Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays

Sophomore Johannes Hock finished the first day of the Texas Relays in third place for the Longhorns, despite a less than stellar showing in the javelin throw.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Rainy skies greeted the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Wednesday, but the Longhorns did not have to look far to find their silver lining.

On the men’s side, the story of the first two days of competition certainly centered around sophomore Johannes Hock in the decathlon. Hock, who took home the decathlon national championship last outdoor season, was competing in the event for the first time since that meet because of an elbow injury. Hock competed during the indoor season but only in individual events.

For most of the competition, Hock looked like his old self.  With only two events remaining, he was in the lead by more than 200 points with a score of 6,543. 

Then came the javelin on Thursday.

Heading into the week, Hock knew that because of his elbow surgery he would have to throw javelin left-handed, a strategy he had little experience with.

“I’ve thrown a couple times, you know not a lot, because it’s kind of weird and it doesn’t feel good,” Hock said. 

The adjustment ended up proving detrimental to his final score, as he finished 16th in the javelin, dropping him to fourth overall in the competition. Hock made up some ground with a strong finish in the 1500 meters but could only manage to climb to 3rd place overall after the final event with a score of 7,573, just 69 points below first place.

Blue skies and a light breeze greeted the Longhorn women as they began competition in front of their home crowd on Thursday.

Senior Danielle Dowie fed off of the atmosphere and the pristine running conditions to finish first in her heat en route to a second place finish in the 400-meter hurdles preliminaries.

The Texas 4x800 meter relay team of senior Marielle Hall, junior Connor Ward, freshman Mary Beth Hamilton and senior Katie Hoaldridge finished second in their final. The team fell behind early, but Hamilton covered a ton of ground in the third leg, reaching second place and showing the kind of talent that will allow her to benefit the team immensely in the future. In the final leg, the Longhorns managed to take the lead before finishing just behind Baylor with a time of 8:47.79.

The conditions could not help everyone though. The women’s 1500 meters B-final saw the Longhorns finish uncharacteristically low in the event. The race began well, with three Longhorns jostling for position in the lead pack, but at the finish, Texas held the last five places in the field of eleven.

The Texas Relays continue Friday and Saturday, when national champions sophomore Ryan Crouser and sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose will show off their skills before the home crowd.

The curtain closed on the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Saturday. 

The meet, which brought together hundreds of qualified athletes from all stages of their careers, from Olympians such as Trey Hardee and Darvis Patton to high school athletes getting their first taste of real competition, came and left almost as fast as the athletes running their hearts out on the track.

Six victories were added to the men’s team already lengthy resume once all was said and done. The long distance team was especially dominant on their home turf, accounting for four of the six victories the Longhorns brought home.

The talk of Thursday’s day of action was an event new to the Texas Relays — the 10,000-meter run. The Longhorns, who held the top five finishes in the event, ruled the first running of the event. The field was led by junior Ryan Dohner (29:34.34), who now holds the top time in the nation this season. He was followed by Craig Lutz(29:39.22), Daniel Vertiz (29:55.62), Rory Tunningley (30:07.35) and Mark Pinales (30:08.09).

“The guys did really good this year,” Dohner said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had that many guys so close to each other in terms of fitness.”

The distance runners’ dominance didn’t stop there, as the rest of the long distance runners stepped in and earned wins in the distance medley relay, the 4x1,500-meter relay and the 4x800-meter relay.

Sophomore Ryan Crouser’s 67-and-a-half-foot (20.43 m) throw in the shot put easily beat the competition and had Texas record writers scrambling, as it now stands fifth in the all-time performance list. The win was especially important as it was his first real action since a long injury layoff.

“I’ve had this day marked on my calendar for a long time.” Crouser said, “Your first meet [back from injury] can really decide a lot for how the season goes.”

The final win for the men’s team came from senior Jarard Bruner in section B of the triple jump.

After a fairly uneventful first two days at the relays, the women’s team exploded out of the gates Friday and Saturday.

A hot start by the 4x100-meter relay team Friday morning in the preliminaries began a solid last two days for the Longhorns. The quartet of juniors Christy Udoh, Chalonda Goodman and Danielle Dowie along with sophomore Morgan Snow ended up snatching a second-place finish in the finals Saturday with a time of 43.59. 

