EUGENE, OR -- For the second time in three years the Aggies will visit Hayward Field in April for the 23rd annual Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational, held on Saturday, April 7. Along with Texas A&M, the host Ducks have invited UCLA and Washington.
Visits to Hayward Field have been memorable for Texas A&M in recent years including the double NCAA Outdoor championship they claimed in 2010 to successfully defend their 2009 NCAA titles. During the 2010 version of the Team Invitational the Aggies finished second to Oregon, in both men’s and women’s team scoring.
In each of the A&M women’s NCAA Outdoor team titles over the past three years the Oregon women have finished second to the Aggies by scores of 50-43 (2009, Fayetteville), 72-52 (2010, Eugene) and 49-45 (2012, Des Moines). Meanwhile, the Ducks have been three-time NCAA Indoor champs from 2010 to 2012.
A live webcast of the meet will be offered by Oregon, starting at 2:15 p.m. (CT), via their web site www.goducks.com. Updates during the meet will be available via twitter @AggieTrk and @OregonTF.
Action begins with the women’s javelin at 10:15 a.m. (12:15 p.m. CT) followed by the men’s javelin. The first track event is the women’s steeplechase at 12:35 p.m. (2:35 p.m. CT). Current forecast for Saturday is 62 degrees and partly sunny. Team scoring will follow a 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 format for individual events and a 9-7-6-5 format for relay events. Only the top two individuals per team will score.
This weekend the Aggies head into competition with the women ranked No. 5 and the men ranked No. 6 in the latest USTFCCCA computer rankings. Oregon women are No. 1 while the Duck men are ranked No. 16. UCLA is ranked 30th with their men and 36th with the women. Washington women are 33rd and the men are 44th.
The top ten men’s teams in this week’s USTFCCCA rankings include: 1. Florida; 2. LSU; 3. Florida State; 4. Arkansas; 5. Texas; 6. Texas A&M; 7. Texas Tech; 8. USC; 9. Mississippi State; and 10. Arizona State. Among the women’s top team teams are: 1. Oregon; 2. LSU; 3. Clemson; 4. USC; 5. Texas A&M; 6. Arkansas; 7. Oklahoma; 8. Texas; 9. Kansas; and 10. Texas Tech.
This will mark the third Pac-12 school the Aggies have visited among their four meets so far this outdoor season. Texas A&M opened the 2012 outdoor campaign at Arizona State and then competed at the USC Trojan Invitational two weeks ago.
Henry Lelei and Natosha Rogers, both multiple school record breakers this year, will each compete in an event where they have an opportunity at another school record this weekend.
Lelei will compete in the 3,000 steeplechase for the first time this season. With a career best of 8:50.17 in the event Lelei won the 2010 NJCAA title and was the 2011 NJCAA runner-up while competing for Central Arizona. Joining Lelei in the steeplechase are teammates C.J. Brown, Stephen Curry, and Isaac Spencer.
The Aggie record in the steeplechase is 8:47.78 set by Juan DeBastos in 2001 while Arturo Barrios ran 8:47.8 with the Aggies back in 1984. The current collegiate leading time is 8:50.52 run by Kentucky’s Luis Orta during the Texas Relays.
Rogers, who has set eight school records this season with six set during the indoor season, will have an opportunity for her ninth A&M record in a sixth event. Indoors, Rogers set school records in the mile, 3000, 5000 and anchored the distance medley relay. Outdoors, Rogers has broken the 1,500 twice with times of 4:18.75 at USC and then a 4:17.06 at the Texas Relays.
In running her first outdoor 5,000 this season, Rogers will be aiming for the 15:52.30 A&M record set by Melissa Gulli during the 2004 Olympic Trials held in Sacramento, California. Rogers holds the indoor 5,000 record with a 15:52.40 which placed her second at the Big 12 Championships back in February.
Sam Humphreys remains the U.S. and collegiate leader in the javelin from his 256-6 (78.19) toss to open the outdoor season at the Baldy Castillo Invitational hosted by Arizona State. Humphreys set his first A&M school record, by a centimeter, when the Aggies competed in the Oregon Team Invitational in 2010. This season he has added nearly five feet to his school record.
Texas A&M enters the weekend with the second –best collegiate marks this season in three of the four relays they will contest in Eugene. The men’s 4 x 100 has run 38.84 while the 4 x 400 squad has recorded a 3:03.16. The women’s 4 x 100 has posted a 43.21 in the sprint relay and a 3:35.60 in the 4 x 400, which is currently ninth collegiately.
Individuals who make up the line-up for those high-octane Aggie relays have enjoyed personal best times in their specialty events as well.
Ameer Webb, the NCAA Indoor 200 champion and World indoor leader with a 20.39 clocking, has recorded a windy 10.05 (10.36 wind legal) and a collegiate leading 20.46 during the outdoor season. Prezel Hardy, Jr. has sped to times of 10.15w and 20.59 while Michael Bryan has produced 10.36w and 20.80 times this season.
In the 400 Deon Lendore ran a career best of 46.20, currently third collegiately in 2012, and also split 44.9 on the 3:03.16 effort the Aggies had at USC.
For the A&M women Dominique Duncan and Ashley Collier will make their outdoor debut in the 200 after they each ran on a third-place 1:31.28 4 x 200 effort at the Texas Relays. Duncan posted a career best of 23.03 in 2011 while Collier had a PR of 23.15.
Another 110 hurdle showdown is expected between Oregon’s Jonathan Cabral and the Aggie duo of Wayne Davis II and Kenneth Minkah. The trio first met this season at the USC Trojan Invitational where Cabral claimed the win in 13.76 over Davis (13.93) and Minkah (14.31).
Davis is currently sixth collegiately with a windy 13.72 from Arizona State. He recently placed sixth at the Texas Relays with a windy 13.77.
In the women’s 100 hurdles, Donique’ Flemings will land in the Eugene still riding the high of winning her specialty event at the Texas Relays with a 12.88 wind-aided (2.2) mark after she lowered her career best to 13.17 in the prelims. Flemings ranks third collegiately with her Texas Relays winning mark.
Laura Asimakis, the Big 12 Indoor pole vault champ and the Texas Relays javelin winner, will focus on the vault in this meet as she teams up with Aly Daily. Asimakis cleared an outdoor best of 13-7.25 (4.15) to place 10th in the Texas Relays while Daily has cleared 12-7.5 (3.85) twice outdoors to place third at Arizona State and tie for eighth in the B division of the Texas Relays.
The Aggies throwing contingent will include Brea Garrett, Jennifer Edwards and Taylor Rosser in the shot put, Jill Hydrick in the discus along with Lauren Berg and Kelly Czumble in the javelin.
In the men’s throwing events A&M will have Dalton Rowan in the shot and discus, where he will be joined by Ben Skrla, Cole Knuth and Humphreys in throwing the platter. The hammer trio is led by school record holder Casey Strong and includes Knuth and Landon Hartwick. Joining Humphreys in the javelin is Devin Bogert and Jon Gomez.
For jumping events the Aggie men’s crew includes Cameron Alexander, Babatunde Amosu, Olabanji Asekun, Dave Brown, Tyler Lee and Jonathan Turner covering the high jump, long jump and triple jump. For the A&M women Jena Hemann will high jump while Chelsea Utley is in the high jump and long jump with Haley Gooch competing in the triple jump.