Longhorns look towards postseason in regular season finales

Myah Taylor

Texas concluded the indoor regular season this past weekend with strong performances at the Aggie Twilight in College Station and the JDL DMR Invitational in Winston-Salem. But the Longhorns’ showings were stepping stones en route to greater goals.

For some athletes, this weekend was a last attempt to improve their season marks. For others, there were larger implications: qualify for the postseason or go home.

Texas’ distance medley relay teams traveled across the country with exactly these goals in mind.

“We have started our final approach to the postseason and our student-athletes are excited,” head coach Edrick Floréal said. “Our DMR heads to Winston-Salem for the sole purpose of reaching the NCAA qualifying mark.”

At the JDL DMR Invitational on Friday night, Texas got off to a solid start.

First on the track was the distance medley cohort led by Alex Cruz. After her effort in the 1200m opening leg, Cruz handed running duties off to Zola Golden for a 400m sprint. Later, Gabby Crank ran a strong 800m before Destiny Collins concluded the race with a 1600m split. Posting a time of 11:03.44 after conversion, the Longhorns’ effort garnered them a third place finish and a new school record. However, their time was not fast enough for an NCAA qualification.

But Texas’ trip out east was not in vain. The other distance medley relay squad met their ultimate goal. After Alex Rogers’s 1200m split, Terry Brown Jr. sped through 400m before handing it off to Sean Prendeville for his 800m run. Finishing the race for the team was Sam Worley after a fast 1600m anchor leg. The Longhorns recorded a time of 9:27.58 after conversion, earning a second place finish. With the fifth best time in the nation, the men on Texas’ distance medley relay team met the NCAA qualifying mark.

“Texas DMR is heading to the ship,” Rogers tweeted out. “Life is good.”

On Saturday evening at the Aggie Twilight, 11 Longhorns recorded personal bests. Pole vaulter Martha Hughes set a new career record while high jumpers Jared Dupree and Marleen Guerrero hit personal records. Seven of the Texas women’s distance runners — Claudine Blancaflor, Marissa Flournoy, Mackenzie Jensen, Samantha Shulhan, Valery Tobias, Jaylene Vu and Jordan Welborn — ran career bests.

Among the strong placements at the meet were Barrett Poth and Shay Petty, who both placed second in the pole vault. Meanwhile, sprinter Tamea McKelvy advanced to the 60m finals.

The victory of the night belonged to Jake Johnson, winning the mile with a career best 4:14.21.

Now, Texas track and field sets its eyes on the Big 12 crown.

“Our program is gearing up and excited to head back to Lubbock next weekend to compete for a conference championship,” said Floréal.

In the past decade, Texas has won the conference several times. The Longhorns hope to continue this winning legacy when they head north to Lubbock next Friday.