Cougars take C-USA title again

This is getting too easy.

The men’s track and field team won its third consecutive Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, scoring 147.5 points to defeat Texas-El Paso (113 points) and Rice (104.5 points) last weekend at Yeoman Fieldhouse.

Cougars head coach Leroy Burrell received his eighth C-USA Men’s Indoor Track and Field Head Coach of the Year Award for guiding the men’s team to the title. This is Burrell’s 20th combined championship at UH.

‘It was a real solid team effort,’ Burrell said. ‘I was real happy with the way some of the younger guys stepped up for us to win it. We need to start looking toward nationals. That’s really going to be our agenda.’

Rising star D’Korian Ford took home the 2009 C-USA Freshman of the Year honors after the meet. Ford won the gold medal in the high jump with a 1.99-meter (6 feet, 6.35 inches) leap and also grabbed bronze in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.17 seconds.

‘D’Korian stepped in and came up big in the high jump and came up big in hurdles,’ Burrell said. He’s just another one of the young guys who did really well.’

The men weren’t the only ones to impress. After scoring only 52 points in last year’s indoor meet, the women’s team exploded for 108 points and a second place finish behind rival Rice (148 points).

‘We got really good leadership,’ Burrell said. ‘(Senior) Seun Adigun really helped the girls get themselves in gear.’

Adigun won her third consecutive gold medal in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 8.2 seconds. This marks the first three-time champion of the event in the 13-year history of C-USA.

‘I think it’s actually really exciting,’ Adigun said. ‘I didn’t even realize that I had won three consecutive (titles). It was definitely well earned. I worked really hard to get it.’

Adigun has already qualified for a spot at the national meet after placing a time of 8.09 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles earlier this year, the fifth fastest time in the nation this season.

Junior Quin’shundolyn McPherson won gold in the long jump after leaping 5.99 meters (19 feet, 7.83 inches). She also finished first in the women’s 4-by-400-meter relay, teaming up with sophomore Kalyn Floyd and freshmen Ciera Johnson and Whitney Harris to edge out the competition with a time of 3:42.48. McPherson also added a silver medal in the 200-meter sprint, finishing in 24.34 seconds.

Senior Morgan Floyd won the first C-USA Championship of his career after scoring 5,132 points in the men’s heptathlon competition.

In his ninth season as coach at UH, Burrell has led the Cougars to championships in the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor teams on a regular basis.

‘He deserves it (because) coach Burrell works so hard and he’s done so much to get us to be a unit and to believe in ourselves,’ Adigun said.

Other top performers included sophomore Tyrone Carrier, who took home a silver medal in 200-meter dash, and sophomore Chris Carter, who won bronze with a triple-jump distance of 15.33 meters (50 feet, 3.5 inches).

The Cougars will focus on improving on season bests to qualify for the NCAA Track Indoor Championships. Adigun and sophomore Christie Jones and the women’s 4-by-400 meter relay team will travel to Ames, Iowa to compete at the NCAA qualifier on Saturday.

Sophomores Chris Carter and Ed Turner and junior Lamar Delaney will compete at the LSU Indoor Qualifier, which begins at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Baton Rouge, La.

Other Cougars will compete in the Arkansas Last Chance Meet today in Fayetteville, Ark. before qualifiers head to the NCAA Indoor Track Championships, March 13-14, in College Station.

Leave a Comment