No. 1 & No. 3 Aggies face Pac-12 trio at Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational

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EUGENE, Oregon – For the third time in the past four seasons the Texas A&M track and field squad will compete in the Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational, which is in its 24th year. While the Aggies have enjoyed recent national championship success at Hayward Field, they have finished second to the Ducks a couple of times in the four-team meet.

The No. 1 A&M men and No. 3 Aggie women will face Oregon (No. 2 women, No. 4 men), Washington (No. 15 women) and Washington State on Saturday. The meet begins at noon (PDT) with the women’s javelin and men’s hammer, while the first running event, the women’s steeplechase, is at 12:50 p.m. (PDT).

“This is a meet we look forward to,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “It’s a good environment and they always have a great crowd at Oregon. You may worry about it raining or being too cold, similar to what we’ve experienced at home this week, but it should be a fine meet.

“All four teams competing have good programs and this should be a very competitive and close competition. It’s just fun to be in a scored situation each and every time we do this.”

Recent outdoor dual meet rankings by Track & Field News have the A&M men ranked No. 2, Oregon No. 5, Washington No. 10 and Washington State No. 13. On the women’s side Oregon is No. 1 with the Aggies No. 3, and Washington State No. 13.

Coverage of the Pepsi Team Invitational will be available for free on the Pac-12 Live Stream, which is available at Live results, schedule and accepted entries are available at Updates during the meet are available on twitter, @aggietrk.

Scoring for the meet follows an international scoring system, which allows schools to score a maximum of two competitors in each event (one team per relay). Individual scoring is 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 while relays will be 9-7-6-5.

“In this kind of meet two people are going to score from your team in each event,” said Henry. “So you try to put your best two people in each event you have and we’re trying to cover all the way across the board. I think the only event we aren’t able to cover this weekend is the women’s steeplechase. Besides that event, we have people in every event. So, it gives an opportunity to be successful.”

In 2010 the A&M men finished second to Oregon (186-151) while in 2012 the Ducks (205-189) also prevailed. The Aggie women were second to Oregon (212-175.5) in 2010 and placed third (145.5) in 2012 behind Oregon (224.5) and Washington (157).

The Aggies set five meet records during its visit in 2010 and added another pair of records in 2012. This will be Washington’s 15th appearance in the Pepsi Team Invitational while Washington State makes its first appearance since 1997. Oregon women have won 18 of the previous 23 Pepsi Team Invitational meets while the Duck men have claimed 17 titles.

One of the featured events of this year’s meet will be the men’s javelin where A&M’s Sam Humphreys and Oregon’s Sam Crouser, the gold and silver medalists from last summer’s Olympic Trials, will square off again.

Humphreys is the current US and collegiate leader in 2013 with a mark of 267-1 (81.40) while Crouser is third among collegians with a 248-8 (75.80). Last summer each hit a career best at Hayward Field during the Olympic Trials with Humphreys reaching a mark of 268-7 (81.86) and Crouser producing a mark of 265-1 (80.80). The javelin field will also include A&M’s Devin Bogert (238-5) and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman (238-0), who currently rank sixth and seventh on the 2013 collegiate list.

“Our Sam loves throwing in Oregon and their Sam loves throwing in Oregon,” said Henry. “It will be a fun competition even though it’s still early in the outdoor season. The opportunity is there for two great javelin throwers to line up. Devin is getting better every week as well.”

Shelbi Vaughan, the current collegiate leader with a discus mark of 188-8, returns to the venue that had her placing fourth in the Olympic Trials discus. Her main competition will likely come from Oregon’s Laura Bobek, who has a season best of 172-6.

Oregon’s NCAA 100 meter champion, English Gardner, will contest the 200 this weekend against a crew of Aggies that includes Kamaria Brown, India Daniels, Ashton Purvis, Chandrell Stephens and LaKeidra Stewart. In the 100, the Ducks have Jenna Prandini facing the A&M challenge of Jennifer Madu, Daniels, Purvis and Stephens.

After relay work during the Texas Relays, Henry Lelei will run in his first steeplechase this season. Lelei won this event last season during the Pepsi Team Invitational in a then A&M school record of 8:45.80. Lelei later lowered the school record to 8:38.90 in winning the Big 12 title and then he finished fourth at the NCAA Championships with an 8:39.09.

Prezel Hardy, Jr. returns to Hayward Field as a meet record holder from last season with his 20.60 in the 200 meters. Hardy will run both the 100 and 200 while anchoring the 4x100 this weekend. Joining Hardy in the 100 are Michael Bryan and Jermaine Davis. Those three Aggie sprinters are also in the 200 along with Ameer Webb, the two-time NCAA Indoor 200 champion. Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas, who has a season best of 10.31w, is scheduled to run the 100.

Donique’ Flemings will get double hurdle duty with action in the 100 and 400 hurdles. She recorded a season best of 13.38 in the 100 hurdles at the Texas Relays and will make her season debut in the 400 hurdles in Eugene.

The Aggie relays roll into Hayward field with the top collegiate 4x100 times of the season. The A&M women blistered a world-leading 42.56 in winning the Texas Relays, equaling the No. 5 collegiate time ever run, to record the 20th sub 43 second time in school history. The Aggie men have the U.S. and collegiate leading time of 38.64 that claimed a Texas Relays title and marked the 25th sub 39 second time recorded in school history.

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