The Texas women’s track team won its third straight Big 12 indoor track and field title and the Texas men’s team finished second, just 1.5 points behind Oklahoma State, on Saturday at the Big 12 Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship in Ames, Iowa.
The women’s team scored 147 points, 38 points ahead of Oklahoma State, by winning three of the four sprint races and had a number of runners place in the finals.
“This was special because it was in dominating fashion,” said Head Coach Mario Sategna. “It showed not only did our veteran leaders step up with some amazing performances but it was a complete team effort. It shows the depth of where our program is at on the women’s side, and it’s only going to get better, especially when we move outside.”
UT’s Courtney Okolo led the Longhorns with wins in the 200 and 400 meter races. Okolo ran the fastest colleigate time recorded this season in the 400 meter dash at 51.12 seconds and set a meet record in the 200 at 22.79 seconds. Texas senior Morolake Akinosun won her third straight 60 meter dash title in 7.30 seconds.
The men’s team had chance to win the team title in the meet’s final event, but fell just short in the 4×400 relay. Despite the loss, the men’s team set a number of school records and UT’s Ryan Crouser tied the collegiate shot put record Saturday night.
“On the men’s side, it’s disappointing, but I think the takeaway is at least we’re a program that we’re right in the mix,” Sategna said. “The two conference championships we’ve lost since we combined the program, we finished second at both. You can’t beat yourself up over where could we have found two more points. I think we all learned from it.”
Texas had to win the 4×400 meter relay to win the title, but Baylor ran one of the fastest collegiate times clocked this season and took first at 3 minutes 4.16 seconds. Texas placed second, just over a second behind the Bears. It was the Cowboys’ second Big 12 indoor title in the past three years.
Texas senior Zack Bilderback won the 200 and 400 meter titles and broke school records in the process. Bilderback took the 200 in 20.79 seconds and set a meet record in the 400 at 45.27 seconds.
Ryan Crouser broke his own school record in the shot put on his fourth throw of the competition, a 21.29 meters toss that moved him up to ninth place in collegiate history. In his final throw, he tied the collegiate record with a 21.73 meters heave. Crouser tied Arizona State’s Ryan Whiting’s record breaking toss in 2008.
“I can’t say enough about Zack Bilderback for a senior to go out like that. And Ryan Crouser tying the collegiate record that’s a huge thing,” Sategna said. “Guys like that, that have been a centerpiece of your program and you’re to build around they’re going to be missed but at the same time they’ve created a heck of a legacy at Texas.”
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