The squad only fell short to Texas A&M, which tied its own Texas Relays record with a 42.56 mark.

Star performances of the meet came from incredible showings in both the 400-meter hurdles and the 4x200-meter dash.

Domination defined the performance Danielle Dowie had in the 4X100-meter hurdles on Friday. The three-time All-America rounded the track fiercely ahead of her competition and earned herself the first-place finish. With a time of 56.58 seconds, Dowie’s mark now ranks as the nation’s top time in the event.

“From my freshman year I made up in my mind that I was going to win my junior year,” said Dowie. “I’m really happy with what I did.”

On Saturday, the 4x200-meter team also beat out their field and were able to clock a 1:32.37 and edge out second-place Texas A&M by .25 seconds. With an elite 200-meter runner in Udoh, along with three other solid sprinters in Goodman, Courtney Okolo and Kiersten Duncan, the group has was it takes to keep the victories rolling this outdoor season.

Overall, the women qualified for the finals in every relay competition during this year’s Texas Relays and placed among the top three in each event.

With the end of another memorable Texas Relays, Austin will now set its sights on hosting the Texas Invitational on April 13. Until then, the men’s team will head to Tuscon, Ariz., this weekend to compete in the Jim Click Shootout while the women will travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the Florida Relays.

Women’s Day Two at Texas Relays:

The following is a summary of the women’s day two at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, as it happened.

11 a.m. - Consistent performances in all seven events of the women’s heptathlon earned Mississippi State’s Erica Bougard the victory. Bougard’s campaign was highlighted by her impressive run in the 800-meter dash as she clocked a 2:17.34, about six seconds ahead of second-place Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas. Absent from the competition was the Longhorn’s Shanay Briscoe. Briscoe was scratched from the event on the first day of competition Wednesday.

12:30 p.m. - NYAC’s Amanda Bingson snatched first place in the women’s hammer throw. Her incredible throw of 72.16 meters beat second-place UCLA competitor Ida Storm by almost six meters.

4:30 p.m. – Texas junior Danielle Dowie clocked a preliminary best time of 58.22 in the 400-meter hurdles and has made herself the favorite heading into the finals Friday evening. Close behind her, however, is Iowa State’s Eseroghene Okoro, who ran a 58.24 in the preliminary race.

5:30 p.m. – Tanesha Blair of West Texas A&M took the top spot in the javelin throw by throwing 47.07 meters. A late decision by the team to scratch Longhorn senior Natasha Masterson kept Texas out of the event. With Masterson not participating, no Longhorns threw the javelin at the Texas Relays.

5:35 p.m. – The LSU 4x800-meter squad walked away with the victory after posting a time of 8:41.25. Wide times separated the field with last-place TAMU-CC finishing at 9:46.61.

7:10 p.m. – Two heats were featured in the women’s 1500-meter run Thursday night. In the first heat, Texas senior Anne Jones crossed the line in seventh place and freshman Burford finished in 15th. The second heat included senior Katie Hoaldridge and freshman Meghan Shea. Hoaldridge was able to pull a third place nod while Shea crossed the line in last place.

7:40 p.m. - In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, junior Brittany Marches broke the school record by running a 10:31.59. Her time earned her a fourth-place finish and was good enough for the fifth-fastest time nationally in the event. Marches’ strategy of keeping calm and running at a steady pace propelled her to an impressive performance. 

9 p.m. – North Texas’ Ingrid Mollenkopf paced her way to victory in the women’s 5,000-meter run as her mark of 16:40.47 earned her the top spot. The closest Longhorn to Mollenkopf was sophomore Jessica Harper, who finished in 11th with a time of 17:19.57. Four Longhorns participated in the event but failed to leave a lasting mark on the competition.

9:55 p.m. – Day Two of the Texas Relays ended with a victory by Adidias/RogueAC’s Juliane Masciana in the 10,000 meters. Masciana clocked a 34:58.07 and finished 25 seconds ahead of UTSA’s Alyssa Diaz. The Longhorns had four participants in the event, with freshman Kendall Howen having the best performance for Texas with a ninth-place finish.

