Mt. SAC Relays

The strong field of athletes present at the Mt. SAC Relays was too much for the Longhorn distance runners Thursday.

Only three athletes competed in the first day of the meet, hosted by Mt. San Antonio College, and the group of runners that dominated the Texas Relays found it difficult to do the same in Walnut, Calif. 

Senior Rory Tunningley set a 29:30.36 personal record in the 10,000-meter invitational elite run, but his new best was not enough, as he ended the race in 14th place.

Brady Turnbull wound up in 16th in the 1,500-meter open division. Teammate Patrick McGregor, who was scheduled to compete along with Turnbull, scratched the event. 

Texas’ last competitor of the day, sophomore Mark Pinales, finished in 18th in 10,000-meter run Olympic development field.

The Longhorns will resume action tomorrow with five runners competing in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter run. Following that, Texas will continue its season at home as Mike A. Myers Stadium opens its gates for the Longhorn Invitational on Saturday.

A pair of personal bests by freshman Katie Burford and senior Anne Jones in the 1,500-meter open race headlined the first day of competition for the Longhorns on Thursday at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Jones was able to outdo her previous best by almost one minute as she clocked a 4:32.35 while Burford finished at 4:39.16.

Day Two at the meet will be led by a quintet of Longhorns competing in the 5,000-meter event. The race will close out the Longhorns’ stay in California and will be headed by junior Mia Behm, who will look to perform in the same manner she did last weekend at the Texas Invitational when she claimed victory in the 1,500-meter race.

Junior Danielle Dowie, senior Chalonda Goodman and other elite Longhorn participants will participate in the Longhorn Invitational in Austin on Saturday. The meet will be the second home meet for Texas in two weeks. 

The Longhorn distance runners had a rocky start on Thursday at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.

The outcome of the first event that kicked off the 54th year of the relays was an all-around letdown. Going into the meet, 160 runners were listed on the roster for the university/open 1500-meter. Of the three UT runners originally entered in the race, one did not compete and one failed to cross the finish line.

The only Longhorn, Julie Amthor, whose name did make the race’s results list had a disappointing performance. Only five days following her season-best and top collegiate finish in the 1500-meter at the Texas Invitational, the junior tacked on over seven seconds to her time, landing her on the cusp of the bottom quarter of final ranks.

In the open 3000-meter steeplechase, Brittany Marches was able to breathe a little life into the Longhorn squad, improving her Texas Relays time by more than 13 seconds. Nonetheless, compared to the competition, her finish was mediocre, taking ninth out of 19 athletes.

Participating in the event for the first time this year, senior Laleh Mojtabaeezamani closed out last night with another ninth-place finish for UT in the Olympic development elite 10000-meter run.

Lead by middle and long distance coach Stephen Sisson, four Texas athletes will attempt to prove UT’s above-average abilities in distance events on day two of the Mt. SAC Relays.

At 2:25 p.m., Katie Hoaldridge will start the day for the Longhorns with the open 800-meter.

Two of UT’s finest, sophomores Sara Sutherland and Marielle Hall, will strive to make Texas’ presence known in California, competing alongside each other in the Olympic development elite division of the 5000-meter.

The last Longhorn to take the track at the Mt. SAC Relays will be Jessica Harper, who is also competing in a section of the 5-kilomenter run.

Although Harper’s performance late tonight will conclude the competition week for Texas distance runners, approximately two dozen women will be gearing up for Saturday’s Longhorn Invitational in Austin.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m., they will take on competitors from the University of Houston, McMurry University and UTSA. A handful of pros will also be thrown into the mix including former Longhorns Chantel Malone, Raasin McIntosh and Alexandria Anderson. Saturday’s home meet — the second in a row for No. 8 Texas — is a strategic opportunity for Longhorns to prepare for the upcoming post season.

“[Both the Texas Invitational and the Longhorn Invitational] were specifically designed for us to focus on our individual events and getting ready for Conference scoring and NCAA qualifying,” said head coach Beverly Kearney. 

Printed on Friday, April 20, 2012 as: Texas gets off to slow start in SAC relays in California 

Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan file photo Senior hurdler Angele Cooper focuses on her footwork during the 85th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

Nine of UT’s most developed middle and long distance runners are set on striking gold at the renowned 54th Annual Mt. SAC Relays.

In 1959, Hilmer Lodge founded the Relays with the intent of creating opportunities. In particular, Lodge wanted a meet that offered female athletes equal opportunities as their male counterparts. Over the years, the event has evolved into a unique opportunity to showcase an aspect of track that is too often overlooked.

“[The Mt. SAC Relays] is going to be more of a distance-based meet. It’s rare that you find some of your top middle-distance and distance runners in one place,” head coach Beverly Kearney said. “And the weather in California is really conducive to the distance events.”

With a forecasted temperature of about 80 degrees and clear, sunny skies, the Mt. SAC Relays will commence at 2 p.m. with the university/open women’s 1500-meter. Longhorns Julie Amthor, Connor Ward and Anne Jones are among the 160 competitors scheduled to compete in the first event of the three-day meet.

