Mike A. Myers stadium

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

In the midst of what has already been a solid season, the Texas women’s track and field program produced another strong showing this weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. 

With three meet wins and a multitude of other medals, the Texas women represented the Longhorns with a list of accolades in country’s top track meets.  

Sophomore distance runner Sandie Raines finished second in the open 1500 meters with a time of 4:20.63, beating out many professionals along the way, to start Texas’ day Saturday. Along with Raines, freshmen Caitland Smith and Shania Collins each took home medals as well, finishing second and third, respectively, in the women’s open 200 meters.

But junior Morolake Akinosun turned in the highlight of the Longhorns’ performance over the weekend. Akinosun, who was named the Texas Relays’ most outstanding college performer, was in three of the four first-place events for Texas, with senior Ryan Crouser collecting the other win for Texas.

The first win came down to a close finish in the 4x100-meter race. The team of senior Morgan Snow, senior Ashley Spencer, junior Courtney Okolo, and Akinosun trailed Texas A&M out of lane five throughout the race — until Akinosun got her shot. With the last handoff, Akinosun grabbed the baton and overtook A&M sophomore Aaliyah Brown, achieving victory by less than two tenths of a second.

In the 100 meters, Akinosun took care of business by herself, clocking a blazing 10.94 seconds, albeit with the help of a 5.1m/s wind. 

To close out the Texas Relays, the 4x400-meter relay, now named the Sanya Richards-Ross Invitational 4x400 Meter Relay, also came down to a close finish. Texas A&M got out to a large lead early on, but in the final lap, A&M’s anchor quickly fell off, giving way to the rest of the field. Florida made the early push and Arkansas came close, but Texas freshman Ariel Jones pushed her way to the front of the pack. She edged out the Gators, claiming a victory for Texas. 

The No. 3 women’s team and the rest of the Longhorns now head into next week’s meet at Stanford with strong momentum.

Check out our slideshow from this year's Texas Relays now:

The No. 7 Longhorns will host seven other teams Saturday at Mike A. Myers stadium for the Texas Invitational.

Texas is coming off a meet last week in which no victories were scored for the team and the only second place finish came by way of redshirt freshman Kaitlin Petrillose’s pole vault.

Saturday will give competitors like sprinter Christy Udoh and long-distance runner Brittany Marches another chance to perfect their craft as Texas eyes the Big 12 Championships nearing its way in early May.

Both Udoh and Marches recorded personal bests in their respective events at last year’s Texas Invitational, with Udoh clocking an 11.34 in the 100-meter dash and Marches finishing with a time of 4:35.98 in the 1,500-meters race. Marches will also aim to outdo herself again in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, in which she broke her

own school record two weeks ago at Mike A. Myers stadium.

Besides No. 14 Texas Tech and No. 19 Baylor, the Longhorns will not face a heavy array of competition. The one-day event will not be scored and is one of two meets scheduled in Austin these next two weeks.

Athletes from all around the world and in all stages of their careers will be drawn to Mike A. Myers Stadium as it opens its doors Wednesday for the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Nearly 40,000 fans will attend the showcase, which will feature athletes from the high school and college track and field circuit and a number of Olympians looking to make their mark on the Longhorns’ home field.  

“It’s definitely my favorite meet to compete in every year,” senior decathlete Isaac Murphy said. “Texas Relays trumps it all. It’s an honor to compete in the burnt orange and have the home crowd cheering for you. I love it.”

The home-field advantage will be important as the Texas men’s team looks to prove itself after a second-place finish at the Texas State Elite Meet last week.

“The key for us to do well is to not make the same mistakes we made last week,” men’s head coach Bubba Thornton said. “If we’re consistent, we have a chance of being much better.”

While the competition is not scored, Texas hopes to add the team of the meet award to its already formidable trophy case that includes the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championship. Helping the team to that goal will be seniors Keiron Stewart and Murphy, who were rested in their specialty events last week and hope to stun the crowd in their events.

On the women’s side, No. 5 Texas will head into the Relays without former head coach Beverly Kearney for the first time since 1993. For interim head coach Rose Brimmer, however, this year’s Texas Relays will be a special meet despite her absence.

