HOUSTON -- A meet near home will be a treat for athletes and fans of the Texas A&M track and field program as the Aggies travel to Rice University for the 25th annual Victor Lopez Bayou Classic, a two-day meet that begins Friday.
While some members of the A&M squad continue preparations for the 80th running of the Texas Relays the following week in Austin, the Aggies will be well represented at Rice.
Combined with a high school session the Bayou Classic will feature over 1,200 entrants. Among them are 30-plus universities, which include host Rice, Harvard, Kansas State and Texas. In addition a pair of Olympians will be competing at the Bayou Classic as decathlete Tom Pappas contests the 400 and the high jump field will feature Jamie Nieto. Admission to the meet is $6 for adults and $4 for kids each day.
Friday’s college action, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with the javelin, will feature distance races in the 1500, Steeplechase, 5000 and 10,000 meters. Saturday’s portion of the meet starts at 9:30 a.m. and continues through 4:30 p.m.
Sarah Ravenelle, the school record holder in the steeplechase, headlines the first day for A&M as she competes in her first steeplechase of the season after placing second over 10,000 meters (38:50.05) in Monterrey, Mexico, and placing fifth in the 1,500 (4:41.21) at the USC Trojan Invitational.
Hillary Pustka and Hali Henderson, who have both qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional, will represent Texas A&M in the javelin.
On the men’s side Brian Duplechain and Nick Toohey, two key legs of A&M’s third-place distance medley during the Big 12 Indoor Championships, each run the 1,500 at Rice while David Hebert and Joe Sauvageau test themselves over the barriers of the steeplechase.
Saturday’s action will feature Kasey Onwuchekwa in the shot put. Her best outdoor mark of 54-5 ¼ currently ranks second in the nation. Meanwhile, Joshua Tiemann seeks to improve on his regional mark of 178-6 in the discus.
The men’s 4 x 100 aims to better the regional qualifying time of 40.66 after just missing the mark with a winning time of 40.67 at the Trojan Invitational.