the NCAA championship

Sophomore Jack Conger won the 400-medley relay alongside senior Kip Darmody, freshman Joseph Schooling and sophomore Will Licon at the NCAA Championships on Thursday.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Going to the NCAA Championship is nothing new for the Texas men’s swimming and diving team. Under 37-year head coach Eddie Reese, Texas has earned 28 top-three finishes and 10 NCAA team titles. The Longhorns also have more NCAA Championships and NCAA top-two finishes than any other men’s swimming and diving program in the country.

So far, the news out of this year’s NCAA Championships is no different. Many veterans to the Championships, this year held at the University of Iowa, are returning for their fourth and final national competition and are setting some impressive precedents.

The vets, along with their younger teammates, nearly accomplished a feat that had never been done. Texas was one event shy from opening the NCAA Championships with three consecutive event wins.

In the first finals event of the night, juniors Matt Ellis and John Murray, senior Kip Darmody and sophomore Jack Conger initially took second in the 200-freestyle relay. But after a disqualification of N.C. State, the Longhorns secured a first place finish in the 200-freestyle relay, marking Texas’ first NCAA title in the event since 1996.

In the second finals event, the 500-freestyle, sophomore Clark Smith took first, earning 20 points for his team, and becoming Texas’ first national champion in the event.

Although sophomore Will Licon broke his streak by taking second to Stanford’s David Nolan in the 200 IM, he still achieved a new record. Licon lowered his school record time in the event and more than held his own against Nolan, the senior American record holder in the 200 IM.

In the first and only diving finals event of the night, junior Cory Bowersox secured a sixth place finish on the one-meter springboard, giving him his third consecutive All-American finish in the event.

Although Texas didn’t make school history by opening the Championships with victories in the first three events, the Longhorns more than made up for it by making NCAA history.

The last time Texas won the 400-medley relay, it was with four future Olympic gold medalists. Last night, the Longhorns won with Darmody, freshman Joseph Schooling, Conger and Licon to set an NCAA record with a time of 3:01.23.

At the end of Thursday night’s sold-out NCAA Championship finals, Texas stood tall in first place with 171 points. The Longhorns will look to hold their standing until the end of the NCAA Championship on Saturday night.

Men's Tennis, Women's Tennis, Track & Field

Junior sprinter Ashley Spencer, pictured here at Texas Relays on March 29, anchored the 4x100-meter relay at Penn relays this weekend. The Longhorns finished fourth in the race. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Cowgirls knock off Longhorns women’s tennis in semifinals

The Longhorns failed to advance to a third consecutive Big 12 tournament championship after they lost to Oklahoma State 4-1 in Saturday’s semifinals.

The loss eliminated Texas (12-12) from qualification for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

No. 15 Breaunna Addison netted the Longhorns’ lone point. With Texas down 3-0 the sophomore avoided a third set against No. 44 Viktoriya Lushkova, winning 6-2, 7-6 (5). Addison wrapped up the conference season undefeated at 10-0.

Texas had two singles matches suspended while leading in the third set. The Cowgirls’ Maria Alvarez quickly handled junior Lina Padegimaite in a third-set tiebreaker 6-1, clinching the match and advancing Oklahoma State to the finals. Had the set been closer, senior Elizabeth Begley and freshman Neda Koprcina could have closed out their matches to keep Texas alive.

The NCAA Championship committee will announce the 64-team field Tuesday afternoon. The tournament begins May 9.

—Chris Caraveo

Oklahoma defeats Texas men’s tennis in Big 12 Championship semifinals

Though Texas headed into the Big 12 Men’s Championship ranked No. 2, the team fell 4-0 to No. 3 Oklahoma in the semifinals. The match took place Saturday in Fort Worth at the Friedman Tennis Center.

The Longhorns, along with Baylor and Oklahoma, shared the Big 12 regular season title this year. But after defeating TCU 4-2 on Friday in the Big 12 quarterfinals, the Sooners carried over their winning streak to the next day.

Junior Lloyd Glasspool, who plays 1- and 2-seed singles regularly, did not compete in singles during the match because of illness, resulting in major changes in the lineup.

Although the team lost 4-0, Longhorns appeared in all three of the last matches that didn’t finish. 

The Longhorns now await the announcement of their seeding in the NCAA Championship, which will begin May 9.

