UH gives stellar effort at C-USAs
UH hosted the Conference USA Indoor Championships and hoped to defend its home turf with an all-around strong showing.
The Cougars got exactly that, although the agony of defeat was bitter for the women’s team after a disappointing third-place finish. But the thrill of victory was sweet for the men’s team, which won its fourth consecutive title.
No real threat was ever presented to the men’s team, as it entered Saturday’s finals with a double-digit lead and eventually beat runner-up Tulsa by 76.5 points.
It was all smiles and celebration for the men’s team, which held a large enough lead to not have to field a 4×400-meter relay team.
Tears were shed on the women’s side, but head coach Leroy Burrell hopes they can turn their frustration into productivity.
“Time is a great healer,” Burrell said. “I’m not upset that they’re upset. As a matter of fact, I’m really happy that they’re upset because if they turn it positively, maybe we’ll … work a little bit harder, and compete more aggressively.”
Although the men’s performance ended in more success, Burrell had high praise for his women’s squad.
“Our women’s team is actually ranked higher than our men’s team. Don’t lose sight of that,” Burrell said. “We got to keep working and wait for another opportunity to see if we can get the job done.
“We can’t lose hope. We just got to keep trying.”
In the men’s events, junior Wesley Bray showed his all-around athleticism en route winning the heptathlon with 5,338 points.
In the long jump and triple jump, the Cougars earned a clean sweep.
Jonathan Williams notched first place in the long jump with a leap of 7.31-meters, while teammates Chris Carter and Lamar Delaney followed claimed second and third place, respectively.
In the triple jump, Carter placed first with a jump of 15.55-meters. Williams and Thomas Lang finished second and third, while Delaney placed fourth.
Errol Nolan continued his impressive freshman campaign, winning both the 200-meter and 400-meter dash events in 21.4 seconds and 47.8 seconds, respectively.
Tyron Carrier was right behind Nolan in the 200, placing second with a time of 21.6 seconds. Carrier was also the runner-up in the 60-meter dash, which he finished in a personal-best 6.83 seconds.
Cameron LaCour won the men’s 60-meter hurdles in 7.91 seconds.
On the women’s side, junior Kalyn Floyd finished third in the 400-meter with a time of 55.4 seconds. Floyd and Grecia Bolton finished second and third in the 200-meter dash in 24.12 and 24.23 seconds, respectively. Those two times set NCAA provisional marks.
In the women’s 800-meter Ciera Johnson crossed the finish line in 2 minutes, 11 seconds, good for second place. Similarly, Douglas Kelley was the runner-up in the men’s 800 with a time of 1:54.
Although Burrell and his staff would have preferred dual championships for the men and women, he said he still considers both squads as one cohesive unit.
“You’re never happy when your goal is to win and you don’t,” Burrell said. “I’m the men’s coach and the women’s coach. It’s emotionally difficult to deal with. But we celebrate the men, and we tell the women that we want to keep shooting forward.”
The Cougars will take their act to Ames, Iowa this weekend for the Iowa State Last Chance Meet.