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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sports

Men’s track & field takes third at NCAA Outdoor Championship


Junior Mario Burke and seniors Cameron Burrell and Elijah Hall worked together to win back-to-back 4x100m championships. Burrell and Hall finished first and second in the 100m dash as well to give Houston a fighting chance for a spot on the podium. File Photo | The Cougar

With 11 athletes competing, the UH Track & Field team won three events and a spot on the podium at the NCAA Outdoor Championship on Friday.

The UH Men’s Track & Field team earned a third place finish and a place on the podium for the first time since 1959.

The men’s 4x100m relay team of junior John Lewis III, senior Elijah Hall, junior Mario Burke and senior Cameron Burrell won the event for the second year in a row with the fifth fastest time in the world.

The team ran a 38.17 to break the 29-year-old collegiate record and win UH its first 10 points of the meet.

Senior Brian Barraza ran in the 3000m steeplechase and was leading the final race of his career for the first 2700 meters, but an unfortunate fall on the last obstacle dropped him to No. 10 in the race.

Later that day, Burrell won the 100m dash with a time of 10.13s, and Hall came in second at 10.17s to earn UH another 19 points. Burke finished eighth in the event to give the Cougars 20 points from the 100m dash.

Burrell’s win was his first individual NCAA championship and the first individual NCAA outdoor win for UH since 1994. It was also just the second time in NCAA history that two sprinters from the same team made it to the podium in the 100m dash.

In a post-race interview with ESPN, Burrell dedicated the win to Barraza, who has been a leader for the track & field team during his tenure.

Junior Kahmari Montgomery took seventh in the 400m dash to earn UH another two points.

Lastly, the 4x400m team of junior Amere Lattin, junior Trumaine Jefferson, Burke and Montgomery finished fifth to earn four points and give the Cougars the bronze with 35 total points.

On the women’s side, sophomore Brianne Bethel finished No. 16 in the 200m and 100m dash, sophomore Samiyah Samuels finished No.18 in the long jump and Birexus Hawkins finished No. 24  in the 400m hurdles.

Though the women’s team did not finish as high as the men’s squad, all three women who placed are sophomores and have a lot to build on for next season.

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