—Brianna Holt

Longhorn track and field dominate relays on national stage at Penn Relays

The Longhorns wrapped up competition at the three-day Penn Relays, where Texas got a chance to compare itself to some of the top teams in the nation.

“This meet is about beating people and making finals,” head coach Mario Sategna said. “This is a good experience for us before the conference and national meets.”

Friday’s action included strong performances across the board for the No. 3 Longhorn women sprinters. In the 4x100-meter relay final, junior Morgan Snow, sophomore Courtney Okolo, sophomore Morolake Akinosun and junior Ashley Spencer finished fourth at 43.95.

Saturday, the Longhorns’ 4x400-meter relay team showed the speed of a national championship contender. Senior Briana Nelson, Okolo, freshman Kendall Baisden and Spencer followed up their solid prelim performances with a blistering performance in the final. Texas thrashed No. 4 Oregon by nearly five seconds for an easy first-place finish and the fourth-best time in collegiate
history. 

The No. 15 men got off to a good start. Thursday saw graduate student Navy transfer Chris Galvin finish first in the 10,000 meters with a time of 29:34.31, beating his personal best. Galvin beat out a field of 40 competitors for the victory.

More success followed Saturday, when the men’s 4x400-meter team finished second at 3:05.13, besting its season-best time for the second time in as many days. The young team of freshmen Chris Irvin, Andrew Whyte and Senoj-Jay Givans, along with sophomore Zack Bilderback, hopes its time, which ranks 10th best in the nation for the year, will make the NCAA West qualifying meet.

The regular season wraps up at home next weekend at Saturday’s Longhorn Invitational, the final meet before the Big 12 Championships.

—Daniel Clay and Grant Gordon

After placing third at the Big 12 Championship, the 25th-ranked Texas men’s cross country team will try to advance to the NCAA Championship by running in the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco on Nov. 15. 

Texas will need to finish in the top two at the regional event in order to secure an automatic bid to the championships. If Texas isn’t able to place in the top two, they will have to rely on an at-large bid to get into nationals.

The team will once again rely on junior All-American Craig Lutz and senior All-American Ryan Dohner. Dohner led the Longhorns at the Big 12 Championships with a fourth place finish and Lutz followed with a sixth place finish. 

Other possible runners for Texas include Chris Galvin, Nate Moore, Mark Pinales, Eduardo Rodriguez, Austin Roth and Collin Smith. Only seven of the eight possible runners can compete at the Regional. 

The NCAA South Central Regional 10k begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16. 

No. 3 Texas Golf looks to repeat as Champions

The defending champion Texas men’s golf team came in third place in the Fayetteville region of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the NCAA Championship for the seventh straight season and 59th time overall.

The Longhorns (285-295-297) as a team finished at a 16-over 880, good for third place in the region behind Illinois and host No. 13 Arkansas.

Texas was led by senior Cody Gribble (70-74-75) tied for 10th place at 3-over 219 . Kramer Hickok (74-74-73) and Toni Hakula (69-76-76) tied for 18th at 5-over 221, while Brandon Stone 72-74-79 tied for 26th at a 9-over 225.

NCAA Championship play begins Tuesday the 28th of May and continues through the Second of June. 150 golfers from 30 teams will compete at The Capital City Club, Crabapple Course in Atlanta.

Six additional golfers with the best scores in the regional on teams that didn’t advance, will have the chance to be crowned individual champion along with the 150 on teams that made the field.

The NCAA Championship consists of teams playing three rounds with the top four scores out of the teams of five being counted. The top eight teams then advance to five on five match-play to determine the best team in the nation.

Last season Texas squeaked by Alabama in the championship pairing to claim the Longhorn’s first title since 1972. The Crimson Tide rank second in the country and are back in the field - along with No. 6 Washington, the team Texas knocked out of the quarterfinals in last year’s tournament. 

With the tournament being held in Atlanta, No. 8 Georgia Tech is the host and is looking for its first title since 2005.  Four other Big 12 teams made the field of 30 along with Texas: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech.

The NCAA Championship meet currently being held in Indianapolis is the last for seniors Austin Surhoff and Michael McBroom, and they are motivated to make it count. In merely the first day, both Surhoff and McBroom accomplished times not only good enough for personal bests but also top-four individual finishes, putting the Longhorns in fifth after one day of events.

In the 500 freestyle, McBroom fell just short of first, taking second in 4:11.39. In addition to being a personal best, the time was good enough to make him the 11th-fastest performer all-time in the event and the third-fastest Longhorn.

