Piperi, relay teams outshine Big 12 rivals at National Relay Championships

Myah Taylor

Texas track & field shined at the National Relay Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, over the weekend. Besting Big 12 rivals Baylor, TCU and Kansas State, both the men and women’s teams landed in second place at the meet, only falling behind host Arkansas.

The runner-up finishes were highlighted by relay wins, meet records, success from the sprint and distance cohorts and a big showing by thrower Tripp Piperi.

Piperi’s first-place finish in the shot put was the performance of the day for the Longhorns on Saturday.

His winning effort came just one week after becoming the second-best outdoor shot put performer in school history at the Beach Invite.

Piperi’s throw moved him to 11th place in the all-time rankings and also set a meet record. Despite his big win, Piperi says that he still has work to do.

“My throws felt smooth, but I finished under my PR, which means I’ve got to work on some technical things so that I’m ready to improve at conference,” Piperi said. “There’s a lot more coming this season.”

Just one day before Piperi’s strong performance, the Longhorns’ relay teams both swept the sprint medley, with the men setting a meet record. 3:15.00. On Friday night, the men earned a win in the 4×1500-meter relay to complement the individual victories in the 1500-meter by Charles Mills and Destiny Collins.

Friday was also a big day for the sprinters. Micaiah Harris won the 100-meter and set a new PR, Jonathan Jones posted an NCAA top-20 time in the 400-meter and John Burt won the 110-meter hurdles.

After a successful weekend, the Longhorns are now preparing for the Big 12 Championships, which will begin May 10 in Norman, Oklahoma.

Although he’s satisfied with the performances from the weekend, Texas head coach Edrick Floréal is already working to prepare his team for this next challenge.

“This weekend was another good step as we continue to grow as a team,” Floréal said. “These next two weeks will be crucial as we get ready for a conference run, but we’re making progress and really looking forward to competing for the conference title.”