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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Track & Field

Track and field has lofty goals, expectations for young season

Errol Nolan was named Co-Conference USA track athlete of the year last season. This year, as a senior, he expects himself to grow as a leader.  |  Courtesy of UH athletics

Senior Errol Nolan was named co-Conference USA track athlete of the year last season. As a senior, he expects himself to grow as a leader. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Beating track-and-field records at UH isn’t an easy task. Head coach Leroy Burrell said it’s a big challenge and some of the records are exceptional.

Burrell would know. As a sprinter, he had the fastest 200 meters under any conditions with a wind-aided time of 19.61, and at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he won the men’s 100-meter dash with 9.94 seconds, the fastest time recorded by a collegian.

“To break a men’s record here, you have to be pretty doggone good. We’re always trying to perform with the best,” Burrell said. “We feel like if we can get close to the best that’s ever been here, then we’ll be among the best in the NCAA, and those are our goals.”

Track and field started its season with a meet against Texas A&M, in which the men set a school record in the 4×400 meter relay with an ending time of 3:07 in the Reveille Invitational. UH competed again Saturday at the A&M 12-Team Invitational. The women’s team finished third while the men’s squad placed fifth.

Men’s senior runner Errol Nolan is confident in his team and himself and plans to continue on a successful path.

“To make it back to nationals is the first goal, for indoor-wise and get the 4×4 there. And break the school record again every time we run,” Nolan said. “Things are expected of me (as a senior) I guess, but I’m just going to do the best I can.”

On the men’s side, Burrell runs four in each relay, despite having a group of seven runners.

“Once we get to the point of the season where we’ve rotated several guys through that team, I think we’re going to have a team that’ll place high at the NCAA championships. The men’s team is just doing things at a really high level right now,” Burrell said.

“I looked at the latest poll and they have us ranked 40th, but I really do think that we’re more like a top-20 team, and I think you’ll start to see that once we get into these first couple of weeks of the season.”

For the women’s team, Burrell is looking for continued development in leadership. Burrell said it’s extremely important to have runners step up and put forth an effort they were unaware they possessed.

“I think last year we struggled in that regard. We didn’t have enough people who were doing that and we’re looking for a few more women to give us something that’s beyond what they’ve done,” Burrell said.

“And I think we have that capability. They’ve already exhibited that type of leadership. So I’m really happy.”

Track and Field will continue its season Friday in the all-day Leonard Hilton Invitational.

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