HOUSTON – Senior distance runner Brian Barraza continued his historic career at Houston, returning to the track for his sixth program record, as the Houston Cougar Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams opened competition at the Victor Lopez Classic, on Friday at Rice.
HOW IT HAPPENED
While redshirting and competing unattached throughout the 2017 outdoor season, Barraza began running the 3,000-meter steeplechase. On Friday, Barraza returned in Cougar red in a big way, setting the program record and cruising to a win in the event in 8:41.58.
With the mark, Barraza broke Jeff Thompson’s best of 8:46.3, which he set at the Texas Relays in 1977. The time moves the All-American to No. 1 on the NCAA list in the steeplechase this year and sets him at No. 9 in the world in the early season.
Barraza now owns six Houston Track & Field records including the outdoor 5,000- and 10,000-meter run marks as well as the indoor mile, 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs.
The day began in the field, where Taylor Scaife used a season-best throw to finish as the runner up in the women’s hammer throw. Scaife’s mark of 191-3 (58.30m) gave her the silver at the Victor Lopez Classic and moves her to No. 24 on the NCAA list in the early season.
Houston also had competitors in the men’s version of the hammer throw, where junior Felipe Valencia qualified for the finals and took seventh overall. Valencia’s top throw of the day came on his third attempt, where he launched the hammer 164-3 (50.08m).
The Cougars picked up another top-3 finish in the distance, when Chris Wallace took second in the men’s 5,000-meter run. Wallace set a new personal best, en route to running 15:03.30 to take second in the event. Also in the event, freshman Devin Fahey took sixth in 15:11.45, while Gabe Lara ran 15:30.30 to take 10th.
On the women’s side, Jahnavi Schneider followed with a top-5 finish in the 5K. Schneider finished the 12.5-lap race in 17:52.15 to take fourth. Maria Gonzales’ time of 18:18.82 gave her a sixth-place finish in the event, while Mackenzie Ilari took ninth in a personal-best 18:41.29.
Matt Parmley also picked up a top-10 finish for the Cougars, taking eighth in the early section of the 1,500-meter run in 4:03.22.
ABOUT THE VICTOR LOPEZ CLASSIC
The second day of the Victor Lopez Classic kicks off at 11 a.m., Saturday with the men’s shot put. Running events open a half hour later with the early sections of the 110-meter hurdles.
Live results of the Victor Lopez Classic can be found by clicking HERE.
The Cougars will also send its 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay squads to the Prairie View A&M Relays, where each squad will take on members of Team USA’s relay teams in each event.
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