COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas Track & Field opened its 2017 indoor season this weekend at the Texas A&M Team Invitational and came away with 11 event wins as the Longhorns finished second in the men’s scoring and third for the women.
Freshman Obrien Wasome, formerly of Jamaica College (JC), won the men’s triple jump by nearly three feet. Wasome jumped 15.58 meters (51-1.50) to rank ninth in school history and stand at No. 8 on the NCAA list this year.
Assistant Coach Seth Henson commented on Wasome’s performance.
“It was definitely a day to shake the rust off for Obrien in terms of his full-approach triple jump. I was happy with the way he competed. His first two jumps were really big, unfortunately, they don’t measure when your foot lands on the black,” Henson said.
Junior pole vaulter Kally Long provided the highlight of the meet for Texas as she had the best performance of her career. Long cleared two bars that were personal bests for her and is tied for the national lead in her event.
Long soared over the bar at 4.42 meters (14-6.00) on her second attempt to secure the win over Baylor’s Annie Rhodes, the outdoor Big 12 champion. The mark ties Long with Arkansas sophomore Victoria Weeks for the best in the NCAA so far this season. It also should solidify her a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships as the top 16 athletes qualify.
“I told myself coming into this I had a goal of 14-5. I exceeded that goal, and I remained calm through two PR’s, which was really good. I told myself not to get too amped up, to just relax and do what’s natural and it all felt right into place,” Long said of her performance today.
More important for Long in getting such a big mark early, she said it relieves the pressure of trying to qualify for NCAA’s, where she finished 12th last year indoors and seventh outdoors. Now she can approach every meet focused on improving and not stressing about marks.
“Now I have my national mark, and I can relax at every meet and just push poles, push bars and try to jump higher and not have the stress of trying to get a national mark,” she said.
The Longhorns dominated the field events with the men’s team winning all four of the jumping disciplines. Sophomore Steffin McCarter started his season off with a new personal record to crush the field in the long jump. He leapt 7.77 meters (25-6.00) to win by more than 16 inches. His mark ranks No. 2 in the NCAA so far this season and is No. 6 in school history.
“Those are not just great conference-type performances. Those are marks that get you into the NCAA meet,” Head Coach Mario Sategna said of Long and McCarter. “That’s great for the staff and for the rest of the team because the coaches will do a great job preparing everybody to peak at the right time; but when you’re seeing great marks like that already, it’s nice for the rest of the team to see and know that there are some great things on the horizon.”
Texas also claimed both the men’s vertical jumps with Barrett Poth winning the pole vault. His clearance of 5.32 meters (17-5.50) is fourth in the country so far this season and moves him to No. 9 in program history. Spencer McCloud won the men’s high jump with his clearance of 2.08 meters (6-9.75) on his first attempt at the height. He missed his attempts at a new PR, but the win marks his first collegiate victory.
Elite performances were not limited to the men’s field events, however.
Redshirt junior Spencer Dunkerley-Offor returned to the track after missing last year due to an injury. He won the men’s 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.88 seconds, just .06 off his PR. Freshman Medric Roberson clocked 8.16 seconds in both the prelims and final to finish in sixth for the Longhorns.
Distance runners made their presence felt on Friday night when the men and women won the distance medley relay. The women set a new meet record with their time of 11:33.35. The men won in 9:54.68.
Texas went 1-2-3 in the men’s 3,000 meters on Saturday with redshirt freshman John Rice getting the win over sophomore Alex Rogers. Rice crossed the line in 8:18.30. Rogers finished in 8:18.99 and freshman Spencer Dodds was third in 8:21.79.
The sprinters had some strong performances as well with defending NCAA champion Teahna Daniels opening her season with a time of 7.39 seconds to win the 60 meters. Hurdlers Ariel Jones and Mariam Abdul-Rashid gave the Longhorns a 1-2 punch in the women’s race. Jones got the victory in 8.41 seconds with Abdul-Rashid behind her in 8.46.
Freshman thrower Elena Bruckner made her collegiate debut on Saturday with one of the best performances in school history in her event. The lefty posted a mark of 16.00 meters (52-6.00) on her first throw as a Longhorn in the shot put and would finish second behind Baylor senior Cion Hicks. Bruckner’s throw ranks her sixth in school history and in the top 10 in the NCAA this season.
Texas splits up next week for two meets. The bulk of the team is headed to Kentucky for the Rod McCravy Memorial, which has been one of the top indoor meets the last few years. The pole vaulters and throwers will compete at the Cherry & Silver Collegiate Invitational at New Mexico.
“We’re always appreciative to Coach Pat Henry and his staff here at A&M to come here and compete,” Sategna said. “It definitely was a great start to the season. I think a lot of the returning athletes understand the process. For a lot of our freshmen this is a stepping stone. We’re excited as we head into next week at Kentucky. The main thing was to get a meet under our belt and come out of here unscathed and injury free. I think for the most part we were able to do that.”