“[The Texas Relays] was great before coach Kearney and it will be great even after she is gone,” Brimmer said. “It’s one of the biggest meets in the country and brings in a lot of great runners from all over the world.”

The Longhorns have performed solidly under Brimmer since January and will look to continue that in the second event of the outdoor season.

Riding strong into the home meet is the Longhorns’ 4X100-meter relay team, consisting of Morgan Snow, Christy Udoh, Danielle Dowie and Chalonda Goodman. The foursome began the outdoor season two weeks ago by winning the relay at the Aztec Invitational. The squad will continue its campaign Friday, beginning with preliminary races.

The Texas Relays begins Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with the heptathlon and decathlon events, and will continue through Saturday afternoon when the running event finals will be held.

More than 1,500 miles and the Gulf of Mexico separate senior hurdler Keiron Stewart’s hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, from Mike A. Myers Stadium, where he now plies his trade. But seeing how comfortably he glides over the track and leaps effortlessly over hurdles, you wouldn’t know it. 

The native Jamaican might be far away from home, but has settled in and become an integral part of the men’s track and field team over the last four years.

Far from his hometown, Stewart still keeps connections with his original home. He wears a necklace given to him by his mother and on it is a ring that was given to him by a close friend. Both are reminders of home that he keeps with him as he speeds around the track.

Among his heroes is Maurice Wignall, the outstanding hurdler who set the standard for all other Jamaican jumpers in Athens in 2004. Andre Wellington and Leford Green, members of the Jamaican Olympic team in 2008 and 2012, respectively, are like big brothers to him, pushing him to succeed on the track. 

“I really admire them,” Stewart said. “They push me. Just seeing them run at my high school and go through the rungs and show poise and experience every time they touch the track. They’re
my inspiration.”

Stewart barely missed out on a trip to the Olympics in 2012 himself, coming in .03 seconds short of a third-place finish at the Jamaican Trials, a finish that would have guaranteed him a seat on the plane to London, but he hasn’t let it bother him much.

“It’s life. There are always going to be setbacks,” Stewart explained. “We just have to learn from them. We have to move on and learn not to make the same mistake twice.”

Now in his senior season, Stewart has had time to learn from his mistakes and now guides and supports the younger Texas athletes. He and the rest of the seniors have been instrumental in leading the way for the Longhorns in 2013 and have helped the youth understand the expectations that come with a burnt orange uniform.

Stewart and the rest of the Longhorns track and field team will head to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championships on Saturday and Sunday. The field will be tough, as the Big 12 is one of the fiercest leagues in track competition, but Stewart feels confident his best performances are yet to come.

“You have to go out with a bang. You can’t leave no t’s uncrossed and no i’s undotted,” Stewart said. “This is our main goal right now — fine tuning everything and getting sharper for the competition.”

Stewart will compete in the 60-meter hurdles Friday at 4 p.m., and is hoping to lead Texas to a win after a three-year drought at the Big 12 meet. He previously won the 60-meter hurdles in 2011, setting the Texas record with a time of 7.66 seconds, and is in a good position to do it again after matching the time at the Tyson Invitational in Arkansas.

“Keiron has been there. He’s done it before,” head coach Bubba Thornton said. “He’s been four years All-American and has the potential to do more.”

He already has his name firmly etched in the UT record books, holding the top marks in the 60- and 100-meter hurdles, but it doesn’t look like he wants to let go of them for a long time. 

“I’m in a better position and better fitness level,” Stewart said. “I’m looking forward to breaking the record again.”

Published on February 22, 2013 as "Stewart hurdling the competition". 

Men's Track & Field Preview

Senior thrower Jacob Thormaehlen, who helped Texas claim its first triumph in the shotput at the Texas Relays for the first time in 30 years, is one of 28 Longhorns men’s track athletes set to compete this weekend.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Mike A. Myers Stadium will be the battleground of a Lone Star State showdown of sorts this weekend as the No. 6 Longhorns host their Texas Invitational meet on Saturday.

Texas and nine other collegiate teams throughout the state, including Houston, Houston Baptist, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas Southern, Texas State, UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio, will have one day to compete. With the Big 12 Outdoor Championships just a month away, athletes will likely bump up their intensity in order to get a better feel for where they stand regarding top times and qualifying marks.

