Gilbert, Rogers earn All-American designations at NCAA meet

Former San Antonio area standouts Tre’Bien Gilbert and Alex Rogers brought home All-American designations Friday on Day 3 of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Gilbert, an Arkansas freshman from Judson, ran the third leg of the Razorbacks’ 4×100-meter relay.

Rogers, a University of Texas senior from New Braunfels Canyon, finished sixth in a grueling 3,000-meter steeplechase that was run in 90-degree weather in Austin.

Ashtin Zamzow, a UT senior from Goliad, held second place in the women’s heptathlon after four events.

Ranked No. 1 in the nation coming into the meet, Zamzow will need to come from behind and catch Texas A&M sophomore Tyra Gittens to win the title Saturday on the last day of the meet at Myers Stadium.

In the first event of the evening session Friday, Arkansas finished fourth in one of the fastest 4×100 relays in championship history.

Florida won in a collegiate best 37.97 seconds, followed by Florida State (38.08), Texas Tech (38.45) and Arkansas (38.58).

Both Florida and Floria State bested the previous record of 38.17, set last year by the University of Houston.

The Arkansas sprint relay consisted of freshman Josh Oglesby, sophomore Kris Hari, Gilbert and redshirt senior Roy Ejiakuekwu.

Last year, Gilbert emerged as one of the top high school hurdlers in the nation as a Judson senior.

He won state titles in Class 6A in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.

In his first outdoor season as a collegian, he moved into the rotation of runners on the Arkansas sprint relay two weeks ago during the West Regional preliminaries.

Gilbert held tight to the position at the national meet, running third on the Arkansas relay in Wednesday’s semifinals and in Friday’s finals.

In the 3000 steeplechase, Rogers started fast, holding second or third place through the first five minutes.

From there, he faded to back in the pack but finished strong, passing a few runners at the end for sixth in 8 minutes and 43.29 seconds.

Two runners tripped on barriers and fell on the last lap.

One of them, Stanford’s Steven Fahy, got up and won the race in 8:38.46.

Sam Worley, a UT sophomore from New Braunfels Canyon, finished a disappointing ninth in the 1,500 meters.

Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse won in 3:41.381, coming from behind and leaning at the end to beat second-place Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State, who was timed at 3:41.384.

Worley entered the meet ranked fifth.

But he finished a hard-luck ninth in 3:42.81, less than a half second behind both seventh-place Jack Antsey of Illinois State and eighth-place Casey Comber of Villanova.

In the heptathlon, Gittens and Zamzow were 1-2 in the standings through four events.

Gittens, from Nashville, Tenn., scored a victory in the high jump and placed second in the shot put.

Zamzow placed third in both the 100-hurdles and third in the shot put.

Going into the last day, which consists of competitions in the long jump, javelin and 800 meters, Gittens holds a 161-point edge (3,872-3,711) on Zamzow.

Zamzow started her career at Texas A&M before transferring to Texas.

She scored a career-high and nation-leading 6,148 points at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in March.

Gittens’ best this year was 5,793 at the Southeastern Conference championships on May 9.

Final men’s team standings

Top 10

Texas Tech 60, Florida 50, Houston 40, Georgia 32.5, Stanford 32, Texas A&M 29, LSU 28, BYU 27, Texas 26, Alabama 25.

UT freshman Sam Worley places fifth in NCAA 1,500 meters

Texas freshman Sam Worley rallied for a fifth-place finish Friday in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship.

The race was contested in a light rain at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

Worley, a former state champion at New Braunfels Canyon High School, trailed near the back of the pack with two laps to go.

He was in seventh with about 200 meters remaining, but he kicked down the stretch, passing two runners to grab fifth.

Oliver Hoare, a sophomore from Wisconsin, rallied in the final 100 meters to win the title in 3 minutes and 44.77 seconds.

Senior Vincent Ciattei of Virginia Tech was second in 3:45.012, finishing just ahead of the defending champion, New Mexico’s Josh Kerr. Kerr was timed in 3:45.015.

Robert Domanic of Ole Miss was fourth in 3:45.47, with Worley fifth at 3:45.67. By virtue of his top eight finish, Worley is a first-team, All American.

Nobody in the race even approached a season-best time. Worley ran a season-best 3:40.00 in April in Azusa, California.