Athletes from all around the world and in all stages of their careers will be drawn to Mike A. Myers Stadium as it opens its doors Wednesday for the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Nearly 40,000 fans will attend the showcase, which will feature athletes from the high school and college track and field circuit and a number of Olympians looking to make their mark on the Longhorns’ home field.  

“It’s definitely my favorite meet to compete in every year,” senior decathlete Isaac Murphy said. “Texas Relays trumps it all. It’s an honor to compete in the burnt orange and have the home crowd cheering for you. I love it.”

The home-field advantage will be important as the Texas men’s team looks to prove itself after a second-place finish at the Texas State Elite Meet last week.

“The key for us to do well is to not make the same mistakes we made last week,” men’s head coach Bubba Thornton said. “If we’re consistent, we have a chance of being much better.”

While the competition is not scored, Texas hopes to add the team of the meet award to its already formidable trophy case that includes the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championship. Helping the team to that goal will be seniors Keiron Stewart and Murphy, who were rested in their specialty events last week and hope to stun the crowd in their events.

On the women’s side, No. 5 Texas will head into the Relays without former head coach Beverly Kearney for the first time since 1993. For interim head coach Rose Brimmer, however, this year’s Texas Relays will be a special meet despite her absence.

“[The Texas Relays] was great before coach Kearney and it will be great even after she is gone,” Brimmer said. “It’s one of the biggest meets in the country and brings in a lot of great runners from all over the world.”

The Longhorns have performed solidly under Brimmer since January and will look to continue that in the second event of the outdoor season.

Riding strong into the home meet is the Longhorns’ 4X100-meter relay team, consisting of Morgan Snow, Christy Udoh, Danielle Dowie and Chalonda Goodman. The foursome began the outdoor season two weeks ago by winning the relay at the Aztec Invitational. The squad will continue its campaign Friday, beginning with preliminary races.

The Texas Relays begins Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with the heptathlon and decathlon events, and will continue through Saturday afternoon when the running event finals will be held.

Notre Dame’s Carly Loeffel competes in the 100 meter hurdles portion of the women’s heptathlon at the Texas Relays athletics meet Wednesday at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The 85th Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays kicked off with the seven-event heptathlon Wednesday afternoon. The heptathlon embodies the essence of the Relays; the competition is multi-faceted, it challenges mental endurance and it requires well-rounded athleticism.

Approximately 30 years ago, the javelin and the 800-meter were added to the former five-event pentathlon. Consequently, the heptathlon was born. It is now the most prominent women’s multi-event competition in track and field.

Out of 25 qualifiers, 22 women from 19 universities and colleges across the nation showed up to Mike A. Myers Track & Soccer Stadium to go head-to-head in the university/college heptathlon, the first event of the four-day track and field meet.

The schedule for the long-running Texas Relays reflects the traditional format of a women’s outdoor heptathlon in which, on the first day, athletes compete in four events, two field and two running. Then, the heptathlon resumes the following day with two more field events and ends with a track race.

The heptathletes, seven of whom were coming off of performances at the NCAA Indoor Championships, opened the meet by running in the first of the competition’s seven events, the 100-meter hurdles. With a finish of 13.40, West Virginia senior Chelsea Carrier-Eades clenched first, earning a whopping 1,065 points.

The second and third heptathlon trials were a pair of field events: the high jump and the shot put, respectively. In the former, Allison Barwise from Boston University leaped the highest of the bunch with a 1.78-meter mark. However, Carrier-Eades remained at the front of the pack with a second-place finish for 879 more points.

In the shot put, all eyes were on Notre Dame senior Maddie Buttinger, whose second-round throw for 12.34-meters earned her a victory.

Clocking in at 24.16, Carrier-Eades took another second place in the 200-meter dash, Wednesday’s last heptathlon event, while Texas Tech’s Precious Nwokey snatched first by a 0.05-second margin.

After the first day of competition came to a close, the top two finishing competitors in the 200-meter occupy the top two seeds in the Heptathlon ranking. No. 2 Nwokey trails Carrier-Eades, who sits in first with a total of 3,536 points.

