Since nobody placed second, it may be inaccurate to say that the Texas men found a silver lining at the NCAA’s outdoor track and field meet on Friday evening.
Still, something could be said for Jonathan Jones breaking his school and country’s record in the 400 meters. Micaiah Harris did fall just .05 seconds shy of toppling the 200-meter standard he had set for UT two days earlier. O’Brien Wasome finished fifth in the triple jump in what was only his third competition of the outdoor season.
Four Longhorns scored points at Myers Stadium on Friday. Coupled with Tripp Piperi’s championship-winning shot put on Wednesday, those efforts lifted Texas to a ninth-place finish on the overall scoreboard. Closing out its first season with head coach Edrick Floréal, UT scored 26 points and earned only its second top-ten finish in the last six years. (NCAA champion Texas Tech tallied 60 points).
“I feel we did pretty good for the mishaps that we had,” Wasome said. “We had a lot of mishaps, but we still pulled together and we’re in (ninth place) with more than we thought we would have had.”
Of the five Longhorns who competed in Friday’s finals, none placed higher than Jones. With a bronze medal on the line, the freshman was edged at the finish line by Baylor’s Wil London. Jones became the first Longhorn to crack 45 seconds in the 400-meter dash, and his time of 44.64 seconds also reset the record he already owned among Barbados athletes.
Jones expressed happiness about his historic performance but did point out that “I have a garbage start.” He wasn’t the only Longhorn who found something to nitpick.
Coming off a ninth-place finish in the 1,500 meters, sophomore Sam Worley rued the technical aspects of his race. Senior Alex Rogers faded after a strong start in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and figured that fatigue played a factor. Wasome, who suffered a concussion earlier this year, would have been “really happy right now” had he not spoiled his third jump.
Still, a perfect performance may not have mattered on a competitive day at Myers Stadium.
Said Rogers: “Other people do it better and I got beat by five dudes today who did the little things a lot better than I did.”
“I learned that I may have some experience, but (the other runners) have more experience,” Jones said. “There’s a lot for me to learn from them and to pick up on.”
Among the nine men that Texas qualified for the NCAA’s year-end showcase, only Trevor Danielson, who threw the javelin earlier in the week, and Rogers are seniors. The NCAA will return to Myers Stadium in 2020 for its next outdoor meet.
“I’ll be thinking about this for a (while),” Worley said. “But that’s good, it will be motivation and fuel in the fire to try to come back and perform better a year from today. The clock starts now and 364 days are left until I get another shot at this.”
Also competing on Friday was Texas senior heptathlete Ashtin Zamzow, who set personal records in three of the day’s four events. With 3,711 points, Zamzow trails only Texas A&M sophomore Tyra Gittens (3,872 points). Saturday’s schedule will feature the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
On Saturday, Texas senior Teahna Daniels will also run in the finals of the women’s 100- and 200-meter dashes. Additionally, the final day of the NCAA’s track and field season will feature an appearance from UT’s 400-meter relay team and Longhorn triple jumper Georgia Wahl.