Petter Olson

Men's Track & Field

Strong winds proved to be no match for the Longhorns’ determination as they surged ahead to claim seven titles in Saturday’s events at the Texas Invitational.

The windy conditions produced gusts reaching 20-30 mph throughout the day’s competition. But Texas simply decided to push all negative thoughts aside and power through it.

“This is exactly the kind of weather we can have at the end of the year,” said head coach Bubba Thornton. “Today will only prepare us for that. For the most part, we handled business today. There were a few mental mistakes, but that is why we have these kind of competitions — to work them out. The wind was not a positive for us but whatever the conditions are, we have to deal with them and beat people.”

Junior long jumper Marquise Goodwin started taking care of business the moment he stepped on the runway. On his first jump of the 2012 outdoor season, he leaped to a winning mark of 26-00.25 and tied for the fourth longest jump in the NCAA this season. Mark Jackson finished close behind in third with a 23-08.75, while multi-event athlete Petter Olson posted a mark of 14-11.25.

In the triple jump, Jarard Bruner finished third among the college athletes with his leap of 50-05.50.

Goodwin continued the trend with his performance in the 100-meter dash with the top collegiate time of 10.32 seconds. He was joined by five other teammates who also placed in the event. Jackson, Trevante Rhodes and Emerson Sanders clocked in at 10.34, 10.45 and 10.46 respectively. Alex Williams finished in ninth at 10.58 and freshman Aaron Scott came in 13th with 10.70.

Texas’ throwers have been reliable competitors all season, and remained consistent with their tosses on Saturday.

Senior Jacob Thormaehlen led the group with his third straight win in the shot put this season and is now the nation’s leader in the event. His second throw of 63-05.50 was enough to give him the edge and ultimately the title. After Thormaehlen, was Hayden Baillio in third and Will Spence in fourth. Blake Jakobsson competed in the event for the first time outdoors, and tossed a 49-07.25 for eighth.

Thormaehlen also finished second in the hammer throw with a heave of 187-11. Baillio posted his first mark of the outdoor season with 169-5 for seventh place. Jakobsson and Spence followed in eighth and 12th respectively.

Freshman Ryan Crouser finished as the top collegiate competitor in the discus, with mark of 182-0. Redshirt freshman Jakobsson came in next behind Crouser, posting a throw of 177-9.

Junior Maston Wallace made his outdoor debut in the pole vault and cleared 17-01.50 for the third best collegiate height and fourth place overall. Sophomore Mark Thomas cleared the same mark as Wallace and came in fifth.

The Longhorns continued to be in favor as they headed into the remainder of the running events.

Junior C.J. Jessett competed in his first 800-meter run of the year and claimed the top collegiate finish with a time of 1:51.50 seconds. Jessett was able to edge past teammate Kyle Thompson in the final strides of the race, as Thompson finished in 1:51.88 for second. Patrick McGregor, Kevin Rayes and Will Antkowiak also ran in the event, coming in fifth, ninth and 14th respectively.

Sheroid Evans made his outdoor debut in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.24 seconds. The event was Evans’ first race of the outdoor season due to an injury he received in February at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

Dereck Dreyer ran the anchor leg of the Longhorns’ winning 4x400 meter relay. Josh Brudnick and Isaac Murphy got the team off to a strong start in the first two laps, so by the time Evans passed the baton to Dreyer the lead was theirs. The team clocked in at 3:12.54.

“I saw Texas Southern ahead of us so I was thinking that I have to catch up to them,” Dreyer said. “I was thinking that they would be running pretty fast, so my first thought was to catch up and stay behind them but then I saw that I could take the lead. I caught him and never looked back.”

Men's Track

Isaac Murphy took first place after the Decathalon came to its conclusion at the Texas Relays.

The multi-event athletes kicked off day two of the Texas Relays with the remaining events in the Men’s Decathlon.

It was Texas’ own Isaac Murphy who walked off the track victorious, breaking the 8,000 point barrier with a total of 8,067 points. He set or matched personal records in seven of the 10 events, joining former UT decathletes Trey Hardee and Aaron Fox as decathlon champions at the relays.
The two remaining Longhorns finished well within the top half of the 21 competitors. Petter Olson came in fifth with 7,857 and Kenny Greaves in seventh with 7,400 points.

It took a journey to get there.

Beginning with the running events, the athletes shot out of the blocks and set the track ablaze in the 110-meter hurdles in hopes of separating themselves early on in the competition.