Today at noon, the athletes will face off in the heptathlon’s final three events: the long jump, the javelin and the 800-meter race.

Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Heptatholon lacks Horns, still provides excitement
 

The Longhorn Network will air a total of 17 hours of coverage from the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays this week, including a live three-hour broadcast from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Friday. Larry Rawson will call the play-by-play, with Dwight Stones providing analysis. Jill Montgomery will serve as a field reporter.

Today’s event coverage will be split into a pair of tape-delayed two-hour windows from 7-9 p.m. and 10 p.m.-midnight.

Friday, the network will carry the Texas Relays live from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. It will re-air the live coverage later in the evening from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and then follow with an additional tape-delayed one-hour window from 1-2 a.m. featuring action from Friday evening. LHN will produce a tape-delayed four-hour window from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
 

Schools from around the country began competition in the 85th annual Clyde Littlefield Relays on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Cloudy skies and spotted showers didn’t dampen the spirits of Texas’ three decathletes competing in Wednesday’s opening events of the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Junior Isaac Murphy, freshman Petter Olson and senior Kenny Greaves set the bar high for the Longhorns with three full days of competition remaining. The trio is currently ranked among the top 14 of 21 spots filling the decathlon leaderboard.

In this grueling 10-event competition, continuous mental focus and precise execution is crucial. And Texas’ Murphy seems to be embracing that challenge. He is currently in second place with 4,192 points, trailing only Boise State’s Kurt Felix.

“It feels pretty good,” said Felix. “It is my first time doing the event in a while, yet I came out with a pretty good start. I have to stay consistent. Hopefully there will be a new personal best.”

For Murphy, those were fighting words. Murphy was able to knock out four personal bests for the second straight year, this time in the 400-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump.

And ironically, fate had it that he would match his personal best in the 100-meter dash with a first place time of 10.47. The closest in stride was a 10.81 by Texas’own Jake Wohlford, who is running unattached and representing himself. Olson clocked in a 10.90 for fifth place, followed by Felix in 10th and Greaves farther down the pack in 19th place.

The battle between Felix and Murphy became heated as the two long jumpers finished with leaps of 7.74 and 7.53 meters — allowing Felix to take the top spot. But for Olson and Greaves, a couple of unintended fouls pushed away their chances of performing as well as they had hoped. Olson finished ninth with a jump of 7.12 meters and Greaves in 22nd place at 6.50.

Olson’s chance at redemption came next in the men’s shot put. Olson, Felix and Murphy claimed 2-3-4 in the event, with Olson on top of Felix and the Texas bunch for the first time. But it was Houston’s Bray Wesley who heaved the farthest throw of 13.99 meters.

UT-Arlington’s Romain Martin cleared the winning height of 2.05 meters in the men’s high jump. Felix was able to finish out strong with the next best jump of 2.02 meters. The fifth place spot was shared between Olson, Greaves and Wohlford and five other competitors, all with heights of 1.90 meters. Murphy and three other men followed close behind with jumps of 1.87 meters, finishing in 13th place.

In the final event of the day, Murphy went on to take second in the 400-meter dash. Curtis Beach from Duke was able to maintain the few steps needed to push ahead of Murphy for the win. Murphy finished just two-tenths of a second behind Beach with a 48.01. The remaining Longhorns, Olson and Greaves were able to place among the top 10 in the event, finishing third and eighth, respectively.

The five remaining events in the decathlon will kick off today beginning with the men’s 110-meter hurdles at 11 a.m. The evening session will begin with the university/college 1500-meter run, undoubtedly the decathletes’ most anticipated event and final opportunity to make their time at Texas Relays unforgettable.

Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Day one in the books at Relays

Men's Track and Field

Texas Hurdler Kieron Stewart is a favorite in his events. He finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles last year.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Thousands will descend on Mike A. Myers Track & Soccer Stadium this week for the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

The mass of energized fans will be overwhelming, and the athletic talent even thicker. Professional track stars will compete, as well as colleges from around the country and local high schools.

