Throwers shine as men’s track fine-tunes in final home meet
There’s nothing quite like the comfort of competing at home. For the second competition in a row, the Texas men’s track team got to do just that, spending another weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the Texas Invitational.
It was particularly the throwers who took full advantage of the final home meet of the season. Freshman Tripp Piperi again won the shot put, and senior Alan Zapalac set two personal records in the hammer throw while placing fourth in the discus in his final competition in Austin.
“Texas Relays, I had a great opening and then built on it this week,” Zapalac said. “It’s definitely kind of crazy that it’s the last home meet in orange, but I can’t complain about the numbers.”
Having the last two weeks of training without travel, the group was able to fully gear up for competition this weekend before diving into the intense travel schedule next week.
“We trained through two weeks, and then having a home meet, it’s easy, not a lot of traveling,” Zapalac said. “It’s definitely a good way to get some marks.”
In many events this weekend, the Longhorns pulled runners out in an effort to make sure everyone stayed fresh and healthy throughout the meet. In the 400-meter run, however, several Texas distance runners competed in the event for the first time, working on short distance speed training for the rest of the season.
Freshman Sam Worley headlined the group and finished 24th in the event — the only Longhorn to post a time under 50 seconds.
“What it does is it’ll give him a little bit of confidence working on his speed when he needs to run really good times in his preferred distance events,” Texas interim head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. “Overall, though, it was so windy, and the wind hampered the actual performances.”
The wind whipped around the track for much of the weekend, particularly hampering events in hurdles and pole vault. But these less-than-ideal conditions were an experience Texas needed to have.
“The 400-meter hurdlers said they felt the wind all the way around,” Buford-Bailey said. “Even when you look at the wind times with the sprinting events, it’s a little bit different when it’s swirling. It’s a learning experience.”
Senior women perform well in last home meet
For the seniors on the women’s track team, Saturday was a bittersweet day. One which served as the last opportunity to compete inside Mike A. Myers Stadium.
But senior Mary Beth Hamilton left the track on Saturday frustrated with her performance.
“I definitely did not meet my expectations,” Hamilton said, who placed fifth in the 800-meter. “I spent last year’s outdoor season on the bench, so I have a year’s worth of rust to knock off.”
Then, Hamilton quickly turned from critical to reflective when asked about this being her last home meet as a Longhorn.
“It really didn’t hit me until we were standing on the line and they called my name,” Hamilton said. “Tears came to my eyes and (I) was like, ‘What is this?’”
On Saturday, senior Pedrya Seymour won the 100-meter hurdles. She also competed on the 4x100-meter relay team, which placed first.
“It was a good experience,” Seymour said. “I’ve been battling a little injuries here and there, so I haven’t been able to have effective practices. Coach Bailey said she was pleased, so I’m happy with it.”
Other seniors who performed well were Haley Crouser and Ariel Jones. Crouser won the javelin toss with a throw of 50.96 meters. Jones came in second in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.55 seconds, putting her one second behind Seymour. She also came in second in the 400-meter hurdles.
Jones and Crouser have been two of the more consistent competitors in terms of standings and performance outcomes.
As a whole, the Longhorn women were able to win the event with a grand total of 188.5 points.
Despite the event not being as high profile as the Texas Relays, the Longhorns still left their mark as the second half of the outdoor season ramps up.