ABOUT THE HOUSTON INVITATIONAL Field events on the first day of the Houston Invitational begin at 10 a.m., with the women’s weight throw, while the women’s pentathlon kicks off at noon, and the men’s heptathlon follows at 12:30 p.m. Running events on Friday begin with the 400-meter dash Section B finals at 4:30 p.m.
On Saturday, action resumes with the women’s shot put at 9 a.m., and the completion of the men’s heptathlon is set to start at 10 a.m. The final day of running action opens with the semifinals of the 60-meter hurdles at noon and rolls through the women’s and men’s 4x400-meter relay at 5:15 p.m.
Seniors Antwan Dickerson and Jared Kerr picked up a pair of podium finishes for the Cougars in the men’s long jump invitational. On three separate attempts, Dickerson landed a personal-best of 24-7.25 (7.50m) to finish second, while Kerr finished right behind in third at 24-4.50 (7.43m). Dickerson’s mark moves him to No. 29 on the NCAA list this season.
Sophomore multi-athlete Anna Larsson picked up a second-place finish for the Cougars in the women’s pentathlon. Larsson opened the 5-event competition with a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles in 9.43 to pick up 822 points, before scoring another 795 points by winning the high jump at 5-5.0 (1.65m).
Larsson followed that effort with a shot put toss of 30-11.25 (9.43m) to score 694 points, before winning the pentathlon long jump in a personal-best 18-8.0 (5.96m). In the final event, Larson ran the 800-meters in 2:36.58 to score 613 points. Larsson totaled a personal-best 3,478 points in the event, while teammate Cassie Leal finished fifth with a personal high of 3,151 points.
Sebastian Russi finished the first day of the men’s heptathlon in first place with 2,752 points through four events. Russi opened competition with a personal best of 7.54 in the 60-meter dash to score 700 points, before setting a new best in the long jump at 21-2.5 (6.46m) to rack up 688 more points.
Russi finished second the shot put competition with a top throw of 38-4.25 (11.69m) to score 588 points, before ending the day with a victory in the high jump after marking a personal-best 6-5.5 (1.97m).
Junior Mikaila Martin opened competition on Friday with the women’s weight throw. On her fifth attempt, Martin launched the weight 53-5.75 (16.30m) to set a new personal best and place her fourth overall in the event.
In the sprint events, the Cougars saw four women qualify for the semifinals of the 60-meter dash. Brianne Bethel won her heat and qualified with the second fastest time at 7.40. Sierra Smith also won her heat and posted the sixth fastest qualifying time at 7.57, while Ariele Adams qualified 10th overall at 7.61 and Essance Sample ran 7.62 to qualify 12th.
The men followed that performance by qualifying five sprinters for the semifinals in the 60. Houston student-athletes qualified 1-through-3 with Joe Williams (6.81), John Lewis III (6.82) and Nicholas Alexander (6.82) all winning their respective heats. Cameron Prejean qualified fifth overall with a time of 6.88, while also winning his heat, and Trenton McDonald clocked the ninth fastest time at 6.98.
Also competing unattached on Friday was junior Taylor Scaife. Scaife used her first attempt to throw the weight 68-7.25 (20.91m), a new personal best, and seal the event after just one round. Three out of four of Scaife’s throws would have broken her program record mark had she not been unattached.
Lattin blazed down the straightaway in a time of 7.80, to improve his season best and move from No. 21 nationally to No. 10 while increasing his season lead in the event in The American. The junior ranks third in Houston history with a PR of 7.74 at the 2017 Tyson Invitational.
Russi claimed the win in the two-day heptathlon with a personal-best 4,987 points, topping his previous high of 4,809 points at last season’s American Indoor Championships. The effort moved Russi to sixth on The American’s performance list in the event this season.
Russi entered Saturday in first after totaling 2,752 points on Friday and promptly ripped off two personal bests beginning with a time of 9.08 in the 60-meter hurdles. He eclipsed a PR in the pole vault, clearing 14-5.25 (4.40) to pick up 731 points. He closed the day in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:49.03.
Sophomore Samiyah Samuels claimed second in the women’s long jump as she extended her lead in The American this season by four inches, finishing with a top attempt of 19-11.50 (6.08). The jump tied Samuels’ PR set at last season’s American Indoor Championships where she finished second overall.
Senior Tonye’cia Burks also hit a PR in the event, finishing fourth at 19-7.00 (5.97) to climb into second on The American’s performance list this season.
Freshman Naomi Taylor, who owns The American’s top time in the women’s 60-meter hurdles this season, finished second overall and first among all collegiate competitors Saturday with a time of 8.60.
The men’s 60-meter dash final saw a pair of Houston freshmen take two of the top three spots as Joe Williams finished second with a time of 6.78 while Nicholas Alexander took third with a PR of 6.80 to move into sixth on The American’s performance list for the year.
The women’s shot put saw junior Nora Monie claim a top-three finish, taking third in the event with a throw of 47-7.75 (14.52).
Freshman Ben Percefull cleared 15-7.00 (4.75) in the men’s pole vault to claim a third-place finish in the event.
Joining the freshmen recording top-three finishes, Hawa Wague took third in the women’s high jump, clearing the bar at 5-7.00 (1.70).
Lattin went to the NCAA Indoor Championships last year but failed to reach the 60H finals. If the season were to end today he would have earned his second trip to the championships. Now he just has to work on improving his time.
Overall the Cougars had 14 podium places between both the men and the women. Apart from Lattin, the only other event win was from junior Sebastian Russi in the heptathlon. Russi scored a personal best 4987 points in the win, currently the sixth best performance in conference.