Weekend previews: Track and field, rowing

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Track and field

The Longhorns will stick around Austin for the Longhorn Invitational on Saturday to compete in the last regular season meet before the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in Ames, Iowa. As the third event at Mike A. Myers Stadium, the invitational will give the Texas team one last shot to qualify for the Big 12 Championships and prepare for the national meets that will follow the conference event.

At last year’s event, head coach Mario Sategna’s team claimed a number of wins in Austin. Senior Eduardo Rodriguez grabbed the men’s 3000-meter title with a time of 8:45.91. Junior Alaina Perez, also a long-distance runner, nabbed the top spot in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:31.31.

Big names and fan favorites, such as juniors Courtney Okolo, Ryan Crouser and Morolake Akinosun, will display their talents at the Invitational. The event might also be the final meet in Austin for several Texas seniors, including Craig Lutz, Ashley Spencer and Morgan Snow.

The meet begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday and is free to the public.

— Bradley Maddox

Rowing

The Longhorns’ spring season will come full circle this Saturday, as the team hosts opponent San Diego on Lady Bird Lake. Texas began its season by facing off against San Diego at the San Diego Crew Classic, where they competed in a field that also included USC and UCLA. 

At the Crew Classic in March, Texas topped San Diego in all of the grand final events, where the two competed head-to-head. Head coach Dave O’Neill said this weekend’s races could have implications for qualifying for the NCAA Championships, should the Longhorns fail to win the Big 12 Championship.

“San Diego is part of the West Conference, and that conference is unlikely to get an at-large entry,” O’Neill said. “So it’ll be important for us to do well against San Diego because if San Diego goes and doesn’t win their conference, we could shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Prior to the season, San Diego was ranked No. 19 nationally, but the Toreros have since dropped to No. 24. Wins against the Longhorns would help them climb the rankings before the West Coast Conference Championships on May 16. Texas, on the other hand, will try to hold onto its No. 11 ranking before the Big 12 Championships. 

San Diego will be sending a total of three crews to Austin. Texas’ varsity four will race San Diego at 9:20 a.m., followed by the varsity eight and second varsity eight races at 9:40 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., respectively.

— James Rodriguez