Burrellis track and field
recruits showing competitive ability
By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff
Track and field head coach Leroy Burrell
is cautiously optimistic about the future of his Cougar teams. That translates
into trouble with a capital "T" for Conference USA rivals.
UH upperclassmen rank among the best in
the nation in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500-meter races, according to
Trackwire polls. But Cougar freshmen and sophomores are making a splash
in Division I competition as well.
"I feel like we addressed our needs with
good, talented athletes," Burrell said. "They may not be the most heralded
athletes in the country, but we signed some very good young men to our
Burrell said heis cautiously optimistic
because C-USA will be adding two strong track programs next season.
Sophomore heptathlete Delilah
Battle leaps in competition Saturday. Battle is one of the Cougars recruited
by head track and field coach Leroy Burrell.
The Daily Cougar
Texas Christian and East Carolina will
compete for the conference crown the Cougar men have owned since the first
C-USA championship meet four years ago.
Burrell wants to prepare for the new conference
rivals by recruiting the best athletes possible to ensure UH remains the
cream of the conference crop.
"Weire very fortunate to have Jenny Adams
back, but at the same time, itis time for our younger athletes to step
up if weire going to stay a (womenis) top 10 team," Burrell said.
Burrell points to his freshmen and sophomores
as keys to this seasonis success.
"This year, going in, I had a lot of uncertainty,"
If the efforts of sophomores Lauren Smith
and Robert Foster are any indication, Burrellis recruits are beginning
to make their impact felt in the conference.
Smith is a sprinter and hurdler who will
step into seven-time All-American Jenny Adamsi shoes when the NCAA long
jump champion concludes her UH career at the NCAA Indoor Championships
Burrell expects Smith to step in and provide
relief for his beleaguered relay teams as well as contend in the long jump
Foster was the C-USA Freshman of the Year
last season and has continued to show steady improvement, as witnessed
by his blazing 21.61 in the 200-meters sprint Saturday at Yeoman Field
Burrell said the most difficult part of
his job is recruiting.
"Iim not satisfied with our effort from
start to finish," he said. " Iim a little disappointed in our recruiting
The Cougar women have been ranked in the
top 10 three years in a row, yet Burrell strives for even greater success.
"We still need kids to get to the national
level," he said.
Freshmen Jasmin Jackson, Jessica Edwards
and Allie Mascorro are important parts of the equation to get the Cougar
women in a position to contend for a national championship.
Jackson is competing and scoring in every
meet while Mascorro is pounding the track in the distance races, learning
what it takes to compete at the college level.
Edwards is competing every day against
the best womenis pole-vaulter in C-USA, and perhaps the country, when she
vaults against junior All-American Rhian Clarke.
The womenis team suffered a setback when
freshman basketball and track standout Chandi Jones went down with a torn
ACL. Jones was one of the premier long and triple jumpers in the nation.
The Bay City native was a four-time state champion in both events.
Burrell has recruited a number of freshmen
men who have jumped right in to contribute this season, especially in the
Juan Cardenas is the leader of a solid
group of freshmen distance runners, including Richard Ring, Justin Schuelke,
Alex Winstel, Ronnie Martinez and Timothy Whitaker.
"My staff and I are working hard," Burrell
said. "Weive signed a good high jumper. Weire looking for a quarter-miler
for the men, we need men for the shot put and discus as well as the high
jump and pole vault."