At last weekend’s Texas Invitational, Amthor had a season-best performance that earned her the top collegiate finish in the 1500-meter. Slicing over eight seconds off her time from Texas Relays, she is gaining momentum as a team leader as well as a major threat to the competition.

Although she ran in the 1500-meter last weekend, Brittany Marches will take on the daunting open 3000-meter steeplechase. The sole athlete representing UT in the event, the redshirt freshman will aim for her second steeplechase win this season.

At 9:15 p.m., senior Laleh Mojtabaeezamani will wrap up the first day of competition with the last women’s event of the night, the Olympic development elite division of the 10,000-meter run. Last weekend, Mojtabaeezamani had a notably improved performance, the fastest collegiate finish in the 3000-meter. However, tonight will be the first time for her to compete in the 10-kilometer this season.

On day two of the Mt. SAC Relays, four more Texas middle and long distance runners will participate in three races (the 800-meter as well as in two divisions of the 5000-meter) in the afternoon and into the late evening.

The Olympic development elite division of the 5000-meter will feature a pair of sophomores who are currently among Texas’ top athletes, Marielle Hall and Sara Sutherland. Hall found success in the event early with a first-place finish at the Texas Relays.

Although Sutherland has yet to compete in the 5-kilometer this outdoor season, she held the fastest Longhorn time in the race last year as a freshman.

The Mt. SAC Relays is tailored to highlight the talents of these Texas runners and is a special occasion for them to take pride in their events. But they must remain focused, as Kearney holds high standards with the postseason quickly closing in.

“[The athletes] going out to California, we’re expecting great performances that will set them up not only for Conference, but for Nationals as well.”

Printed on Thursday, April 19, 2012 as: Mt. SAC Relays upnext for UT

As a team, Texas had a disappointing weekend in Walnut, Calif., not winning a single event at the Mt. SAC Relays on Friday or Saturday, but some strong individual performances from the Longhorn underclassmen point toward better results in the future.

In the shotput finals on Saturday, sophomore Hayden Baillio tossed 62 feet 5 1/4 inches, good enough for fifth in the invitational section and the best throw of any collegiate athlete. Junior Jacob Thormaehlen finished right behind him in sixth, with a throw of 59 feet 5 3/4.

Adding to the outburst of young talent was freshman Ryan Dohner, who ran in the Open A section of the 5,000 meters on Friday. Dohner finished in third with a time of 13 minutes, 56.94 seconds, the best time in the event by a Longhorn since 2005.
Also on the first day of competition, sophomore Patrick McGregor recorded a strong performance in the 1,500 meters, with a third-place time of 3:43.51.

In the long jump, freshman Mark Jackson posted his best outdoor jump since coming to Texas, with a leap of 24 feet 9 3/4 inches.

Meanwhile, the Longhorn 400-meter relay squad, consisting of Alex Williams, Trevante Rhodes, D.J. Monroe and Marquise Goodwin, finished third in the invitational section, with a time of 39.74 seconds.
 

The ninth-ranked Longhorns are gearing up for competition at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., after a long but productive week of hosting the Texas Relays.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranked Texas No. 14 last week, but the team jumped into the top 10 for the first time of the outdoor season Tuesday.

This upcoming weekend should be another interesting one, as the Longhorn athletes look to continue their climb in the polls.

In the men’s 100-meter dash, Marquise Goodwin, Trevante Rhodes, Alex Williams and D.J. Monroe are set to compete in an attempt to break the meet record of 9.86 seconds, set by Ato Boldon in 1998.

Sophomore Keiron Stewart will also be looking to improve on his times after he set the school record in the 110-meter hurdles at the Texas-Arkansas-UCLA tri-meet with a time of 13.44 on March 25. Stewart currently holds the indoor and outdoor short-hurdle records at UT.

Stewart is also a part of the talented 1,600-meter relay team, along with Isaac Murphy, Andre Thomas and Danzell Fortson.
Decathletes Kenny Greaves, Murphy and Jake Wohlford are back in action after a much improved showing at the Texas Relays. Murphy and Greaves posted personal bests in eight and seven, respectively, of the 10 events last week. Wohlford, a freshman, won the 110-meter hurdles in the Relays decathlon.

While the athletes are coming off an exhaustive experience at the Texas Relays, as much of an experience as a race, the Mt. SAC Relays have an equally important history.

They bring in an estimated 9,000 competitors every year, according to mtsacrelays.com. Because of the famous elite division and amount of international high school students that attend, the organizers have adopted the slogan “Where the world’s best athletes compete.”

The Mt. SAC Relays also sponsor a novel 10,000-meter event. Texas sophomore Rory Tunningley will compete in what is the longest distance standard track event. This tedious race, which is a little over six miles long, has only had one American ever win the gold medal in the Olympic history and is not usually employed in U.S. meets.