Forty Acres Insider: March 22

Longhorn Nation,

It was an exciting week filled with an outstanding NCAA Championship performance from Women’s Swimming & Diving, a full court press worth of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Tourney action, Baseball, Softball, Tennis, Golf, block parties, road trips and more! Women’s Swimming & Diving made it three Longhorn top-two NCAA Championship finishes over the last two Saturdays, and Women’s Basketball lit up the Erwin Center one last time in advancing to the Sweet 16! It was a fabulous time to get decked out in Burnt Orange, flash those Hook ‘Ems and cheer on your Horns. Y’all were EVERYWHERE, brought that Texas Fight big-time, and we are so, so grateful to have you, the best fans in the land, on our side!

And here we go again, this week is a full-on stampede with Coach Schaefer and Women’s Basketball headed west to continue their NCAA Tourney run, our resident Longhorn Legend Coach Reese and our defending National Champion Men’s Swimming & Diving team taking dead aim on the title in Atlanta, the 94th running of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays presented by Truist at Mike A. Myers Stadium, and Spring Football kicking off. Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Rowing, Swimming & Diving, Tennis and Track & Field are all competing in another thrilling week of Texas Sports. Buckle up and get ready to cheer on your Horns, let’s do this!

Before we get into it, I gotta start by thanking all of you for your truly amazing love and support of our teams and student-athletes. There were so many events, crossovers and challenges, but y’all showed up and showed out like you always do. You came early, were crazy loud and energetic, and wow, did you wear that Burnt Orange and White with great pride. Whether it was a critical NCAA Basketball Tournament game and an electrifying scene at the Erwin Center, or impressive crowds at games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field and Red & Charline McCombs Field, y’all provided some rambunctious and boisterous homecourt and homefield advantages. For the road warriors in Milwaukee with Men’s Hoops and in Atlanta for Swimming & Diving, you brought the Texas heat, too! And how about the Comal Street Block Party? Y’all looked like you had a blast getting charged up for that day’s ball games!

With that in mind, and before we get into this week, let’s take some time to look back at the week that was.

Women’s Swimming & Diving is NCAA runner-up, matches our best finish since 1994

After posting a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships last year — our best since 2001 — Coach Capitani and our Longhorns took it up a notch to finish second this year. That’s our best finish since 1994! What an amazing effort it was with 13 of our student-athletes earning All-America recognition, led by Olivia Bray earning All-American recognition in three individual events and three relays, Kelly Pash bringing home five All-American awards in three individual events and two relays, and Emma Sticklen getting that recognition in four events (two individual/two relays). Five Texas school records went down, as well, as Erica Sullivan finished second in the 1,650-free in a school-best (15:45.94) and eclipsed the program record for 1,000-free in that race, as well (9:27.99). Kelly Pash (200-free/1:42.38), Sticklen (100-fly/50.29) and Anna Elendt (56.88/100-breast) also broke school records at the meet. Sullivan (second, 1,650-free/third, 500-free) recorded a pair of top-three finishes, while Elendt (second, 200-breast), Pash (third, 200-free) and Jordan Skilken (third, platform diving) also finished among the top-three in their events. Coach Scoggin’s divers provided critical points as the top-scoring dive team at the meet with Hailey Hernandez (1-meter springboard/3-meter springboard), Skilken (platform), Paola Pineda (3-meter springboard, platform) and Janie Boyle (platform) all earning All-American honors. Big 12 Champions for the 10th year in a row and now number two in the nation, so proud of y’all. Job well done!

