FAYETTEVILLE - Texas A&M will be represented in 13 events during the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships held on March 8-9 in the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus. In the men's NCAA field, the Aggies lead the nation with seven entries in the sprints and hurdles while the A&M women top the entries in the sprints and hurdles with eight.
The Aggie men, ranked No. 3 in the nation, will have nine entries in the meet while the A&M women, ranked No. 5 in the nation, sport 11 entries. ESPN3 will have live coverage of the meet starting at 5:25 p.m. (CT) on Friday until 9:30 p.m. and then 5:50 p.m. on Saturday until 8:30 p.m. (CT). Link to Friday's action: http://es.pn/NCAA-ITF-0308, and to Saturday's action: http://es.pn/NCAA-ITF-0309.
The Aggie men's total of nine entries is equal to third highest with Oregon and Wisconsin. Arkansas claims 19 entries while Florida has 11. Meanwhile, the A&M women's total entries of 11 is fourth best following 13 each for Oregon and Texas while Kansas has a dozen entries.
Deon Lendore, the current world leader in the 400 with a time of 45.15, headlines the men's sprint field and will have teammate Ricky Babineaux in the event. Prezel Hardy, Jr. qualified for the 60 and 200 with teammates Ameer Webb and Michael Bryan joining him in the 200. Wayne Davis II qualified for his third consecutive NCAA Indoor in the 60 hurdles.
The A&M men also have a scoring threat in the 3,000 meters with Henry Lelei and will close out the meet with a stellar 4 x 400 relay. The Aggies are undefeated in seven relay races this season and produced a world leading time of 3:04.18 to break the SEC meet record and A&M school record during the SEC Indoor.
For the Aggie women Kamaria Brown and LaQue Moen-Davis each qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in a pair of events. Brown is contesting the tough 200 and 400 meter double, while Moen-Davis has advanced in the long jump and triple jump.
The Aggie women have a pair of entries in the 60 with Ashley Collier and Jennifer Madu and will sport a trio of entries in the 200 as Ashton Purvis and Collier join Brown. Ibukun Mayungbe is A&M's second entry in the 400 while Donique' Flemings qualified in the 60 hurdles. The Aggie women will also have a 4 x 400 relay squad entered.
Lendore has earned numerous honors from his performance at the SEC Indoor Championships. He produced a 45.15 in the 400m prelim, followed by a 45.23 winning time in the final and then a 44.50 anchor split on the winning 4 x 400 to earn a second national athlete of the week award from USTFCCCA.
In addition to being named the SEC Runner of the Year, Lendore was added to The Bowerman watch list and was selected as the South Central region Runner of the Year.
Webb, who returns as the defending NCAA Indoor champion in the 200m, was recently the SEC runner-up with a season best of 20.75. Last season Webb produced a world-leading time of 20.39 in the prelims of the NCAA 200 and then claimed the final with a 20.57.
Brown finished as a bronze medalist in the NCAA Indoor 200m last season with a 23.05 after she produced a career best of 22.86 in winning the Big 12 title. In 2013 Brown lowered her career best to 22.73 in the first section of the SEC 200 final, breaking the A&M school record of 22.83 set twice by Porscha Lucas (2008 & 2009).
Purvis, though, snared the school record away in the following section of the 200 as a time of 22.70 seconds claimed SEC silver behind LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan. The Aggies enter the NCAA 200 with seed times that rank 3-4-6.
Over 400 meters Brown set a pair of career best times during the SEC conference meet, clocking 52.42 in the prelims and then producing a 52.16 as runner-up in the final to Arkansas' Regina George.
Collier placed fourth in the NCAA Indoor 60 a year ago with a career best of 7.24. She neared that time this season with a 7.26 placing her second at the SEC Indoor. Collier also ran in the NCAA 200 prelims a year ago. Madu, who equaled her career best with a 7.34 for third at the SEC meet, will compete in her first NCAA meet.
Flemings placed sixth in last year's NCAA 60 hurdles final with a time of 8.15, after recording a career best 8.14 in the prelims. This year Flemings posted a season best of 8.20 as SEC Indoor runner-up. Davis has finished seventh (2012) and eighth (2011) in two previous experiences with the men's 60 hurdles final at the NCAA Indoor. He lowered his career best to 7.65 seconds in placing second at the SEC Indoor and equals the third best seed time.
A year ago Lelei anchored the Aggie distance medley relay to a seventh place finish as his split of 3:58.66 was the second fastest in the meet. This year a school record run of 7:47.91 qualified Lelei for the 3,000 meters with the second fastest time in the nation.
Lelei, who has already claimed three SEC titles between cross country and indoor track, also has prospered on the national level. He placed fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor meet and this past fall Lelei finished fifth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Hardy, Jr. competes in his third NCAA 60m field and second NCAA 200m while attempting to advance to his first final in either event. A season best of 6.70 placed Hardy fifth in the SEC 60 while a 21.10 had him eighth in the SEC 200. An early season 20.87 by Hardy set a career best.
As a freshman Moen-Davis is experiencing her first NCAA meet, but she will have an advantage of competing on the same runway that produced a SEC title in the triple jump with a career best mark of 44-2, which is third best in the NCAA field. In the SEC long jump a pair of fouls hampered Moen-Davis as she placed 13th with a mark of 19-3.25, which was well below her best of 20-11.25.
Babineaux, Bryan and Ibukun each qualified for their first individual event at the NCAA Indoor, but they all have national level experience being on Aggie relay teams at previous NCAA Championship meets.
In the SEC 400 Babineaux clocked a personal best of 46.37 in the prelim and then placed fourth in the final with a 46.57. Bryan finished sixth in the SEC 200 final with a 20.93, which followed a career best of 20.87 in the prelims. Ibukun produced a personal best of 52.86 to finish seventh in the SEC 400.
NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS - Texas A&M entries
Men (6 events, 9 entries, 9 athletes)
60: Prezel Hardy, Jr., 6.64
200: Ameer Webb, 20.75; Prezel Hardy, Jr., 20.78; Michael Bryan, 20.87
400: Deon Lendore, 45.15; Ricky Babineaux, 46.37
3000: Henry Lelei, 7:47.91
60H: Wayne Davis II, 7.65
4x400: Texas A&M, 3:04.18 (Babineaux, Aldrich Bailey, Jr., Carlyle Roudette, Lendore)
Women (7 events, 11 entries, 9 athletes)
60: Ashley Collier, 7.26; Jennifer Madu, 7.34
200: Ashton Purvis, 22.70; Kamaria Brown, 22.73; Ashley Collier, 23.14
400: Kamaria Brown, 52.16; Ibukun Mayungbe, 52.86
60H: Donique' Flemings, 8.20
4x400: Texas A&M, 3:33.57 (Janeil Bellille, Mayungbe, Olivia Ekponé, Brown)
Long jump: LaQue Moen-Davis, 20-11 ¼ (6.38)
Triple jump: LaQue Moen-Davis, 44-2 (13.46)
USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings
3. Texas A&M
6. Florida State
8. Virginia Tech
9. Oklahoma State
10. Penn State
11. Texas Tech
16. Arizona State
18. North Carolina State
22. UT Arlington
25. Kansas State
5. Texas A&M
12. Iowa State
14. Arizona State
15. South Carolina
16. Indiana State
17. Notre Dame
18. Florida State
19. Wichita State