BATON ROUGE, LA -- Seven teams ranked among the top 25 will converge for LSU’s Alumni Gold Invitational this Saturday, including the No. 1 ranked men’s team in Texas A&M as well as the No. 1 women’s team in LSU.
In addition there will be a field of professional athletes competing in various events as they start their outdoor campaign with an eye towards a long summer that may include a visit to Asia for the Beijing Olympics in August. Members of Team Canada will travel south for the competition as well.
Texas A&M enters the meet with the Aggie men listed at No. 1 for a second consecutive week in the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association rankings. A&M women are No. 3 for the second straight week.
The Alumni Gold will include the No. 1 Lady Tigers, who moved up from No. 2 last week, as well as No. 11 Auburn and No. 19 Mississippi in the women’s field. Behind the No. 1 Aggies in the men’s field are No. 2 LSU and No. 8 Auburn.
Other teams in the meet include Alabama-Huntsville, Jacksonville, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Northwestern State, South Alabama, South Florida, Southeast Louisianan, Southern Mississippi, Troy and Tulane.
With such large fields, particularly in the sprints, hurdles and relays, most events will be contested as sections against time. The only two events that will be run as one race are the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000 meters.
Action begins at 11:30 a.m. with field events while the track events start at 2 p.m.
The LSU Alumni Gold Invitational will showcase 11 current NCAA leaders, many of whom are currently ranked among the top 10 on the 2008 world list at this stage of the outdoor season.
In the relays the meet will feature the top two teams in the women’s 4 x 100 (Texas A&M 42.97, LSU 43.10), women’s 4 x 400, (LSU 3:29.72, Texas A&M 3:32.21), and men’s 4 x 100 (LSU 38.74, Texas A&M 38.83). Texas A&M men rank No. 2 in the 4 x 400 with a 3:04.09 ahead of LSU’s 3:04.33 that ranks No. 3.
This will mark the fourth meet of the season in which Texas A&M and LSU have competed against one another. The first meeting was in Arkansas at the Razorback Invitational on January 25-26. Other indoor meetings included the New Balance Collegiate Invitational (Feb. 8-9) at the Armory in New York City as well as the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 14-15) back in Fayetteville.
Outdoors the Aggies and Tigers combined to put on a sizzling display of sprinting, hurdling and relay proficiency at the Texas Relays in Austin on April 2-5. Following the Alumni Gold Invitational this weekend, the two teams will fare against one another again in Philadelphia at the Penn Relays on April 24-26.