Longhorn men seeking back-to-back titles for first time since 2008 and 2009
For the 25 members of the Texas men’s track and field team heading to Ames, Iowa, on Friday, the indoor season comes down to this — after winning a year ago, the men will try to defend their Big 12 title in hopes of claiming back-to-back championships for the first time since 2008 and 2009.
And what this Texas squad lacks in experience, it makes up for in depth. The Longhorns have athletes in the top 10 of the Big 12 in 18 out of 20 events.
“The goal is to win both the men’s and women’s titles, and it will take a full-team effort because we are not reliant on one event area to do the heavy lifting,” interim head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. “Everyone we are taking to this meet can score points for us, and that’s what we hope to see.”
To do so, the Longhorns will have to go through Texas Tech and TCU, the only two Big 12 teams ranked ahead of Texas in the national standings. Both squads have athletes who have dominated sprints, including Texas Tech freshman Divine Oduduru — who posted the Big 12’s fastest times in the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes.
Long distance running is an area in which Texas can separate from the pack. Freshman Sam Worley has taken a leading role heading into his first Big 12 championship meet, while junior Alex Rogers looks to medal after placing fourth last year in Ames.
Repeating championship seasons is no easy task. Yet this Texas team has put itself in position to give Texas Tech, TCU and the rest of the Big 12 everything they can handle while pursuing a second straight conference title.
Texas women attempt to add to dynasty
A conference championship is on the line this weekend in Ames, Iowa, for the Longhorn women’s track and field team, which is looking to exert its dominance once again at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. If the Longhorns are able to leave Ames as champions, it will be the team’s fourth Big 12 indoor title in the past five years.
Throughout the season, Texas has made notable strides each week. Now, not only do the Longhorns have to continue the trend of improvement, but they also must take their performance to another level in order to recapture the title.
The women’s team performed well at the USATF Championships last week, which weren’t exclusive to collegiate athletes. Graduated athletes and Olympic hopefuls competed as well, and the Texas women gave them a run for their money.
Junior Teahna Daniels set a career mark in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.22 seconds. The goal for her was to get into more races and lower her time after she missed two meets due to the passing of her father. Her time put her at the top of the Big 12’s performance list and No. 8 on the NCAA’s performance list.
“With Teahna, we accomplished exactly what we came to this meet for — one, to get another opportunity to race, which will set her up in a good position for the Big 12s and NCAAs,” Texas interim head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said.
Along with Daniels, competitors such as senior Kally Long, junior Mariam Abdul-Rashid and sophomore Elena Bruckner all are pivotal keys for Texas’ success as the trio are each in the top three of the Big 12’s performance list for their events.