Friday was a game of “survival of the fastest” as the sprints took flight in the early morning.
After seniors Morolake Akinosun and Courtney Okolo graduated last year, the Longhorns looked to prove they were still in contention in the 4x100-meter relay. The Texas squad of senior Chrisann Gordon, sophomore Teahna Daniels, sophomore Zola Golden and freshman Rushelle Burton cruised to a No. 4 qualifying time in the women’s 4x100 meter relay at 44.45 seconds.
“It’s early in the season and this is relatively new to us, so I feel like we did pretty well,” Golden said. “We’re trying to get better chemistry with our handoffs and work on our overall speed.”
Later in the day, Burton built on her performance by finishing the 100-meter hurdles in 12.98 seconds, coming in third and qualifying for the final race. Burton has become a mainstay for the Longhorns; she finished fifth in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The newcomer enjoyed her first appearance at the Relays.
“They always say ‘it’s the big thing a hundred or dozens of people might be here watching,’” Burton said. “So, I’m going to come out here do my best.”
The sprint relay was personal on the men’s side. As they were announced as last year’s “silver medalist,” senior Charles Anumnu felt a fire in his spikes. The team of seniors Anumnu, Carlton Anumnu, Aldrich Bailey Jr. and sophomore Christopher Ntreh claimed an easy victory with a No. 3 qualifying time of 39.73 seconds. With a few changes to the lineup on Saturday, the Longhorns are hoping to win and claim a new record.
“Texas Relays means a lot to me,” Anumnu said. “To me, it’s the most important meet of the year. I know you have Big 12 and regionals and nationals and stuff, but I’m a longhorn. Born and raised in Texas. It’s just something about being outside on our own track that gets me excited.”
Other notable performances came in the hurdles. Redshirt junior Spencer Dunkerley-Offor qualified for the final with a time of 13.89 and senior Byron Robinson took second in the 400 hurdles with a time of 49.93. The women’s distance medley relay with sophomores Gabby Crank, Alex Cruz and freshmen Destiny Collins and Abby Guidry took third overall with a time of 11:35.23.
“We’re trying to bring it home tomorrow,” Golden said.
The 90th Texas Relays will resume at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday.