Listen to Austin 360 Radio

A record weekend: Texas men, women dominate Big 12 outdoor track and field championships

Horns add outdoor crowns to indoor success for fourth time in program history

Johanna Gretschel
American-Statesman Correspondent
Texas' Kynnedy Flannel, center, shown running the 400-meter relay during this year's Texas Relays, led the Longhorns to the women's team title at last weekend's Big 12 outdoor championships in Manhattan, Kan. The senior earned the Big 12's High Point Award for the second straight year by winning the 100, 200 and anchoring the winning 400-meter relay.

Texas put on a dominant performance at the Big 12 outdoor track and field championships in Kansas over the weekend, a record-breaking meet for the Longhorns women and the second-best men's total in conference history.

But the brilliant team titles were only half the equation for all-time greatness. Coupled with the Longhorns' Big 12 men's and women's indoor team titles, Texas became only the fifth combined program in conference history to sweep the indoor and outdoor titles in the same year.

The Longhorns accomplished the feat in 1999, 2006 and 2015. The only other school to do it was Nebraska in 2000. Texas' women posted 207 points to easily outdistance runner-up Kansas State by 93 points; the UT men beat out Iowa State by 29 points.

“I’m extremely proud,” Texas head coach Edrick Floréal said after the historic win. “We’ve been building this team for the past couple years and we didn’t get a chance to throw this party last year because of COVID.”

Texas is traditionally known as a sprint and field-forward program, but the third-year head coach relied on scorers in every event group to get the job done.

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

Workhorse Kynnedy Flannel earned the Big 12 High Point Award for the second consecutive season with individual wins in the 100 (11.19 seconds) and 200 (22.66), plus she anchored the Longhorns' winning 400-meter relay. Her time in the 200 prelims of 22.47 set a school record as well as a new facility record at Kansas State.

Tara Davis, shown competing in the women's long jump at this year's Texas Relays, set a Big 12 meet record with her first attempt in the event over the weekend. It was the third-best long jump in NCAA history.

Finishing runner-up behind Flannel in both the 100 and 200 was freshman Rhasidat Adeleke, whose 22.96 in the 200-meter prelims set a national record for her native Ireland. Her 11.31 clocking in the 100-meter prelims set a new Irish U23 record.

And it took Tara Davis just one try in the long jump to prove why she’s on the Bowerman Award Watch List — the track and field equivalent of football’s Heisman Trophy. Her first jump was 22 feet-10 1/2 inches, setting a new facility record, Big 12 meet record and the No. 3 mark in NCAA history.

More:Golden: Texas jumper Tara Davis has turned despair into a summer feel-good story

Davis owns the collegiate records for the long jump both indoors (22-9) and outdoors (23-5 1/4), and now claims four of the top six jumps recorded in NCAA history.

She came back on Sunday to win the 100-meter hurdles in 13.02, racking up 20 points for the Longhorns.

“When she was a baby, they must have dropped her in a big cup of coffee,” Floréal said of his star jumper/hurdler’s energy on the track.

In the men’s team title race, Iowa State was on a mission to stack up all of their distance studs to earn the most points possible — cross-country style. The Cyclones captured Big 12 team titles in cross country and indoor track in 2020, but their efforts to go for the triple crown were derailed when the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the season. Still, winning the outdoor team title would have provided some sense of closure and success.

The Cyclones may have pulled it off — if it weren’t for Yusuf Bizimana.

Texas coach Edrick Floréal talks with star sprinter and jumper Tara Davis during the Texas Relays. Davis had another dominant performance in the long jump at this past weekend's Big 12 outdoor championships. “When she was a baby, they must have dropped her in a big cup of coffee,” Floréal said, about her energy.

The Texas freshman wasn’t expected to put 20 points on the board, but he came up big with a double victory in the 1,500-meter run in 3 minutes, 44.87 seconds and the 800-meter run in 1:46.84, the latter of which was a personal best. This despite taking some elbows from mid-distance favorite Festus Lagat of Iowa State in both races. The Cyclones senior was ultimately disqualified from the 800 for deliberately impeding Bizimana in the final straightaway.

https://twitter.com/_serenityd/status/1394066741203021830

“I was like, ‘what, you want to play boxing? I’m ready to box, I’m ready to get physical,’ but that was a little too much,” Bizimana said after clinching the double victory. “You gotta be ready for anything these days.”

Perhaps no Longhorn took that sentiment more to heart than Tripp Piperi, who successfully defended his Big 12 outdoor title in the shot put with a throw of 64-11 1/2. The 2019 NCAA shot put champion has endured a rough spring. After winning the Big 12 indoor title, he sprained his ankle and later required surgery, which took him out of practice until two weeks ago.

Softball:Ex-Ducks to host their old team as Texas earns a home regional in NCAA's softball showcase

“I started walking two weeks ago and I did a full throw for the first time on Tuesday,” Piperi said. “God bless my trainers and coach. I didn’t think I’d be able to compete last week. All the thanks in the world to them. I’ve been working my ass off, I’ve been rehabbing for multiple hours a day for the last two months. Thank god I say prayers, because this is one of those blessings.”

If he had not competed, Piperi would have been out for the entirety of the outdoor season. Now, he’ll get the chance to defend his NCAA title before turning his sights to the U.S. Olympic Trials and possibly the Olympic Games.

It’s going to be a long summer for the Longhorns, who are certain to have a large contingent of athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships, the Olympic Trials, the Games, or otherwise compete internationally for their home countries. 

“There’s a bunch of stuff going through my head,” Floréal said of planning for the NCAAs. “For now, I’m going to enjoy this one.”

Big 12 Champions

Women's 100: Kynnedy Flannel, 11.19

Women's 200: Kynnedy Flannel, 22.66

Women's 400: Stacey Ann Williams, 51.30

Women's 1,500: Kathryn Gillespie, 4:22.21

Women's 100 hurdles: Tara Davis, 13.02

Women's 400 hurdes: Brooke Jaworski, 58.25

Women's 400 relay: Chanel Brissett, Kevona Davis, Rhasidat Adeleke, Kynnedy Flannel, 44.36

Women's 1,600 relay: Serenity Douglas, Kennedy Simon, Davicia Patterson, Stacey Ann Williams, 3:29.82

Women's long jump: Tara Davis, 22-10.5

Women's discus: Elena Bruckner, 182-5

Women's heptathlon: Kristine Blazevica, 5,947 points

Men's 200: Micaiah Harris, 20.56

Men's 800: Yusuf Bizimana, 1:46.84

Men's 1,500: Yusuf Bizimana, 3:44.87

Men's 1,600 relay: Matt Nortje, Willington Wright, Jon Maas, Jonathan Jones, 3:03.35

Men's long jump: Steffin McCarter, 27-4.75

Men's shot put: Tripp Piperi, 64-11.5

Men's decathlon: Leo Neugebauer, 7,793 points