The Longhorns will feature 28 athletes, and six of them have posted top 10 performances this season. This weekend’s meet will likely sharpen the Longhorns’ performances as they run alongside a group of 10 Olympic and nationally recognized runners.

The men are scheduled to kick off the events at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, beginning with the hammer throw. Field events will continue for almost the entire duration of the meet, ending with the shot put at 7 p.m.

The last time Texas’ throwers entered the ring, they came away with top performances in both the shot put and discus. Senior Jacob Thormaehlen and junior Hayden Baillio put on quite a show at Texas Relays, claiming first and second in the shot put with throws of 64-01.00 and 63-9 respectively. Thormaehlen currently has the top mark of 2012 in the shot put, while Baillio ranks fourth nationally. Freshman Ryan Crouser was able to take third overall in the discus with a heave of 195-6, earning him a fourth place national ranking.

Running events for the men are set to start promptly at 4:10 p.m., featuring the 4x100-meter relay. Texas’ Mark Jackson, Trevante Rhodes, Emerson Sanders and Keiron Stewart finished eighth at Relays but hope for a turnaround this weekend.

The running events are coordinated to run very quickly, with little delay between events. The sprint events, including the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, 200-meter and 400 meter will be action-packed, as they will feature undoubtedly the highest level of competition on the day.

Jerome Miller (unattached) of Baylor will be the solo elite athlete to compete in the 110-meter hurdles. Junior hurdler Stewart clocked a much-improved time of 13.46 for third place at Texas Relays, earning him the third fastest time nationally.

Elite athletes Jeremy Wariner (Adidas), Marcus Boyd (Nike), Reggie Witherspoon (World Express) and Michael Tinsley (unattached) will showcase their seasoned talent in the 400-meter dash, while Aaron Armstrong (API) and Carey Lacour (unattached) exhibit their speed in both the 100 and 200-meter dash. Texas’ Marquise Goodwin did not find himself atop the 100-meter medal platform at Relays, but has an excellent opportunity to post a personal best time while running against some of the nation’s most quick-footed competitors.

Also running in the 200 meters will be Tinsley, Mychal Dungey (New Era Sprint Club) and Witherspoon.

The decathlon will not take place this weekend, so decathletes Isaac Murphy and Petter Olson, currently nationally ranked first and fourth respectively, will change things up and compete in several singular events.

The Longhorns’ distance team, coming off difficult performances at last weekend’s Stanford Invitational, will surge into the 3000-meter steeplechase with a much different outcome in mind. Sophomore Austin Roth competed in the event for the second time at Stanford and finished in 9:11:09 for 15th place overall.

Texas looks to utilize Saturday’s events as an opportunity to get back on their feet and regain confidence going into the weeks of preparation ahead. The Longhorn men will close out the day with the 1600-meter relay at 8:40 p.m.

Printed on Friday, April 13, 2012 as: Elite competition awaits Longhorns

Women's Soccer Preview

Texas is hoping to get back on track when it hosts Seattle University in an out-of-conference match Sunday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The Longhorns are coming back from a bittersweet road trip in which they managed to stop No. 10 Oklahoma State’s 15-match win streak with a 1-1 draw last Friday in Stillwater, but lost to Texas Tech 3-2 in double overtime two days later in Lubbock.

The Redhawks (10-5) look to keep their two-match win streak alive when they take on the Longhorns, who dropped 9-6-1 and 3-3-1 after last week’s matches.

Starting goalkeeper Alexa Gaul will look to bounce back after allowing three goals last Sunday. The junior had only allowed three goals in her three previous matches combined.

The Naperville, Ill. native might also try to get back on the score sheet after netting her second career goal against the Red Raiders on a 30-yard free kick.

Forward Taylor Knaack (4) battle’s with Iowa State midfielder Erin Green during the Longhorns’ 2-1 victory over the Cyclones on Sunday. Knaack, a senior, secured Texas’ victory with her third goal of the season. Iowa State bounced back with another goal, but it wasn’t enough.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

After a disappointing loss to Baylor on Friday, Texas was able to adjust and pick up its first conference win against Iowa State.

