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Texas Relays: Texas' Tara Davis still the buzz of the meet on final day of Relays

Texas' Stacy Brown Jr. competes in the men's triple jump Saturday at the Texas Relays. He won the event with a mark of 51 feet, 2¾ inches.

The limited crowd and absence of high school track stars left this year’s Texas Relays without some of the spectacle that has popularized the event, but the three-day meet backdropped by an Austin skyline under construction certainly wasn’t lacking in the extraordinary.

Just ask Texas' Tara Davis, who made history Friday afternoon with a colossal long jump at Myers Stadium. The senior’s world-leading mark of 23 feet, 5¼ inches on her fourth attempt smashed Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s 36-year-old outdoor collegiate record and gave Davis claim to both the indoor and outdoor long jump records. She eclipsed the previous indoor record March 12 at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where she won the long jump title with a mark of 22-9.

Davis, who hopes to compete at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, holds the fifth-best long jump mark by an American and boasts the best attempt since Tianna Bartoletta’s gold medal-winning 7.17-meter leap at the 2016 Olympics.

Strong performances from Longhorns athletes continued Saturday on the hot and muggy last day of the annual meet.

LSU's Abigail O'Donoghue competes in the women's high jump section A division Saturday, the final day of this year's shortened Texas Relays. The meet began Thursday, not Wednesday, and didn't include high school competitors.

In the afternoon, Texas’ Serenity Douglas, Rhasidat Adeleke, Kevona Davis and Kynnedy Flannel placed second in the Carlette Guidry 400-meter relay with a time of 43.04 seconds.

The Longhorns stayed toward the middle of the pack for the first and second legs, but Kevona Davis made up ground to set Texas up for a chance to win the race. Flannel accelerated after the handoff to try to catch LSU on the anchor leg. The junior was locked in a tight footrace with the Tigers’ Amber Anning for the last 100, but Anning just edged her out to send LSU across the finish line with a time of 42.87.

In the meet’s penultimate event, the Sonya Richards-Ross 4x400-meter relay, Texas placed second in a strong 3:28:10 effort by Douglas, Kennedy Simon, Davicia Patterson and Stacey Anne Williams. To conclude the day, Micaiah Harris, Jon Maas, Jonathan Jones and Willington Wright made the podium in the Cleburne Price 4x400-relay with a third-place finish in 3:01:28.

Saturday morning, senior Sophia Falco won the section B triple jump with a mark of 43-5¼, and freshman Stacy Brown Jr. won the section B triple jump on the men’s side at 51-2¾. Both posted their best jumps on their final attempts.

Sean Stavinoha, a freshman, placed third in the section B discus throw at 175-10, and senior Elena Bruckner took silver in the section A shot put with a throw of 56-4¾ on her fourth attempt.

Even with success both on the field and the track, Texas did not have a picture-perfect Saturday. Senior O’Brien Wasome got the Longhorns off to a fast start in the Clyde Littlefield 400-meter relay, but the race took a turn for the worse between the second and third legs.

A fumbled baton exchange between senior Steffin McCarter and freshman Caleb Hulbin eliminated Texas from the race, which saw winner Houston post a speedy time of 38.49. Harris, the senior anchor, watched the mishap and then walked off the track toward the athlete staging area tent as the other competitors raced toward the finish line.

The Longhorns will continue their march toward the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June when they return to Myers Stadium for a meet with Texas A&M on April 3.