Texas Track & Field looks to finish regular indoor season strong in Arkansas

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Photo Credit: Elias Huerta

Longhorn runners are tying up their laces for one last meet this regular season as the team is scheduled to compete at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Feb. 12 and 13.

For the second time this season, Texas will compete against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Nationally ranked No. 4 Texas women will take on No. 1 Arkansas alongside A&M, LSU, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Oregon. The No. 9 Texas men will meet the top-three men’s programs in the nation with Oregon, LSU and Arkansas.

The soon-to-be conclusion of the regular indoor season is one that is being met with the Tyson Invitational. The indoor portion of the 2019-2020 regular season was cut short after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the NCAA Indoor Championships to be canceled. This year, the team is on track to head back to the championship with 41 new members in tow.

Senior Chanel Brissett joined the burnt orange after a three-year journey at USC, where she won two NCAA individual titles and four Pac-12 titles. Brissett made her Longhorn debut at the Wooo Pig Classic in Fayetteville on Jan. 22 with a first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles. The No. 2-ranked senior will be competing in the 60-meter dash, the 60-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash on Feb. 12.

“I’m excited about the fact that everyone on the team is hardworking, and we really push each other at practice,” Brissett said. “We have a lot of common goals, which is a huge transition for me from USC. We’re all going in the same direction.”

Sophomore distance runner Crayton Carrozza is also heading in the same direction for Feb. 12 and 13 in Arkansas as the sophomore takes on Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang in the one-mile race. Kipsang currently holds the season’s fifth-fastest time in the mile with a 3:57.83. Carrozza’s collegiate best is a 3:59.82, which he accomplished in the 2019-2020 season as a freshman.

“I’m definitely trying to get my nationals mark down, and also I don’t like to focus too much on the specific time because you can win, but you don’t get the time you wanted,” Carrozza said. “I like to go into races and try to get the win, and usually, the time will come along with it.”

The 2020-2021 regular season has been good to Carrozza — the Longhorn hit a personal best Feb. 6 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational in College Station, Texas. Carrozza recorded a 1:49.66 in the 800-meter. 

Like the distance runner, Texas Track & Field set the bar high with school records and personal bests this indoor season. Senior thrower Tripp Piperi broke former Longhorn and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser’s record at the Charlie Thomas Invitational with a recorded 21.74 meters, putting up the second-best throw in NCAA indoors history. Junior sprinter Julien Alfred also scored a meet record in College Station in the 60-meter dash. Alfred clocked a 7:15 in the race, tying her for the sixth-best run in UT history.

The Razorbacks will host the final meet of the regular season at the Randal Tyson Track Center, which will be livestreamed by the SEC Network. Upon returning from a strong finish in Arkansas, the Longhorns hope to appear in the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Lubbock, set to kick off Feb. 26. 

Editor's Note: This story first appeared in The Daily Texan's February 12 print edition.