HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Men’s Track & Field team finished the 2018 season on the podium at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a third-place finish on Friday in Eugene, Ore.
The Cougars matched their best finish ever at the season-finale meet, finishing third for the first time since the 1959 season. Houston scored 35 points as a team, matching the second-highest total all-time and the most since reaching the same mark in 1984.
The day opened with a bang on the track, where the Houston 4x100-meter relay team took the final step to defend its 2017 NCAA Championship in the event. The 2018 squad of John Lewis III, Elijah Hall, Mario Burke and Cameron Burrell blazed around the track in 38.17 to claim the gold medal and set a new Collegiate, NCAA Meet, Hayward Field and school record in the process.
The championship for the Cougars gives them three all-time in the event (1982, 2017) and marks the first time since the 1987 and 1988 seasons that Houston has won an event title in back-to-back seasons. For their efforts, Lewis III, Hall, Burke and Burrell earned First Team All-America honors.
Burrell, Burke and Hall would return to the track as individuals later in the meet, where Burrell ended his historic career at Houston in style with a gold medal in the 100-meter dash. The 2017 silver medalist in the event sped down the track in 10.13 to win Houston’s first individual title on the outdoor slate since Sam Jefferson in 1994 and is Houston’s sixth title all-time in the 100.
Hall stormed back over the last 20 meters to claim the silver medal, finishing just behind Burrell at 10.17. Burrell and Hall became just the second duo from the same team in NCAA history to finish 1-and-2 in the 100-meter dash, and the first since 1983 (Emmit King and Calvin Smith, Alabama).
Junior Kahmari Montgomery would follow on the track with two points for the Cougars in the 400-meter dash. Montgomery raced one lap around the track in 45.75 to finish seventh. With his finish, Montgomery earned First Team All-America honors in the event.
Houston wrapped up the NCAA Championship meet with a fifth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay. The Cougar team of Amere Lattin, Trumaine Jefferson, Burke and Montgomery completed the 1600-meter relay in 3:04.03 to score four points for the Cougars and clinch the third-place finish as a team.
Lattin, Jefferson, Burke and Montgomery earned First Team All-America honors for their finish in the event.
Senior Brian Barraza ended arguably one of the greatest track & field and cross country careers in Houston history in the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday. Barraza held a comfortable lead for the majority of the race, however an unfortunate stumble over a hurdle on the final lap would cost Barraza valuable time.
Barraza would recover however and showed great heart to finish the race and pull himself back into the top-10, crossing the finish line in 8:44.42. Barraza earned Second Team All-America honors for this 10th-place finish.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM STANDINGS
1. Georgia, 52 points
2. Florida, 42 points
3. Houston, 35 points
4. USC, 34 points
5. Alabama, 33 points
5. Texas Tech, 33 points
7. Texas A&M, 29 points
8. Stanford, 28 points
8. LSU, 28 points
10. Mississippi State, 26 points
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.
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