A&M Seeks Next Challenge At Texas Relays

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AUSTIN -- The first full weekend of April always signals the time of the season for the Texas Relays at Myers Stadium. The 80th running of the meet starts on Wednesday and continues through Saturday of this week.

Texas A&M will have athletes competing each day of the four-day meet, starting with the heptathlon on Wednesday and Thursday and including multiple relay events on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets for the Texas Relays can be purchased at the Mike A. Myers Stadium box office during the meet or can be obtained in advance at TexasBoxOffice.com or by calling the UT Athletics ticket office at (800) 982-2386 or (512) 471-3333.

Action on Wednesday and Thursday will be free to the public. For Friday and Saturday, general admission is $10 and reserved seating is $15 each day. All-session passes are $30 for reserved seating and $20 for general admission. A schedule of events and the results link can be found at www.texassports.com under the track and field section.

Sheree Francis will contest her first heptathlon for the Aggies after placing third in the pentathlon (3736 points) at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Francis, an All-American in the high jump indoors last season and a former NJCAA Champion, has competed in the 100 hurdles (14.87 / 859 pts), long jump (18-3 / 717) and javelin (143-1 / 737) so far this outdoor season.

During her indoor campaign Francis produced the following marks in events that carry over to the heptathlon: shot put (37-11 ¼ / 632), high jump (5-9 ¾ / 941), long jump (19-0 / 786), and 800 (2:40.53 / 567). Competitors in the heptathlon are shooting for a NCAA automatic standard of 5,500 points or the provisional mark of 5,050.

Leading contenders in the heptathlon at the Texas Relays include the Pickler sisters from Washington State, both of whom are Texas natives from Rowlett HS. Diana Picker is the top entrant with a PR of 5,855 while Julia has a best of 5,734 points. Also in contention are Nebraska’s Ashley Selig (5,775) and Ryanne Dupree of UT-San Antonio (5,606).

Wednesday’s action will also include the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at 6 p.m., where David Hebert and Joe Sauvageau contest the event for a second time following a successful debut at the Rice Bayou Classic last Friday. Hebert was runner-up in the race with a 9:24.85 while Sauvageau recorded a time of 9:31.14 for third place.

On Thursday the 400-meter hurdles (5 p.m.) will feature a pair of Aggies in Nick Robinson and James Jerry. Robinson, who ran 51.98 during the prelims of the Texas Relays last season, has already attained a regional qualifying mark with his 52.23 runner-up time from the Trojan Invitational. A season best of 52.68 for Jerry occurred in Monterrey.

Friday’s schedule starts at 9:30 a.m. and will feature multiple events involving the Aggies, from field events to the 100 and 110/100 hurdles to a trio of relays which include the 4 x 100, 4 x 400, and sprint medley.

Field events begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday while running finals start at 12:15 p.m. The day concludes around 4:30 p.m. with the 4 x 400 finals.

RECENT NATIONAL RANKINGS

Trackwire issued its first poll for the outdoor season this week and the Texas A&M women are No. 5 in the nation and projected to score 30 points in the NCAA Outdoor Championship.

Indoor champion Arizona State (58) tops the rankings and is followed by LSU (39), South Carolina (36) and Michigan (31). Following the Aggies, the next five women’s teams include USC (29), Georgia (29), Auburn (28), UCLA (27) and Tennessee (25).

Other Big 12 schools in the top 25 include No. 12 Texas (22), No. 14 Texas Tech (20), No. 16 Nebraska (18), and No. 21 Colorado (12).

Individual women ranked among the top 12 of Trackwire’s Dandy Dozen include Simone Facey (100, 200), Caroline Wolf (high jump), Kasey Onwuchekwa (shot put), and Michelle Inocencio (javelin). The A&M 4 x 400 ranks second behind only South Carolina while the 4 x 100 is currently ranked third behind USC and LSU.

The Aggie men are currently not ranked among the top 25, which is topped by defending champion Florida State (62) and includes USC (40), Auburn (34), Arizona (33) and Wisconsin (32) in the top five.

Big 12 schools ranked by Trackwire include Baylor and Texas tied for the No. 14 position along with No. 17 Nebraska, and No. 22 Texas Tech.

Individuals making the Dandy Dozen on the men’s side include Chris Dykes (200), Justin Oliver (400), and Zuheir Sharif (triple jump). The Aggie 4 x 400 is currently ranked third behind Baylor and USC while the 4 x 100 is ranked sixth.

SCHOOL RECORDS TUMBLE

Three school records have already been broken during the outdoor season, ranging from the 100 to the 4 x 100 relay to the steeplechase.

Simone Facey bettered the 100 mark of 11.51 when she clocked a winning time of 11.38 to defeat USC’s Carol Rodriguez at the Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles. The previous Aggie school record holder was Natalie Young, who set her mark twice in 1999.

In the 4 x 100 the school standard has been lowered twice so far this outdoor campaign. Running in Monterrey, Mexico, the foursome of Porscha Lucas, Tresha Henry, Katie Baker and Simone Facey recorded a winning time of 44.15 to break the A&M record of 44.34 set at the Texas Relays in 2006.

During the Trojan Invitational, Facey held off USC’s Rodriguez for a 43.87 winner as the Women of Troy were runner-up in 44.10. The Aggie foursome included Porscha Lucas, Tresha Henry, Elizabeth Adeoti and Simone Facey.

The latest school record to fall came in the women’s steeplechase where Sarah Ravenelle lowered her own standard in placing second at the Rice Bayou Classic this past weekend. Ravenelle, who set the Aggie record of 10:42.11 during the 2006 Penn Relays, was runner-up in a personal best of 10:40.87.

FRESHMAN SPRINTERS

The crop of freshman sprinters that helped Texas &AM women receive a No. 2 ranking in recruiting classes by Track & Field News includes Elizabeth Adeoti, Khrystal Carter, Porscha Lucas and Sandy Wooten.

Lucas earned All-America honors during the indoor season in the 200 meters while Wooten was an alternate on the NCAA 4 x 400 runner-up squad after running on the Big 12 winning 1,600-meter relay.

Carter had a strong opening weekend to the outdoor season as she defeated Lucas in the 100 during the Monterrey Relays in Mexico and split 54.0 as the anchor of the winning 4 x 400 in the same meet. Adeoti, meanwhile, handled the third leg of the winning 4 x 100 relay during the USC Trojan Invitational as Texas A&M set a school record of 43.87.

In the current NCAA top marks list there are eight freshmen who have bettered the NCAA regional qualifying mark of 11.75 seconds. Three of those frosh are Aggies - Porscha Lucas (11.58), Khrystal Carter (11.61) and Elizabeth Adeoti (11.72). In the 200 there are five freshmen who have surpassed the regional mark of 23.96, one of which is Lucas. Meanwhile, Wooten is one of six freshmen who have run faster than the regional qualifying mark of 54.61 in the 400.