Director of Athletics
We are off to Raleigh, N.C., for the NCAA Women's Basketball Regional after a very successful hosting of the NCAA First and Second Rounds.
Monday night's win over Arkansas came down to the final seconds. Trailing by one point, senior Sydney Carter dribbled down the floor and attempted an aggressive shot and was fouled with 23 seconds left. She calmly drained two free throws to give us the lead. Then, senior Tyra White grabbed a rebound and was fouled in the final second following a last shot by Arkansas. Tyra made one of two free throws, and we won the second round, 61-59. Senior Adaora Elonu scored a career-high 23 points. It was the final home game for our seniors, and what a way to go out.
The crowds were great all weekend. We finished second in the country in attendance for the two rounds.
Our players and coaches used the home court advantage to perfection. Meanwhile, our athletic staff did an outstanding job hosting the event. Special thanks to tournament director Steve Miller, media coordinator Debbie Darrah, branding director Jon Carpenter, marketing director Jennifer Martin, ticket managers Noel Devin and Carole Dollins, athletic trainers Karl Kapchinski, Mike Ricke, and Matt Doles, IT manager Dana King, 12th Man Productions' Erik Pulverenti, Andy Richardson, and Charlene Kroeker, and a host of student assistants, various full-time athletic staffers, and several community volunteers who all teamed to make this championship a tremendous success.
A special thank you to our staff at Reed Arena who knocked this event out of the ballpark. Our Reed Arena staff is led by Leslie Lamkin and she is assisted by Becky Arnold, Josh Brown, Roger Schoppe, Ron Tettleton, Eli Johnson, and Darrell McMurray. Many of them have spent the last year or so working on many of the very specific details associated with hosting a NCAA Championship.
I'm looking forward to us hosting again next year.
But, first our No. 3 seeded women will face No. 2 seeded Maryland in the Raleigh Regional on Sunday at 11 a.m. at PNC Arena. The game will be televised by ESPN and online at ESPN3.com. You can also listen to our radio broadcast via the Texas A&M Sports Network.
We have won eight straight NCAA Tournament games, and it will be our fourth appearance in the Sweet 16 in the last five years.
We had an incredible performance by one of our women's swimmers and one of our women's divers over the weekend at the NCAA Championships at Auburn. Breeja Larson had a record setting swim in the 100-yard breaststroke to win the NCAA Championship. Breeja's time of 57.71 broke the NCAA, American, and US Open records. Meanwhile, diver Jaele Patrick won the three meter event which was A&M's first NCAA Championship in diving. Jaele was named Diver of the Meet, while Jay Lerew was named the Diving Coach of the Meet. It was the first such honors for our program. Our swimming and diving team finished sixth in the nation, and we were the top team in the Big 12. Saying that puts a smile on my face.
Good luck to our No. 18 men's swimming and diving team as we compete in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships starting today in Federal Way, Wash. Representing our men's squad are seniors John Ariens, Amini Fonua, Boris Loncaric and Grant Nel, juniors John Dalton and John Wagner, sophomores Hayden Jones, Paul-Marc Schweitzer and Kyle Troskot and freshman Luke Shaw (relay alternate).
One of our javelin throwers, Sam Humphreys, broke his own A&M record by an incredible five feet last weekend in Tempe, Ariz. Sam threw 256-6 which is the best in the USA this year. Click here for a complete list of our track and field results from the Baldy Castillo Invitational.
This weekend, our throwers will be at Texas-Arlington, while other members of our three-time defending national champion track and field team will be at Southern Cal.
We had a great baseball weekend at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Kansas State came in leading the Big 12 in hitting, and you could see why. They tore the cover off the ball. On Friday, we lost by a field goal, 15-12. But with strong pitching, and complete games by Ross Stripling on Saturday and Rafael Pineda on Sunday, we were able to tame their bats. We took two of three from the Wildcats to improve to 16-5 overall and to 2-1 in the league.
This week our No. 8 team is in Malibu, Calif., to play Pepperdine in a three-game series. Our next home game is Tuesday, March 27 against Houston Baptist.
You can listen to all of our baseball games on the Texas A&M Sports Network by clicking here.
Softball had a terrific tournament in Hawaii last week. We lost to the No. 1 team in the nation, Cal, but we won the remainder of the games for a 4-1 trip.
This Friday, our No. 19 team starts a three-game series with No. 10 Missouri as Big 12 play begins. Softball fans will notice us playing three-game series in conference play this year instead of two like we have done previously. Due to the number of teams playing in the conference, the schedule was adjusted.
You can purchase tickets for the series by clicking here.
Women's tennis is doing an incredible job as our new coach Howard Joffe has guided us to a school record 11 straight wins and a national ranking of 16. He has revitalized our women's tennis program in a very short time and already has some of the world's best amateur players set to join us next year, just in time for our inaugural season in the SEC.
After beating Missouri and Iowa State last week on the road, we will host Kansas State on Friday at 6 p.m. and Kansas on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, our No. 22 men's team will host SMU on Saturday at 1 p.m.
You can purchase tickets for all tennis matches by clicking here.
Freshman Patricia Garcia finished second overall to lead our No. 13 women's golf team to a third-place finish at The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn on Tuesday. It was Patricia's best collegiate finish. As a team we had the low round for the final day with a 296.
On Sunday, our No. 15 men's golf team begins play in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate in Awendaw, S.C. It's the final tournament for our men outside the state of Texas. On April 9, we will play in The Woodlands before hosting our annual Aggie Invitational at Traditions Club on April 21. The Big 12 Championships will be held in nearby Trinity, Texas on April 27.
Our No. 2 equestrian team will be in Katy, Texas on Saturday for the Pin Oak Charity Invitational. It's the final show for our team before the Big 12 Championships next week in Manhattan, Kan.
Season tickets for 2012 Aggie football, our inaugural season in the SEC, can be renewed online at www.12thmanfoundation.com. Paper renewals are mailing this week. The online response has been record setting with 22 percent of tickets renewed during the first week. May 1st is the football ticket renewal deadline.
Speaking of the SEC, conference schedules are out today in volleyball and soccer. We are happy to know where and when our teams are playing, and we are expecting baseball, softball, and tennis soon. As for basketball and future football schedules, it will be a few months.
We are excited to also welcome 700 Texas A&M Lettermen who have recently joined the 12th Man Foundation as part of a special dual membership. Having our former athletes involved with the Lettermen's Association and the 12th Man Foundation is very important to the long term success of our overall athletic program. If you are former athlete at A&M and would like more information about this dual membership opportunity, please click here.