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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Track & Field

Football brings team speed


Senior sprinter and 2012 Olympian Errol Nolan has won gold  medals in the 200- and 400-meter races at the Conference USA Championships three consecutive times. This year he helped the Cougars garner victory for the 13th time since 1997.  |  Courtesy of UH Athletics

Senior sprinter and 2012 Olympian Errol Nolan has won gold medals in the 200- and 400-meter races at the Conference USA Championships three consecutive times. This year he helped the Cougars garner victory for the 13th time since 1997. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Errol Nolan and John Horton – two track and field athletes who helped UH capture the top spot at the Conference USA Indoor Championships – were in love with a different sport at first.

Both played football in high school before leading the Cougars to victory Sunday.

Nolan, a senior sprinter, broke his wrist during his freshman year at Lamar Consolidated High School. Nolan saw his younger brother winning medals and said he felt he should give track a try, even though he didn’t know much about the sport.

“I said, I might as well go do that because I can’t catch a football. (Football was) all I knew. I didn’t know about track,” Nolan said.

Horton, a sophomore jumper, didn’t have a choice about becoming a track and field athlete. His 7th grade coaches forced the football players to join the track and field team, where he began his career as a sprinter.

Horton now competes in the triple jump and long jump, but he only found out he had those talents by accident. Horton played football his freshman and sophomore seasons but focused on the triple jump when he realized he had greater college potential in track and field.

Sophomore jumper John Horton is the two-time defending Conference USA champion in the triple jump.  |  Courtesy of UH Athletics

Sophomore jumper John Horton is the two-time defending Conference USA champion in the triple jump. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

“In 8th grade, I got in trouble and then they forced me to triple jump. I went 40 feet 8th grade, and ever since then, it was just triple jump.”

Both were standouts that helped the Cougars score 143 points at the C-USA Indoor Championships to defeat the next closest competitor by 18. This win for the men is the 13th team title since joining the conference in 1997.

Horton took the gold in the triple jump for the second consecutive season when he leaped a personal best of 15.75m.

“I was confident once the competition started, but before I knew who the top three were going to be, I didn’t know who was going to walk out with the championship,” Horton said.

Nolan secured gold in the 200- and 400-meter dash for the third straight season. Nolan won the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.21 and also in the 200-meter dash after tying his personal best of 20.99.

Freshman sprinter Eric Futch was the runner-up to Nolan in the men’s 400 when he clocked a time of 48.40. Redshirt junior sprinter Xavier Boyd, senior sprinter Garrett Hughey and redshirt senior sprinter Kelvin Furlough all crossed the finish line in fourth, sixth and eighth place respectively.

He was confident he could 3-peat, despite a leg injury that slowed him out of the break in the final round of the 200-meter race.

“When I didn’t get out fast, everybody was pulling away. I was in the back of the group. Then I got on the curve, I saw they all started tightening up,” Nolan said. “To me, that’s like motivation so I just started picking up everyone on that curve. Once I was lined up with them, since I was on the inside, I knew I had the race won.”

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