Texas’ Murphy and Olson were among the top five. The top time in the event was awarded to Jake Wohlford with a time of 14.24. Idaho’s Andrew Blaser took second place, while Murphy and Olson finished third and fourth.

Next up, the men transitioned their focus from speed to brute power in the discus throw. In yesterday’s 400-meter dash, unattached competitor Wesley Bray ousted Texas’ Murphy by a hair. And he did it again — only this time by mere centimeters instead of seconds.

Bray’s toss of 41.75 meters earned him second place behind Notre Dame junior Ted Glasnow. Murphy finished third with a heave of 41.71 meters. The remaining Longhorns, Greaves and Olson weren’t able to pick up the pieces after fouling two throws apiece — ultimately finishing 10th and 14th respectively.

But Greaves was able to do what any decathlete does best: leave the former event behind and push on to the next one. And his positive mental focus proved to be the driving force behind his top jump of 16-08.75 in the pole vault. Greaves shares the first place vault with junior Heath Nickles of Ohio State.

Murphy’s height of 16-00.75 put him in fourth, just one competitor ahead of Olson who cleared 15-09.00 for sixth.

The competitors kept the throwing mentality as the men’s javelin throw brought on a new challenge. Boise State’s Kurt Felix dominated the event and jumped up a spot in the leader board into third place with his winning mark of 69.89 meters. The second and third place throws by Wesley Bray and Romain Martin of UT-Arlington, were eight meters shy of Felix.

And as the climax of the decathlon came to a close, it was senior Thomas FitzSimons of Mount St. Mary’s who sped past the finish line first in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:13.41. But the Longhorn trio of Greaves, Olson and Murphy followed in close pursuit taking 2-3-4. Seven seconds separated Greaves and Murphy coming in at 4:21.31 and 4:28.44. Olson finished in the middle of the two at 4.27:57.

The action-packed events of the Texas Relays will only continue to heat up as finals draw near.

Day three of the Relays will begin today at 9:30 a.m. with the women’s 4x100-meter relay preliminaries and javelin throw. The Division I and II high school boys and girls will conclude Friday’s evening session with the 4x400-meter relay scheduled for 7:30 p.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

Clutch performances by Texas’ fielders and heptathletes boosted them into an eighth place finish behind Indiana at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a total score of 22.5 points.

Senior Thrower Jacob Thormaehlen got the intensity levels cooking pretty high early on with his final heave of 67-03.75 in the shot put to break the school record previously held by freshman Ryan Crouser. Thormaehlen became an All-American for the second year indoors and earned second place overall in the event.

Crouser was tied for the lead with his first throw of 65-5, but hit a slump after that and fouled his remaining five attempts. Despite the major setback, he finished fifth overall to gain All-American status.

Continuing the trend was junior Marquise Goodwin in the long jump with his second straight third place finish indoors. His leap of 26-02.25 on his second attempt put him just over one inch shy of the gold.

Junior pole vaulter Maston Wallace matched his season best height of 17-8.5 to vault himself into the top eight. He finished sixth overall and became an All-American for the second time in his indoor career.

Heptathletes junior Isaac Murphy and freshman Petter Olson were among 16 competitors in the multi-event competition. The two men shattered day one’s first four events with a slew of personal bests.

On Saturday, Murphy and Olson returned fully charged to compete in the final three of the seven events. Their performances were among the highest scoring heptathlons in NCAA history.

The second event boosted Olson into a tie for seventh place as he matched a personal best height of 16-00.75 in the pole vault. In the final event, he clocked a 2:39.97 in the 1000 meter run and posted a career-high 5,868 points to earn seventh place overall.

Murphy came in seventh in the 1000 meter with a time of 2:45.49, earning him a 10th place overall finish with a season-high 5,571 points.

Eagerness and mental toughness gave rise to gritty performances on the NCAA Indoor battleground, shedding light on the Longhorns’ future success in the upcoming outdoor season. In two weeks Texas will dual unranked UCLA on March 24.
 

Men's Track & Field Preview

They’ve all dreamed of what it might feel like to be a champion. Some have lived it, while others are hungry for their first taste of gold.

This weekend will be forever etched in the minds of eight young men competing in Nampa, Idaho for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Each of these guys are equally deserving and qualified to walk away No. 1, hands down. That’s not to discredit the rising level of competition at a meet of this caliber, but being ranked among the nation’s best in their respective events doesn’t exactly impede their chances.

In the Longhorn’s throwing category alone, there are three ranked in the top five nationally. And if that doesn’t knock your socks off, the powerhouse group is led by Big 12 Freshman of the Year and school record holder Ryan Crouser, with a top throw of 66-7.

