COLLEGE STATION - In its fifth season of hosting high
caliber dual meets at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium, the Aggies will double
the task this week with a Triangular featuring a pair of tradition rich schools
in Arkansas and LSU.
"You look forward to these types of meets, because this
brings out the best in your athletes," noted Texas A&M head coach Pat
Henry. "They know the competition is a good as it gets. You find out where you
are right now. The goal is to come out and compete hard, plus you're going to
have great competition to do it in."
The three-hour meet, which starts at 11 a.m., will use a
scoring system of 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in individual events and 7, 5, 4 in relay
events. Two athletes per team score in individual events and one relay squad
per team scores. A live web cast of the meet is available through www.aggieathletics.com while live
results and team scoring are available through www.flashresults.com.
"These kinds of meets are usually won by two or three
points," said Henry. "As an athlete you have to understand that if your best effort
only scores one point, that's okay since you still scored one point. That could
still end up being the determining factor. It's important for our team to know
that. We've won a couple of national championships right at the end of the
track meet by one or two points."
The three schools competing in the A&M Triangular
have claimed 77 national championships in track and field. Arkansas men have
accumulated 40 NCAA titles (29 in track and field, 11 in cross country), LSU
has attained 31 championships and Texas A&M achieved six NCAA Outdoor
titles in a three-year span from 2009-2011, three each for the men and women.
Henry was the head coach at LSU during 27 of the Tigers national
championships and has added six more NCAA titles while at Texas A&M.
Each squad enters the weekend meet ranked among the top
10 in the USTFCCCA computer rankings and each is highly ranked among the dual
meet rankings produced by Track &
Field News this season.
Arkansas men are No. 1 in both polls with the Aggie men
No. 2 in the dual meet rankings and No. 8 in the national team computer rankings
while LSU is No. 8 in dual meet and No. 10 in the national rankings.
LSU women are No. 1 in the dual meet rankings and No. 4
nationally while the A&M women are No. 2 in the dual and No. 6 nationally with
Arkansas No. 5 and No. 7.
Texas A&M returns 18 All-Americans this season, 10
for the men and eight for the women. For this meet the Aggie men are led by
Henry Lelei in the distance events, Wayne Davis II in the hurdles and a sprint
crew that includes Deon Lendore, Prezel Hardy, Jr., Ricky Babineaux and Michael
Bryan. Sprint power added to that group comes from Aldrich Bailey, Jr., a World
Junior bronze medalist in the 400.
For the A&M women, national scorers competing this
weekend include a sprint squad consisting of Kamaria Brown, the NCAA Indoor 200m
bronze medalist in 2012, Ashley Collier, and Donique' Flemings. Returning members
of the Aggie 4 x 400 also include Olivia Ekponé, Kanika Beckles and Ibukun
Mayungbe. A newcomer who may make an impact in the Triangular is Janeil
Bellille, a NJCAA champion over 400 hurdles, who will contest the 400 for
LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan, the Bowerman winner in 2012, is a
four-time NCAA champion in the 200 meters, having won a pair of titles indoors
and a pair outdoor. She headlines an LSU women's team and sports an 18-meet
winning streak against collegiate competition in the 200.
The sprint and hurdle crew for the Tiger women also
includes Takeia Pinckney, Toshika Sylvester and Jasmin Stowers. In the middle
distance LSU gets a boost from Natoya Goule, a NJCAA champion in the 800 and
For the Tiger men Caleb Williams will contest his first
400 of the season. He finished fifth in the NCAA Indoor 400 a year ago. Another
outstanding sprinter is Aaron Ernest, who clocked 20.80 last week in the 200.
He will run that event again this weekend and enters his first 60 of the
season. The vault is another solid event area for LSU with Andreas Duplantis
and Thomas Reinecke.
The Razorback men return 13 All-Americans which includes
three members of their NCAA champion 4 x 400 relay - Neil Braddy, Akheem
Gauntlett and Marek Nitt. Gauntlett was also a NCAA Indoor runner-up in the 200
last year. Other national scorers competing for the Arkansas men on Saturday include
Caleb Cross (60 hurdles), Kevin Lazas (heptathlon), Raymond Higgs (long jump),
and the distance medley relay crew of Anthony Lieghio, Leoman Momoh, Patrick
Rono and Travis Southard.
Eight All-Americans return for the Razorback women. The
group includes Makeba Alcide, defending SEC pentathlon champion, and Regina
George, the SEC 400m outdoor winner. Three members of the Arkansas 4 x 400
return from the unit that placed fourth in the NCAA meet, indoors and outdoors
last season. They include George as well as Gwendolyn Flowers and Chrishuna
Williams. Other All-Americans competing at Gilliam include Ivanique Kemp (60
hurdles) and Martine Borge (800).