While all the qualifiers for last weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships remained in Austin, a group of athletes traveled to San Antonio for the first meet of the outdoor season at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational.
“We had a chance to take most of the team which was not at nationals,” head coach Mario Sategna said. “It was important to compete outdoors before next week’s relays, where the expectations pick up.”
On the men’s side, freshman Robert Uhr clocked a strong performance of 1:51.87 in the 800 meters, finishing first in his debut outdoor meet.
In the absence of national champion Ryan Crouser, junior Will Spence posted a solid shot put mark of 61 3/4 feet to place second in the event. He also came in fourth in the discus with a throw of 182 feet, 2 inches, nearly enough to eclipse his personal best.
Even with the top competitors resting, the Longhorn women displayed the depth that makes them national title contenders.
Freshman Nia Dorner debuted outdoors with a 400-meter victory and showed that she will be able to contribute to the Longhorn’s already excellent arsenal of 400-meter sprinters.
Senior Katie Hoaldridge and junior Morgan Snow added second-place finishes in the 800-meter and 100-meter hurdles respectively, while sophomore Melissa Gonzalez rounded out the Longhorn effort with a 400-meter hurdle time of 1:00.42 en route to another second-place finish.
Since the Longhorns did not bring their complete squad to the meet, they couldn’t compete for a team title. The men finished in fourth place, while the women slotted fifth out of six teams.
Though the meet offered an early season stepping stone, the outdoor season will amp up quickly this upcoming Wednesday at the four-day 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin.