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Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Sprinters Hall, Montgomery shine at Nebraska meet

Mario Burke and Elijah Hall were two of the UH sprinters to rise on the national charts with their performances at the Mark Colligan Memorial Saturday. | File photo/The Cougar

The Mark Colligan Memorial once again became a tone-setter for the track & field season. Five Cougars left the Nebraska meet with gold medals, and 22 in total earned top-three finishes.

Just as the case was last year, the meet was about all things fast. The Cougars won three of the six sprinting finals, and ten earned podium places. The biggest stories of the day belonged to junior Kahmari Montgomery, sophomore Brianne Bethel and senior Elijah Hall.

Montgomery burst onto the scene with a win in the men’s 400m. A former SEC Champion with the Missouri Tigers, Montgomery’s time of 46.83s is the fourth-fastest time in school history and No. 16 in the nation.

The Indoor 400m was an event in which the Cougars were virtually a non-factor last season. Montgomery’s transfer to the team has given them one more piece to the puzzle.

Bethel has continued her dominance in the women’s sprinting events. She won the women’s 60m (7.37s) and placed second in the women’s 200m (23.78s). Her times rank No. 22 and No. 20, respectively, in the NCAA, about four spots shy of the NCAA qualifying mark.

The women also swept the 60m with sophomore Sierra Smith and freshman Ariele Adams taking second and third.

But Hall did not have a bad day either. Opting not to compete in the men’s 60m, Hall ran in his first 200m race of the season and won the race in 20.76.

Almost matching his time from last year, 20.71s, Hall’s time is currently No. 4 in the NCAA. He already owns the No. 2 time in the men’s 60m (6.60s).

Sophomore Samiyah Samuels and redshirt junior Felipe Valencia were the top stories from the field events. Samuels and Valencia each claimed wins in the women’s long jump and men’s shot put, respectively.

Samuels, the runner-up in the long jump at last year’s conference meet, jumped a season-best 5.98m to take the gold. Valencia, meanwhile, threw 18.49m to take the shot put title, moving him to No. 25 in the country and continuing his improvement after his redshirt year.

Juniors Amere Lattin and Mario Burke also improved their spots on the national charts. Lattin’s third place 200m time (21.29s) is No. 26 in the country while Burke’s second place 60m time (6.71s) is No. 27.

Head coach Leroy Burrell’s team will remain in Houston this week as they host the Houston Invitational. Action will begin at Yeoman Fieldhouse on Friday and continue into Saturday.

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