Track and field
The Longhorns stay in Austin this weekend for Saturday’s Longhorn Invitational at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The meet serves as the final regular season stepping stone before postseason meets begin in two weeks with the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock.
The Texas men suddenly find themselves in the thick of the competition for a national championship, vaulting up eight spots in the national rankings to number seven after last week’s performances at the Penn Relays. They will find some solid competition this Saturday, with 15th ranked Baylor and number No. 21 Kentucky making the trip to Austin.
Strong performances this week from young sprinters such as freshman Senoj-Jay Givans and sophomore Zack Bilderback could propel the Longhorns even higher in the rankings. Givans is currently ranked 45th nationally in the 100-meter and may need a better performance than his current time of 10.36 seconds to secure a top-48 spot to advance to Regionals. Bilderback is currently ranked 10th in the 400-meter and 29th in the 200, and he will also have a chance to improve those marks this weekend.
Stellar performances at last weekend’s Penn Relays vaulted the women’s side to a No. 1 national ranking, and earned the 4x400-meter relay team of senior Briana Nelson, sophomore Courtney Okolo, freshman Kendall Baisden and junior Ashley Spencer the Big 12 Track and Field Female Athlete of the Week Award.
The team looks to use this weekend’s Longhorn Invitational to close out the regular season on a good note, and make minor corrections that will translate at this month’s Big 12 Championships.
For seniors like Christy Udoh, this weekend marks the last time competing on the home track.
“This is exciting, but also sad because it’s my last home meet at the University of Texas,” Udoh said. “When the day comes, I’m just going to cherish it, embrace it and remember it.”
After missing out on a third-straight Big 12 Championship, the Longhorns will squeeze into the
Despite its record, Texas (12-12) enters the tournament as an at-large bid and battle-tested, having endured one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation. This included a nine-match stretch where the team lost eight contests to top-17 teams.
The Longhorns recovered with a six-match winning streak in Big 12 play, but they ended the regular season with two 4-3 losses — against Baylor and Oklahoma State, who also eliminated Texas in the Big 12 Championships.
Sophomore Breaunna Addison brings an 18-4 dual match singles record into the tournament. Those four losses came against top-10 opponents, including No. 1 Robin Anderson of UCLA and No. 6 Kristie Ahn of Stanford. With an 8-0 conference record and a No. 21 ranking, Addison will also represent Texas in the 64-player singles draw portion of the NCAA Championships.
As a team, Texas still has to get past Houston (21-5), whom the Longhorns defeated 5-0 in February.
The Longhorns and Cougars will begin the first round May 9 in College Station.
After winning their second consecutive Big 12 title, the Longhorns are not looking back. Texas will head to the NCAA Regional Championships to face the qualifiers for the South Central Regionals May 15-17.
Texas qualified for the NCAA Championships with ease at the Fayetteville Regional in Fayetteville, Arkansas, placing third behind Illinois and Arkansas.
Senior Toni Hakula and junior Kramer Hickok are the only two Longhorns who have playoff experience with the team, having finished the Regionals last year tied with each other for
The location for the Regional Championship will be announced on The Golf Channel at 9 a.m. Monday.
Texas looks to gain its eighth-straight qualification for the NCAA Championships, taking the team one step closer to gaining a repeat of Tuesday’s tower lighting in honor of their Big 12 Conference Championship, only this time for a much bigger prize: another national championship for Texas.