Track roundup: Longhorns tuning up before Big 12 championship

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Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Longhorn men attempt NCAA qualification in final regular season meet

With a week remaining until the Big 12 championship meet, preparation has shifted for the Texas men’s track team. All eyes will be on Ames, Iowa, on Feb. 23.

But while competing at the Alex Wilson Invitational this weekend at Notre Dame, one men’s event will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time in eight years — the distance medley relay.

With junior Alex Rogers running the 1200, senior Logan Emery in the 400, freshman Micaiah Harris in the 800 and freshman Sam Worley running the anchor-leg 1600, the Longhorns will compete in a meet which annually hosts most of the top distance relay teams in the country.

In order to qualify for the NCAA Championships, the group must run one of the top-12 times in the nation. Currently, the 12th best time is set at 9:46.76. But as the most competitive relay teams in the nation come together for this meet, the qualifying time is sure to drop.

For Worley and Harris, two freshmen running the final two legs of a major event, this could very well be the biggest race of their careers up to this point. The experience the two have gained this season, posting dominating times in their respective events, may bode well for this team.

In 2017, five of the 12 teams who qualified for the NCAA Championships qualified in South Bend, Indiana. With this mixed group of rising stars and seasoned veteran runners, Texas is poised to do the same.

Longhorn women hit home stretch of regular season

South Bend, Indiana, is the site of the Longhorn women’s next meet. The Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame is the final meet before the team heads to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the Big 12 Championships.

This season has been a strong one for the Longhorn women’s track and field team, which was ranked No. 5 nationally at the start of the preseason.

With this being the final competition before the NCAA Indoor Championships, certain athletes are in prime positions to solidify themselves a spot in Iowa.

Junior Georgia Wahl sits at No. 5 in the long-jump rankings. She is coming off a performance in which she set a personal record of 6.02 meters.

Senior Kally Long competed against a tough group last week but still stood strong. Her field in the women’s pole vault invitational had six of the top seven NCAA vaulters, including two Olympians. Long proved she belonged with the elite competition, earning her a seventh-place finish. She now sits at No. 12 in the NCAA standings.

Despite the success, the Longhorns will have to focus even harder this week due to the abrupt departure of head coach Mario Sategna. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte announced late Thursday morning that Sategna has left the program. Associate head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey was named the interim head coach.