Ups and downs are inevitable in a sport where the outcome often relies solely on the athlete’s individual efforts.
Just ask the five members of Texas men’s track and field who competed in the Last Chance Meets this past weekend.
On Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., sophomore Mark Jackson claimed second in the triple jump with a leap of 15.31 meters. The Big 12 Champion repeated his jumping strategy from last weekend’s Big 12 Championships, saving his greatest burst of energy for his sixth and final jump.
Texas’ other four competitors, C.J. Jessett, Dereck Dreyer, Kyle Thompson and Patrick McGregor were sent to run the distance medley relay at Notre Dame’s Alex Wilson Invitational. Unfortunately, the outcome of the event didn’t turn out exactly as they had hoped. On the first leg of the race, Georgetown’s Bobby Peavy got tripped up and took out three runners in close pursuit behind him. The fall made catching up to the pack a lost cause for Penn State, New Mexico and Texas. The four Longhorns watched the remainder of the race from the field.
Thompson and McGregor went into Saturday’s meet with hopes to pick up the pieces from Friday’s competition.
Thompson ran a 1:50.10 in the 800-meter and finished 18th out of 47 total competitors. This was an exceptional effort by Thompson, considering six of the seven runners in his heat finished in the top 20.
McGregor finished 16th overall in the mile run with a time of 4:07.38, one second slower than his performance at the Big 12 Championships.
Mental toughness will be the key for the Longhorns as they embrace the next few days leading up to the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 9-10. While some athletes failed to meet the qualifications by mere inches or seconds, others already have their adrenaline pumping for the big day. Look out Nampa, Idaho — the Longhorn herd is thundering in, and they’re ready.