Long jumpers, sprinters help men’s track and field to victory in Texas Invitational

Spencer Soicher and Leah Vann

Despite rainy conditions and a changed schedule, the Texas men dominated a field of nine other top-ranked teams to win the Texas Invitational on Saturday.

“It’s outdoor track and field and you have to battle the elements,” head coach Mario Sategna said. “I felt everybody did a great job on that because you never know what you’re going to come across at a championship meet down the road.” 

The 1-2-3 finish in long jump showed the Longhorns have potential to grab points in the upcoming Big 12 Championship. Freshman Steffin McCarter led the group with a leap of 7.62 meters, which currently stands at fourth overall in the Big 12. Senior Basil Fares took second while freshman Ika Morton took third.

“That was great to see Steffin, Basil and Ika because those are going to be some huge points for us at the conference meet,” Sategna said.

The men’s sprinters showed depth in both relays and individual events. The team of juniors AJ Bailey, Senoj-Jay Givans, Charles Amnunu and senior Zack Bilderback finished second to Louisiana State University in the 4×100 meter relay clocking in a time of 39.22 seconds. 

Bailey also edged out unattached Demetrius Pinder in the men’s 200-meter with a time of 20.44 seconds. Bailey’s time currently ranks as No. 3 in the NCAA and makes him the fourth-best in school history. Givans followed behind at fourth overall in the 200-meter, and also took fourth in the 100-meter. 

Freshman Alex Rogers took the win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, coming across the line with a time of 9:09.98 in his first attempt to run the race this season. 

The women, however, couldn’t quite duplicate the men’s success. The Longhorns finished fourth in the invitational behind LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Junior Sandie Raines had the only win of the day for the Longhorn women in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:45:05 in a training run for the 5,000-meter race. After getting off to a strong start, Rains finished 11 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

“We knew the field wasn’t super deep and she went out there and just did it on her own,” distance coach Brad Herbster said. “She was really going against the clock more than her opponents.” 

Other strong performers included junior Mary Beth Hamilton, who finished third in the 800-meter and shaved her personal record time by 2.10 seconds, with a time of 2:06.99. Senior sprinter Morolake Akinosun finished third in the 200-meter with a time of 22.96 seconds.

The teams will be back in action next Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the LSU Alumni Gold.