HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams wrapped weekend action in impressive fashion at the Penn Relays and LSU Invitational on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED AT PENN
The day opened in style for the Cougars, where the 4x100-meter relay squad was on the track for the finals after qualifying with the fastest time in the preliminary rounds at 40.07, on Friday. Houston’s team of John Lewis III, Mario Burke, Nicholas Alexander and Cameron Burrell cruised around the track in 38.95 to take the gold in the College Men’s 4x100 Championship of America.
The 4x100-meter relay championship for the Cougars is their third all-time at the historic meet and first since the 1989 season. For Houston, it is the third-consecutive season with a relay championship at the Penn Relays after winning the shuttle hurdle relay in 2016 and the 4x200-meter relay a year ago.
Houston capped the day the same way it opened it, with a win in the final event of the afternoon, the College Men’s 4x400 Championship of America. The Cougars qualified third overall for the final at 3:08.62, but returned with a vengeance for the final.
The Cougar squad of Amere Lattin, Burke, Burrell and Kahmari Montgomery completed the four-lap relay, capped by an anchor leg split of 43.38 by Montgomery, in a school-record 3:01.82 to claim Houston’s first ever Penn Relay title in the 4x400. The program-best mark gives Houston the No. 2 time in the NCAA this season.
With the victories in each of the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, Houston won multiple sprint-relay titles at Penn for the first time since 1980, when the Cougars claimed both the 4x1 and 4x2 relays.
Following the meet, Montgomery was named Men’s College Athlete of the Meet for Relay Events, for his anchor leg in the 4x4.
The women took to the track for the finals of the College Women’s 4x200 Championship of America. Houston qualified fourth overall in the prelims before the team of Birexus Hawkins, Sierra Smith, Essance Sample and Tonye’cia Burks hit the track Saturday to run 1:36.12 and finish sixth.
Individually, Lattin was the first Cougar on the track, running in the College Men’s 110-meter Hurdles Championship. Lattin finished the straight-track hurdle race in 14.07 to place seventh.
Burrell, Burke and Lewis III would each return to the track later in the afternoon for the College Men’s 100-meter Dash Championship. Burrell crossed the line second in the race in 10.29, while Burke finished right on his heels in third in 10.37 and Lewis III finished in 10.43 to take fifth. Burrell’s mark moves him to No. 33 in the NCAA this season.
In the College Women’s 100-meter Dash Championship, Samiyah Samuels finished seventh with a personal-best time of 11.81.
HOW IT HAPPENED AT LSU
Nora Monie stole the show for the Cougars in the field at the LSU Invitational, where she won the discus to open competition in the morning. Monie’s best throw of the day went for 168-2 (51.26m) to give her the invitational gold.
Monie would return later in the day, where just missed a school record in the shot put. Monie’s top throw of the afternoon traveled 52-11.5 (16.14m) to place her fifth, and miss the school mark by just 3.25 inches. Monie’s mark moves her to No. 29 in the NCAA this season.
Houston opened running events with a pair of top-5 finishes in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase. Running the event for the first time, Meredith Sorensen (11:28.08) and Maria Gonzales (11:35.84) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the men’s 3K steeple, Chris Wallace picked up a personal-best and a fifth-place finish in 9:32.35.
In the middle-distance, Blake Contreras took second in 3:55.45 in the 1,500-meter run, while the Cougars picked up five separate personal records in men’s and women’s events. Claudia Santos (4:45.71), Mackenzie Ilari (4:57.47) and Nikita Prasad (5:22.42) picked up lifetime bests for the women, while Devin Fahey (3:59.36) and Aaron Hurd (4:02.51) tallied PRs for the men.
In the 800-meter run, Cameron Laverty set a personal record, when he finished the 2-lap race in 1:49.88 to place fourth.
Elsewhere in the throws, Felipe Valencia set a new personal-record with a third-place finish in the men’s shot put. Valencia used his second attempt to mark 60-0.25 (18.29m).
Colin George picked up Houston’s final top-5 finish of the LSU Invitational by taking fourth in the men’s high jump. George went up-and-over the bar at 6-6.75 (2.00m) to set his mark for the afternoon.
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