Houston takes third at NCAA Outdoor Championships
The Houston men’s track and field team earned 40 points and a second straight third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin Friday night, matching its top-three finish at the Indoor Championships earlier this season.
The team began the four-day event with a flying start Wednesday, as senior long jumper Trumaine Jefferson leapt 26-feet and 10-inches, securing a second-place overall finish. Not only was the jump a personal best in his final collegiate event, but also the first time he has jumped over eight meters after his 8.18-meter mark.
Jefferson finished just an inch short of first-place jumper sophomore JuVaughn Harrison of LSU. His leaping abilities landed the Cougars eight points in Houston’s only finished event heading into Friday’s finals, giving UH a tied-for-ninth position.
Senior sprinter Kahmari Montgomery was the sole Cougar to win an individual championship after blazing his way around the track in the 400-meter dash, finishing with a personal-best 44.23. Montgomery earned his national title in exciting, photo finish style, defeating North Carolina A&T’s Trevor Stewart by two one-hundredths of a second.
Fellow senior Amere Lattin rounded out Houston’s solo podium finishes, sprinting and leaping his way to a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. With a time of 48.72 seconds, Lattin recorded his own personal best and finished just one one-hundredth behind Texas Tech junior Norman Grimes in second place.
In the Cougars’ only relay event, Lattin, junior Jermaine Holt and seniors Mario Burke and Obi Igbokwe each roared around the track in the 4×400, finishing in 3 minutes and seven one-hundredths of a second, good for another podium finish in third place.
To pair with their three-individual medal-winning finishes, the Cougars also competed in three other final events. Burke finished in fourth in the 200-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 20.11 seconds. The sprinter finished just three one-hundredths behind third-place finisher sophomore Hakim Sani Brown of Florida.
Burke’s other final appearance on Friday was in another fast-paced event, the 100-meter dash. Burke finished with a time of 10.06 seconds, landing him sixth-place. To round out the men’s Friday performances, Lattin lined up in another hurdle event, the 110-meter, where he finished in seventh with a time of 13.77 seconds.
Houston’s women will leave the competition with no points earned, despite how UH displayed a valiant effort. The Cougars competed in four events, including the 4×100-meter relay composed of sophomores Naomi Taylor and Essance Sample, junior Samiyah Samuels and freshman Ashley Seymour.
The four ladies flew around the track for a program-best time of 43.48 seconds. However, the relay team finished ninth overall, just missing the top-eight cut for the final run by .13 seconds.
Taylor also competed in the 100-meter hurdle event, finishing with a time of 13.14 seconds, fifth in her heat. She was one of ten sprinters to miss the top-eight final cut off within a half-second of eighth place, finishing No. 15 overall.
Samuels, to pair with her relay finish, also jumped her way to No. 11 in the final long jump event with a distance of 6.21 meters.
Along with Taylor and Samuels, Seymour also competed in two events in her first appearance at the Outdoor Championships. With a time 11.42 seconds, she finished No. 8 in her heat, No. 18 overall in the 100-meter dash and missed the final cutoff by a quarter-of-a-second.
A noticeable absence loomed for the Cougars, as the men’s 4×100-meter dash relay team did not compete for the national title in hopes of defending last season’s championship-winning, NCAA-best time of 38.17.
Florida Friday bested Houston’s old collegiate record with 37.97 seconds in the 4×100-meter relay. Houston did not finish in the West qualifiers two weekends ago after a dropped pass.