Outdoor season kicks off in Austin

Donnavan Smoot

Just as spring is getting into gear, the outdoor track and field season is upon the Longhorn women. After a disappointing end to the indoor season two weeks ago in College Station, Texas, the women will look to start strong for this portion of the season. 

The Longhorns host the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays from Wednesday through Saturday this week at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The Texas Relays shape up to be the starting point for the outdoor season and an event with plenty of competition. More than 7,000 athletes — including some Olympians — from 195 schools will compete.

Of the qualifiers, one of the main competitors to watch is senior Ariel Jones. Jones has dominated the outdoor 400-meter hurdles and is a three-time Big 12 champion in the event. This will be Jones’ last crack at the Texas Relays meet as a Longhorn.

“You know the saying — ‘last one, best one,’” Jones said. “My expectation for this meet is to come out here and do my best. 

Texas interim head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey is also expecting a lot from the Atascocita, Texas, native.

“The last two weeks she’s been looking (good),” Buford-Bailey said. “There’s something about this track for Ariel.”

This weekend is all about setting the tone for the rest of the season. At the end of the season, they want to be in a position to bring hardware home from Eugene, Oregon, the site of the outdoor national championships. After this weekend in Austin, the women will have a week off before they compete at the Texas Invitational, which will also be in Austin.