UH Cougars dominate at indoor championships

The University of Houston teams traveled to Birmingham recently for the American Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships. When it was all said and done, one could make a case that the conference meet should be renamed after Houston. The Cougars dominated the field winning both the men’s and women’s championships.

UH isthe first school in AAC history to sweep the league’s indoor track and field title. For the men it was their fifth straight American title. For the Lady Cougars it was their first indoor title since claiming the 2006 Conference USA Indoor Championship. 

The Cougars also swept the league’s most outstanding track performance awards. Senior sprinter Kahmari Montgomeryclaimed the men’s track honor, while sophomore hurdler Naomi Taylorclaimed the women’s honor. 

UH women grabbed three individual titles as Taylor(60-meter hurdles), Brianne Bethel(200-meter dash) and the 4×400-meter relay team stood atop the podium joining the titles from Taylor Scaifein the weight throw and Samiyah Samuelsin the long jump. 

Cougar men captured six individual titles as Montgomery(400-meter dash), Felipe Valencia(shot put), Mario Burke(60-meter dash), Obi Igbokwe(200-meter dash), Amere Lattin(60-meter hurdles) and the men’s 4×400-meter relay each claimed titles to go along with Trumaine Jefferson’slong jump win.

Montgomery clocked a 2019 world-leading time of 45.04 in the 400 to move up to No. 9 on the NCAA’s all-time performance list and better both his own Houston, American Championships and Birmingham Crossplex facility records.  

The Cougars closed out the weekend with a sweep in the 4×400-meter relay as both the Houston men and women set American Championships record. The women’s quartet of Payge Side, Birexus Hawkins, Jazmyn Tilford-Rutherfordand Bethel snapped UConn’s five-year old meet record with a time of 3:37.82. 

The men’s foursome of John Lewis III, Quivell Jordan, Burke and Jermaine Holt combined to clock a time of 3:09.99, breaking Houston’s own year-old record in the event. 

Next up for the UH track team is the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Houston men will enter the national meet with seven entries while the Houston women will have four entries. 

Montgomery (a senior) leads the men’s team. He is No. 1 in the nation in the 400 meters and he’s a member of the No. 1-ranked 4×400 meter relay. Igbokwe (senior) is third in the nation in the 400 meters and seventh in the nation in the 200 meters. 

Burke (senior) is seventh in the nation in the 60 meters. Lattin (senior) is 10thin the nation in the 60-meter hurdles. Jefferson (senior) is ranked 11thin the nation in the long jump.

Taylor Scaife (junior) leads the contingency of Cougar women. She’s ranked No. 4 in the nation in the weight throw. Taylor (sophomore) is ranked 10thin the 60-meter hurdles. Bethel (junior) is ranked 16thin the 200 meters. Samuels (junior) is ranked 16thnationally in the long jump.