HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams won 13 events at the outdoor season-opening Cougar Spring Break Invitational on Thursday at the Carl Lewis International Complex.
MARTIN’S BIG RETURN
The outdoor season opened with a win for the Cougars from sophomore Mikaila Martin in the women’s hammer throw. After being sidelined for nearly seven months due to injury, Martin made her return to the circle with a throw of 179-0.0 (54.56m) in her first attempt. That mark would be all she would need to claim Houston’s first victory of the season.
DOMINATION IN THE RELAY
The men’s and women’s 4x100-meter relay teams were the first Cougar runners to stand atop the podium during the outdoor season.
The women’s team of Brianne Bethel, Samiyah Samuels, Sierra Smith and Tori Williams finished in 44.23, while the squad of Tonye’cia Burks, Bria Carter, Justice Henderson and Paige Lawrence finished third in 45.66.
The men’s team was on the track in the relay for the first time since finishing as the runner-up at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships. This year’s team started fast with a 39.47 from Cameron Burrell, Mario Burke, John Lewis III and Jacarias Martin, while the “B” squad of Jared Kerr, Cameron Prejean, Trumaine Jefferson and Raymund Clarke were right on their heels in 40.31 to finish second.
Houston took one more relay championship with a win in the 4x400-meter relay. Amere Lattin led the team out in the first leg and was followed by Burke, Trumaine Jefferson and Clarke to run 3:11.49. The Houston “B” team in the event consisted of Brennan Dorsey, Daniel Ford, Luke Dorrough and Colin George running third in 3:20.66.
HOUSTON IS SPEED CITY
The Cougar men and women put on a show in the 100-meter dash, with the men finishing 1-4 and the women running 1-2. Smith ran the first straight-track race of her career in 11.62, while Carter crossed in 11.85.
Fresh off a silver medal finish in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Burrell ran his first 100 of the season in 10.26 to claim the event. The Cougars followed with Lewis III in second at 10.45, Jacarias Martin in third at 10.59, and Prejean ran 10.61 to take fourth.
The Cougars also swept each of the men’s and women’s 200-meter dashes later in the afternoon. Williams picked up where she left off during in the indoor season, with a personal best 23.45 to win the 200, while Bethel took third in 23.85 in her first outdoor race.
The men went 1-2 in the 200, led by Lattin who turned in a wind-aided personal best of 20.82 to win the race by nearly half a second. Senior Curtis Brown took third in the event with a time of 21.40.
Freshman Nikesha Keith tallied Houston’s final win in the sprints at the Cougar Spring Break Invitational, when she ran 56.87 to claim the 400-meter dash championship.
HORIZONTAL JUMP CHAMPIONS
The Cougars picked up two wins in the horizontal jumps including the men’s long jump and the women’s triple jump. Kerr won his first outdoor event with the Cougars after leaping 24-4.25 (7.42m) on his fourth jump, while Antwan Dickerson finished second with a mark of 23-2.5 (7.07m).
With the wind blowing strong at her back, junior Burks took home Houston’s first triple jump championship of the outdoor season with a big mark. Burks’ first attempt went for 42-0.5 (12.81m) to win the event by nearly half of a foot.
THE REST OF THE BEST
Houston picked up three more wins throughout the first week of competition.
Cameron Cornelius made his return to the outdoor shot put ring with a big personal record in the event. Cornelius launched five of the top-6 throws overall in the event, including his final throw of 61-11.5 (18.88m) which stands as the fourth best throw in program history, passing Randy Coffman’s mark of 61-6.25 (18.75m) in 1978.
Running in a one-heat final in the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore Clarke took his first individual victory of the season when he crossed the line in 53.14, while Haley Houston won the women’s pole vault competition with a mark of 12-7.5 (3.85m).
Overall, the Cougars finished the Spring Break Invitational with 30 top-3 finishes.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
The Cougars will send a men’s and women’s 4x200-meter relay squad across town to the TSU Relays on Saturday, March 18.
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