And just a stone’s throw away from Crouser are two All-Americans, senior Jacob Thormaehlen and junior Hayden Baillio. Two weeks ago Thormaehlen and Baillio threw 66-5.25 and 64-6.5 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Both will make their third straight appearance at nationals this weekend and look to improve on their respective seventh and fifth place 2011 finishes.

Texas has a pair of outdoor national champions in pole vault and long jump hoping to continue their gold-seeking trend with this trip as well. Junior Maston Wallace won the pole vault in outdoors in 2008 and was recently crowned Big 12 Champion with a personal best jump of 17-8.5 on his final attempt. This will be the veteran vaulter’s third NCAA Indoor appearance. Junior long jumper Marquise Goodwin won the 2010 outdoor national championship, and like Wallace, he recently clinched the Big 12 title on his final leap. Goodwin’s jump of 26-7 remains the second longest in the nation this year.

In undoubtedly one of the most grueling events of the competition, Texas has two heptathletes proudly repping burnt orange out of 16 athletes expected to battle. This large competition is comprised of seven events over a two-day period. Junior Isaac Murphy and freshman Petter Olson are currently nationally ranked 11th and 12th respectively. The Sweden native is among the handful of Longhorns who were crowned Big 12 Champions, with his winning post of 5,745 points. Murphy stood directly to Olson’s left on the medal platform with a second place finish.

Another young competitor making his national debut will be freshman Kyle Thompson in the 800-meter run. His never-back-down mentality earned him a spot in the event as one of only two freshman chosen. At Big 12 Championships he clocked a time of 1:48.53 to boost himself into the 15 member pack.

At one point or another in their careers, all of these athletes have raised their horns in victory or have shaken their heads in defeat. But the mental toughness and physical fervor among this group of Longhorns will settle for nothing short of greatness.

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Hard work garners chance at national title for Longhorns

Track & Field

Freshman heptathlete Petter Olson sat down and talked about his journey from Sweden to Texas, and breaks down the key ingredients for success during a grueling seven-event competition.

The Daily Texan: How did you get involved with track and field?

Petter Olson: I didn’t start competing in track until I was 12 years old. I was involved in club track through Malmo AI in Sweden because my school did not have sports like we do here. Soccer is the biggest sport in Sweden and most all the kids played. I started when I was seven and could have been decent at it, but I fell in love with track and figured I could have a brighter future there.

DT: At what point in your track career did you find an interest in multi-event competitions like decathlons and heptathlons?

PO: Actually, I got involved with decathlons through one of my biggest idols: former UT decathlete Trey Hardee [2005 NCAA Outdoor Champion, 2008 Olympian and 2009, 2011 World Outdoor gold medalist]. I met him in Sweden two years ago while he was visiting my town Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, and invited him to come to my place. We developed a close friendship and he also introduced me to a possible future at Texas.

DT: Which of the seven events are your specialties?

PO: I’ve always been a pretty good jumper and I like the distance running events because they’re more of a fight and challenge between the guys running next to me.

DT: What has been both the most enjoyable aspect of your track career as a Longhorn thus far?

PO: I absolutely love the opportunity I have to train as a team with the other guys. It has been such an amazing experience transitioning from competing alone as a one-man team back home, to this. I love the fact that we can all line up together and run the stands of the stadium or run 300s as a team at practice.

DT: What is the most challenging part?

PO: Mental toughness is such a key thing to maintain in the heptathlon since it’s many events over a two day period. I have to try and remember that I won’t be able to do perfectly in all of them, and learn to leave each event behind me and focus on the next one. When it’s going good the competition is easy because I’m on a roll. But my mental attitude plays the biggest part when my body’s tired and I’m hurting.”

DT: How, and at what point do you usually start preparing before a meet?

PO: A good sleep and nutrition pattern intensifies about a week in advance. I just try to eat larger amounts of food so I am stored up with a lot of energy — I usually choose pasta or rice because I know that when the meet comes, I’ll stick to just nutrition bars and Gatorade. Conserving energy is so important for meet days because the heptathlon differs greatly from the structure of other events. Other events require short bursts of energy followed by rest — but I am expected to maintain a continuous level of intensity and rigorous mental focus for long periods of time.

DT: What were some ups and downs during the Big 12 Indoor Championships prior to you being awarded the gold?

