HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Men’s Track & Field team opened the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships by qualifying five athletes and two relay teams for Friday’s finals, in Eugene, Ore.
Houston’s seven qualifications for the finals led all teams on the first day of the NCAA Championships.
ABOUT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are held June 6-9 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The men will open action on Wednesday before wrapping up their season on Friday, while the women will compete Thursday and Saturday.
All four days of the NCAA Outdoor Championships will air on the ESPN family of networks. The women’s first day of action begins on ESPN3 at 11:50 a.m. CST, Thursday before making the switch to ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CST.
Friday’s finals for the men opens at 5:20 p.m. CST, on ESPN3 before the conclusion of the meet will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. CST. The final day of action begins at 4:50 p.m. CST on ESPN3 for the women, while action will conclude at 5:30 p.m. CST on ESPN.
A full schedule for the NCAA Outdoor Championships is available HERE.
In addition to the live broadcast, live results will also be made available courtesy of the NCAA. Live results can be found by clicking HERE.
HOW IT HAPPENED
On the track, the Cougars opened the 2018 NCAA Championships in defense of their 2017 title in the men’s 4x100-meter relay. On Wednesday, Houston’s team of John Lewis III, Elijah Hall, Mario Burke and Cameron Burrell passed the stick one lap around the track in 38.53 to post the second-fastest time of the semifinal round and punch a ticket to the final on Friday.
The men will return to the track for the finals at 7:32 p.m. CST, Friday.
Brian Barraza became Houston’s first individual to punch his ticket to the finals of the championships, when he broke his own school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Barraza slowed across the line and finished the distance hurdle race in 8:40.25 to finish sixth in the first heat and sixth overall to grab a qualifying position on time.
Barraza’s final will be run at 7:54 p.m. CST, Friday.
Houston made a statement in the 100-meter dash, becoming the first team since 2007 to qualify three sprinters for the final. The Cougars went 1-and-2 in the first heat, when Cameron Burrell ran 10.07 and Elijah Hall posted a personal-best time of 10.10. In the second heat, Mario Burke also posted a personal-best, when he won the heat in 10.10.
Burrell, Burke and Hall qualified sixth, seventh and ninth, respectively, and will compete in the final on Friday at 8:22 p.m. CST.
Kahmari Montgomery would follow with a qualification in the men’s 400-meter dash. Montgomery finished the one-lap race around the track in 44.92 to finish second in his heat and grab an automatic-qualifying spot for the final. Montgomery qualified fifth overall and will run in the final at 8:32 p.m. CST, Friday.
The Cougars capped the opening day of the NCAA Championships in the 4x400-meter relay, where Houston punched its seventh finals ticket of the afternoon. Houston’s squad of Amere Lattin, Mario Burke, Cameron Burrell and Trumaine Jefferson completed the four-lap relay in 3:06.51 to win the second heat and earn an automatic qualifying berth.
The men will run in the finals of the 4x4 at 9:51 p.m. CST, Friday.
Freshman Nicholas Alexander made his debut at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 200-meter dash on Wednesday. Alexander crossed the line in 21.08 to finish 22nd.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships opened with Nathaniel Mechler in the men’s decathlon. Mechler began the day with a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter dash, where he won his heat in 10.83 to score 899 points. From there, Mechler would go on to jump 24-5.0 (7.44m) in the long jump to finish sixth and pick up 920 points.
Mechler would then move to the shot put, where he picked up 613 points with a top mark of 39-8.75 (12.11m), but withdrew from competition following a no-height in the high jump.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR ON THURSDAY
The women’s first day of action will be held Thursday, where Brianne Bethel will kick off action in her first of two events, the 100-meter dash, at 7:16 p.m. CST. Bethel qualified with the 12th-fastest time at the NCAA West Prelims with a time of 11.31.
Houston’s only field athlete in competition at the NCAA Championships will be Samiyah Samuels, and she will be on the runway for the long jump at 7:30 p.m. CST, Thursday. Samuels used her first attempt at the NCAA West Regional to leap 19-8.0 (5.99m) to post the 12th-best mark of the competition and book her spot in the championships.
Sophomore Birexus Hawkins makes her first trip to the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles at 8 p.m. CST, Thursday. Hawkins circled one-lap around the track, while going over the hurdles, in 58.25 to post the sixth-best time at the Regional.
Bethel will return to action as Houston’s final competitor in the semifinal rounds of the NCAA Championships, when she competes in the 200-meter dash at 8:14 p.m. CST. Bethel, The American Champion in the event, ran the eight-fastest qualifying time in the west at 23.01 to book a spot in the season’s final meet.
Noon – Nathaniel Mechler, Decathlon
7:16 p.m. – Brianne Bethel, 100-meter Dash | Heat 3
7:30 p.m. – Samiyah Samuels, Long Jump | Flight 2
8 p.m. – Birexus Hawkins, 400-meter Hurdles | Heat 3
8:14 p.m. – Brianne Bethel, 200-meter Dash | Heat 2
HOUSTON AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
2018 marks the 35th season (fifth consecutive) that the Cougars have been represented by the men’s team at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. As a team, the Houston has finished inside the top-15 on 15 occasions, including a 10th-place finish in 2016 and a 12th-place finish a season ago.
The women’s team will send representatives to the NCAA Championships for the 23rd time in program history and the first since the 2015 season.
END OF SEASON HAPPY HOUR
To celebrate the Houston Cougar Track & Field program’s incredible season, the Cougars will host Happy Hour from 6-8 p.m., Monday, June 11, at BB’s Café on Westheimer. The event is open to the public and guests will be treated to Head Coach Leroy Burrell and Assistant Coach Carl Lewis addressing the crowd and joining in the celebration.
The address for BB’s Café is 6154 Westheimer Rd., Houston, Texas, 77057.
FOLLOW THE COUGARS
Fans can keep up with the latest in University of Houston Cougar athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonAthletics), Twitter (@UHCougars), Instagram (houstoncougars) and YouTube.com (Youtube.com/UHAthletics). In addition, the Track & Field team has established its own official Facebook (facebook.com/UHCougarTF) and Twitter pages (@UHCougarTF).