Briana Nelson

Women's Track and Field

Behind strong individual and relay performances, the No. 13 Longhorns finished second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa this weekend.

Texas claimed victory in the medley relay Saturday as All-Americans Sara Sutherland, Briana Nelson, Kendra Chambers and Marielle Hall clocked in at 11:15.90, the second fastest time in school history. Sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose also impressed on the first day of competition, as she became the first Longhorn to ever win the pole vault title at the indoor conference meet. By clearing 4.33 meters, Petrillose was able to beat her own personal mark and also eclipse the school record.

“It’s exciting to make a mark on the record books at a place like Texas, especially when it really counts at the conference meet,” Petrillose said. 

On Sunday the Longhorn’s 4X400 meter relay team took home a Big 12 title finishing with a time of 3:33.54. It was the team’s first win in the event at the conference meet since 2005. Another championship performance included junior Shanay Briscoe’s victory in the high jump with a clear of 5-9.25 (1.76m).

The Longhorns were able to score in 17 of 19 events and finished with a total of 148 points, just shy of team winner Kansas with 150.5 points.

In total, Texas earned 30 All-Big 12 honors in 17 scored events on the weekend. Senior Kendra Chambers, junior Briana Nelson and freshman Courtney Okolo led the way for the Longhorns with three each, while junior A’Lexus Brannon, senior Mia Behm, junior Shanay Briscoe, junior Danielle Dowie, senior Chalonda Goodman, junior Marielle Hall, senior Alicia Peterson and junior Christy Udoh picked up two apiece. 

The Longhorns will compete in the Last Chance Meets Friday and Saturday before the NCAA Indoor Championships take place March 8-9.

Women's Track & Field Review

Briana Nelson runs the 400-meter dash at the Texas Relays last weekend. Nelson set a career-best time in the 400 at the Florida Relays on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

A slew of top-6 finishes (and the absence of a win) at the 68th Annual Pepsi Florida Relays illustrated the Longhorns’ room for growth in the outdoor season.

Claiming sixth out of 68 runners in the 400-meter dash, sophomore Briana Nelson made the first strong showing at the two-day meet for Texas. Nelson ran for a career-best 52.49 seconds. Kendra Chambers, Stacey-Ann Smith and Alicia Peterson competed alongside Nelson, all except Peterson finishing in the top half.

Friday afternoon’s field events were also opportunities for Texas athletes to gain confidence in outdoor competition.

Despite placing two spots higher at the Texas Relays, Okwukwe Okolie finished 5th in the discus throw invite with an improved 51.14-meter mark.

In the high jump, Victoria Lucas and Shanay Briscoe — two historically close competitors — came in second and third, respectively. Beverly Owoyele and Peterson also competed in the event.

Coming off a second-place performance two Saturdays ago at the Texas Relays, sophomore Danielle Dowie clenched fourth in the 400-meter hurdles.

Sophomore Christy Udoh, competing in the 200-meter dash for the first time outdoors this year, and junior Chalonda Goodman found success in the final individual running event of the meet for UT.

Coming in fifth, Udoh was less than one-tenth of a second off the time that had earned her the title of fastest Longhorn in the race last outdoor season. With a personal record of 22.85, Goodman claimed second and ended Udoh’s reign of team-dominance in the event.

While only participating in three events, Longhorns closed out the Florida Relays on Saturday with two fourth-place performances.

In the last field event of the meet, Amanda Van Dyke took fourth in the shot put invite with a throw for 15.84 meters. Wrapping up the weekend with the final women’s event, a Texas team — composed of Dowie, Chambers, Udoh and Nelson — held its own with the fourth best time in the 4x400-meter relay.

Printed on Monday, April 9, 2012 as: Nelson runs career-best 400-meters in Florida

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

And then there were seven.

Over the course of the season, they have pushed themselves to physical and mental extremes in the pursuit of proving themselves worthy of a shot at performing on a national stage. And on March 9-10, the best of Texas’ women’s track and field team will finally get this opportunity at the Division I NCAA Indoor Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

The Championship will begin on Friday morning, but the first Longhorns will take to Jacksons Indoor Track at 6:15 p.m. to compete in the 400-meter dash prelim. While both senior Stacey-Ann Smith and sophomore Briana Nelson competed in the event at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, they were unable to make it past the preliminary round. This year, they’re back and are determined to finish among the top eight of the 16 runners, the feat required in order to advance to Saturday’s final.

