Continuing her recent trend of excellence, Texas senior Ashtin Zamzow set four personal outdoor bests on Wednesday in the women’s heptathlon on the opening day of the Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
After winning the women’s pentathlon at the Big 12 indoor championships in February and placing third in the pentathlon at the NCAA indoor national championships earlier this month, Zamzow entered the Relays on a roll.
She compiled 3,606 points in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 meters to trail first-place Tyra Gittins of Texas A&M (3,709) by only 103 points entering Thursday’s final events featuring the long jump, 800 meters and javelin.
“It’s just been fire,” said Zamzow, a two-time Big 12 defending indoor champion in the pentathlon who also broke the school record in the heptathlon at the USA Outdoor Championships last summer. “I kind of ran up on some shin splints the last couple weeks. I’ve been staying off my feet, haven’t been able to run or getting the technique I’ve been wanting in practice. I’m still pretty happy with it and looking forward to (Thursday).”
Zamzow’s cheering section included her parents, who were both track standouts at A&M, along with her fiancé, UT senior Wolf Mahler. Scheduled to compete in the men’s decathlon, Mahler dropped out Wednesday after twisting an ankle warming up for the 100 meters and then tweaking his hamstring when attempting to race.
It was deja vu for Mahler, who was also forced to drop out after the first day of last year’s Relays when he passed two kidney stones after the first day of competition. A week later, he suffered a broken collarbone when he was hit by a car while riding a moped.
“We’re in this together,” Mahler said of his partnership on the track and off with Zamzow; the couple set their wedding for Jan. 10, 2020. “She finished third indoor in nationals, and that was without the javelin, her best event. Coming outdoors to the Texas Relays, I really feel like she’s in the running for first place.”
Said Zamzow: “Wolf’s helped a lot when it comes to mentally competing and just going out and having fun. I just hate it for him. I want him to compete out here with me. If I can just get through the long jump with my shins hurting and put one together for the javelin and hold on for the (800 meters) I can hopefully take the win.”
Trailing Zamzow in third place is Kennsaw State senior Jordan Gray with 3,393 points. Gray finished second and Zamzow third at the NCAA indoor championships.
UT junior Virginia Preiss is 13th with 3,107 points.
“I wanted to compete how I’ve been practicing,” Preiss said. “My practices the last few weeks have been phenomenal. I think I accomplished what I was setting out to do, which was stay calm and perform how I’ve been doing in practice and just put a little pizzaz on it.”
The first day of the men’s decathlon featured the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meters. With the first five events completed, Arkansas’ Gabe Moore leads with 4,150 points. He’s followed by Texas A&M’s Nathan Hite (4,055) and Kennesaw State’s Paris Williams (3,932).
Running events for Thursday include men’s and women’s preliminary 400-meter hurdles, men’s and women’s 800-meter invitational, college and university men’s and women’s 1,500 meters, college and university men’s and women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, high school boys and girls 2,000-meter steeplechase, and college and university men’s and women’s 5,000 meters.
Thursday’s field events include college and university men’s and women’s hammer throw, college and university men’s and women’s javelin, and college and university men’s and women’s pole vault.
Wednesday-Saturday, Mike A. Myers Stadium, LHN
Tickets: All-session — ($35 advanced reserved bleachers, $15 advanced general admission, $40 reserved bleachers walk-up, $20 general admission walk-up); Friday, Saturday individual sessions — $20 reserved bleachers, $10 general admission
Men’s events — 10 a.m.: decathlon (110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, 1500); 2 p.m., hammer; 2:15, javelin; 2:30, pole vault; 5, 400 hurdles prelims; 7, 800 invitational; 7:20, 1500; 7:30, 1500; 8, 3,000 steeplechase; 9:30, 5,000
High school boys — 8:15 p.m., 2000 steeplechase
Women’s events — 11 a.m., heptathlon (long jump, javelin, 800), hammer; 4:30 p.m., 400 hurdles prelims; 5:15, javelin; 7:05, 800 invitational; 7:10, 1500; 7:40, 3,000 steeplechase; 9, 5,000
High school girls — 8:35 p.m., 2,000 steeplechase