Eli Hall Runs World’s Fastest 60-Meter Dash
Cougars wrap first of three meets inside Yeoman Fieldhouse
HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams wrapped the first home meet of the season, finishing with six victories at the Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational on Friday, inside the Yeoman Fieldhouse.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Cougars tabbed a strong showing in each of the men’s and women’s 60-meter dashes, beginning with a world-leading performance from Elijah Hall in the men’s race. After setting the top times in each of the preliminary and semifinal rounds, Hall posted a personal best 6.60 to win the event and post the top time in the world through the early season.
Houston finished 1-through-3 in the event with Mario Burke running 6.73 to finish second and rank tied for 13th in the NCAA this season, and freshman Joe Williams ran 6.77 to tie for the 23rd best mark in the nation and take third. John Lewis III also made the finals and finished fifth with a personal best of 6.83, the 35th fastest time in the collegiate ranks this season.
On the women’s side, the Cougars finished with four competitors inside the final eight, including a second-place finish from sophomore Brianne Bethel in 7.42. Bethel’s personal-best time ranks tied for first in The American this season and tied for 14th in the NCAA. Sierra Smith ran 7.55 to finish sixth, while Essance Sample placed seventh in 7.60 and Ariele Adams took eighth in 7.65.
Senior Jared Kerr registered the Cougars’ first win in the field events, taking the top spot in the men’s long jump. Kerr used his first attempt to leap 24-1.75 (7.36m), a mark that would hold up throughout the competition, and place him tied for 18th in the NCAA this season.
Houston picked up another field event victory thanks to Felipe Valencia’s top throw in the men’s shot put. Valencia qualified for the finals on his second attempt before three fouls left him with one final throw. The junior did not disappoint however, launching his best attempt of the day at 59-3.0 (18.06m) to take the top spot on the podium. Cameron Cornelius finished fourth in the event with a best of 57-0.75 (17.39m), while battling the flu throughout the competition.
Senior jumper Tonye’cia Burks picked up the Cougars’ final field victory of the evening, taking home the triple jump crown. Burks used her first attempt of the finals to travel 42-4.75 (12.92m) and take the crown, while Paige Lawrence finished third at 39-9.25 (12.12m).
The Cougars picked up their first victory of the day in the men’s 3,000-meter run when Chris Wallace crossed the finish line in 8:50.91. Freshmen Devin Fahey and Nicholas Fernandes as well as senior Justin Barret all picked up personal bests in the event running 9:15.47, 9:20.44 and 9:26.15, respectively.
A pair of Houston freshmen posted two top-3 finishes in the vertical jumps for the Cougars on Friday. Sarah Howe set a personal best with a leap of 11-7.75 (3.55m) to take third in the pole vault, while Hawa Wague’s top leap of 5-4.25 (1.63m) claimed the bronze in the high jump.
Sophomore multi-athlete Nathaniel Mechler posted a top-3 finish for the Cougars in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Mechler set a personal best, when he crossed the line in 8.30 to take bronze in the event.
As the meet began to wind down, sophomore Justice Henderson gave Houston another top-3 finish, when she took second in the women’s 200-meter dash. Henderson crossed the line in 25.32, just six hundredths of a second behind the leader. On the men’s side, Nicholas Alexander and Trenton McDonald each posted times of 27.77 with Alexander edging McDonald for third with times going down to the thousandths of a second.
The Cougars wrapped the evening with a pair of top finishes in each of the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relays. The women’s team of Nikesha Keith, Ariele Adams, Brianne Bethel and Kristina Knowles took first in 3:59.97, while the men’s of Thomas Alcorn, Joe Williams, Jared Kerr and Daniel Ford finished second in 3:23.67.
Taylor Scaife also had a big day at the Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational while competing unattached in the weight throw. Scaife threw the weight 64-8.50 (19.72m), just a few weeks after having toe surgery to win the event.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
The Cougars will send a handful of athletes to the Corky Classic hosted by Texas Tech. The meet 11 a.m., with the men’s shot put, and running events will kick off at 1 p.m. Houston will also host the nationally famous Carl Lewis High School invitational on Saturday, inside Yeoman Fieldhouse, with the Joe DeLoach Youth Meet following on Sunday.
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