At 7:45 p.m., a pair of Texas sophomores will take on the 200-meter dash. With a second-placing, automatic qualifying time of 23.11 at the Big 12 Championships, No. 3 Allison Peter earned her spot at Nationals. Peter will be joined in the 5-heat 200-meter prelim by her teammate, No. 9 Christy Udoh.

The only Longhorn who was able to take advantage of the Arkansas Last Chance Meet in the quest to qualifying for Nationals, Shanay Briscoe, who is currently tied for seventh in the nation with a 1.83-meter mark after last weekend, will compete in the high jump final at 8 p.m. After taking second place at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championship with a 1.87-meter leap, the sophomore is set on upgrading to a national title.

To conclude Friday’s events for Texas, No. 13 sophomore Sara Sutherland will participate in the 5000-meter run, marking her debut at an NCAA Championship.

On Saturday, Smith, Peter, Nelson and Kendra Chambers will unite to represent UT in the last race of the meet, the 4x400-meter relay final. Like Peter, the Texas team, currently ranked fourth in the nation, qualified for Nationals at the Big 12 Championships where it placed third. With the Longhorns vying for a victory against teams including Texas Tech, Kansas and Texas A&M, the 4x400-meter relay final will be an opportunity for the Longhorns to prove their conference superiority.

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Seven Horns head to Idaho to compete for championship

Women's Track & Field

Freshman high jumper Shanay Briscoe automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships with a jump of 1.86 meters at the Arkansas Last Chance Meet this weekend. The fourth-ranked Longhorn women had divided between Arkansas and Notre Dame to participate in “last chance” meets — the women’s final opportunity to qualify for the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships. The jump was good enough to push her to 3rd in the country in the high jump, after coming into the meet 9th.

Three women had previously qualified for the national championships Senior Chantel Malone qualified for the long jump and junior Mia Behm in the 5,000 meter. Freshman Briana Nelson will compete in the 400-meter dash. Her qualifying time is a personal best of 52.18 seconds, third best in NCAA’s this season.

The Texas 4x400-meter relay team, comprised of Nelson, junior Stacey-Ann Smith, Malone and junior Kendra Chambers, had also already qualified for the NCAA Championships with a time of 3:32.89.

Other Longhorns performed well in Arkansas without qualifying for the NCAA finals Junior Victoria Lucas posted a personal-best high jump of 1.83 meters, which placed her in second at the meet.

Starting college always means new experiences ­— new classes, new home, new friends. For the freshmen Longhorns, however, they knew they already had a support system and group of friends when they started at Texas.

Six of the seven new athletes — A’Lexus Brannon, Shanay Briscoe, Marielle Hall, Briana Nelson, Allison Peter and Danielle Dowie — met previously while competing in the 2009 IAAF World Youth Games in Italy.

Brannon, Briscoe, Hall and Nelson all represented the United States. Dowie represented Jamaica and Peter the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I think it was the best international trip I’ve been on; everyone just meshed really well,” Briscoe said. “Whenever we came in, I knew everybody. I was excited because I knew when I came here, I knew I was going to already have friends.”

Brannon placed eighth at the World Games in the long jump, Briscoe placed eighth in the high jump, Nelson finished fourth in the 200-meter, and Dowie took home a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles.

“Making the world youth and world junior team was a big deal,” Nelson said. “It was hard to make. It was a really great experience. It was really good because I knew everyone before I got here.”

Now, the freshmen are already contributors to the 18th-ranked Longhorns, who last competed in Houston and Fayetteville, Ark., on Jan. 28. Briscoe placed third in the high jump with a season-best clearance of 1.8-meters in Fayetteville for the Razorback Invitational.

Nelson also posted a season best of 24.13 seconds in the 200-meter race, placing 12th, and also placed fourth in the 400-meter.

Brannon finished 13th in the long jump, and Hall finished 11th in the 800-meter with a time of 2 minutes and 11.36 seconds.

Although having so many young contributors could be considered an issue for the team, members feel that it will actually provide an advantage.

“Everyone is looking to us to see what we are going to do next, and it’s definitely a motivator,” Briscoe said.

Briscoe and Nelson both said competing at a level like the world games prepared them for competition at the collegiate level. Still, it helps to know there are six other women who understand what they are going through. Many of the athletes live together in the dorms and spend much of their time together.

“They are pretty much like my sisters,” Briscoe said. “They are the ones I find myself clinging towards. We are all really close, and we have each others backs no matter what.”