After two grueling months with meets every weekend, the Texas men’s track and field team will put it all on the line today at the NCAA National Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
After dominating the indoor season for four years, the Longhorns lost a lot of their key contributors and came into the 2010 season ranked outside the top 50. As the season progressed, the Longhorns have proven that they belonged in the title hunt, but their work was not enough to overcome the stiff Big 12 competition. The team finished in a disappointing sixth place at the conference championship last week.
“I hate to use the term ‘rebuilding’ because we’ve been very competitive all year,” coach Bubba Thornton said. “But there are certainly plenty of [freshmen] that are scoring points for our team.”
The Horns will send five athletes and a relay team to the meet. They look to extend their streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes at the indoor national meet.
Pole vaulter Maston Wallace, shot putters Jacob Thormaehlen and Hayden Baillio, long jumper Marquise Goodwin and Keiron Stewart in the 60-meter hurdles all qualified.
Wallace will make his third appearance at the indoor national meet after finishing third as a freshman and 10th last year.
Others have not had as much experience. This marks the first appearances in a national meet for Thormaehlen and three qualifying freshmen on the team.
One team member representing the class of 2013 is Stewart, who produced a 7.95 qualifying time in the 60-meter hurdles in January but missed almost a month to deal with a hamstring injury. Back at 100 percent, Stewart clocked a 7.71 to finish fourth at the Big 12 Championships, moving him into eighth place on the national list.
The five individual athletes will be joined by the distance medley relay team of Logan Gonzales (1,200 meters), Danzell Fortson (400 meters), Tevas Everett (800 meters) and Patrick Todd (1,600 meters). The medley is just one of 11 teams that advanced to the national meet.
Being on the national stage has its perks. For the first time this season, the Horns will be broadcast live as ESPN360.com streams portions of the meet. ESPN2 will also air a 90-minute highlight show at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
What: NCAA Championships
Where: Fayetteville, Ark.
When: FRI: 10 a.m./SAT: 11 a.m.
Tickets/On Air: ESPN2