Zamzow, Daniels lead Longhorns to top-15 finish at NCAA Championships

Brooke Nevins

For the first time since 2016, the Texas track & field men and women both finished in the top 15 at the 2019 NCAA National Indoor Championships over the weekend.

Both personal records and tough breaks defined the team’s performance Friday and Saturday, but by the conclusion of the meet, the women accumulated 14 points to finish 12th overall.

Kicking off the momentum for the women on Friday was an impressive record-breaking feat by senior Ashtin Zamzow, who scored six points for the team with a third-place finish overall in the high jump event. The all-around athlete set another school record with a final total of 4,294 points and became the first Longhorn to reach the podium in the pentathlon.

Zamzow set personal records in four of her five events, drawing best marks in the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and long jump.

“It was just an exciting day that I’ve been waiting for so long,” Zamzow said. “I didn’t think I had it in me to score third at such a big meet my first time coming here … I’ve been trusting my coaches and what they say, and they believe in me and the work I put in. Everything kind of led to this perfect moment and PRs almost across the board which is great. It’s just a fun atmosphere, and I really enjoyed it.”

On Saturday, the Longhorns earned eight more points as senior Teahna Daniels rocketed to second place in the 60-meter dash. After being unable to train for a significant part of the season due to injury, Daniels finished with a time of 7.181 to narrowly defeat the third-place runner by 0.002 seconds in an extremely close race.

“I’m really blessed and excited,” Daniels said. “I had a really rough start to my indoor season, getting injured and not being able to practice for almost a month. To come back to where it all started and get second, it’s a blessing. It shows that I have a lot more to come.”

What would have been a second-place finish in freshman Kynnedy Flannel’s first NCAA Championship meet resulted in a disqualification due to a lane violation in the 200-meter. Her time of 22.70 would have earned eight more points and a sixth-overall finish for the Longhorns.

Head coach Edrick Floréal believes that although Flannel’s time didn’t count, the women’s performance shows the team’s capability to be fierce contenders in upcoming seasons.

“Today wasn’t as we expected,” Floréal said. “We have too many talented athletes, and we know that Texas is significantly better than we showed. When we get people to buy in and totally commit to the process of success, we will see results. In the end, the leadership happens in the locker room, and we need people to believe in themselves and change their mindset. We need to go from being a great conference team to being a great team, period.”

With the closing of the indoor season comes the beginning of the Longhorn’s outdoor season, highlighted by the 92nd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays held March 27-30. Texas will also host the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.