaulter Reese Watson led the team, as he set a personal record with a mark of 18 feet, .5 inches. His jump makes him the eighth Longhorn ever to break 18 feet in an outdoor meet.

After scratching on his first two attempts at 17 feet, 1 inch, Watson faced elimination before he could even get started.  

“I’m usually pretty good at keeping it together on my third attempt,” Watson said. “So, I just started feeding off the crowd and was able to come out with a third attempt make. Pretty much, after you get your first bar over with, you can pretty much relax a little bit and start jumping.”

The Longhorns compete in Baylor’s Michael Johnson Classic Saturday in Waco.