Feb. 28, 2009
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's track and field team notched its third-consecutive team championship Saturday - the program's 10th indoor title since joining Conference USA in 1997 - at the 2009 C-USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Cougars racked up 147.50 points to edge UTEP's 113 and Rice's 104.50.
After guiding UH to the 20th combined conference team championship under his watch, Houston head coach Leroy Burrell was named the Men's Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his career.
"It was a very good all-around team effort. We have a very young team, but for them to perform so well here is really great," Burrell said. "I've been trying to get the team to understand that we are trying to move out beyond Conference USA and really perform on the national level. I think this is really a step in the right direction."
The Cougar women finished in second place with a total of 108 points, trailing Rice's 148 points. UCF rounded out the top three with a total of 86 points.
"I'm very proud of the women's team," Burrell said. "We were a little down last year at this time, but this is a complete reversal of fortunes. We had a lot of athletes step up and improve during the year. They could have quit a long time ago but they believed in what we were doing and kept working hard.
"We came up a little short today, but I think we are going to be a better outdoor team. This conference is really competitive, you really have to put together a strong team to be good."
Overall, Houston pocketed a total of 16 medals on the second day of competition, including five golds, as the Cougars racked up a total of seven individual titles during the meet.
D'Korian Ford was named the 2009 Male Freshman of the Year following the meet, grabbing a gold medal in high jump with a season best clearance of 1.99m (6-06.25). Ford captured his second medal of the day in the 60m hurdles, taking bronze with a time of 8.17.
"Coming into the meet, we had several freshmen who could have won that award, but I'm very proud D'Korian earned it," Burrell said. "He really grew up during the indoor season. He struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year but he really focused himself.
"He showed up and competed when it mattered most. He got his gold in the high jump and really put together a nice run in the hurdles."
A day after claiming the long jump title, junior Quin'shundolyn McPherson captured her second gold medal of the meet, helping the women's 4X400-meter relay team of sophomore Kalyn Floyd and freshmen Whitney Harris and Ciera Johnson to a first place finish with a mark of 3:42.48.
McPherson also added a silver medal in the 200m with a time of 24.34 and finished behind only Rice's Lennie Waite in the running for the women's high point scorer of the meet.
Senior Seun Adigun captured her third-consecutive conference title in the 60m hurdles, becoming the first three-time champion in the event in the 13-year history of C-USA.
Adigun recorded a provisional qualifying time of 8.20 to take the gold medal. She currently stands fourth in the nation after setting an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 8.09 earlier this month.
Senior Morgan Floyd captured his first career conference championship, winning the men's heptathlon competition with a total of 5,132 points. Floyd's point total was the third-highest recorded in program history.
The Sherman, Texas, native entered the second day of the heptathlon trailing by more than 110 points but overcame Southern Miss' Leonard McLeggon during the pole vault competition, cruising to gold in the 1,000-meter run.
In the women's 200m, Kalyn Floyd won her first collegiate championship, taking gold with a 24.30 finish.
After running a personal best time of 8.03 in the prelims, junior Steven Jones took silver in the 60m hurdles final with a time of 8.09. Junior Darryl Cloud placed sixth with a time of 8.39.
Freshman Doug Kelley snatched silver in the 400-meter dash, running a time of 48.67, while fellow freshman Isaiah Sweeney took the bronze in the 60m dash with a time of 6.90.
One of the top young throwers in the conference, freshman Matt Dudley set a season-best with a heave of 15.91m (52-02.50) to secure a silver-medal finish. Also placing for Houston was freshman Adrian Edmonds, who finished with a mark of 14.77m (48-05.50).
In the 200m dash, sophomore Tyron Carrier finished second, taking silver with a time of 22:04. Sophomore Chris Carter posted a third-place finish in the triple jump competition, leaping 15.33m (50-03.50) for the bronze. Teammates Lamar Delaney and Jeremy Kelley followed in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Also taking bronze was sophomore Shannan Arnold, who finished in a three-way tie for third place in the pole vault competition. Arnold finished with a clearance of 3.52m (11-06.50), a new career best.
Freshman Stephanie Aldea and junior Erica Hanneman both set season bests in the mile, recording times of 4:58.87 and 5:07.79, respectively.
Junior Alaysha Ford took sixth in the women's triple jump with a leap of 12.07m (39-07.25).
The Houston track & field team returns to action on March 6, when the Cougars travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete at the Arkansas Last Chance Meet.
UH will then head up to College Station to compete at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships on March 13-14 inside the newly opened Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M.
Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Awards
Men's Team Champion
Women's Team Champion
Male Freshman of the Year
D'Korian Ford, Houston
Female Freshman of the Year
Inger Froyesdal, Memphis
Male Performance of the Meet
Steffen Nerdal, Memphis
Female Performance of the Meet
Silje Fjortoft, SMU
Male High Point Scorer of the Meet
Mark Davidson, Tulsa
Female High Point Scorer of the Meet
Lennie Wiate, Rice
Men's Coach of the Year
Leroy Burrell, Houston
Women's Coach of the Year
Jim Bevan, Rice