Cameron Burrell’s big day

University of Houston senior Cameron Burrell won the 100-meter dash in 10.13 seconds after anchoring the Cougars’ record-setting victory in the 4×100 relay.

The Cougars finished 1-2 in the 100 with Elijah Hall taking second.

In the triple jump, Texas A&M sophomore Tahar Triki won with a leap of 55 feet and one inch. Texas Tech junior Odaine Lewis placed second at 54-10 and 3/4.

USC’s Ford is seventh in the 800

Robert Ford, a Southern Cal senior from Johnson, won first-team, All-American honors by finishing seventh in the 800 meters.

Penn State’s Isaiah Harris won in 1:44.76. Freshman Marco Arop from Mississippi State was second in 1:45.25. UTEP’s Michael Saruni, who kicked into the lead on the second and final lap, faded to third in 1:45.31.

Ford covered two laps around the oval in 1:46.72.

UTSA’s Anderson ties for 13th

On a rainy day when freshman Tejaswin Shankar of Kansas State won the high jump by clearing only 7-4 1/2, UTSA’s Ty Anderson tied for 13th. Anderson went 6-9 and 3/4.

Georgia men win team title

1, Georgia, 52
2, Florida, 42
3, Houston, 35
4, USC, 34
5, Alabama, 33
5, Texas Tech, 33
7, Texas A&M, 29
8, Stanford, 28
8, LSU, 28
10, Miss. State, 26

UT’s Worley to test his resolve in an NCAA 1,500-meter title shot

A shadow of mental anguish still looms over Sam Worley, to a certain extent.

He is still haunted in some respects by the memory of a disappointing effort three months ago at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.

“I remember the feeling,” the former state champion at New Braunfels Canyon said recently. “I almost don’t know how to put it into words. I was not happy.”

Worley just didn’t have it that day.

One of the best high school mile runners in U.S. history showed up in College Station in March with significant momentum in his burgeoning career.

But after a lackluster showing in the preliminaries of the mile, he failed to reach the finals.

Remembered Worley, “I had worked too hard … I was too good of a competitor not to be in the final.”

In that regard, Worley said it represents a break through in his own mind to have qualified for the finals of the 1,500 meters outdoors.

Worley will toe the starting line as the only freshman in the finals tonight at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

He qualified Wednesday afternoon with a fourth-place finish in his heat and the fourth fastest overall time in the semifinals.

“That improvement alone has been really special to me,” Worley said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “I’m celebrating that. But, at the same time, I have a chance to do something special in the final.

“Now, it’s just a matter of going out there and competing and having the killer instinct to finish as high as possible.”

Athletes who will chase the championship in the 1,500 all held back some on Wednesday, with qualifying times ranging from 3 minutes and 47.47 secconds to 3:50.03.

The times are expected to be much faster tonight, but it’s hard to tell what kind of race will unfold.

Two years ago, the winner in the men’s 1,500 came in at 3:36.38. Last year, New Mexico’s Josh Kerr won in 3:43.03.

Kerr is the clear favorite to win tonight, having set the NCAA record in the event at 3:35.01 on April 20 in Azusa, California.

Worley, whose best is 3:40.00 from that same race, said he doesn’t know what type of pace he will see tonight.

“I have no clue,” he said.

Worley said he only knows what to expect from himself, and he thinks he can run under 3:40 if he feels good and the conditions are right.

“If it’s an honest race where I can run free and clear for a good portion of it, I think I could go sub 3:40,” he said. “But you also have to take into account, it’s the end of the season.

“It’s been a long six months of training. The body’s getting a little tired. So you never know until race day what you think you can do.”

Anyone who has seen Worley run as a prep athlete for New Braunfels Canyon understands the extent of his talent and the size of his heart.

He won the state title in the 1,600 twice, as both a junior and a senior. Last year, as a senior, he won the 800 and the 1,600 state titles on the same day at UT’s Myers Stadium.

Asked directly if he thinks he can win tonight, Worley said he does believe it is possible, but that everything would need to fall into place.

Two months ago in California, he could’t find much space on the track in a congested field, and he finished the fastest 1,500-meter race in collegiate history in 18th place.

This time, with a little more wisdom in the ways of elite runners such as Kerr, Robert Domanic and Sam Prakel, maybe he can find some open spaces. Maybe Worley can win, or, at least, find his way to the podium.

“I know it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be tough,” he said. “I’ll have to really work for it. But you know, anything is possible.”