Despite the impressive finish, head coach Eddie Reese appeared to have expected nothing less.

“Michael has done it right all year, and he has worked really hard,” Reese said. “He’s very determined to have a real good meet here and he will.”

Surhoff, the former event champion, finished the 200 individual medley in 1:42.63. The only other Longhorn to ever post a faster time in the event was Ricky Berens in 2009.

Top-six finishes in the 200 freestyle and 400 medley relays and freshman Cory Bowersox’s eighth-place one-meter diving finish added to the Longhorns’ total 99 points. In Day Two’s events, starting at 10 a.m., Texas looks to improve on its fifth-place standing.

Sophomore golfer Jordan Spieth’s journey to the PGA Tour hit a roadblock Friday. He failed to advance to the Q-School finals and will not be able to earn his PGA Tour card this year.

Spieth was planning to go professional at the conclusion of the Q-School finals had he earned his PGA Tour card, but he was unable to crack the Top 20 in the four-day second round to advance. The sophomore finished the tournament with a score of 8-under-280, which was good for a tie for 26th place and three strokes shy of what he needed to advance.

Golfers are required to finish in the Top 25 in the Q-School finals in order to join the PGA Tour, with all other finals qualifiers having the opportunity to compete in the Web.com Tour. Since he was unable to qualify for the finals, Spieth will have a decision to make regarding his future.

Spieth will have the option to return to Texas for the remainder of the season and attempt to go pro following the NCAA championship, although he could pursue a professional career immediately in a number of different scenarios. He could play overseas, compete in Web.com Tour events through Monday qualifiers or participate in PGA events through sponsorship exemptions.

While Spieth has made a decision on his future, he has yet to publicly disclose his intentions.

“I’ve looked at all options everywhere,” Spieth told GolfWeek. “I know what I’m going to do, I’m just not saying anything right now.”

The Longhorns would like to have Spieth return, as he has been their strongest and most consistent player over the past year and a half. Currently the fifth-ranked collegiate golfer, the sophomore earned Big 12 Conference Player of the Year honors in 2011 and was instrumental in leading the

Longhorns golf team to its third national championship.

Should Spieth return to Texas for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, there is a strong chance that he will turn pro at the conclusion of the NCAA championship. Another possible scenario would see him return next season and compete in Q-School again next fall for an opportunity to earn his PGA Tour card.

If Spieth were to turn pro this January, he could compete in PGA Tour events through sponsorship exemptions throughout the season. He would likely have no trouble getting sponsorship exemptions when the PGA Tour comes through Texas, as he has already competed under such circumstances at the Byron Nelson in 2010 and 2011 and at the Texas Open in 2012.

For now, though, Spieth is focused on getting some rest and taking his time in preparing for the future.

“I’m just going to go home now and get some food and get some rest, enjoy Thanksgiving and we’ll see what happens,” Spieth said.

Printed on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 as: Spieth fails to advance, falls short of tour card

With Texas’ highest ranking in program history, the NCAA Championship was shaping up to be a history-making race. If the results had reflected the Longhorns’ rank, Texas would have finished in fifth place, yet because of sophomore Craig Lutz’s unfortunate injury, Texas finished ninth.

Junior Ryan Dohner, who earned All-American Honors for his performance, did his best to boost the Longhorns up in the results with a 19th place finish.

Lutz had been working through sustained leg pain in the recent weeks before the meet; however, the injury was not expected to limit him severely in the race. Yet, because of the injury, Lutz was incapable of completing the race, dealing a significant blow to the overall team results.

“Craig got hurt during the race,” assistant coach John Hayes said. “The guys on the team see that, so it affects them, but I felt we held our composure. It was just not the result we were hoping for.”

Despite the disappointing results, coaches and the returning Longhorns acknowledge their success and are hopeful for next year.

“We had a good season and we’re excited about the future,” Hayes said.

Men's Golf

There was no squeaking into the next stage of postseason play this time.

The Longhorns were not able to mount a comeback in the final round of the NCAA Championship and failed to qualify for the match play portion of the tournament. The Longhorns stayed near the middle of the pack most of the tournament, and finished in 12th place at 31-over for the tournament, thus ending their season in Oklahoma City at Karsten Creek Golf Club.

