Longhorn women capture conference title in big weekend at Big 12s

Brooke Nevins and Myah Taylor

The Longhorns’ appearance at the Big 12 Indoor Championship in Lubbock over the weekend highlighted track & field as a sport at the intersection of collectivism and individuality. Texas’ outing up north resulted in a championship title for the women’s team as well as a slew of personal victories.

On Friday, pentathlete Ashtin Zamzow led the charge. Personal bests in the high jump, the shot put and long jump catapulted Zamzow into first place. Securing her second conference title in two years, Zamzow earned 10 team points for Texas and broke her own school record.

The two-time champion entered the meet with a different mindset than seasons past.

“This year, I came in a bit more prepared,” Zamzow said after her victory. “I’ve been training well with the new coaching staff and we are definitely a more mentally tough team this year, which really helped me throughout today.”

Thrower Elena Bruckner also had a big day. En route to her second place finish, Bruckner powered through the weight throw, breaking school records and becoming the first Longhorn woman to record a throw over 19m.

Bruckner’s strong performance was inspired by a dream that came to fruition.

“Last night during our meeting, we were setting goals and my goal was to take second,” Bruckner said.

Other notable performances from Friday included Georgia Wahl’s second-place finish in the long jump and several finals qualifications.

The Texas women continued to make waves Saturday, securing a second consecutive Big 12 Championship — their fifth in the last six seasons.

Both veteran Teahna Daniels and star rookie Kynnedy Flannel won Big 12 titles to lead the women’s effort in securing a first-place finish for the Longhorns. Daniels ran 7.22 to win the 60m dash while Flannel capitalized on her dominance this season to win the 200m in 22.89.

“My only goal was to run as fast as I could, get a nationals mark and score points for the team,” Daniels said. “I’m really blessed and grateful to have won, especially since this is my last indoor Big 12 Championship.”

Meanwhile, Serenity Douglas finished third in the 400m with a personal best of 53.06, and Gabby Crank took second in the 800m. With a time of 2:04.92, Crank set the No. 3 time in school history.

60m hurdler Mariam Abdul-Rashid and triple jumper Sophia Falco both soared to second place with career-best marks in their respective events. After an impressive second-place finish in the weight throw, Bruckner topped off her big weekend with a third place landing in the shot put.

Also finishing third was the women’s 4×400 relay squad. Their effort earned Texas’s final six points and sealed the team’s Big 12 victory.

The conference success that Texas has enjoyed in recent seasons shouldn’t distract from the directional and coaching changes that the track & field program has undergone as of late. When head coach Edrick Floréal joined the program last June, his goal was to reinstate Texas as a track & field powerhouse. He believes the team’s cohesive success Saturday accomplished that goal.

“I was really proud of the way the women came out and took care of business today,” Floreál said. “It takes all of them to be successful. The future of Texas Track & Field is getting that swagger back and getting that confidence back. Wearing the Texas on your shirt means something, and we need to take pride in that and build off of this meet going forward.”