If nothing else, Worley now feels more confident than he did a few months ago when he left College Station bewildered about his sub-par effort.

After all, his body of work speaks for itself.

In high school, he was a generational phenomenon who broke Reuben Reina’s 30-year-old area records.

In his third race in college, Worley set the UT school record in the mile.

He also won a Big 12 title outdoors in the 1,500 and now, as of this week, he has made it to his sport’s biggest stage in an NCAA outdoor final.

“Some of the hurt that I felt during indoor kind of evaporated a little bit (on Wednesday),” Worley said. “But at the same time, I feel I’m on a mission, I’m really hoping to get in the top eight.

“It’s just going to be about … competing as best I can.”

Texas’ Sam Worley qualifies for finals in NCAA 1,500 meters

Texas’ Sam Worley, a former state champion at New Braunfels Canyon, emerged Wednesday as the only freshman to qualify for the 12-man finals in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

His UT teammate, Alex Rogers, did not qualify in spite of a strong performance in the semifinals on the first day of the national meet. The meet runs through Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

A field of 24 runners competed in the 1,500 semifinals, 12 each in two heats. The top five finishers in each heat qualified automatically, with the next two best times also making it through to the finals, scheduled for Friday night.

Both Worley and Rogers ran in the second heat, the fastest of the day, which was won by New Mexico’s Josh Kerr in 3 minutes and 47.47 seconds.

Other automatic qualifiers out of the heat included second-place Robert Domanic of Ole Miss (3:47.61), Vincent Ciattei of Virginia Tech (3:47.73), Worley (3:47.84) and Cameron Griffith of Arkansas (3:47.93).

Rogers, who also ran in high school at New Braunfels Canyon, finished 10th in 3:48.67. He didn’t advance even though he ran faster than anyone in the first heat.

The five automatic qualifiers from the first heat of the day included Oregon’s Sam Prakel (3:49.33), Wisconsin’s Oliver Hoare, Oregon’s Mick Stanovsek, Virginia Tech’s Diego Zarate and Michigan State’s Justine Kiprotich.

The two fastest times outside the automatic qualifiers belonged to Amos Bartelsmeyer of Georgetown (3:48.00) and Mike Marsella of Virginia (3:48.01).

Friday’s race is expected to be much faster. Kerr, a junior, set the NCAA record in the event earlier this year in 3:35.01. Domanic and Prakel have also run 3:36 plus. Worley’s best this season has been 3:40 flat.

Ford reaches 800 finals

Robert Ford, a senior at Southern Cal from Johnson High School, registered the seventh best time of the day in the semifinals of the 800 meters. As a result, he will move into the eight-man finals, scheduled Friday night.

Ford ran 1:47.38. He was third in his heat. The top two finishers in each of three heats advanced, plus the next two fastest times. Ford had the No. 2 time among runners who finished outside the top two.

UTSA’s Riley in the decathlon

UTSA senior Adrian Riley had a fast start but fell back into 10th place after five events in the decathlon. He has 4,086 points.

Riley from Jamaica, opened with the 100 meters in 10.82 seconds for the fifth fastest time in the field. He was third best in the long jump at 25 feet, 11 and 1/2 inches, which set the UTSA school record. The decathlon is scheduled to be completed with the final five eventes on Thursday.

UTSA’s Patrick Prince ran the 110 hurdles in 14.10 seconds for the 20th best time of the day in the semifinals. He did not advance, but he did earn honorable mention All-American, a first in school history in the high hurdles.

Texas State’s 4×100 relay placed seventh in the second of three heats and also failed to advance. The Bobcats’ time of 39.81 was 18th overall on the day.

NCAA notebook

Worley, a record-setting middle distance runner in high school, has already started to make headlines on the collegiate level.

He won the Big 12 outdoor title in Waco, becoming the first UT runner to win that event since Leo Manzano in 2008. His time of 3:44.63 was a track record.

Worley’s season best — 3:40.00 — came on April 19 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California. The time stood up as No. 13 in the nation leading into the NCAA meet.

In high school, he established San Antonio area records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

The records in the 1,600 and 3,200 previously belonged to Reuben Reina, the 1980s-era star at John Jay who ran in the 1992 Olympics.

Worley won the state title twice in the 1,600 meters, as both a junior and a senior. Last spring, in his senior year, he won both the 800 and 1,600.