After facing tough collegiate competition at Nebraska last week, the Cougars returned home to host the Houston Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Despite facing weaker competition, the men and women of Cougar track & field continued to set marks on both the national and conference charts.
On the day, highly touted recruit Nathaniel Mechler made his collegiate heptathlon debut. The Canadian junior, who holds a record in the event, won the long jump, the pole vault and the 1000m on his way to a point total of 5,376.
The mark was 425 points more than the runner-up, the second-best in program history and 9th best in NCAA history.
Mechler’s arrival provides the Cougars a chance to score points in an event that they struggled with last season.
In other events, senior sprinter Cameron Burrell, sophomore hurdler Amere Lattin and sophomore jumper Cameron Prejean had the best marks/times among collegiate athletes. Burrell ran his best time of the season in the 60m, 6.64 seconds, ranking 6th in the NCAA.
Several unattached athletes also competed in the invitational meet.
Among them were former Cougars LeShon Collins and Chris Carter. Collins edged Burrell by .003s to win the 60m, while Carter set a new meet record with a 16.54m in the triple jump.
The other story of the day was how the meet offered several athletes opportunities to improve their scores/times. Between the two teams, five personal records, four conference marks and four national marks were set.
Junior jumper Trumaine Jefferson’s second place finish in the long jump, 7.67m, sits at 12th in the NCAA.
Prejean’s 15.47m leap in the triple jump is currently the best mark in the conference.
Jefferson, Prejean, senior shot putter Alex Garza (17.58m) and senior long jumper Antwan Dickerson (7.42m) all set personal records.
Freshman Samiyah Samuels and junior jumper Tonye’cia Burks had the only individual wins for the women on the day.
Samuels’ 6.08m long jump mark is currently first in the conference and 22nd in the NCAA, while Burks set a personal record with a triple jump of 12.58m.
Sophomore Nora Monie also set a personal record in the shot put with her 14.16m fourth place finish. On Friday, freshman Anna Larsson set the current second place conference pentathlon score with 33,263 points in her third place finish.
Lastly, the 4x400m relay team of Nikesha Keith, Brianne Bethel, Sierra Smith and Mandy Nolan finished first with a time of 3:47.88.