COLLEGE STATION – A collection of 12 Texas schools will compete in a scored meet Saturday at Giliam Indoor Stadium as nationally-ranked Texas A&M serves as host. The Aggies, with the men ranked No. 4 and the women No. 6, begin a stretch of three consecutive home meets in January.
Teams participating in the meet include Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Southern, Texas State, UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio.
Running finals for the Texas A&M 12-Team Invitational will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday while field events and running prelims in the 60 hurdles and 60 meters begin at noon.
Scoring in the meet will be on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for all events with only three athletes per school eligible to score. Live results will be available on www.flashresults.com while a live web stream of the meet is available through www.aggieathletics.com.
Aggie coach Pat Henry, in his ninth season at Texas A&M, has a squad that returns 18 All-Americans, who earned 36 All-America honors last season, along with a freshman class that ranked No. 1 among the women and No. 4 among the men in rankings compiled by Track & Field News.
A&M will feature 10 defending winners from this meet a year ago. The group includes Ashley Collier (60m), Chandrell Stephens (200m), Olivia Ekponé (400m) and the women’s 4 x 400 relay. On the men’s side the crew includes Ricky Babineaux (200m), James Bonn (800m), MacLean O’Donnell (Mile), Casey Strong (Weight) as well as both relays, the 4 x 400 and distance medley.
Strong added two feet to his school weight throw record back in December, improving his best to 63-10.5. Another improvement this weekend will have Strong in range of the 64-1.75 meet record set in 2010. Teammates Ben Skrla, Dalton Rowan and Landon Hartwick join Strong in the weight throw.
This weekend Collier will run the 200 while Aggie frosh Jennifer Madu headlines the 60 meter field after running 7.36 in December during A&M’s Reveille Invitational. Aggie frosh LaQue Moen-Davis makes her debut in the long jump.
Joining Madu in running a 60-200 double are LaKeidra Stewart, India Daniels, Ashton Purvis, Ekponé, Jeronda Womack, and Kanika Beckles. Contesting the 200 with Collier are Kamaria Brown, Ibukun Mayungbe, and Donique’ Flemings. Mayungbe is the lone Aggie entry in the women’s 400.
Babineaux will have a challenge from teammates Prezel Hardy, Jr. and Aldrich Bailey, Jr. in the 200 along with Houston’s Errol Nolan. Hardy will also run in the 60, along with A&M’s Michael Bryan, where challenges will likely come from Clayton Vaughn of Texas-Arlington and Baylor’s Everett Walker.
The Aggie will run a crew of Roudette, Deon Lendore, Babineaux and Bailey, Jr. in the 4 x 400. They should challenge the meet record of 3:06.49 set in 2011 after clocking a winning time of 3:06.82 during the Reveille Invitational.
In the women’s 4 x 400, the Aggie women have won three consecutive years at this meet and set a meet record of 3:40.51 last season. A&M is scheduled to run a relay crew of Brown, Beckles, Flemings and newcomer Janeil Bellille.
The women’s 60 hurdles feature a pair of conference champions in A&M’s Flemings and Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds. Last season at this meet McReynolds (8.35) won by a slim 0.03 margin over Flemings (8.38).
While Baylor’s Skylar White seeks a third consecutive shot put title inside Gilliam Stadium, she will face a challenge from the Aggie trio of Brea Garrett, Jennifer Edwards and freshman Shelbi Vaughan, the 2012 National High School Athlete of the Year. Vaughan, the national record holder in the discus, will make her track and field debut for A&M in the shot put after playing on the Aggie volleyball team in the fall.
Henry Lelei, who claimed the Aggies’ first SEC title during the cross country season, will run the opening leg of the A&M distance medley relay. Joining Lelei are Nick Rollo, Colin Slattery and C.J. Brown. The Aggies set a meet record of 10.16.92 last season.
In the mile, O’Donnell will be joined by Micah Dettmer and Stephen Currey for an Aggie scoring potential in that event. Bonn, meanwhile, will compete in the 1000 this weekend while Aggie freshman Cameron Thornton runs in the 800 with teammates Josh Hernandez and Brandon Kinsey. Joining Bonn in the 1000 are Rollo and Raul Ramirez.