Cougars to Host Tom Tellez Invitational

Friday’s meet will serve as Houston Track & Field’s Senior Day. The Cougars will honor 14 seniors for their contributions to the program in a ceremony prior to the running events. The Senior Day festivities are scheduled to kick off at 5:15 p.m., Friday.

The Tom Tellez Invitational will be Houston’s final meet before it hosts the American Athletic Conference Championships, and a number of top-ranked athletes will be set to compete in their last tune-up.

The Cougars enter two of the nation’s best in the 100-meter dash on Friday. Junior Cameron Burrell enters with the nation’s No. 37 time at 10.26 this season, while Jacarias Martin holds the straight-track’s 81st ranked time at 10.40.

Amere Lattin returns to the track in the 110-meter hurdles, where he enters with the No. 15 time in the NCAA this season after running 13.73 at the Houston Alumni Invitational. In the women’s hurdles, Birexus Hawkins will compete in the 100-meter hurdles for the first time this season. The freshman ranks No. 82 in the full-lap, 400-meter hurdles this season.

Houston will have a pair of its top women’s sprinters in competition on Friday. In the 200-meter dash, freshman Brianne Bethel competes with the No. 78 ranking in the nation with a top-time of 23.48, while Sierra Smith (No. 78, 100m) enters the 200 and Tori Williams (No. 44, 200m; No. 64, 100m) will run the 400-meter dash.

The women’s long jump will highlight two of the nation’s top competitors, when junior Tonye’cia Burks and freshman Samiyah Samuels compete at the invitational. Burks holds the nation’s No. 15 mark at 21-0.5 (6.41m), while Samuels ranks 41st at 20-6.25 (6.25m).

A bevy of Cougar throwers will be in action in front of the home crowd, led by sophomore Nora Monie in the discus. Monie threw the disc 164-4 (50.10m) at the Penn Relays to break into the NCAA rankings and move to No. 79 on the list. In the shot put, each of Houston’s competitors enter with top marks in the NCAA with Cameron Cornelius ranking No. 18 (61-11.5, 18.88m) and Alex Garza sitting at No. 55 (59-2.0, 18.03m).

Battling back from a pair of injuries throughout the season, sophomore Mikaila Martin has found her stride in the hammer throw this season. Martin used her first throw of the competition to launch the shot 190-8 (58.11m) to shatter her previous mark of 188-8 (57.50m) and finish second in the event.

The new mark moves Martin to No. 40 in the NCAA West division while ranking her No. 84 in the NCAA.

Prior to the running events on Saturday, the Cougars honored their 14 seniors who will be graduating at the end of the 2017 season. Houston held a special presentation for Caleb Beacham, Curtis Brown, Bria Carter, Alex Garza, Kelly Goudeau, A’Nease Linnear, Bailee Logsdon, Chris Morales, Mandy Nolan, Selena Sierra, Zach Stewart, Damon Thompson, Emiliano Troitino and Tori Williams for their incredible contributions to the University of Houston Track & Field program.

The Cougars posted 12 top-5 finishes at the final regular-season meet. Senior A’Nease Linnear threw the shot 45-0.25 (13.72m) to finish second, while Colin George also took a runner-up finish, jumping 2.00m (6-6.75) in the high jump.

A pair of seniors posted fourth-place finishes in the throws on Friday. Damon Thompson opened the morning in the hammer throw when he posted a top mark of 196-3 (59.83m), while in the shot put, Alex Garza threw 55-0.0 (16.76m). In the women’s throws, sophomore Taylor Scaife took bronze in the hammer throw after throwing 179-1 (54.58m).

Thompson was part of another duo that posted top-5 finishes, this time in the men’s discus. Junior Zach Oliva took second in the event with a mark of 164-7 (50.17m), while Thompson finished fifth after posting a personal-best 161-7 (49.26m).

In the women’s 200-meter dash, freshman Brianne Bethel posted both a top-5 time and a new personal best. Bethel, an IAAF World Qualifier in the 4x100-meter relay with Jamaica, ran 23.57 to place fourth overall and second among collegiates.

Three Cougar runners posted top-5 times at Friday’s meet honoring legendary coach Tom Tellez. Sophomore hurdler Amere Lattin took bronze in the 110-meter hurdles, when he crossed the line in 14.01. In the 100-meter dash, Cameron Burrell and Jacarias Martin worked on their techniques but still finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Senior decathlete Chris Morales found himself among the top-5 in two separate events on Friday. Morales opened the morning in the javelin, where he finished fifth in 166-7 (50.77m), before returning to set a season best in the pole vault, finishing fourth at 15-7.75 (4.77m).

Distance runner Isaac Pearce posted Houston’s first top-5 in the running events at the invitational. Running the 1,500-meter run, Pearce crossed the line in 4:08.84 to finish fourth.

Houston set 27 personal bests at Friday’s Tom Tellez Invitational, including all eight Cougars who competed in the 800-meter run. The Cougars set six personal bests in the women’s race alone, led by Debra Taylor who finished 12th overall and ninth among collegiates in 2:19.33. In the men’s race, Aaron Hurd and Caleb Beacham finished seventh and 10th with their new career-best times, respectively.

The Cougars followed the 800-meter performance with five women’s sprinters setting personal bests in the 200-meter dash. Including Bethel’s fourth-place finish, Sierra Smith, Samiyah Samuels, Kelsey Roy, and Brittini Bethel each also ran the best times of their career in the event.

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