Aggies begin NCAA Championships with West Preliminary rounds in California
Texas A&M’s journey to the NCAA Championships in Austin (June 5-8) takes the Aggies to Sacramento State this week for the NCAA West Preliminary rounds, where field sizes of 48 are trimmed to 12 through either one or two rounds of competition in a majority of events. Relay events consist of 24 entries which are trimmed to 12.
Competition in the NCAA West takes place Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25. Coverage of the meet will be available through a subscription service with Flotrack.org. Live results will be available here: https://dt8v5llb2dwhs.cloudfront.net/West/index.htm.
The No. 3 Texas A&M women lead the field with 36 entrants as 26 athletes compete in 14 events. The No. 4 Aggie men have 25 entrants with 23 athletes competing in 12 events. The A&M women have 17 entries seeded among the top 12 while the Aggie men have eight entries seeded among the top 12 heading into the meet this weekend.
“There is pressure every time you step on the track and I even try to create pressure in every workout,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “You have to know how to handle that, and we’ll see how our people line up and handle that kind of advancement and qualifying. I feel pretty good that our people know what it takes to advance to the next level.
“Confidence is a huge aspect of our sport, if you don’t believe you can do it, you can’t do it. I you don’t believe you will get better, then you might as well not go. It is about what you think.”
Aggie leaders in the NCAA West include Devin Dixon (800m), the men’s 4x400 relay, and Ciynamon Stevenson (triple jump).
Dixon’s 1:44.76 is the current collegiate 800m leader and ranks sixth on the 2019 world list. He also anchored the Aggies to a U.S. and collegiate-leading time of 3:01.77 in the 4x400 relay, which ranks fourth on the world list season, with a 44.23 split in the SEC Championships. Stevenson ranks second among collegians under all-conditions with her wind-aided leap of 45-9 ¾ (13.96).
Other Texas A&M athletes seeded among the top five in the NCAA West include Infinite Tucker, Robert Grant, and Ilolo Izu in the 400m hurdles, Jacob Wooten (pole vault), Danyel White (200m), Syaira Richardson (400m), Jazmine Fray (800m), Tyra Gittens (high jump, long jump), as well as the women’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
The men’s 400m hurdles will be a challenging event in the NCAA West as the top nine collegiate times set this season are by athletes in the West region. A&M’s trio of Tucker (49.38), Grant (49.47) and Izu (49.68) rank 3-4-5 behind a 49.09 by USC’s Cameron Samuel and a 49.11 by Norman Grimes of Texas Tech.
Thursday’s competition begins at noon (Pacific Time) for a trio of Aggies in the javelin – Natalie Scheifele (flight 1), Celine Markert (flight 2) and Maddy Stulce (flight 3). At 3:30 p.m. the women’s high jump begins with an A&M trio that includes Gittens, Kirby Matocha and LaJarvia Brown. Wooten leads an Aggie foursome in the men’s pole vault at 4:30 p.m. as he is joined by Robin Nool, Carl Johansson and Logan Freeman.
The first round of the 400m hurdles starts at 5 p.m. on Thursday with Tyler Hart (heat 1), Grant (heat 2), Tucker (heat 4), DeWitt Thomas (heat 4), and Izu (heat 5) seeking a top three finish or a time among the next six fastest time to advance to the quarterfinals on Friday, where the top three finishers and the next three fastest times qualify for Austin.
Following the high jump, Gittens (heat 4) and Brown (heat 2) are part of an Aggie quartet in the long jump at 6:45 p.m., which also includes Stevenson (heat 1) and Deborah Acquah (heat 4)
Other first round action on the track includes Brenessa Thompson (heat 4), Amber Ivy (heat 5) and Jania Martin (heat 6) in the women’s 100m while Jace Comick (heat 1) contests the men’s 100m.
A crew of four Aggies race in the women’s 400m led by Richardson (heat 4) and includes Jarra Owens (heat 3), Jaevin Reed (heat 4), and Tierra Robinson-Jones (heat 5). The men’s 400m includes Bryce Deadmon (heat 1) and Kyree Johnson (heat 2). In the 800m, Fray (heat 3) and Brittany Parker (heat 5) represent A&M in the women’s field with Carlton Orange (heat 1) and Dixon (heat 6) racing in the men’s field.
The final event for Texas A&M on Thursday evening, the women’s 10,000m at 9 p.m., has Ashley Driscoll and Kelsie Warren racing for top 12 positions among a field of 48 entrants.