COLLEGE STATION -- As Texas A&M hosts its first-ever indoor conference meet in track and field this weekend the first year Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium may be host to a bit of history once the team champions are determined.
The Big 12 Indoor Championships begins on Friday at 11 a.m. with the start of the men’s heptathlon and women’s pentathlon. Prelims on the track will begin at 2 p.m. with field event finals starting a 4 p.m. Finals on the track, at 7:50 p.m. on day one, feature the 5,000 meters and distance medley relay.
Saturday’s action, packed with 27 finals, will begin at 3 p.m. and team champions will be presented their trophy at 7:30 p.m. With seating capacity of 5,000, less than 300 reserved seats remain on sale for the conference meet.
The No. 1 Aggie women head into the Big 12 Championships as two-time defending conference indoor champions. No school has claimed three consecutive indoor titles in league history, which now spans into its 13th season.
Nebraska and Texas women have each had a pair of back-to-back title campaigns, but the third straight title has proved elusive.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns have achieved a three-year run in the Big 12 outdoor meet and currently hold the longest string of league titles between indoor and outdoor with five team championships from the 1997 outdoor season to the 1999 outdoor season.
Texas A&M can tie Texas with its fifth consecutive Big 12 trophy after sweeping conference victories the past two seasons.
However, that task will be a challenge as Nebraska and Texas along with Texas Tech seek to halt the current run by the Aggie women. Those teams along with the rest of the Big 12 squads will be even more eager to do so with A&M hosting the meet this weekend.
On the men’s side another close encounter is expected with half the field in contention for top honors. Five Big 12 men’s team are currently ranked among the top 10 nationally, with eight total in the top 25.
After Nebraska and Texas tied for the team title in 2007 with 93 points each, the Longhorns edged out the Cornhuskers 106-104 last year in Lincoln. They will likely tangle once again for the 2009 crown with the Aggie men along with Oklahoma and Texas Tech offering a challenge as well.
National rankings, based on season performances to date and qualifiers for the NCAA Championships, include a solid number of Big 12 schools.
The Texas A&M women, now into its seventh week of being No. 1, leads a ranked Big 12 field that includes: No. 11 Texas, No. 16 Baylor, No. 17 Texas Tech, and No. 23 Colorado.
Nebraska moved into the No. 4 spot held by the Aggie men the past couple of weeks and will take over as the top-ranked men’s team heading into the conference championship. Also ranked among the Big 12: No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Texas, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 10 Texas Tech, No. 14 Baylor, No. 16 Oklahoma State, and No. 21 Missouri.