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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sports

UH track and field sends 17 athletes to NCAA Outdoor Championships


17 student-athletes from both UH track and field men's and women's teams punched their tickets to the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

17 student-athletes from both UH track and field men’s and women’s teams punch their tickets to the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Just weeks after the American Athletic Conference Championships, both Houston’s men’s and women’s track and field teams put up a strong showing at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in College Sation, with nine men and eight women punching their tickets to the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships in 13 different events.

While the UH track and field program has historically been known for producing elite sprinters — and that was still the case in 2021 — the Cougars put together one of their best performances in the field events to kick off the NCAA West Prelims.

The first of the Cougars to punch their ticket to Eugene, Oregon, where the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held was junior Benjamin Okafor by leaping a personal best 7.23 meters in the men’s long jump. 

In the women’s long jump, graduate student Samiyah Samuels secured her spot in Eugene with a personal best jump of 6.55 meters.

Graduate student Antonio Ruiz and sophomore Christyan Sampy made history, becoming the first  UH duo to qualify for the national championships in the men’s pole vault since 2014.

Graduate student Mikaila Martin was the final Cougar advance in the field events with a 61.77 meters toss in the women’s hammer throw.

Freshman phenom Shaun Maswanganyi led the way for the men’s team, punching his ticket in the 100-meters with a wind-legal 10.04 and 200-meters after clocking in at a time of 20.19.

Like Maswanganyi, senior Travis Collins qualified in 100-meters (10.27) and 200-meters (20.58).

Juniors Jordan Booker and Christian Hamberlin also secured spots at the national championships in the 200-meters.

The nation’s No. 1 4X100 relay team of Booker, Collins, Hamberlin and Maswanganyi won its heat with a time of 30.02 to advance.

On the woman’s side, grad student Brianne Bethel shined, advancing in the 100-meter (11.27) and 200-meter (22.78).

Freshman Camille Rutherford will join Bethel in Euguene to compete in the 100-meter, running an 11.37 to secure her spot.

The women’s 4×100 relay team consisting of Rutherford, Bethel, junior Cecilia Tamayo-Garza and grad student Tristan Evelyn clocked in at 43.21 to move on.

Freshman Zarie Dumas, junior Aliyah Taylor, Bethel and Tamayo-Garza closed out the West Region Preliminary meet for UH, running a 3:33.62, which marked the third-fastest time in program history.

The NCAA Outdoor Championships will take place from June 9-12.

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