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Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
#4 Michael Courtney 4th at NCAA
Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Release: 12/29/2010
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While the current series is entitled the top "games" of 2010, one of the top 10 stories occured at a track and field meet.

Michael Courtney became the first Sam Houston student-athlete to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Division I Indoor National Track and Field Championships by finishing fourth in the 400 meter dash on Saturday March 11.

Courtney posted a time of 45.96 to finish behind event champion Torrin Lawrence of Georgia (45.23), runner-up Kirani James of Alabama (45.63) and third place Tony McQuay of Florida (45.74).

The Bearkat senior from El Paso finished ahead of two runners from Texas A&M and competitors from North Carolina and Florida.

Courtney earned his spot in the finals by posting the second fastest time in the prelims Friday night. Courtney ran 46.07, second only to Torrin Lawrence of the University of Georgia who was two-hundreds of a second faster at 46.05. Courtney won his heat, finishing just ahead of Calvin Smith of Florida (46.15).

Courtney is the first Sam Houston men's athlete to compete in the NCAA Indoor National Track and Field championships.

Courtney ranked 12th in the final regular season NCAA Division I rankings in the 400 meters with a time of 46.46. A total of 16 runners competed in the event. Courtney won the 2010 Southland Conference indoor 400 with a mark of 48.00.

He is an 10-time Southland Conference champion, winning the outdoor 400 meters three times, the indoor twice and running on five Southland first place relays.

"This is just a tremendous way for Michael to finish his Bearkat career," Sam Houston head coach David Self said. "He has completed his outdoor eligibility and a strong performance on a national stage would be a great way to go out."

Coming out of high school, Courtney said he wouldn't have believed anyone if they had told him how well he would eventually perform on the track.

The senior completed his career as a nine-time Southland Conference Champion, earning All-Southland Conference 11 times in five events, and holds many Sam Houston State school records.

But he almost never gave running track a thought. Courtney was a high school basketball player who decided to take up running his senior year. Because Courtney's dad had previously worked with then SHSU head coach Curtis Collier, Courtney was able to get a little bit of money to come to Sam Houston State. It was his only offer on the table.

"Michael is the kind of kid that makes you look like a great coach, he's a joy to be around and always he works so hard," said Self. "He's always been serious about track, but about three years ago he figured out he could be really good at this and has dedicated his life to it and has really come a long ways."

Courtney became the first Bearkat to run at the indoor national meet.

"I  was so excited to have a chance to be the first from Sam Houston," Courtney said. "It was definitely kind of sad that this will be my last race, but at the same time I'm very thankful for the time that I've had. I've made a lot of good friends out here and I have come a long way since I first started, so I'm thankful for the opportunity to be out here."

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