It was an up-and-down year for Texas, marked by playing the toughest schedule in all of college golf, according to Golfweek magazine. The arduous task of competing with the nation’s top teams week in and week out finally seemed to take a toll on the Longhorns.

Junior Dylan Frittelli did his best to keep the team in the hunt for the top eight, but his even-par day was too little, too late. Frittelli scattered three birdies over his final round, and finished at four-over, tied for No. 20 individually.

Freshman Toni Hakula had been playing far beyond his age would suggest, recording a pair of one-over rounds in the first two days of the event. However, his youth got the better of him after he shot a disappointing seven-over in the final round. His lone bright spot on the day came at the 18th hole, when he eagled the 551-yard par five. Needless to say, his score could have been much worse had it not been for such an amazing finish to the round. Hakula finished the tournament at nine-over, tied for No.56 individually.

Sophomore Cody Gribble also tied for No. 56 at nine-over after the final round. After shooting five-over in the second round, Gribble improved in Thursday’s final round, recording five birdies and finishing the round at one-over.

After rounds of four- and six-over in the first two rounds, sophomore Julio Vegas also showed signs of improvement with a three-over final round. Vegas finished at No. 88 with a score of 13-over for the tournament, a far cry from what he is capable of on the golf course.

Maybe the biggest disappointment, in terms of performance, was senior Bobby Hudson. Once a nominee for the Ben Hogan Award, college golf’s version of the Heisman, Hudson struggled mightily down the stretch. With a 14-over for the tournament, Hudson laid claim to the team’s highest score. He finished in a tie for No. 94 individually.

On the bright side, the Longhorns will only lose two players in the offseason, as Bobby Hudson and Chris Causey will have exhausted their eligibility. With a young, experienced core still intact, Texas will surely be among the top teams to watch next year. The returning experience, plus the arrival of the nation’s top amateurs, Dallas Jesuit’s Jordan Spieth, means that the best is yet to come for this team.

Men's Swiming & Diving

Drew Livingston is ready to lead the divers this weekend in their pursuit of qualifying for the NCAA championship meet.

 Livingston, a junior, won the NCAA one-meter diving title as a freshman and finished third in the event last year. He hopes to be a leader for his freshman teammates, Will McCraney and Will Chandler.

“I’m not a very vocal person. I hope my actions kind of speak for themselves,” Livingston said. “I definitely feel like I’m kind of the one who everyone is looking toward for advice and setting an example for everybody.”

Livingston hopes to earn his spot in the meet on the first day of competition and then be there for his teammates the rest of the weekend.

“On every dive, I really just want to see them have a consistent, competitive attitude,” Livingston said. “I want to see at least one of them make a spot. But if that doesn’t happen, I want to see them have the best meet they’ve had in the season up to this point.”

The Longhorns finished 20th on Monday in their first NCAA Championship meet since 2003. Junior Mia Behm led the team, finishing 35th and earning all-American status.

“There were 31 teams and another 50-plus individuals,” said head coach Steve Sisson. “Every one of the people there belong on the starting line.”

The women were coming off a strong win at the South Central Region meet in Waco on Nov. 13. The NCAA Championship meet took place in Terre Haute, Ind., where the women raced for ISU pre-nationals on Oct. 16.

The preparation and overall fitness helped prime the team for the competitive nature of the NCAA Championship meet. Still, not all of the team was able to fully perform at the competitive stage.

“We got ourselves fit enough that even when we have a disappointing day, we are still competitive,” Sisson said. “In the middle of the race, you have to keep your head about you and pick people off. Megan and Mia were able to do so but the rest of the girls had difficulty moving up the field.”

The warm conditions in Terre Haute worked in the team’s favor, but the windy weather and high density of competitors in the race slowed down the runners.

Overall, Sisson was happy with his team’s effort and excited for Behm’s success.

“We are real proud to be a top-20 team in the country, and we are extremely proud of Mia being an all-American,” he said.

The NCAA Championship marks the end of a season-long goal to prove the Longhorns’ talent and worth.

“We are more of a track team than a cross country team, but I am happy with what we accomplished,” Sisson said. “We took the first step in being on the national stage.”

Much of the team’s success in the 2010 season can be credited to Sisson’s solid coaching, leading to a talented young team with determination that runs deep.

“For me, I think the biggest thing is we made it to the national championships and got a feel for it with a very young team,” Sisson said. “The key now is to take this and turn it into something better.”