With the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational featuring a pair of programs nationally ranked among the top five this season the Aggies will have a large contingent competing at Bernie Moore Stadium on Saturday. Texas A&M men are currently No. 4 and the women are No. 5 while the host Tigers women are No. 2 with the men No. 5.
In addition to both program’s national team rankings they tend to excel in the same event areas, which makes for intriguing match-ups this weekend. During the indoor season LSU visited A&M for a dual meet, splitting the victories with the Aggie men (88-68) and Tiger women (82.5 to 76.5) coming out on top.
Other teams scheduled for the LSU meet include Grambling, Hinds CC, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi, McNeese State, Northwestern State, South Florida, Southern, Southern Miss, Tulane, and Wyoming.
The morning session of the Alumni Gold meet, which begins at 9 a.m., includes some field event finals along with B sections of various track events. The afternoon session, with the primary track finals, starts with the 4 x 100 relays at 2:30 p.m. Live results will be available on www.deltatiming.com/results.aspx with updates provided by @Aggietrk and @LSUTrackField on twitter.
As relay events tend to be the foundation of building each program into a national contender, this season shows promise of the Aggies and Tigers challenging one another for titles at next week’s Penn Relay Carnival as well as the NCAA Championships in June.
The A&M men have clocked times of 38.84 (No. 2 collegiate) in the 4 x 100 and 3:03.16 (No. 3 collegiate) in the 4 x 400 while LSU counters with 39.54 (No. 10 collegiate) and 3:03.20 (No. 4 collegiate). For the women the Aggies have run 43.21 (No. 2 collegiate) and 3:35.60 (No. 10 collegiate) while the Tiger women have posted times of 42.99 (No. 1 collegiate) and 3:30.42 (No. 2 collegiate).
In the sprint events the Aggies will have a formidable line-up contesting events from the 100 to 400 meters with women sprinters Ashley Collier, Kanika Beckles, Dominique Duncan, Olivia Ekponé, Ibukun Mayungbe, Chandrell Stephens and LaKeidra Stewart. The A&M men will feature Ricky Babineaux, Michael Bryan, Jermaine Davis, Alex Gilreath, Prezel Hardy, Jr., Deon Lendore, Carlyle Roudette and Ameer Webb.
Collegiate leader Michael Preble returns to the 800 meters this weekend along with Joey Roberts and a slew of teammates. Preble tops the college list with a 1:46.43, which ranks 10th in the world this season, when he won the USC Trojan Invitational in March. Roberts is sixth on the collegiate list with a 1:47.52 from that same race.
In the hurdles there is a pair of key match-ups. A&M’s Donique’ Flemings (12.88w, 13.17), unbeaten in five finals, squares off against LSU’s Jasmin Stowers (13.03w, 13.10) in the women’s 100 hurdles. Joining the collegians is Canadian Perdita Felicien, the 2003 World Champion and 2007 World silver medalist.
For the men’s 110 hurdles the match-up includes A&M’s tandem of Wayne Davis II (13.70w, 13.98) and Kenneth Minkah along with current collegiate leader Barrett Nugent of LSU (13.37w, 13.49), who is undefeated in three finals this season.
Flemings will also run the 400 hurdles, where she set a career best of 57.76 in winning the Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational a couple of weeks ago. LSU counters with Cassandra Tate, who ran 57.06 in her opening race last weekend and has a career best of 55.99.
After establishing nine school records in 2012 amid events ranging from the 1,500 to 5,000 meters, Natosha Rogers will get a bit of speed work this weekend as she competes in the 800 meters with teammates Aliese Hyde and Tiffany Singleton. Their primary challenge comes from LSU’s Charlene Lipsey, who recorded a collegiate leading time of 2:02.91 a couple of weeks ago.
Henry Lelei, who set the A&M school record in the steeplechase two weeks ago, will lead a group of Aggies in the 1,500, where the school record is a 3:43.65 set by Tommy Bonn in 2002. Joining Lelei in the race are C.J. Brown, Kevin Burnett, MacLean O’Donnell, Colin Slattery and Isaac Spencer.
Fresh off a double victory in the pole vault and javelin in Miami, Laura Asimakis (13-7.25) will focus on just the pole vault in Baton Rouge with teammate Aly Daily (13-1.5). They square off against LSU’s Rachel Laurent (13-11.75), who currently ranks eighth on the collegiate list. Asimakis is tied for No. 16 in the pole vault and is No. 7 in the javelin with a season best of 170-4.
A pair of freshmen who have excelled early in the discus includes A&M’s Dalton Rowan (186-1) and LSU’s Rodney Brown (190-8). On the 2012 collegiate list Brown ranks No. 7 while Rowan is No. 15.
The jumping events will include high caliber competition for the Aggies. In the high jump the A&M tandem of Cameron Alexander and Tyler Lee face the current collegiate leader in Ricky Robertson of Mississippi, who cleared 7-7.25 a couple of weeks ago to win the Florida Relays.
Aggie All-Americans Fabrice Lapierre, the 2010 World Indoor champion, and Julian Reid are both in the long jump while current A&M athlete Babatunde Amosu is in a triple jump event that includes former Tiger Walter Davis, the 2005 World Champion.
Other Aggie post-collegians in the meet include Gerald Phiri (100), Demetrius Pinder (200), Richard Adu-Bobie (200), Tabarie Henry (400), Bryan Miller (400), and Andrea Sutherland (400H).