Rainy skies greeted the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Wednesday, but the Longhorns did not have to look far to find their silver lining.
On the men’s side, the story of the first two days of competition certainly centered around sophomore Johannes Hock in the decathlon. Hock, who took home the decathlon national championship last outdoor season, was competing in the event for the first time since that meet because of an elbow injury. Hock competed during the indoor season but only in individual events.
For most of the competition, Hock looked like his old self. With only two events remaining, he was in the lead by more than 200 points with a score of 6,543.
Then came the javelin on Thursday.
Heading into the week, Hock knew that because of his elbow surgery he would have to throw javelin left-handed, a strategy he had little experience with.
“I’ve thrown a couple times, you know not a lot, because it’s kind of weird and it doesn’t feel good,” Hock said.
The adjustment ended up proving detrimental to his final score, as he finished 16th in the javelin, dropping him to fourth overall in the competition. Hock made up some ground with a strong finish in the 1500 meters but could only manage to climb to 3rd place overall after the final event with a score of 7,573, just 69 points below first place.
Blue skies and a light breeze greeted the Longhorn women as they began competition in front of their home crowd on Thursday.
Senior Danielle Dowie fed off of the atmosphere and the pristine running conditions to finish first in her heat en route to a second place finish in the 400-meter hurdles preliminaries.
The Texas 4x800 meter relay team of senior Marielle Hall, junior Connor Ward, freshman Mary Beth Hamilton and senior Katie Hoaldridge finished second in their final. The team fell behind early, but Hamilton covered a ton of ground in the third leg, reaching second place and showing the kind of talent that will allow her to benefit the team immensely in the future. In the final leg, the Longhorns managed to take the lead before finishing just behind Baylor with a time of 8:47.79.
The conditions could not help everyone though. The women’s 1500 meters B-final saw the Longhorns finish uncharacteristically low in the event. The race began well, with three Longhorns jostling for position in the lead pack, but at the finish, Texas held the last five places in the field of eleven.
The Texas Relays continue Friday and Saturday, when national champions sophomore Ryan Crouser and sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose will show off their skills before the home crowd.