UT alums named Team USA cap­tains

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Amer­i­can-States­man staff Con­tact Danny Davis at 512-445-3952. Twit­ter: @aas­danny

Ath­letes on the U.S. track and field team have cho­sen two for­mer Longhorns, Michelle Carter and Trey Hardee, as cap­tains for the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

Texas head coach Mario Sategna is also in Lon­don, serv­ing as the U.S. men’s head coach for the first time. He’s been on the staff mul­ti­ple times as an as­sis­tant coach.

“What a spe­cial honor for Michelle and Trey to be team cap­tains to­gether for Team USA,” Sategna said in a state­ment. “They both have had such great ca­reers, and they have rep­re­sented them­selves, their coun­try and the Univer­sity of Texas with pride and grace the en­tire way.

“I couldn’t be more proud to head into this world cham- pi­o­nship meet with Long- horns lead­ing the way for us as team cap­tains.”

Carter, an Olympic gold medal­ist in 2016, will com­pete in the shot put, and Hardee, who won gold in 2009 and 2011 at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships, will be in the de­cathlon.

This is the sec­ond time Carter has been elected cap­tain of Team USA. She earned that honor at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Hardee won the sil­ver

“I don’t want to think about it too much,” said John­son, who was on the field dur­ing part of the off- sea­son pro­gram and is go­ing full speed at the start of train­ing camp.

“I’ve had some good luck, and I want to keep it go­ing,” John­son said. “It’s a lit­tle dif- fer­ent process from my Achilles re­cov­ery now than a cou­ple of years ago be­cause it was al­most a year re­moved (back then), so phys­i­cally I was all the way well.”

Men­tally, John­son said, he’s ready to go. The phys- ical part should be there by the sea­son opener.

That’s good news for the Chiefs, who strug­gled to stop the run last sea­son. John­son’s un­canny abil­ity to dart through and make stops was sorely miss­ing in a play­off loss to Pitts­burgh as LeVeon Bell ran 30 times for 170 yards.

“It feels good to see him out there,” said fel­low line- backer Justin Hous­ton, who is com­ing off a knee in­jury of his own. “He looks great. He looks fast.”

John­son sur­passed 1,000 ca­reer tack­les last sea­son, but his con­sis­tency is what’s most re­mark­able. He has eas- medal at the 2012 Olympics in Lon­don at the same sta­dium where he’ll com­pete in this meet.

Carter was the first Amer- ican woman to win gold in the shot put. She has an­other gold from the 2016 World In­door Cham­pi­onships. Car- ter also has a bronze medal from the 2015 World Cham- pi­o­nships.

Both ex­pressed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion in posts on In­sta­gram.

The only Longhorn in ac­tion Fri­day was sprinter Senoj-Jay Gi­vans of Ja­maica, com­pet­ing in the qual­i­fy­ing heats of the men’s 100 meters. He failed to qual- ify for the semi­fi­nals in his World Cham­pi­onships de­but. Gi­vans fin­ished his heat in 10.30 sec­onds — 0.06 short of qual­i­fy­ing.

Amer­i­can Ryan Crouser will be the only UT rep­re­sen­ta­tive in ac­tion Satur­day as he com­petes in the quali- fy­ing round for the shot put.

On Sun­day, Chrisann Gor­don of Ja­maica will run in the 400 meters, and Crouser aims to com­pete in the shot put fi­nal. If Gor­don qual­i­fies, she’ll run in the 400 semifi- nals Mon­day.

Women’s basketball: Ariel Atkins, a se­nior guard for UT, earned a spot on the USA Basketball women’s U23 na­tional team Fri­day. She spent five days at the U.S. Olympic Train­ing Cen­ter in Colorado Springs and was se­lected by the Women’s Ju­nior Na­tional Team Com­mit­tee. ily topped 100 tack­les the past five sea­sons in which he’s played at least 15 games, and he had his fourth ca­reer touch­down last sea­son.

That’s why the Chiefs didn’t balk at giv­ing the 34-year-old John­son a $21 mil­lion, three-year con­tract be­fore last sea­son. They don’t be­lieve age will catch up to him any­time soon — even with mul­ti­ple in­juries to his Achilles ten­dons.

