WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Senior Brian Barraza officially returns to action for Houston on Friday, where he will compete for the first time as a Cougar in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. While competing unattached and redshirting in 2017, Barraza ran the steeplechase in 8:32.48, which qualified him for a berth at the USATF Championships, and is the fastest returning time entering the 2018 collegiate season.
Junior Felipe Valencia will also be in action on Friday, in a loaded field of the men’s hammer throw. Valencia has the 59th-best mark in the NCAA through the early season at 180-2 (54.91m).
Valencia will return to action on Saturday for the shot put, where the Cougars have three athletes on the men’s and women’s side who are ranked among the nation’s best. Senior Cameron Cornelius holds the 52nd-best mark in the NCAA this season on the men’s side at 53-7.0 (16.33m), while on the women’s side, Nora Monie’s season-best of 49-5.75 (15.08m) ranks 21st overall, while Priscilla Adejokun sits 50th at 47-4.25 (14.43m).
Monie will also be in action in the discus, where Houston will have four of the nation’s top marks entering the field, including her best of 151-6 (46.18m), which ranks 63rd in the NCAA. On the men’s side, Kenneth Sessums ranks 72nd at 160-9 (49.01m), Zach Oliva sits 79th at 159-10 (48.73m) and Jose Rodriguez holds the 90th spot at 156-7 (47.74m).
Houston will stack the field in each of the men’s and women’s horizontal jump events. On the men’s side, Jared Kerr enters with the 12th best long jump mark in the NCAA this season at 24-4.5 (7.43m), while holding the 35th position in the triple jump at 48-0.75 (14.65m). Antwan Dickerson holds the 25th best mark in the long jump at 23-10.0 (7.26m), while defending American Champion Samiyah Samuels will join the field for the women.
Pole vaulters will highlight the vertical jump events at the Victor Lopez Classic, where the Cougars field a ranked opponent on each of the men’s and women’s sides. Ben Percefull holds the No. 39 mark in the men’s event at 16-0.75 (4.90m), while for the women, Sarah Howe leapt 11-7.75 (3.55m) a week ago to post the 90th best mark in the nation.
Also in the vertical leaps, freshman Hawa Wague enters as the 21st best women’s high jumper with a season-best 5-7.0 (1.70m), while on the men’s side, Colin George ranks 34th at 6-8.0 (2.03m).
Junior Amere Lattin will be Houston’s final ranked individual in action on Saturday. The reigning American Athletic Conference Track Athlete of the Week will enter the 110-meter hurdles, where he posted the third-fastest time in the NCAA a week ago in 13.93.