Track & Field Travels to Inaugural Conference Championships
Feb. 27, 2014
NEW YORK, NY - The University of Houston track and field team will compete in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships beginning tomorrow at the New Balance Track in the Armory.
The Cougars travel 32 men and 32 women to compete for the first ever title as members of the new conference.
The men's team is one of the top programs and is picked to finish well at this year's meet. As the defending Conference USA champions, Houston is the only program to receive a national ranking from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) this season reaching No. 23, its highest ranking since its inception in 2008.
Coming into the championship weekend, Houston holds top marks in 13 events among The American competitors.
Freshman Cameron Burrell leads the conference in the men's 60-meter dash with his record setting time of 6.55. Sophomore LeShon Collins follows with his top time of 6.60, also a record setting time. Collins is the top performer in the men's 200m (21.26) followed by Burrell (21.37). In the men's 60m hurdles, junior Issac Williams and William Gibbs sit atop the conference standings.
Cougars distance program has continued to strengthen with the addition of Brian Barraza. He leads the conference in both the 3,000m and 5,000m, the two school records the freshman now holds. However, Barraza will only compete in the 3000m for the Cougars. Junior Yonas Tesfai lead the field in the men's mile and is looking to cut his time down to a sub-4 finish. The men's distance medley relay also leads the conference with the second best time in school history (9:44.97).
Connecticut's men's team comes into the meet as the defending Big East champions. The Huskies middle distance and 4x400 relay top the conference and will give the Cougars a challenge.
Louisville scoring has come in the field events. The Cardinals have the top spots in the men's shot put, weight throw and triple jump. Houston's field events will look to continue improvement and score high for the team points.
The Women's competition is stiff among the two Texas teams, Houston and SMU. Although they finished seventh last year, the Cougar women are better than ever and own six of the top performances in the conference.
Ngozi Onwumere (No. 34) leads The American in the women's 200m followed closely by teammate Brittany Wallace. The two are members of the 4x400 team that also leads the conference and ranks 32nd on TFRRS.org. Wallace gained control of the 400m after breaking the school record at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. She ranks No. 21 in the nation. Junior Sade-Mariah Greenidge leads the 60m hurdles competition by .11 seconds.
In the field events, No. 22 Karley King looks to clear her personal record of 4.15m and jump into the record books. She needs to clear 4.21m to break the school record. Junior Dominique Brisco sits atop the women's triple jump after she leaped a personal best of 12.73m and ranks No. 27 in the nation.
SMU leads the American in the 60m dash and the distance events. The competition between Houston and SMU is always exciting and the meet may come down to the women's 4x400m relay Saturday afternoon. Cincinnati and Louisville will challenge the Cougar women in the field events.