Cougars open Texas Relays in stride
Every year at the beginning of April, entertainers, athletes and sports fans flock to Austin to take part in the weeklong event that is the Texas Relays.
This year is no different, as the University of Texas celebrates the meet’s 83rd anniversary. Head coach Leroy Burrell said the only way for the Cougars to be successful in the highly competitive meet is for the whole team to behave and compete as a cohesive unit.
Many extracurricular activities are attached to the weekend, including celebrity parties and appearances. Sophomore sprinter Joe Irabor said the team is excited about the meet’s ambience, but will have no room for leisure.
“There will be a lot of entertainment, but we wont have time for it,” Irabor said. “Just being in that atmosphere is great, so we’re really just looking forward to competing.”
The meet will feature schools from across the nation, including 2010 NCAA Indoor women’s track and field champion Oregon. The diverse field features familiar Conference USA foes and some unfamiliar opponents. Other schools representing the Big 12, Mid American, Missouri Valley, Mountain West and Pacific 10 conferences will be present.
After day one, freshman Megan Frausto finished 15th in a field of 21 in the women’s heptathlon.
Conference-USA Indoor Heptathlon champion Wesley Bray put forth a strong showing against stiff national competition, placing fourth after completing half of the decathlon events Wednesday.
Bray’s teammate, Joe Irabor, said he is impressed at the athleticism of Bray and other multi-event athletes.
“To run and compete in those events is very brutal. It takes a great deal of mind preparation to even put your name in those events,” Irabor said. “He’s been training for this so he’ll finish well.”
Ciera Johnson placed second in the 800-meter dash, clocking in at 2 minutes, 10 seconds flat, which should give her national recognition. Clarissa Payton finished in 2:18.
In the men’s 800, Doug Kelley finished second in 1:50. Anthony Jordan completed the race in 1:58, while. Sammie Ivory failed to place.
Megan Munoz ran the 5000-meter event in 18:45, with teammate Brandi Whitte finishing three seconds behind.
In the men’s 1500-meter, teammates Derrick Joe and Nate Pineda crossed the finish line in a virtual tie: Joe in 4:03.2 and Pineda in 4:03.4.
The outdoor season provides the team with a rare opportunity to field an athlete in the 3000-meter steeplechase. The event features 28 barriers different from a hurdle and seven water jumps where the athlete must clear a pit of water. Andres Santaollala finished fourth in his section, crossing the finish line in 9:51.
Day two of the Texas Relays — today — will include the conclusion of the women’s heptathlon and men’s decathlon, 400-meter hurdles, the 4×800-meter relay, hammer throw and pole vault.
The preliminaries for the remainder of the sprints and relays will begin Friday.