Texas has won the second-most DI women’s track and field championships in NCAA history behind decades of standout athletes. With so much success, we created an all-time relay team of Texas women’s track and field greats.
Three relays are currently held at NCAA Championships — the 4x100 meter relay, the 4x400 meter relay and the Distance Medley Relay. But which one fits Texas for an all-time team the best?
Texas has never won a DMR title, but the Longhorns are the rare school that could probably put together an all-time 4x1 or 4x4 team. The history is THAT deep. While both relays could be featured in this article, it wouldn’t fit with the LSU, USC nor Oregon all-time relay teams (and frankly, it would be too much writing).
So which relay is the pick?
The 4x4 gets the nod as Texas has been dominant across the indoor and outdoor seasons in the event. The Longhorns have won the most 4x4 titles during the indoor season (9) and outdoor season (10) in NCAA history, for a grand total of 19 4x4 championships. Texas’ only Bowerman winner to date, Courtney Okolo (spoiler, she made the all-time team), described Texas’ 4x4 championships the best saying, "We're Texas. We have to win the 4x4."
|NO. of 4x4 titles||School|
|3||Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M|
|2||Arkansas, Southern California|
|1||Arizona State, Baylor, Florida, Indiana, Rice, Seton Hall|
|NO. of 4x4 titles||School|
|2||Arkansas, Florida State, South Carolina, Southern California, Tennessee|
|1||Clemson, Kentucky, Nebraska, Penn State, Seton Hall, UCLA|
Moreover, all-time Longhorn sprinters over the shorter distances (55/60/100/200 meters) like Carlette Guidry, Merlene Frazer and Alexandria Anderson all won NCAA titles in the 4x4, keeping them in consideration for this all-time team. Even 2023 Bowerman finalist Julien Alfred and eventual Olympic gold medalist Bianca Knight ran the 4x4 at Texas, further adding to a loaded list of candidates.
That said, let’s get into the all-time team.
The Texas women's track and field all-time relay team
*The first DI women’s champion was crowned in 1982. This list looks at athletes since that season*
1. Julien Alfred
We’re starting the all-time list with a spicy selection for the first leg. Alfred kicks things off in the 4x4, even though she never ran a single 400 meter race in her college career. However, the speedster and 2023 Bowerman frontrunner (per the fan and USTFCCCA membership vote) did race in 19 4x4s throughout her time in burnt orange. That includes running the third leg on the two fastest indoor 4x4s in Texas history and the three fastest outdoor 4x4s in Texas history.
So why is that enough for Alfred to get a spot on this all-time team?
Well, it’s actually not enough if taken at face value. But when Alfred’s 4x4 experience and results are combined with her 2023 60 meter, 2023 indoor and outdoor 200 meter and 2022 and 2023 100 meter titles, she’s worthy of a spot on the all-time team. Alfred’s sprint titles prove that she arguably has the best start out of the blocks in Texas women’s track and field history, which is why she’s perfect to start off this all-time team.
We’ll never know if Alfred would’ve won a 4x4 outdoor NCAA title in 2023 as Texas received a disqualification — to no fault of Alfred — after running the fastest time in its semifinal heat, but one can assume that her relay expertise from the multi-time record setting 2023 4x1 teams will carry over to this all-time team.
BOWERMAN FINALISTS: Breaking down Julien Alfred's 2023 Bowerman finalist season
2. Sanya Richards
When you have a 4x4 history as deep as Texas, you’re going to have a lot of fantastic anchors. All of them can’t run anchor on this all-time team, and Richards is the first of a trio of typical 4x4 anchors here.
When Richards closed her Texas career, she had won the 2003 400 outdoor and 2004 400 indoor titles. She set collegiate records during the indoor and outdoor 4x4s as the anchor, winning three NCAA 4x4 titles.
However, Richards’ Texas records fell to the next two athletes on this all-time team, moving Richards from anchor leg to second leg. Richards running the second leg of any 4x4 is a luxury for any team.
3. Rhasidat Adeleke
Adeleke might be the least experienced runner that actually ran the 400 meters considered for this all-time team, but she is also the fastest. Adeleke ran the open 400 only twice at the 2022 Big 12 Championships before fully embracing the event during the 2023 season. In just one year of running the 400 meters, Adeleke rewrote the Texas record books, ran the third-fastest indoor and second-fastest outdoor 400 meters in NCAA history and won the outdoor 400 meter title.
Adeleke’s speed secured her spot on this all-time team over other highly qualified candidates because her ability to run sub-50 on multiple occasions outweighs her relative inexperience in the 400.
4. Courtney Okolo
Courtney Okolo is Texas’ only Bowerman winner, a former outdoor 400 meter record holder and four-time 400 meter and 4x4 NCAA champion. She had to make this team.
Okolo is the second-fastest women over 400 meters in Texas history, and her ability to win four 400 national titles over a three-year stretch (indoor and outdoor) is consistency that is invaluable to this all-time relay.
She’s the anchor of the all-time team over Adeleke because of her four NCAA 4x4 titles at the 2016 indoor and outdoor, the 2015 indoor and the 2014 outdoor championships where she ran anchor. That championship edge earns her the anchor leg.
THE BOWERMAN: Complete history of the track and field honor
- Morolake Akinosun
- Stacey Ann-Williams
- Toya Brown
- Merlene Frazer
- Chrisann Gordon
- Carlette Guidry
- Angel Patterson
- Suziann Reid
I could go on and on about the accomplishments of each of Texas’ notable omissions, but if I did that, you might be reading this article until the next Olympics. Instead, I’ll highlight the two notable omissions that were hardest to leave off the list, losing out to Alfred for the final spot: Suziann Reid and Carlette Guidry.
Reid left Texas as undoubtedly the most decorated 400 meter runner in Texas history. Now she’s one of many. Yet, Reid’s accomplishments remain impressive. Take a look below:
- Individual titles
- 1996 400 outdoors
- 1998 400 indoors
- 1998 400 outdoors
- 1999 400 indoors
- 1999 400 outdoors
- 4x4 titles
- 1999 4x4 outdoors
- 1999 4x4 indoors
- 1998 4x4 outdoors
- 1997 4x4 outdoors
- 1996 4x4 outdoors
With a resume like that, it’s hard to leave Reid off this all-time team. Ultimately, it comes down to wanting Alfred’s speed to kick things off over a runner in Reid, whose 400 meter bests have fallen to seventh indoor and eighth outdoor in Texas history. If Reid made the all-time team, it would open even more debate with other Longhorns that have run faster than her — even with less accomplishments — for the final spot.
Guidry’s case for making the all-time 4x4 relay is almost identical to Alfred’s, but with a little more experience. Like Alfred, Guidry won four NCAA titles in the short sprints, taking home the 55, 100 and both 200 meter crowns in 1991. Guidry also won individual indoor titles in 1990 in the 55 and 200 meters and in 1988 in the 55 meters and long jump. She’s one of the rare NCAA champions to have won indoor titles in the same event in three different years.
Also similar to Alfred, Guidry moved up to run 400 meters in the 4x4. However, Guidry is different from Alfred because she won NCAA titles in the indoor (1988, 1990) and outdoor (1989) 4x4s. While Guidry has the 4x4 hardware and Alfred doesn’t, the reason Guidry misses out on the lead-off spot to Alfred is simply because Alfred runs faster.
Of course, that’s to be expected with thirty years separating the careers of the two, but when Alfred’s speed is combined with her possible (again, per the already revealed votes) Bowerman win, it gives her the edge. It’s understood that Guidry didn’t have a Bowerman trophy to win back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but when it comes to picking all-time teams, even the most minor separation can be the difference.