Longhorns split up for New Mexico, Nebraska meets

Leah Vann

The track and field teams will split up once again with the horizontal jumpers attending the New Mexico Collegiate Classic while the rest of the team will travel to the Husker Invitational in Nebraska.

The Husker Invitational will offer the No. 5 Longhorn women and No. 3 Longhorn men their first look at other Big 12 competitors, such as men’s No. 15 Texas Tech and women’s No. 6 Kansas State.

“We’re not only going to get a chance to see our people perform, but rather than looking at rankings and statistics, we’re going to see our competitors front and center,” head coach Mario Sategna said.

Specialists from the multi-event and 400 meter groups will be debuting their indoor performances after weeks of preparing. Wolf Mahler, 2015 Big 12 champion in the heptathlon, will be competing for the first time since November after a long-seated plantar fascia injury.

“I was just cleared for spikes this week, but I’ve been sprinting since last week,” Mahler said. “I’m a little rusty right now but, mentally, I’m ready.”

The men will compete in the heptathlon, while women will compete in the pentathlon. Six of the twelve competitors from the women’s Big 12 championship last year will be competing in the pentathlon, including three Longhorns.

Specialists Chrisann Gordon and Courtney Okolo will debut in the 400 meters. Okolo is a two time NCAA indoor and outdoor champion in the 400 meters and currently holds the NCAA record. Chrisann Gordon, the reigning NJCAA outdoor 400 champion, will be making her first individual performance in the burnt orange.

The New Mexico Classic will present horizontal runners with raised runways in high altitude, making it an optimal location for jumpers to make national marks for the NCAA championship. Freshman triple-jumper, Asa Garcia, will be among the competitors traveling to New Mexico. She currently stands at No. 19 in the nation and No. 3 in the Big 12.

“It was a much needed week off for the entire team, but we’re excited to see our specialties open up against the best in the country,” Sategna said.