Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Leo Neugebauer, Ackelia Smith make history at NCAA outdoor track and field championships

Skyler Sharp

The Texas track and field team finished off its season this weekend with a third-place finish in the women’s meet and 12th in the men’s at the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Oregon. 

The Longhorns walked away with three individual titles. Senior Leo Neugebauer shattered records on both the collegiate and world stage, defending his title in the decathlon event. Neugebauer, the German record holder, broke his own NCAA record with a score of 8,961 points. The score is the sixth-best performance in world history. His achievement was highlighted by his first-round discus throw, which set a new world record of 57.70 meters. 

Despite being plagued by a hamstring injury the majority of the outdoor season, junior Ackelia Smith became the first Longhorn to ever sweep the horizontal jumps at the same national championships. Smith defended her title in the long-jump event with a mark of 6.79 meters and is the first woman on the team to win back-to-back titles in 18 years. Smith won the triple-jump title two days later with a mark of 14.52 meters. 

On track, senior Yusuf Bizimana earned the men’s team three points after a sixth-place finish in the 800-meter dash, just under two seconds off the pace. The Brit is now a seven-time All-American in the event. 

The men’s relay teams had solid finishes and picked up the last points for the Longhorns. The 4×100 meter relay team of Marcellus Moore, Nolton Shelvin, Almond Small and John Rutledge finished fifth with a time of 38.99 seconds. Elijah Mosley, Logan Popelka, John Rutledge and Brian Herron finished sixth in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:01.41, which ranks as the fourth fastest time in school history. 

On the women’s side, the two national titles won by Smith weren’t enough for the Longhorns to defend its team national title. Despite the downturn in overall placement, the women qualified for several entries into the finals on Saturday. 

Senior Kristine Blazevica won the third-place trophy in the heptathlon event with a score of 6,126 points, a season’s best. Securing six points for the team, her performance was highlighted by two second-place finishes in the 100-meter hurdles and the javelin. 

Freshman Nina Ndubuisi added to that with an eighth-place throwing for 17.15 meters in the shot put event.

Back on track, the team of Carleta Bernard, Kevona Davis, Kenondra Davis and Dejanea Oakley finished seventh in the 4×100 meter event with a time of 43.06 seconds. 

Graduate student Olivia Howell secured an eighth-place finish in the 1500-meter final, adding a fourth First-Team All-American honor to her collection. 

In her first-ever collegiate championship meet, freshman Akala Garrett finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.84 seconds, earning herself a First-Team All-American honor and the team five points. 

Garrett, Ziyah Holman, Lauren Lewis, and Kenondra Davis secured the last six points for the team, placing third in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:23.68, but it was not enough to carry the Longhorns over the eventual champions Arkansas, who broke the NCAA record with a rapid time of 3:17.96.

While the collegiate track and field season may be over, many Longhorns on the team will soon switch their focus to representing their respective countries at the Paris Olympics later this summer.

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