Patrick McGregor

Texas’ season got off to a solid start Friday as the team was barely edged out by UCLA to finish second in the Texas State Elite Meet in San Marcos. The gap between the teams was only 1.5 points.

Victories from Zack Bilderback (400 meters), Patrick McGregor (800 meters), Austin Bussing (1,500 meters) and Will Spence (shot put) helped Texas rack up a total of 147.50 points, but the Longhorns could have been helped to a winning start by two All-Americans who rested for their specialty events — senior Keiron Stewart and sophomore Ryan Crouser

And though they missed out on a victory, the Longhorns looked in good form as a series of personal bests were set at the meet. Bussing (3:48.55), McGregor (1:49.57) and Spence (59-7) won their events with career-best marks, while redshirt sophomore Casey Wicker managed a second place finish with a personal-best 17-2 3/4 pole vault. Hayden Baillio also had the best hammer throw showing of his career with a toss of 171-8.

The next step for Texas will be hosting the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, which will run Wednesday through Saturday. 

Men's Track & Field

Ups and downs are inevitable in a sport where the outcome often relies solely on the athlete’s individual efforts.

Just ask the five members of Texas men’s track and field who competed in the Last Chance Meets this past weekend.

On Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., sophomore Mark Jackson claimed second in the triple jump with a leap of 15.31 meters. The Big 12 Champion repeated his jumping strategy from last weekend’s Big 12 Championships, saving his greatest burst of energy for his sixth and final jump.

Texas’ other four competitors, C.J. Jessett, Dereck Dreyer, Kyle Thompson and Patrick McGregor were sent to run the distance medley relay at Notre Dame’s Alex Wilson Invitational. Unfortunately, the outcome of the event didn’t turn out exactly as they had hoped. On the first leg of the race, Georgetown’s Bobby Peavy got tripped up and took out three runners in close pursuit behind him. The fall made catching up to the pack a lost cause for Penn State, New Mexico and Texas. The four Longhorns watched the remainder of the race from the field.

Thompson and McGregor went into Saturday’s meet with hopes to pick up the pieces from Friday’s competition.

Thompson ran a 1:50.10 in the 800-meter and finished 18th out of 47 total competitors. This was an exceptional effort by Thompson, considering six of the seven runners in his heat finished in the top 20.

McGregor finished 16th overall in the mile run with a time of 4:07.38, one second slower than his performance at the Big 12 Championships.

Mental toughness will be the key for the Longhorns as they embrace the next few days leading up to the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 9-10. While some athletes failed to meet the qualifications by mere inches or seconds, others already have their adrenaline pumping for the big day. Look out Nampa, Idaho — the Longhorn herd is thundering in, and they’re ready.

Men's Track

Sophomores took over for the Longhorns over the weekend at the Penn Relays as Texas won two events in the last meet before the Big 12 Championship.

On Friday, sophomores Hayden Baillio and Marquise Goodwin led the way as each earned a victory. All-American Baillio threw a personal best 64-0 1/4 inches in the shot put as the much-improved athlete climbed up the school record books again.

Baillio’s throw, along with being second-best in the nation this season, was good enough to move him to sixth on UT’s all-time performers list.

Goodwin, another All-American, won the long jump title with a wind-aided jump of 26-3 1/2.

On the final day, the stir around the professional athletes capped off a weekend that drew more than 100,000 people throughout the five days in Philadelphia. Sophomore Patrick McGregor did his best to stand out in the crowd.

McGregor finished on top of all collegiate athletes in the mile run with a time of 4 minutes, 2.22 seconds. Overall, McGregor finished second, behind Longhorn alum Kyle Miller.

“Patrick had a great performance in the mile and unfortunately, had to finish second to a former Longhorn,” said Texas head coach Bubba Thornton.

The 1,600-meter relay team also delivered an impressive performance on Saturday. Danzell Fortson, Andre Thomas, Keiron Stewart and Isaac Murphy took home eighth place after clocking 3:06.93, the team’s fastest run of the season.

“Here is how I look at it. Marquise Goodwin jumped over 26 feet, putting him up there with some of the best jumpers in track and field history,” Thornton said. “We felt really good about the meet, and so now, we have to get back and take care of final exams before the Big 12 Championship.”