MEET PREVIEW: 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays
NEW ORLEANS – Death, taxes and the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Those three are about the only constants in this world nowadays.
Since 1927 – excluding two years during the Great Depression – the best-of-the-best track & field athletes have descended upon Austin, Texas, over one weekend for one of the premier meets in the world.
The 90th edition of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by Spectrum, begin shortly at Mike A. Myers Stadium in the heart of Texas’ capital, with the multi events kicking things off around 10:30 a.m. The meet is scheduled through Saturday afternoon. With around 7,700 athletes ranging from high school, college and the professional ranks, there is no shortage of talent.
As is always the case, the relays will be the main focal point of the meet. In the Cleburne Price Jr. men’s 4×400 relay, three of the top teams on the NCAA Division I descending order list in Texas A&M, Baylor and Southern California are all slated to compete. The Clyde Littlefield 4×100 men’s relay is stacked too, with Texas A&M, Southern California, Houston and Baylor all prepared pass the baton.
The women’s relays are just as solid, with 4 of the top-5 4×100 relay teams in the country slated for the Carlette Guidry 4×100 relay in LSU, Texas A&M, Southern California and Baylor. The Sonya Richards-Ross 4×400 relay is not short on exceptional teams, either, as Baylor, Texas A&M and Clemson will all field squads.
A slew of former Longhorns are making their way back to campus, as Olympic Gold Medalists Morolake Akinosun and Courtney Okolo as well as Silver Medalists Trey Hardee and Leo Manzano and Bronze Medalist Ashley Spencer will compete as professionals right where their careers started.
Everyone at the meet will be following the Longhorn athletes and relay races closely. However, there are quite a few individual events that folks should keep an eye on, as well. We’ll look at a few of them here.
And, for those of you yearning for a closer look at some mid-distance and distance competition for the upcoming weekend, we will have a preview on the Stanford Invitational coming out tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Men’s 100 Meters
Prelims: Friday, March 31| 10:45 a.m.
Finals Saturday, April 1 | 3:18 p.m.
Devote your full attention to the the men’s 100 meters. Because if you don’t, it’ll be over before you know it.
This race features 4 of the top-5 runners in NCAA Division I in BYU’s Tatenda Tsumba, (10.18) and Northwestern State’s Micah Larkins (10.26) and Amir James (10.30). Couple that with the fact that others entered into the race include Prairie View A&M’s Keon Campbell and Florida State’s Edward Clarke – who both sit in the top-10 – as well as two top-10 200 meter runners in Houston’s Amere Lattin and Southern California’s Just’N Thymes, and you have the makings of a race that should produce breakneck times.
Additionally, Houston’s Cameron Burrell (10.26) will compete in the 100 meter invitational at approximately 2:55 p.m.
Women’s 100 Hurdles
Prelims: Friday, March 31 | 10:15 a.m.
Finals: Saturday, April 1 | 2:17 p.m.
Texas’ Rushelle Burton may have the hometown crowd behind her, but the rookie will have some stiff competition in the 100 hurdles.
Current NCAA Division I leader and 2016 NCAA Outdoor runner-up Tobi Amusan from UTEP is entered in the race after having run an altitude-adjusted 12.67 last weekend at the Miners’ home meet. Joining them will be fellow top-10 runners Dior Hall and Anna Cockrell from USC, as well as Payton Stumbaugh of Arkansas and TCU’s Brittney Trought. The runner-up from the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, Purdue’s Devynne Charlton, is also slated to run.
Burton enters the meet in 3rd on the NCAA Division I descending order list, and has had a strong start to her collegiate career. She and Cockrell were the only two freshmen to qualify for the finals in the 60 hurdles during the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships a few weeks ago.
Men’s 110 Hurdles
Prelims: Friday, March 31 | 10:15 a.m.
Finals: Saturday, April 1 | 2:35 p.m.
The Longhorns’ Spencer Dunkerley-Offor is scheduled to compete in the 110 hurdles, where he currently owns the 2nd-fastest time in NCAA Division I. Last weekend at Rice, the senior posted a time of 13.86.
Like his female counterpart, he will need a boost of adrenaline from a raucous home crowd in his race.
The only man with a faster time in NCAA Division I this year than Dunkerley-Offor is Illinois’ David Kendziera, who is slated to compete in this event in Austin. The Illinois junior ran a 13.73 at the UNLV Invitational two weekends ago. UTSA’s Patrick Prince will also make the short ride over from San Antonio to run in the 110 hurdles, too, as he sits 3rd in NCAA Division I this year.
Women’s 400 Hurdles
Prelims: Thursday, March 30 | 4:30 p.m.
Finals: Saturday, April 1 | 7:00 p.m.
With 5 hurdlers that sit in the top-10 of the NCAA Division I descending order list, the women’s 400 hurdles could be the deepest individual event of the Texas Relays.
Purdue’s Symone Black enters the meet as the top competitor on the NCAA Division I descending order list that will be competing in Austin, having run a 57.71 at the UTSA Invitational for the 3rd-best mark in the nation.
A pair of Longhorns in Ariel Jones and Mariam Abdul-Rashid sit 5th and 7th, respectively in NCAA Division I this year. Jones (58.29) and Abdul-Rashid (58.41) were solid at the Victor Lopez Classic at Rice a week ago.
With LSU’s Bryiana Richardson (6th) and Boston University’s Toria Levy (9th) also scheduled to compete, this event is definitely one to focus on.
Men’s Pole Vault
Saturday, April 1 | 3:00 p.m.
Want to see four of the best pole vaulters collegiate track and field has to offer? The Texas Relays has you squared away.
2017 NCAA Indoor Champion Chris Nilsen headlines a quartet that owns the top-4 marks in NCAA Division I this year. Nilsen is atop the leaderboard after clearing 5.65m (18-6½) at the Baldy Castillo Invitational.
Joining Nilsen will be Southeastern Louisiana’s Devin King, Akron’s Matthew Ludwig and Samford’s Try Oates, who sit 2nd-4th on the descending order list, respectively.