George Patrick

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — O’Brien Wasome knew as soon as it happened.

The sophomore got up from his fifth attempt in the triple jump and jumped in the air, pumping his fist in exclamation. His jump was recorded at 6.82 meters, the longest collegiate jump this season. That was all he needed on Saturday to take home first place at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“I hit each phase and my body reacted the way I wanted,” Wasome said. “As soon as I hit, I was like, ‘Yes, I finally put a good one out there.’”

But Wasome put out more than just a “good” jump. In the attempt, he set the school record and became the first Longhorn to ever win the NCAA championship in the triple jump.

“I don’t even know how to explain (my emotions),” Wasome said. “When I saw (my distance), I was like, ‘Yes!’ I was just excited.”

Wasome has battled through injury this year. He hadn’t recorded a jump on par with his freshman year until the final meet of the season. Yet with his tenacious work ethic, Wasome willed his way to this national championship and put out the best jump of his career when he needed to.

“He is an incredibly motivated kid,” Texas assistant coach Zach Glavash said. “He knew his body this year. He knew when to take a step back and let himself recover. He’s really found his composure.”

Senior Alan Zapalac had his own moment of elation after seeing his score in the weight throw. On the final throw of his indoor career, Zapalac broke the school record by one inch, placing eighth in the competition.

“I still don’t believe it. In 2013, if you’d have asked me this, I would’ve said, ‘Hell no, I’m not going to do that. There’s no possible way,’” Zapalac said. “It’s crazy what can happen with a little bit of time and dedication.”

The senior’s entire indoor career culminated in one final throw. All the work he had put in the last four years finally paid off.

“It was worth it,” Zapalac said. “The four years were worth it. All the late nights and early mornings — weekends I could’ve had fun but decided to rest and go work out. It all just added up today.”

The Longhorn men wrapped up the indoor season with a solid weekend in College Station, placing 12th in the team standings with 17 points. Sophomore heptathlete George Patrick, who finished 14th in the heptathlon, picked up valuable experience in his first championship meet.

“(I need to work on) my mindset,” Patrick said. “When I get down on something, like after I long jumped, I was like, ‘Man, I wish I could’ve jumped further,’ and I kind of brought that with me to the shot put. I wish I could’ve shed that a little earlier.”

For some, like freshman distance runner Sam Worley — who finished 15th in the mile after a collision with another runner — this meet provided just a little extra motivation heading into the outdoor season.

“It will definitely fuel the fire,” Worley said. “I felt like I had the ability to make the final and earn All-American status. To come up short of that kind of feels like I’m going to be carrying a chip on my shoulder going into outdoor.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — On lap five of eight during the mile run on Friday at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Texas distance runner Sam Worley was comfortably running in the middle of the pack, staying close enough to strike late in the race. In an instant, however, that all changed.

A runner in front of Worley stumbled, forcing the freshman to maneuver around him. Worley quickly fell behind the rest of the group.

“I was swinging to the outside to make my move and get around people and just start gunning for it,” Worley said, “and the Oregon athlete in front of me fell, and I had to stop.”

After the fall, Worley attempted a comeback but was never able to regain his rhythm. He finished seventh in his heat and did not qualify for the finals on Saturday.

“I was building momentum and I was really ready to move and go for it, and it just completely cut it all off,” Worley said. “There’s a million ways I thought that could’ve gone, and that was not the way I wanted it to go.”

Earlier in the day, sophomore heptathlete George Patrick, competing in the NCAA Championships for the first time, faced a different kind of adversity.

“I never get nervous before a race … (but) when I was in the blocks today, my arms were shaking, I was so nervous,” Patrick said.

He fought off the nerves with a solid time in the 60-meter dash and through three events had performed well. But on his last event of the day, Patrick could not overcome a lingering pain in his knee, falling from eighth in the overall standings to 15th.

“Just the way he fought through, he never got down on himself,” Texas associate head coach Ty Sevin said. “That’s some of that maturity that I'd like to see as we move forward.”

Elsewhere, the Longhorns managed a great showing in the long jump, with junior Steffin McCarter finishing fifth and sophomore O’Brien Wasome placing 10th.

Freshman Tripp Piperi finished seventh in the shot put — a good sign as the team heads into the outdoor season.

“He came to me and said, ‘Coach, I’m going to do better outdoor. I promise,’” Texas interim head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. “That’s his mindset — that it’s never good enough (and) he needs to be striving for better.”

On Saturday, Patrick will get back on the track to wrap up the final three events of the heptathlon. Later on, senior Alan Zapalac will compete in the weight throw, and Wasome will participate in the triple jump.