How Sweet it is! Women’s Basketball is headed to the Sweet 16

With y’all raising the roof once again, Coach Schaefer and our Women’s Basketball team were en fuego this weekend at the Erwin Center. It was NCAA Tournament time, and fresh off the Big 12 Championship tournament title, our No. 2-seeded Horns just kept on keepin’ on. A victory over Fairfield (70-52) set up Sunday’s matchup with No. 7-seed Utah, which was coming off a 92-69 throttling of Arkansas. Well, there’s no need to fear, we stepped up to the competition, and in the last-ever Texas Basketball game at the Erwin Center, delivered an absolute gem in rolling through the Utes, 78-56. The victory, our 13th in-a-row, not only allowed us to survive, but our Horns put the pedal to the metal with a fast-paced and intense attack that thrived and advanced. I gotta say, the dynamic duo of Aaliyah (Moore) and Aliyah (Matharu), put on an absolute show, combining to hit 15-of-17 shots for 35 points in that splendid round two win. That deserves a WOW! They exemplified the total domination on display, and rocketed us into the Sweet 16! It’s the second-straight year Coach Schaefer has led us to the Sweet 16, with last year’s squad advancing all the way to the Elite Eight! Now we’re headed west, and it’s on to Spokane for a Friday meeting with Ohio State (6 p.m. CT/ESPN2) and a shot at returning to the Regional Final round once again. And there’s no better time to join the Texas Fight and be part of this program than by placing your season ticket deposit today. Starting at $100, you can guarantee your spot in the brand new Moody Center right now! It’s going to be the finest arena in college basketball, and we want you alongside us. Visit TexasSports.com/MoodyCenter to place your deposit or for more info.

Honors for our Fab Freshman just keep rollin’ in

In addition to being the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, a member of the Big 12 All-Defensive team and the Big 12 Championship tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, you can now call our Fab Freshman Guard Rori Harmon an All-American. It was a historic feat last week when Rori earned Honorable Mention AP All-American honors, as she became the first freshman in Texas Women’s Basketball history to earn All-American honors from the Associated Press. She also was one of only three freshmen nationally to earn AP All-American recognition this season. Way to go Rori, the sky’s the limit and there’s so much still ahead for you this year and beyond! Take a look back and keep up with some of her best moments of the year right here!

Light The Tower

The Tower will be bathed in Burnt Orange on back-to-back days this week to honor some more extraordinary Longhorn success. Tonight, it’s Women’s Basketball enjoying a celebration of its spectacular Big 12 Championship tournament victory last week. And on Wednesday, we’ll deck it out in the ultimate tower lighting experience, featuring the number one prominently displayed to pay tribute to our NCAA Men’s Track & Field Indoor Champions.

Men’s Basketball earns first NCAA Tourney win since 2014

It wasn’t the ending we all wanted or hoped for, but I’m so proud of the effort and Texas Fight our Men’s Basketball team displayed all year. The inaugural season of Coach Beard and his staff brought us many sensational highlights, a true relationship-build with our student body and so much promise for the future. In our First Round game on Friday against Virginia Tech, we faced one of the hottest teams in the country who had won 13 of its last 15 games including a four-game run to the ACC Tournament title. Andrew Jones led five players in double-figure scoring, and the team played one of its finest games of the season in earning an 81-73 win – our first NCAA Tournament victory since 2014. And how about that post-game locker celebration?! It truly doesn’t get any better than that. Two days later, we faced another huge challenge against an excellent Purdue squad that had been ranked No. 1 in the country earlier in the season for good reason. Our run came to an end in the 81-71 loss, but that’s the thrill of victory and agony of defeat when it comes to the range of emotions that makes March Madness so unique and special. This was a special group of players and staff that laid the foundation for some great times and championships ahead. Andrew said it best in the postgame press conference, “For me, my first year was awesome with a new coaching staff. Just to see how connected and see how strong the culture is. This culture is strong, the coaching staff is strong, and players have to come along with it and trust it.” A huge thank you to our fans for joining us on this first ride with Coach Beard and your support. Keep the faith y’all, because the best is yet to come.

Men’s Swimming & Diving up next at NCAA Championships

Our defending National Champion and No. 1-ranked Men’s Swimming & Diving team heads to the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta this week to compete for another NCAA title. With 23 qualifiers (19 swimmers/4 divers), we have the most of any program in the nation, and all five of our swimming relays made it to nationals to boot. So under the leadership of Coach Reese, the man I affectionately call “Yoda,” your Longhorns are loaded and ready to compete for the crown. He led us to a 15th National Championship in 2021, making him the most decorated coach in NCAA history, and just led us to a 43rd consecutive conference championship. Needless to say, we’re in good hands. Fresh off Big 12 Championship Swimmer of the Meet honors, sophomore Carson Foster leads a talented crew into the national meet, ranking second in the 400 IM, while being the fifth seed in both the 200 IM and 200 back. Sophomore Noah Duperre leads the foursome of divers as he’ll be competing in all three diving events (1-meter, 3-meter, Platform).

