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Aggies Host Ted Nelson Invitational to Open 2021 Season

(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 1:15 PM CST
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BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – After a 322-day delay, the Texas A&M track & field program is back on the oval hosting the Ted Nelson Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Gilliam Indoor Stadium. The event begins with the field events at 11 a.m., followed by running events at 3:30 p.m.

The Ted Nelson is the first of three meets the Aggies host during the 2021 indoor season.

Meet Day Experience

Due to capacity restrictions, GA ticket sales are no longer available. A limited number of walkup sports pass holders will be accommodated. Spectator parking is free in lots 48 and 62. Lot 61 is $5 due to men’s basketball and parking garages are the usual hourly rates.

Visit gameday.12thMan.com/track for a complete list of efforts and enhancements being made to help keep Gilliam Indoor Stadium as safe as possible.

How to Keep Up

Those unable to attend can follow @aggietfxc on twitter for live updates as well as following live results provided by Flash Results. The meet can be seen on the SEC Network + beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Men’s Preview

Nearly 50 Aggies will don the Maroon & White to open the 2021 season. Five-time All-American Bryce Deadmon is scheduled to run the 400m and 4x400m. In 2020, Deadmon won the SEC 400m title and held the nation’s fastest 400m time at 45.51. As the lone returner from last season’s nation-leading 4x400m relay team, Deadmon will be the leader of the group, while newcomers Allon Clay, Omajuwa Etiwe, Brandon Miller and James Smith, Jr., along with returners Colby Zamzow, Jake Lanier and Sam Presnal will have their opportunities to land a spot on the relay. The mile features three SEC scorers from last year’s championships in All-SEC member Jon Bishop, Eric Casarez and Gavin Hoffpauir.

In the field events, the throws are loaded with experience as seniors Josh Brown and K.J. Grimes lead the group, while underclassmen Kyle Stulce and Pablo Zolezzi provide depth. Six Aggies are scheduled for the pole vault, including 2020 SEC scorers Zach Davis and Logan Freeman. Newcomer Sean Clarke provides Texas A&M depth in the event as the high flyer boasts a personal best 5.50m/18-0.5 clearance. The high jump features 2020 SEC scorer Jake Lamberth, returner Mason Corbin and true freshman Carter Bajoit. Junior Lagarious McQuirter and senior Darius Clark are entered in the long jump, while junior C.J. Stevenson competes in the triple jump.

Women’s Preview

The Aggie women field a smaller team this week with about 35 student-athletes in action. Tyra Gittens, Deborah Acquah, Syaira Richardson, Tierra Robinson-Jones and Charokee Young each are returning All-Americans from the 2020 season. Most notably, Gittens was the only Division I athlete, male or female, to earn three All-America honors in three individual events. The multi-athlete, is scheduled to compete in the long jump, along with Acquah, and the high jump. Acquah is also scheduled to compete in the triple jump.

On the track, the 800m race features one of the nation’s top freshman in Athing Mu. The Trenton, New Jersey, native set the American record in the 600m last February and boasts a personal best 800m time of 2:01.17. Fellow freshman Dominique Mustin enters the event along with returner Brooke Barrington. The women’s 400m is a loaded field as Richardson, Robinson-Jones and Young each enter the blocks. Kayla Robinson and Kennedy Smith each enter the 60m hurdles prelims at 3:30 p.m., while seven Aggies enter the 60m field including newcomers Zhane Smith, Jasmine Logan, Sydnee Stewart and returners Immanuela Aliu and Rachel Hall battle it out.

The Competition

Texas A&M welcomes Arizona State, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and  UT-Arlington to Aggieland.

Coaches Box

Head Coach Pat Henry

On the excitement of the first meet…

“These athletes haven’t done anything in over 10 months and it was evident this week in practice that their brains were turning on and starting to understand that we finally get to do what we love. We have an excited group of student-athletes. I want them to be realistic about where we are starting and what we are trying to do from the get-go. We look at our season as a ladder and we’re taking the first step on that ladder this week. You can’t skip a step and get to where you want to go, it’s a progression and this is our first rehearsal and our play is in June. Every time we get on the track we are trying to get a little bit better.”

On how prepared the team is…

“Physically we are well prepared. I’m ready to see where we are mentally and to see if we are able to get the best out of ourselves despite the lack of competition over the past year. Competition always brings the best out of athletes. As each week comes and you get the best out of yourself the first week you know what to expect the next week.”

On the competition at the meet…

“Arizona State always has great athletes. Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin field good teams, as well as Northwestern State and UT-Arlington is bring nearly 55 athletes. All of the teams coming have been known for having good track & field teams and that’s why we let them come. We’ve had to turn teams away this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, we only want to have about six schools at each meet. For this first meet this is the right level of competition for us and these schools, we’re excited about getting the season going.”

For the most up-to-date information on Texas A&M Track & Field/Cross Country, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@aggietfxc).