Fifteen Roadrunners to compete at NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds this weekend
SAN ANTONIO — Fifteen members of the Southland Conference Champion UTSA men's track & field program will begin competition in a total of 10 events at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds this weekend in Austin.
The three-day meet is scheduled to get underway on Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of The University of Texas. Click here for a complete meet schedule, while real-time results will be available here and a video stream here.
The Roadrunners have a Southland-leading 17 entries and they are led by sophomore Keyunta Hayes.
Hayes will compete in both hurdles events, as well as UTSA's 1,600-meter relay team, during the next three days. The Tyler native led UTSA with a combined 22 points at this year's conference championships on the strength of gold-medal performances in the 110m and 400m hurdles and he also ran the lead leg of the team's second-place mile relay quartet. He comes into the meet with the West Region's seventh-best time (school-record 13.67/t-14th NCAA) in the high hurdles and eighth-quickest mark (50.37/12th NCAA) in the lows. Hayes has finished second or better five times in six 110m hurdles outings this spring and he has been victorious in four of his half dozen 400m hurdles races. The 2011 Southland Freshman of the Year also helped the mile relay squad post the region's 16th-fastest mark (3:08.77) in the 24-team field.
Hayes will open his second consecutive appearance at the national meet at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in the 400m hurdles, while the first-round of the 110m hurdles is scheduled for 5 p.m. the following evening. The 1,600m relay, the last event of the meet, is slated to be contested at 9:25 p.m. on Saturday.
Junior Darryl Wyrick and sophomore Joshua Smith, the second- and third-place finishers behind Hayes two weeks ago, will join their teammate in the 400m hurdles field. Wyrick's career-best time of 50.93 stands 15th in the region, while Smith's 51.30 ranks 23rd.
Junior All-American Richard Garrett Jr. also is scheduled to compete in multiple events, as he qualified for the shot put and discus. The Garland native became the first thrower in UTSA history to win a Southland crown when he took home a gold medal in the shot put two weeks ago. He registered a program-record heave of 61-8 ¼ (18.80m), which added nearly two feet to the standard he set at last year's NCAA Preliminary Rounds, to win the event by more than four feet. Garrett Jr. has won his last two outings and finished no worse than second four times this season. He went on to place fourth in the discus at the league meet and his school-record measurement of 181-0 (55.18m) established at the Texas Relays stands as his top mark of the year. The 6-foot, 260-pounder enters the weekend in eighth place (18th NCAA) in the region's 48-man shot put field and 26th in the discus. The shot put is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, while the discus will go off at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Joining Garrett Jr. in the shot put are freshman Andrew Akens and senior Mike Sanchez. Akens owns a season best of 56-10 ¾ (17.34m), which ranks 42nd in the region, while Sanchez earned the 48th and final spot in the field with his PR of 55-11 ¼ (17.05m). Both marks were recorded at last month's Bobcat Classic.
The Roadrunners will have a pair of competitors in three other field events.
Juniors Tyler Williamson and Roscoe Robinson qualified for the long jump, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Williamson owns a season best leap of 25-6 (7.77m) and that stands ninth in the regional rankings and 17th nationally. The Houston native is one of just three athletes in program history to surpass the 25-foot barrier. Meanwhile, Robinson earned a spot in the field with his season-opening mark of 24-4 ¼ (7.42m), which has him in a 43rd-place tie in the standings.
Junior All-American Keith Benford and sophomore Kerry Thompson both have cleared 7-0 ½ (2.15m) in the high jump this season and that has them in a tie for 19th place entering the meet. The duo, which finished second and fifth, respectively, at the Southland Championships, will compete at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Juniors Taylor Reed and Kyle Tomasini comprise the squad's final field-event tandem, as they will participate in the pole vault at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Both set school records of 16-10 ¾ (5.15m) at the Bobcat Classic and they come into the meet in a 40th-place tie in the regional standings.
Freshman Christopher Hall also will represent UTSA in two events. The Killeen native will take his season-best time of 46.82 (29th West Region) into the first round of the 400m, which will be contested at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. He then will team up with Hayes, Wyrick and junior James Pailin in the 1,600m relay on the final day of competition.
Rounding out the Roadrunners contingent is junior Phil Steinert, who will throw the hammer at 2 p.m. on Friday. The Round Rock native is coming off a runner-up performance at the conference meet and he has finished no worse than second in his last five outings. Steinert just missed matching his school record by one inch after winning last month's Texas Invitational with a measurement of 196-2, which has him ranked 32nd in the region.