The four-day event beginning Wednesday will feature some of the most elite competitors yet, including nine former Longhorn elites. Each day will consist of a morning and afternoon session, as well as the annual fish fry on Thursday evening from 6:30-9 p.m.

Among the most notable of the four men to compete is Trey Hardee, a two-time World Champion and 2005 NCAA Decathlon Champion. Thrill-seeking Hardee plans to amp up the level of competition and excitement as he competes in the long jump and discus on Friday and 110-meter hurdles on Saturday.

Three other former UT stars — Leonel Manzano, Jacob Hernandez and Kyle Miller — will debut together in the 800-meter run. Manzano and Hernandez each won multiple NCAA titles, and Miller is also an All-American.

As essential parts of an historical event, Longhorns young and old will attempt to create an unbreakable bond and steal this year’s Most Outstanding College Team award back from rival Texas A&M. The Aggies’ men claimed that spot at the 84th Relays with four individual relay titles in the 4x100, 4x400, 4x800 and sprint medley.

Texas’ men show great potential in hopes to improve upon the amount of burnt orange atop this Relay’s medal stand. In 2011 the Longhorns finished with 10 events featuring athletes finishing among the top six. And even more astonishing is the fact that a majority of those men are returning competitors.

Longhorns fans will also get their first glimpse at highly touted football recruit Johnathan Gray. The state’s top running back won’t be in pads, though. Gray is scheduled to run in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100 relay with Aledo High School.

Texas Relays

 

The much-anticipated 84th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays begin Wednesday and the exciting relationship between Austin and the Relays has people buzzing.
 
The Texas Relays, known for being the second-largest invitational in the nation, is held annually at Mike A. Myers Stadium on campus. With competitions for high school, college and professional athletes, the Texas Relays have been known to bring in crowds similar in size to those brought in by South By Southwest.
 
The Texas Relays are expected to bring more than 3,000 athletes and roughly 70,000 spectators to the city this week, according to the Texas athletics department.
 
“This is why people come to Texas,” said Texas sprinter Marquise Goodwin. “Lots of people come out to support us. Lots of fans and your teammates out there, everybody is just so supportive. Fun times and great memories to remember.”
 
Over the next four days, the University will host the passion- and fun-filled environment of the Texas Relays. Because the meet does not have a large impact on the overall team standings this season, the relaxation of the talented athletes is sure to feed into the crowd that makes it so special.
 
“It is a very intimate crowd,” said women’s head coach Beverly Kearney. “[It’s] a very knowledgeable crowd, it’s people who have been here for generations throughout the Texas Relays. It adds historical presence and has a statement of who you are and what you have done.”
 
Every year, Texas Relays attracts professional athletes from all over the country. This year, Olympians and U.S. track stars Tyson Gay and Jeremy Wariner are set to compete in the 4x400-meter relay race Saturday.
 
“My favorite part of the Texas Relays is watching the pros run,” said senior high jumper Jamal Wilson. “They bring a lot of excitement to the track meet, and I think that’s the reason why a lot of people come because there are going to be a lot of special faces.”
 
Other athletes such as former Longhorn and current Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles will also attend, along with vocal artists Eddie Levert, MC Light and Grammy-award winner LeToya Luckett, according to Kearney.
 
Texas Relays have brought in more than just athletes, artists and cultures from across the nation. They have also brought in floods of competition, from high school to collegiate and professional athletes.
 
“The facilities here are tier one, basically,” Wilson said. “When you come here, you expect the best. When you have the best facilities, you have to plan on bringing your best performance.”
 
It’s a unique blend matched by only one peer the annual Penn Relays held in Philadelphia.
 
“One of my favorite parts [of the Texas Relays] is the dreams I have watched come true,” said Texas men’s head coach Bubba Thornton. “From some of the really young kids to some of the collegiate [athletes], maybe being a champion for the first or a personal best, it is a lifetime memory.”
 
The Texas Relays, the largest in the South, marks the real beginning of the outdoor season for some.
 
“I tell my team the Texas Relays is like the most amazing competition ever,” Kearney said. “It really sets the tone for the rest of your season. As they say, this is when the party gets started.”