NCAA Outdoor Prediction: A&M Women No.1, Aggie Men No. 2

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- For the second consecutive year Track & Field News has ranked Texas A&M No. 1 for its women’s recruiting class. This year’s rankings are listed in the January 2009 issue of the monthly magazine.

Along with the recruiting rankings there is also a very early prediction for the top five teams at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The magazine thinks the Aggie women will be the team to beat in Fayetteville, Arkansas, while the A&M men are tabbed to place second behind Florida.

In the 14th year of the recruiting class rankings by the magazine, the Aggie women become only the second school to have back-to-back No. 1 rankings. Texas had the top ranking in 2002 and 2003. Prior to the No. 1 rankings for Texas A&M in 2007 and 2008 they had a recruiting class ranked No. 2 in 2006.

Leading the recruiting class for the Aggies is Vashti Thomas, a three-time All-American the past two years who competes in the 100 hurdles, long jump and triple jump. Thomas was featured in Track & Field News as a prize recruit.

The 2008 class includes All-American sprinters Dominique Duncan and Jeneba Tarmoh, a three-time prep All-American who transferred from Tennessee. Also mentioned by T&FN in the A&M class are Courtnie Allen, hurdles; Alyson Daily, pole vault; Tiffany Singleton, middle distance; and Bianca Blair, a hurdle transfer from South Carolina.

Following Texas A&M in the rankings for the 2008 signing class were Florida State, USC, North Carolina and Stanford. Receiving honorable mention were Texas, LSU, Washington, Georgetown and Nebraska.

The men’s side included a top five of Florida, Oklahoma State, Stanford, LSU and USC. Honorable mention went to Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida State, Oklahoma and Clemson.

The Aggie women are predicted to claim a first ever NCAA team title with 54 points over 45 for LSU. The rest of the top five schools include South Carolina (36) with UCLA and Virginia Tech tied for fifth with 35 points apiece. Texas A&M placed third last season with 48 points after finishing fourth in 2007 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Individuals tabbed to win their event at Arkansas during the NCAA Outdoor Championships include Aggies Porscha Lucas (200) and Jessica Beard (400) along with the Texas A&M 4 x 100 relay. Lucas was the NCAA runner-up last season to teammate Simone Facey while Beard placed fourth behind three seniors. The Aggies sprint relay heads into the season as a two-time defending NCAA Champion.

In the predictions for the men’s NCAA Outdoor team title Florida is tabbed for first place (55 points) ahead of Texas A&M (49). The rest of the top five includes Oregon (44), LSU (42) and Arkansas (40).

The Aggie men placed fifth last season with 32 points as they contested the NCAA Championships without Big 12 double sprint champion Gerald Phiri, who was injured during the Midwest Region.

Texas A&M opens the 2009 indoor track and field season on January 9 at the Arkansas Invitational. The first home meet for the Aggies will be January 24 when they host the TAMU vs. UT Dual meet, which features the Texas men and Tennessee women.

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