The 7-3, 1-1 Longhorns beat the 6-5-1 Cyclones 2-1 on a hot day at Mike A. Myers stadium. Texas struggled early on to create any opportunities in the first half. It was an excellent run after two give-and-goes by left-back Amanda Lisberger in the 16th minute that jumpstarted the Longhorn offense.

The Longhorns were close to scoring again a minute later when Iowa State keeper Maddie Jobe saved Hannah Higgins’ shot. The first goal of the game was a beauty by Nina Frausing Pedersen. Off a 40-yard free kick, the midfielder from Denmark sent a teasing ball into the box that just missed a Longhorn head but bounced over the keeper into the net.

Texas continued to put pressure on the Iowa State defense with 13 shots in the first half. Defensively, the Longhorns did not let the Cyclones create any opportunities and gave up zero shots in the first half.

Starting off the second half, both teams looked tired — both had played two matches in three days. Even though each team would use numerous substitutes, fatigue was still a factor.

“These Sunday games are really difficult in our league because every game is hard,” said coach Chris Petrucelli. “We gave a lot of energy on Friday night.”

Picking up her second start of the season, Vanessa Ibewuike set up Texas’ first chance of the second half when she passed to Hannah Higgins, whose shot was blocked. It looked like Ibewuike could have scored herself after beating her defender, but she tried to be unselfish.

Later, Ibewuike’s generosity paid off when she set up Taylor Knaack to put the Longhorns up 2-0. After beating one tackle, Ibewuike used her speed to get to the end line and sent in a low hard cross that Knaack got her foot on to score her third goal of the season.

“All I had to do is put a body, a foot, a toe, anything on it, and it was going to go in,” Knaack said.

The Longhorns appeared to set to cruise control after the insurance goal, and the Cyclones made them pay. Iowa State scored their only goal of the game on a similar play to Knaack’s goal. Brittany Morgan sent in a cross from the left wing that Jennifer Dominguez was able to get a foot on to score in the 85th minute. The last five minutes were nerve-wracking for Texas, but the team was able to get its first conference win beating the Cyclones 2-1.

“It is nice to get a win. First win of the league and it’s points that we needed and a win that we needed,” Petrucelli said. 

Printed on Monday September 26, 2011 as: Longhorns recoup, notch first conference win

The crowd at Mike A. Myers stadium on Saturday finally got what it wanted in the third-to-last race of the day — a Longhorn win.

In the men's 1,600-meter relay, Texas beat Clemson, Oral Roberts and six other teams in a crowded university division. It finished in 3 minutes, 8.04 seconds, almost a full second clear of Clemson at 3:08.97.

Andre Thomas took the lead from Clemson in the last 100 meters of the second leg after Isaac Murphy started the race in the fourth lane. Keiron Stewart maintained the Longhorns' lead in the third leg and Danzell Fortson ran an anchor lap of 46.03 seconds to secure the victory.

Saturday also showcased a number of professional athletes for the 18,369 in attendance. Tyson Gay, the U.S. record-holder in the 200-meter dash and the relays' biggest draw, pulled out of the invitational 1,600-meter relay but a star-studded Adidas team that still included Olympic gold-medalist Jeremy Wariner won with a time of 3 minutes, 4.38 seconds.

Canadian Olympian Jared Connaughton won the invitational 100-meter dash in 10.04 seconds.

The Texas men finished fourth in the 400-meter relay and got a third-place finish from Hayden Baillio in the shot put.

Texas was even more dominant on the women's side, with junior Angela Cooper winning her second-straight Texas Relays title in the 400-meter hurdles in 57.19 seconds. It was the only win for the Longhorn women on Saturday but the team notched seven other top-three finishes, including freshman Danielle Dowie getting third in the 400 hurdles, 1.13 seconds behind her teammate. Freshman Marielle Hall ran a personal-best of 4:32.71 in the 1,500 meters but finished second.

Texas A&M was named the entire meet's most outstanding college team by the media for its impressive outing, which included wins in the men's 100, women's 100 and four men's relays. Gerald Phiri broke the meet record in the university men's 100, running it in 10.06 seconds despite a slight knee injury.