Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 2/26/12
Cougars fall one point short in C-USA men's indoor track and field The fact that the Tulsa Golden Hurricane moved from the second place finish they had in 2011 to first place in 2012 was a surprise even to their head coach. In the Conference USA indoor meet staged at the new Birmingham Crossplex coach Steve Gulley admitted to FSN's Jeremy Bloom he had been hoping for another second. The Cougars looked too tough to overcome. Not only had they won in 2011, but had dominated the league. Houston had won twelve men's indoor titles in sixteen years. They would not win a 17th in 2012. Houston had a huge 30 point lead with two events to run, but lack of talent and depth in the long distance gameone of Tulsa's strong pointsdid them in. In the 3000 meter run Houston did not score a point. Tulsa scored 34 and the lead changed hands. Houston was favored to win the last eventthe men's 4x400 relay. Had they done it and Tulsa finished no higher than third it would have been another Houston victory. For three quarters of the relay things were looking good for Houston. The Cougars were well in front with Tulsa running fourth behind both UTEP and East Carolina. Then came the final leg. Houston freshman Anthony Coleman could not hold the lead, being edged by UTEPs Curtis **** at the finish, while Tulsa's Julian Frazier had a strong finish and moved Tulsa into third. With UTEPs win in a conference indoor meet record 3:11.64, Houston second and Tulsa third, a new champion was guaranteed. For Tulsa it was the Golden Hurricane's first C-USA men's title. For Houston is was their last chance to win another one. They move to the Big East Conference next year. Still, 12 men's titles in 17 years is impressive. Ladies have first time winner, too A first time winner on the ladies side as well. East Carolina rallied to knock off the women's defending champs from the University of Central Florida. They also clinched it by winning the 4x400 relay with UCF second. But the real turning point was one event earlier as it was for Tulsa on the men's side. Brittany Copeland won the 3000 meters and the ten points she earned pushed East Carolina ahead of UCF for the first time. Like the Houston men, UCF's women did not score a point in the event. So the defending champions Houston and UCF both lost out in the 3000 meters when they did not score a point to lose leads heading down the stretch. Tulsa and East Carolina had the depth (Tulsa) and skill (Brittany Copeland, East Carolina) to get the points they needed. The Conference USA men's and women's indoor track and field meet will seen on FSN affiliates and other outlets as early as next Friday. Check your local listings. If you join Lara Overton, Jeremy Bloom and me for the telecast you will be witnessing a number of conference record setting times and multiple winners. You will also be seeing, perhaps for the first time, some names you may be hearing more of in future national competitions and maybe even the Olympics.
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