It’s Texas Relays week, time for the 94th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Presented by Truist

The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays are back in full force this year, and we couldn’t be more fired up to see everyone at Mike A. Myers Stadium. After a COVID-19 pandemic cancellation in 2020 and an abbreviated schedule without high school competition in 2021, the Relays will be back to a full-scale, four-day meet in 2022. The Fan Fest will be back, we’ll have our Longhorn Legend Sanya Richards-Ross in the house as our Honorary Referee, and we’ve got a new sponsor in Truist that were so grateful to have on board this year. You’ve got our National Champion Longhorns competing. There’s the best of the best in high school, collegiate and professional athletes on hand. It’s gonna be a grand ol’ time on the Forty, so come on out and join us for what is always one of the nation’s premier track & field events.

National Coach of the Year and All-American has a nice ring to it

To the victor go the postseason honors! Congrats to Coach Flo, who on Monday was named USTFCCCA National Men’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year after leading our Horns to a Men’s NCAA Indoor Championship. In addition, Pete Watson was named the National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year after his UT distance runners shined at the national meet, including an NCAA title in the Distance Medley Relay. Last week, Coach Flo was also recognized by the USTFCCCA as the South Central Region Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year. That came after the Men’s national title and the Women’s team finishing as the NCAA runner-up. Watson also was the regional Assistant Coach of the Year. Well-deserved honors for our staff, and an emphatic Hook ‘Em and congratulations are also in order for our 35, yes THIRTY-FIVE, Longhorns who earned All-American honors.

Softball had a heck of a week

How does five-straight top-25 victories sound to ya?! Starting with a pair of wins at Louisiana on Wednesday, and capped-off by a thrilling come-from-behind victory in a series sweep of LSU on Saturday, Coach White and our Softball squad had one heck of a week. Trailing 10-4 in the sixth-inning of the series’ final game, our Horns rallied for five runs in the sixth, before finishing it off with a two-run walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh. That was an epic finish and put an exclamation point on a terrific five-game stretch. It started with a 10-2 and 3-2 doubleheader win at No. 23 Louisiana. The success continued in a 3-0 victory over No. 20 LSU on Friday, followed by another shutout (4-0) in the first of two games on Saturday, then was capped with the epic comeback. Congrats to our Big 12 co-Player of the Week honoree McKenzie Parker who powered the Longhorns offense in the five-straight wins over ranked teams last week by hitting .500 (6-for-12), with two runs scored, a double, a HR, four walks, and a team-leading eight RBI. We’re unbeaten in our last 11 games (10-0-1, yes, a tie!) dating back to March 6! Our Horns will be back home for a game with Lamar on Tuesday (4 p.m. CT/LHN) before taking to the road for four games, including their Big 12-opening series at Kansas.

Homers, Strikeouts, Sellouts and Block Parties for Texas Baseball and Softball

The play was awesome on the field, and Longhorn Nation, you delivered in providing the juice to get our Baseball and Softball teams going. There was the fun and sun at the Block Party before the game, then the sell-out crowd of 1,294 in the stands at Softball, and a full house at Baseball on Saturday. Thank y’all for your amazing support and the great atmosphere you provide for our student-athletes and teams!

Men’s Golf with a great rally to finish second at Arizona N.I.T. On the heels of Parker Coody’s career-best 8-under-par 64, Coach Fields and our Longhorns posted a final day 16-under-par 272 to move up four spots and finish as the runner-up at the Arizona N.I.T. last week. The 15-team field included of seven of the nation’s top-25 teams. Cole Hammer led the way over the three rounds, tying for fifth place in the individual standings with an 11-under-par 205 (68-67-70). Coody’s final round 64 was the second-best 18-hole round in school history, and Mason Nome got himself a hole-in-one at the 12th! A great effort to build on as our Horns prepare to travel to the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational April 2-3.