PO: On day one of Big 12s I fouled my first two throws in shot put — and we only get three. After that throw I was really discouraged, knowing I had placed myself at a disadvantage going into the next event. It’s the same thing as hitting the cage twice in discus, or failing to clear the entrance height in pole vault — that automatically causes a set back. But the second day I performed very well in hurdles and the pole vault. At first I didn’t think I was going to end up finishing where I wanted in the end, but the second day I PR’d [set a personal record] a lot and compensated for my mess up the day before. When I came back to school, people that had never talked to me before were congratulating me. I was so honored to be No. 1 and represent Texas that way.

DT: What has helped you push through experiences like this, especially at larger meets?

PO: I think the coaches are doing a great job enforcing the positive attitude because they know what it takes to endure the two days. I’ve also learned that I can recover from a bad performance, but it’s very seldom that everything just comes together perfectly all at once in the decathlon or heptathlon.

DT: What do you do during your down time between events?

PO: I usually don’t have much down time, but if I do it’s right before pole vault. I’m able to hold off jumping the first few entrance heights and don’t enter the competition until later. I like to read books, listen to music and text my girlfriend during this time. I think a lot of people — athletes in particular — have one small unique thing that they do to make them feel more at home. John Mayer’s song ‘Gravity’ is one of my favorites. My girlfriend Magdalena is back home in Sweden, but she’s always supporting me by following the results and texting me words of encouragement.

DT: What will be your focus going into the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend?

PO: During this week and the week before I know what I have to do physically when I get there. So mentally I have to go back to a time when a certain event went right for me, and try to remember how that felt. Once competition day comes, I want to bring a lot of excitement into each and every event, knowing that all the small things will come together if I am mentally prepared.

DT: What are your personal goals for the meet, and are there any particular competitors you’re looking to oust?

PO: I am ultimately aiming to beat as many guys possible in order to boost myself into the top five going into the last event. Being in the top gives me something to strive for and push past. University of Arkansas’s Gunnar Nixon will be the man to beat in the competition.

DT: How will you attempt to separate yourself from the other competitors as you approach the final events?

PO: It always comes down to the last event — the 1000-meter run. Most heptathletes are always nervous about this event throughout the whole competition — everyone dreads it. But I’m going to do whatever it takes during that run to give myself an edge and put myself in the greatest possible position to win.

Maston Wallace competes in the pole vault at the Big 12 Indoor Championship. Wallace won the event for the first time in his career.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Texas turned in a strong second place showing this weekend at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

The Longhorns scored 133.5 points overall, falling just behind defending Big 12 Indoor Champions Texas A&M.

Dominating performances helped the Texas men’s track and field team clinch a first place spot following the first day of the Big 12 Championships.

On Friday, the final jumps for juniors Maston Wallace and Marquise Goodwin sealed victories in their signature events. Pole vaulter Wallace earned his first indoor Big 12 Championship, matching a career best jump of 17-8.5. After knocking off the bar on his first two tries, his final jump sent him soaring over the top, ousting Texas Tech’s Kyal Meyers for the title. Goodwin repeated as the indoor long jump champion after winning with a final leap of 7.74 meters. His final jump was the deciding factor in edging him from second to first place, and ahead of Kansas State’s Mantas Silkauskas.

Adding to the excitement was a gritty performance by C.J Jessett in the 4000-meter distance relay. Jessett passed several runners on the last lap just strides before the finish line to give Texas a second place finish in the event. Jesset, along with teammates John McNamara, Dereck Dreyer and Kevin Rayes clocked in a time of 9:46.03.

Texas was outdueled in the second day of competition, but still placed well.

Sophomore Mark Jackson, freshman Ryan Crouser and freshman Petter Olson medaled, becoming Big 12 Champions. Jackson won the triple jump with a mark of 15.31 meters, the first Longhorn to win since Chris Hercules in 1999. Crouser was in second place going into his final throw, until his heave of 19.9 meters made him Texas’ first Big 12 Champion in the shot put. During his freshman career, he shattered a 30-year-old school record with a throw of 20.29 meters at the Razorback Invitational, and has now become just the third freshman in Big 12 history to win this event.

Texas also claimed second, third and fifth place in the shot put, qualifying a total of three throwers for the NCAA Championships, with throws by Hayden Baillio, Jacob Thormaehlen and Will Spence.

Entering the heptathlon competition on Saturday, Olson held a big lead and only continued to distance himself from his competitors. He won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.21, the pole vault with a height 4.90 meters and finished second in the 1000-meter run. Olson earned the gold in the event, tallying a winning total of 5,745 points.

In the 60-meter hurdles, defending indoor champion and Jamaica native Keiron Stewart came in second with a matched season best time of 7.77.