Texas track and field monopolizes Clemson Invitational, looks forward in season

Ethan Ferguson , Sports Reporter

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Jan. 18, 2022 flipbook.

The Texas track and field team dominated at this years’ Clemson Invitational, breaking a multitude of records. Through the leadership of the large number of returning indoor All-Americans, the Longhorns officially started their road to the NCAA Championship. 

Having won the Big 12 Indoor Championship last year, both the men’s and women’s teams looked to sprint out of the block. Despite winning the Big 12 title, the men finished 14th and the women finished eighth last season at the Indoor NCAA Championships. 

The Longhorns will have to compete this season without former stars Steffin McCarter and Tara Davis. The team is still hopeful, however, due to the experienced and talented runners they still have, such as Jonathan Jones.

Jones, a senior from Barbados and returning All-American in the 4×400 and distance medley relay, finished second in the men’s 600-meter with a time of 1:15.61. This time not only beat the faculty record of 1:16.16, but is also a Barbadian best in the event, once ratified.

The top three finishers of the men’s 600-meter all beat the facility record, showing Jones’ ability to compete.

On the second day of competition, Jones displayed his speed yet again in the men’s 4×400-meter relay. Racing alongside sophomore Matthys “Matt” Nortje, senior Willington Wright (returning 4×400-meter relay All-American) and junior Brian Herron, the team placed first at 3:05.21 and earned the fourth-best time in Texas history.

Jones and Wright are the only returning All-Americans from the 4×400-meter race, which is missing graduate students Jon Maas and Micaiah Harris. It’s evident that head coach Edrick Floréal is trying to get more runners in the rotation, and clearly it’s been successful. Newcomers to the team are already making their mark.  

The Longhorns also did well in field events. Sam Hurley, a freshman who signed with Texas in late November, placed first in men’s high jump with a height of 2.13 meters. In addition to winning the 2021 Gatorade Player of the Year, Hurley won his first ever collegiate event.

In the women’s 300-meter dash, sophomore Rhasidat Adeleke (returning 4×400 relay All-American) secured a second place finish with a time of 36.87 seconds. This is the fastest time ever recorded by an Irish woman running the 300-meter indoors. 

Freshman Cole Lindhorst rose to the occasion in the men’s distance medley relay with a personal best time of 1:48.64. Alongside Wright, sophomore Yusuf Bizimana, returning All-American, and junior Crayton Carrozza, the team finished first at 9:37.58, beating the facility record and earning the seventh best all-time performance in UT history.  

Lindhorst went on to win the men’s 800-meter race as well at 1:48.64. 

In the women’s 800-meter race, senior Valery Tobias finished in second at 2:06.09 setting the ninth all-time best performance in Texas history.  

In men’s shot put, graduate student Adrian “Tripp” Piperi demonstrated his strength, winning the event with a throw of 20.71 meters. Junior Patrick Piperi, Adrian’s younger brother, also competed in the event, finishing ninth with a throw of 16.98 meters. 

The Texas track and field team has little time for rest as they look to the Red Raider Open on Jan. 21, and the FasTrak Collegiate Challenge on Jan. 22. The month of January will close out with the two-day Texas Tech Open and Multis on Jan. 28 and 29.