Texas Tennis, Coast to Coast

As the great Willie Nelson says, our tennis programs were on the road again this past week, but what it week it was, as the Men and Women went coast to coast and in between and combined to go undefeated in four matches! Coach Berque and the Men’s squad went to the west coast and came storming back for a thrilling 4-3 victory over No. 9 USC on Tuesday and followed it up with a solid 5-2 win at No. 21 Pepperdine in Malibu on Sunday. Meanwhile Coach Joffe and the Women continued their dominance and upped their win streak to six with a 7-0 sweep of West Virginia on the east coast on Friday and a 6-1 win at No. 20 Iowa State on Sunday. Those led to a sweep of the Big 12 Player of the Week Awards for Siem Woldeab and Peyton Stearns, so a big shoutout and well done to them! This week, it will be all state of Oklahoma all the time with the Men hosting the Sooners in a non-conference match on Sunday (12 p.m. CT/LHN) at the TTC, and the Women stay on the road at Oklahoma State on Friday (5 p.m. CT) and Oklahoma on Sunday (12 p.m. CT).

Another Full Week on the 40

There will be a Softball (vs. Lamar/4 p.m. CT/LHN) and Baseball (vs. Central Arkansas/6:30 p.m. CT/LHN) doubleheader tonight on the Forty Acres, and that will launch another full week of Texas Sports. As we mentioned earlier, it’s Texas Relays week and Spring Football is underway, and of course, Men’s Swimming & Diving will compete for a National Championship in Atlanta (Wednesday-Saturday). Softball will also travel to Texas State (6 p.m. CT/ESPN+) on Wednesday, then head to Kansas for their Big 12 opening series on Friday and Sunday. Women’s Golf heads to Athens, Ga., for the Liz Murphey Intercollegiate Friday-Sunday, while Women’s Tennis has a pair of top-10 matchups, starting at No. 9 Oklahoma State (5 p.m. CT) on Friday and followed by a Red River road match at No. 3 Oklahoma on Sunday (Noon CT). After a rugged stretch of 10-of-11 games on the road, Baseball has won four straight and outscored their opponents, 59-8, in that stretch. Murphy Stehly shined this week, hitting .545 with four home runs and 14 RBI and was tabbed the Big 12 Player of the Week for his efforts. We’re back on the road and off to Lubbock this week for a Big 12 series with the No. 17 Red Raiders Friday-Sunday. Women’s Basketball tips off at the NCAA Championship Tournament Sweet 16 versus Ohio State on Friday (6 p.m. CT/ESPN2). After opening the spring with a two-day sweep at No. 13 SMU a couple weeks ago, our defending National Champion Rowing squad will be back in the water this week at the San Diego Crew Classic on Saturday and Sunday. And Men’s Tennis hosts a Red River Rivalry with Oklahoma on Sunday (Noon CT) at the Texas Tennis Center, that match will be broadcasted live on LHN.

Spring Football is underway

Coach Sark and our Football team got spring practices underway this morning, and what a joy it was to see. They’ve been putting in the work all offseason with winter conditioning, as well as some meeting and team time, but Spring Football gives a few weeks sampling of the sport we all love as we prepare for August training camp and the season. It’s an exciting time, spring is in the air, and our Horns are putting things together so they’re ready for all of us to have a good ol’ time on April 23rd for the Orange-White Scrimmage presented by Living Spaces (6 p.m./LHN) and a day full of celebrating Texas and our Football program. Be there or be square!

Oh, and about that road trip

And in closing, thanks for indulging me on my road trip through middle America to get to our NCAA Tourney game in Milwaukee. It wasn’t quite Steve Martin and John Candy’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but I did fire up the Chevy Silverado High Country for what was quite an epic journey that started with a chance meeting of Texas fans Patrick “Wheels” Smith and his son Hodges on a father and son hoops trip. Talk about Longhorn Faithful! Y’all are the ones who make these types of 1,200-mile, 18-hour adventures to support your Horns all the time, so it certainly reaffirmed the pride, passion and commitment our great fans have for the Burnt Orange and White.

Hook ‘Em Horns,

Chris Del Conte 


Chris Del Conte signature

Chris Del Conte

P.S. — If you didn’t know, you should know … Flo Knows!

P.S. II — Nothing like seeing our student-athletes and programs giving back.

P.S. III – This is an epic, must-watch celebration of our Women’s Basketball Big 12 Championship!

P.S. IV – This is so awesome! Love it Coach White and Coach Pierce!!

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