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Friday, September 30, 2022 — Houston, TX

Colwick dominates pole vault once again

By Jonathan Myers     2/5/09 6:00pm

The University of Houston's Yeoman Fieldhouse has suddenly become one giant good luck charm for the men's track team. After finishing in first place two weeks ago at the Leonard Hilton Invitational, also held at UH, the Owls turned in some incredible individual performances on Saturday. Junior Jason Colwick started the weekend with a new school record for the pole vault in indoor competition. His vault of 5.40 meters broke Paul Bratloff's mark of 5.26 meters set in 1983. Both Colwick, who was just named Conference USA Male Athlete of the Week on Tuesday, and sophomore Shea Kearney tied Bratloff's mark last year. Colwick now owns both the school indoor and outdoor records for the pole vault, as he vaulted 5.55 meters to win the Texas Relays last April. Saturday's vault was the third-best in the nation this year and was a provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Head coach Jon Warren (Jones '88) spoke of the difficulties that track and field athletes must overcome just to qualify for the national championship.

"I cannot emphasize how difficult it is to get into the NCAA meet for indoors," Warren said. "If you assume three people per event, per school, with 300 schools, that's 900 people [competing]. 15 people make it. That's 1.5, 1.8 percent. That's kind of like making the BCS National Championship."

Considering that there aren't any pesky sportswriters or BCS computers to keep Colwick out of the meet, it looks like he has a good chance to go to the NCAA Championships in March. The rest of the pole vault team turned in excellent numbers as well, with junior Chris Kato finishing third and sophomore Garrett Stafford matching his personal best of 4.61 meters.

Redshirt sophomore Ugo Nduaguba also finished first for the Owls in the triple jump, taking gold after finishing in second at the last meet with a strained leg.

Despite both feeling under the weather, sophomore Clay Baker and freshman Alex Zinchenko still managed to contribute to the team effort as Baker finished seventh and Zinchenko finished 17th in the shot put. Sophomore Will Meyers led the way for the throwers, finishing fifth with a throw of 15.95 meters. Baker also took seventh in the weight toss.

The distance events also proved a high point for the Owls. Junior Brad Morris was the top collegiate finisher in the 5000 with a time of 15:30. Senior Simon Bucknell, sophomore Michael Trejo and senior Justin Maxwell each scored in the 3000m, finishing fourth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Senior Brett Olson took sixth in the mile and junior Matt Hoffman finished nine seconds behind Olson to take ninth, while junior Scott Zivick placed ninth in the 800 as well.

The team's performance in the 3000 also earned provisional times for the conference meet.

"The 3000 was a very solid race, [since] we had three guys all run fast enough to make the fast heat at conference," Warren said.

Freshmen sensations Collin Shurbet and Clayton Chaney continued their success from two weeks ago on Saturday. Chaney finished third in the heptathlon, finishing first in both the 60 meter dash and 60 meter hurdles portions and second in the long jump portion.

After Chaney's performance, Warren sees more potential for him in the outdoor season.

"I expect in outdoor, Clayton will do the decathlon," Warren said. "He's going to be a great decathlete."

Warren had Shurbet try the 60m hurdles as well as the 200m, where Shurbet ran a quick 23.03 seconds.

"He's a really good hurdler," Warren said. "He's definitely going to be a 400m hurdler, [but] we're still playing with whether he's a 60m hurdler or not. I think he'll focus on the quarter mile."

Juniors Ahmad Sweeney, Chris Douglas and John Welch all performed well in the 60m sprints, with Welch turning in a 7.09 second dash, good for tops on the team.

In return for their efforts, the sprinters will remain here in the mild Houston winter while some of the team, mainly those in field events, will venture to Lincoln, Neb., home of the Frank Sevigne Classic.

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