The Houston men finished seventh overall in the team standings at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships with 26 total points, 20 of which came from Eli Hall's impressive 60/200 sweep. But don't expect the Cougars to be anywhere near the bottom of the top 10 this outdoor season. In fact, the Houston men are legitimate outdoor team title contenders for three reasons.
1) Cameron Burrell
As weird as this might sound, Eli Hall might not be Houston's best sprinter. While Hall was lighting up the indoor track, his teammate Cameron Burrell was watching from the sideline without indoor eligibility. And despite Hall's 60m/200m wins, Burrell is arguably the NCAA 100m favorite. Burrell finished runner-up to Christian Coleman in the 60m and 100m finals last year and has personal bests of 6.48/9.93. With the addition of Burrell to the lineup, Houston has a legitimate shot of going 1-2 in the 100m.
2) The 4x100m Relay
The Cougars are the defending 4x100m relay champions and return their entire lineup, which won without Eli Hall. Not only will the addition of a healthy Hall make the Cougars even better, they will likely break TCU's NCAA record of 38.23. They ran 38.34 last season without Hall.
3) Brian Barraza
Redshirt senior Brian Barraza will be the lone distance athlete to score points for the Cougars with a shot at scoring up to 10 points in the 3K steeplechase. Barraza ran 8:32.48 unattached last season which is the top time among returners in 2018. Barraza's potential 6-10 points in the steeplechase will be the wildcard to put the Cougars in the running for a team title.
Houston's Potential Scorers
SR Eli Hall (16-20 pts, 100/200)
SR Cameron Burrell (8-10 pts, 100)
JR Mario Burke (0-3 pts, 100)
JR Jacaris Martin (0-3 pts, 200)
JR Kahmari Montgomery (2-6 pts, 400)
JR Amere Lattin (0-5 pts, 110H)
SR Brian Barraza (6-10 pts, 3k Steeplechase)
SO Nathaniel Mechler (0-2 pts Decathlon)
4x1 (8-10 pts)
4x4 (3-5 pts)
Perfect Day: 72 pts
Average Day: 43 pts
If Houston does pull off the win, it will be the first time a non-Power Five team wins the NCAA outdoor team title since 1986 when SMU won with 53 points over Washington State.
Currently, the Houston men are ranked second in our preseason rankings with 53 points.