“I think when guys go through an in­jury twice, they kind of know how to han­dle it bet­ter the sec­ond time. They’re not afraid to push them­selves a lit­tle bit fur­ther,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “You kind of know that you’re not go­ing to break it. You push it to the limit. That’s where he’s at.”

John­son’s value ex­tends far be­yond the field.

He is tied with punter Dustin Colquitt as the longest-tenured mem­ber of the Chiefs (13 sea­sons), and that gives him a cer­tain amount of re­spect.

“Later in life I’d like to be­come some kind of a coach, and this is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity out here with the young guys ask­ing me all kinds of ques­tions,” John­son said.

Right now, though, John­son is happy to be back on the field. com­pli­mented McKnight.

Williams said he had dis­cussed with team­mates Naas- hon Hughes and Pa­trick Vahe about how much stronger and bet­ter con­di­tioned the Longhorns seemed. Locke sug­gested that McKnight shared Her­man’s at­ten­tion to de­tail.

“Each work­out has a pur- pose to it, and it def­i­nitely showed to­day,” Locke said. “I felt a lot of pads pop­ping. I felt some force from my run­ning backs to­day.”

With the play­ers in pads, Texas was able to be­gin the in­stal­la­tion of goal-line and red-zone pack­ages. Her­man said that’s his tra­di­tional ap­proach to the first day in pads, since “we want to put them in as phys­i­cal of sit­u­a­tions as we can.” That was wel­come news to the of­fen- sive line­men, who had been bid­ing their time.

Ear­lier in the week, Vahe joked that the pad­less prac- tices were “a teaser; all the D-line­men are laugh­ing at us.” Williams agreed, say­ing the first few days of prac- tice were frus­trat­ing for an ing in his home­town.

“From what I hear, when you’re on cam­pus you could be a thou­sand miles away, just from what my friends have told me,” he said.

He also got plenty of ad­vice from cur­rent Texas quar­ter­back Sam Eh­linger, an­other West­lake prod­uct.

“Sam says I’m go­ing to love it there, and I be­lieve him,” Cun­ning­ham said.

Cun­ning­ham played with fu­ture UT stand­out Jar­rett Allen as a fresh­man at St. Stephen’s be­fore trans­fer­ring away from the pri­vate school.

As a ju­nior at West­lake, Cun­ning­ham av­er­aged a dou­ble-dou­ble — 14.7 points and 11.3 re­bounds — while earn­ing player of the year hon­ors from the Amer­i­can-States­man. With Cun­ning­ham, the Cha­parrals have reached two con­sec­u­tive Class 6A re­gional fi­nals.

“Brock’s best at­tribute is that he’s a win­ner,” West- lake coach Robert Lucero told the States­man ear­lier of­fen­sive line­man. Fri­day, though, was the of­fen­sive line’s Mon­day.

“The of­fen­sive line was ready,” Williams said. “We came out with good en­ergy this year. “He’s very versa- tile. He’s an elite re­bounder; not a lot of peo­ple can chase to­day, and I feel like we won the day to­day.”

Texas will re­turn to the field Satur­day for a scrim­mage. He r man said the scrim­mage, which should down re­bounds like he does. And he’s one of the tough­est kids you’ll ever find.” last about two hours but is closed to both the pub­lic and the me­dia, will par­tially fea­ture his starters com­pet­ing against one an­other. The back­ups also will bat­tle.

“Right now, I just want to see ef­fort,” Locke said.

Notes: Her­man said that ju­nior of­fen­sive line­man Eli­jah Ro­driguez — not Tris­tan Nick­el­son or Den­zel Okafor — would be the right tackle if the sea­son started Fri­day. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Ro­driguez has started three times and has ap­peared in 19 games. … Red­shirt fresh­man re­ceiver Reg­gie Hem­phillMapps caught some foot­balls Fri­day, but he wore a green jer­sey and did not par­tic­i­pate in con­tact drills. He left Thurs­day’s prac­tice af­ter feel­ing dizzy . ... Run­ning back Kirk John­son will not play in Satur­day’s scrim­mage. Her­man was op­ti­mistic that the sopho­more will re­turn from his ham­string in­jury Mon­day. … Texas of­fi­cials said UT’s ticket al­lot­ments for the Oct. 14 game with Ok­la­homa at the Cot­ton Bowl has sold out.

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