Sports Track & Field

Cougars battle for silver at NCAA Indoor Championships

The men finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships after finishing third in last spring’s outdoor championships. The Cougars will look to improve and finally take team gold in the outdoor this year. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Houston saw historic and record-breaking success over the weekend after competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Cougars were represented by 11 athletes at the NCAA Championships when the team returned to Birmingham, the site of its American Athletic Conference Championships sweep, hoping to top off a productive indoor season.

Top it off, they did.

The men, finishing with 44 points, earned second place behind Florida after dominant performances throughout the competition.

Sophomore long jumper Trumaine Jefferson got things started for UH Friday, the first day of the meet, after breaking his personal record twice within five jumps.

Jefferson, the eventual silver medalist, set a personal record of 7.89m on his first attempt and outdid himself just four jumps later with a mark of 7.96m.

Along with Jefferson, all five of the men’s entries qualified for the finals Saturday and finished the night tied with Florida for runners qualified.

Among the five was the nation’s No. 1, senior runner Kahmari Montgomery, who qualified in the 400m dash with a first-place worthy time of 45.32s.

The women also found success, posting a point total at the meet for the first time in nine years.

Friday, sophomore hurdler Naomi Taylor, who was ranked No. 10 before the meet, advanced to the 60m hurdles finals on the same track where she won the ACC in late February.

Her time of 8.03s surpassed her previous personal record of 8.08s set at the conference championships.

Junior long jumper Samiyah Samuels followed by earning All-American honors in a comeback performance that saw her finish with a mark of 6.26m on her final attempt to advance.

Saturday saw the Cougars’ women move up in the leaderboards.

Ranking No. 4 in the nation, senior thrower Taylor Scaife started it off with a 22.24m throw on her third attempt.

Scaife would go on to place third after throwing for 22.50m on her final attempt.

Taylor, finishing fourth in the 60m hurdles, again set a personal and school record after a time of 8.01s.

For the men, the competition began to heat up on the final day.

Montgomery finished second in the 400m dash after setting yet another personal and school record of 45.03s.

Senior Obi Igbokwe followed closely behind Montgomery, finishing fifth with a time of 46.04s.

Things came to a head when Montgomery and Igbokwe, along with junior runner Jermaine Holt and senior runner Amere Lattin, cemented themselves as the No. 1 4x400m relay team in the country.

Finishing with a time of 3:05.24s, Houston took the gold and a program-record finish.

The team’s 44 points shattered its previous record of 27 from 1994, and the second-place finish was the highest in program history.

UH will have five days to enjoy its historic success before it sees competition again March 14 when it hosts the Houston Spring Break Invitational to kick off the outdoor season.

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