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Texas Relays: Kristine Blazevica helps pace Longhorns with silver finish in heptathlon

From left, McNeese State's Grace McKenzie, Texas' Kristine Blazevica and Asics' Taliyah Brooks begin the women's 800-meter race Friday as part of the heptathlon in the Texas Relays at Myers Stadium. Blazevica, who tallied 5,813 points, finished second in the competition.

One monster javelin throw Friday at the Texas Relays changed the course of the heptathlon competition for Texas' Kristine Blazevica.

The freshman from Riga, Latvia, sat in fourth place after the conclusion of the first four events Thursday and the long jump Friday morning, but her field-leading 42.84-meter javelin mark on her first attempt moved her to the runner-up position.

At that point, Blazevica needed only to perform well in the last event, the 800-meter run, to potentially become the second consecutive Longhorn, after Ashtin Zamzow-Mahler, to win the Relays heptathlon competition at Myers Stadium.

She posted the second-fastest 800-meter time in the field but came up just short, unable to edge out winner Taliyah Brooks, the former Arkansas phenom who now competes professionally for Asics.

More:PHOTOS: Athletes compete at the first day of competition at Texas Relays

Blazevica, who tallied 5,813 points against Brooks’ 6,252, didn’t top the podium, but she thinks her mark at the Relays will qualify her for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June. The freshman’s second-place performance in a field of college and professional athletes boosted her confidence, much like the javelin throw near the end of the heptathlon.

“I was really happy about my javelin, but I felt like I could’ve done so much better in long jump, so I kind of got those points back,” said Blazevica, who won the Big 12 Indoor pentathlon title in February. “Before the 800, I knew that I would probably PR if I ran 2:20.”

She did all that and more, posting a time of 2 minutes, 17 seconds in the 800.

Senior Marlene Guerrero recorded her own personal best in the section B high jump competition. Her mark of 5 feet, 10½ inches, which she cleared on her third attempt, was enough for first place.

Guerrero said it felt nice to be competing outdoors again after last year’s season cancellations. Though she had some nerves before each attempt, she said deep breaths helped calm her down. The coping mechanism might come in handy if she competes at a high enough level to travel to Eugene, Ore., in June. The win Friday was a start.

Texas' Patrick Piperi readies for a toss during the men's shot put at the Texas Relayson Friday. Piperi placed third in the section B shot put with a mark of 54 feet, 4½ inches.

“It makes me extremely motivated because now I know I can do what I set out to achieve, and I hope to make it to the national meet this season,” she said.

If Guerrero and Blazevica do make that trip, they’ll probably be joined by senior Tara Davis, who won the section A long jump competition with a world-leading mark of 22-10½. Davis, who won the NCAA Indoor title in the event with a record-breaking performance, set another personal and collegiate record Friday with the jump.

More:Texas Relays: Tara Davis, Kynnedy Flannel have risen to their own challenges

Senior Steffin McCarter won the section A long jump on the men’s side at 26-9¾. Senior Sophia Falco placed third in the section B long jump at 20-2½ inches.

Sophomore Patrick Piperi, brother of All-American Tripp, placed third in the section B shot put at 54-4½ inches. Senior Elena Bruckner just missed the podium in the section A discus with a throw of 54.80.

The Relays will resume Saturday with the remaining field events and several races on the track.