Running in the Toyota USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 26, the odds seemed stacked against former Texas sprinter Teahna Daniels, who was competing against several Olympians and NCAA champions. Even with the pressure of competing for a spot at the World Championships, it didn’t seem to faze her.
Daniels took first place in the 100-meter dash to secure a spot at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Daniels is one of 13 competing athletes with a connection to Texas Track & Field.
Her winning time of 11.20 was good enough to topple two runners who defeated Daniels at the NCAA championships in June and two Olympic relay gold medalists, including former Texas runner Morolake Akinosun. Placing third in the event, 2016 Texas graduate Akinosun will also run for Team USA at the
“It was all motivation,” Daniels said to NBC Sports after being asked Daniels said to NBC Sports after losing in the NCAA championship race. “I feel like I needed that moment just to humble me. This past month and a half, I really got my head together and I got it done.”
The only current Longhorn runner who will participate in the games is sophomore Jonathan Jones, who will run the 400-meter. But Jones will not don the red, white and blue. Instead, he will run for his home country of Barbados. His personal best 44.63-second run in London in July is the all-time national record for Barbados.
Joining Daniels as another member of Texas’ 2019 graduating class to compete with Team USA is long jumper Steffin McCarter, whose illustrious career as a Longhorn jumper landed him second all-time in the Texas record books with his winning jump of 7.96m in the 2018 Big 12 Championships. His sixth-place jump in Des Moines earned him a spot in Qatar after national champion Will Claye decided not to compete.
In addition, Longhorns volunteer throwers coach Valarie Allman won the national title in discus to advance along with volunteer coaches Shakeela Saunders, Keni Harrison and Kori Carter.
Carter and Harrison lead a strong group of three hurdlers with Longhorn ties who will run at the World Championships. Ashley Spencer, 2015 Texas graduate, took home bronze in the 400-meter hurdles in the 2016 Olympics and secured a bid with a personal-best 53.11 seconds in the event to place third at the USATF Championships.
With each of the 13 athletes soon to represent their respective countries, Doha, Qatar, is sure to get its fair share of burnt orange and white.