Texas women’s track and field takes 4th overall at NCAA Nationals

Leah Vann

The Longhorn women took the track for the final day of the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Seniors Courtney Okolo and Morolake Akinosun finished their careers in burnt orange scoring major points for the Longhorns.

Akinosun stood in the shade of lane eight on the starting line for the 100-meter dash. When her name was called she held up her horns for the crowd, but stared at the track ahead of her. In 11.07 seconds Akinosun would be done with her first race in the NCAA finals, crossing the line in third overall. In the women’s 200-meter Akinosun finished in fourth with a time of 22.54 seconds, making her the third highest scoring runner of the meet with 13.5 points.

Then, it was Okolo’s turn.

Okolo remained calm at the start of her race, powering into her last individual 400 meters as a Longhorn. Leaving no time for her competition, Okolo crossed the line with a time of 50.36 seconds to grab the win for the Longhorns. Following behind was junior Chrisann Gordon, who took fifth overall. Okolo now holds four of the best times in collegiate history, and three of the top eight times in the world. She will head to the Olympic trials on July 1.

“It’s time to go home and rest tonight,” Okolo said. “But tomorrow I’ll be back preparing for trials.”

Akinosun and Okolo teamed up in the women’s 4×400-meter relay with teammates Gordon and freshman Zola Golden. Gordon established a lead early in the race, but the team dropped back to third during Akinosun and Golden’s legs. Golden handed off to Okolo for the final leg. The gap seemed too large to close until the final 150 meters, when Okolo surged to the outside to pass two girls to secure a first-place win for the Longhorns.

The final point-grab put the Longhorns at 4th overall with 36 points in the team standings, just one point ahead of in-state rival Texas A&M.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” Akinosun said, “We’ve mastered the Big 12, but to come out here and put on a show at the NCAA meet means a lot.”