Longhorns lose final regular season match at Penick-Allison
The Longhorns closed out their final game at the Penick-Allison Center with a long and memorable match on Senior Day on Friday against Baylor.
Seniors Elizabeth Begley and Juliana Gajic followed pre-match celebrations by breaking out the team huddle with one last “Texas Fight.”
Only Begley triumphed that night. She and sophomore Breaunna Addison defeated Victoria Kisialeva and Jordaan Sanford 8-0. Gajic struggled to get the ball over the net in doubles, as she and freshman Pippa Horn lost 8-2.
In singles, Begley picked up two straight games down 5-2 after a dispute with an inbounds call in favor of No. 81 Ema Burgic. Unable to pull even, she lost 6-4, 6-1.
As she cheered for her teammates from a 3-0 deficit, the Longhorns won three straight points, including No. 14 Addison’s tiebreaker victory over Kiah Generette 7-6 (0), 7-5.
At No. 4 singles, freshman Neda Koprcina forced a third-set tiebreaker to decide the finale. Down 6-5 at match point, she failed to return the ball as it soared to the back of the court.
Despite the 4-3 loss, Texas and its seniors made the four-hour, 37-minute match one to remember.
Track and field notches 16 first-place finishes through weekend
At this weekend’s Michael Johnson Dr. Pepper Classic in Waco, the Longhorns grabbed 16 top finishes split evenly between men and women. Head coach Mario Sategna praised the team as it continued to dominate.
“It was a really good day for the both the men and women,” Sategna said in a statement. “We had some impressive performances with a number of seasonal and lifetime bests.”
As the No. 3 women cruised to first place finishes in eight events in the unscored team meet, freshman Kendall Baisden burst onto the scene with a victory in the 400 meters. The freshman outpaced Olympic silver medalist Lyudmila Litvinova and teammate senior Briana Nelson, who finished third with a personal-best time of 52.27.
Junior Ashley Spencer carried the Longhorns to a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the 200 meters. Spencer finished in a personal-best time of 22.92, which places her at sixth nationally. Sophomore Morolake Akinosun and sophomore Courtney Okolo finished second and third, also with personal-best times.
Sophomore Zack Bilderback was the star of the day on the men’s side. Bilderback ran a personal-best 45.73 in the 400 meters, placing him first in the race ahead of several professionals and even Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner. His time ranks him ninth on the 2014 NCAA performers list, to pair with a second place in the 200 meters — another personal best at 20.76.
The men also posted impressive performances in the throws. Junior Ryan Crouser won both the discus and the shot put, nearly eclipsing his school record and nationally leading mark in the shot put. Junior Will Spence, often forgotten in Crouser’s large shadow, finished second in the discus and third in the shot put with a personal-best toss of 63 feet, two inches, a mark that ranks 12th nationally on the NCAA
Texas will send several sprint and distance runners to Penn Relays starting Thursday for one of two meets remaining before the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
Men’s tennis finishes strong with a title
The Longhorns concluded conference play with a 5-1 victory against Texas Tech on Saturday. Ending its season ranked No. 7, the team stole a Big 12 title, despite stiff competition among three top-seven teams. Texas has won 11 of its last 13 matches and ends the regular season with a 7-3 record.
This weekend, the Longhorns won their first four singles matches after moving inside to continue the match because of rain and hail. There were no doubles competitions.
The team joins the volleyball, men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving and women’s indoor track and field teams as the fifth athletic program at the University to win a Big 12 Conference title this season.
The Longhorns will continue play Friday through Sunday in the Big 12 Men’s Championship in Fort Worth.