FAYETTEVILLE – As the Aggies return to the venue of their first set of NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2009 for the John McDonnell Invitational on Saturday, Texas A&M will be among a strong field of seven teams competing in a scored meet this weekend.
Joining the Aggies, nationally ranked No. 1 for the men and No. 3 for the women, are host Arkansas (No. 2 men, No. 12 women) as well as Kansas (No. 1 women), Minnesota (No. 22 men), Oklahoma (No. 15 men, No. 24 women), Oklahoma State and Tulsa.
Field events at the John McDonnell Invitational begin at 10 a.m. with the men’s hammer while running events are set to start at 5 p.m. with the 4x100 relays. The meet will conclude around 9 p.m. Live results from the meet are available through www.flashresults.com and a pay-per-view web stream is available from RazorVision, which is accessible through www.arkansasrazorbacks.com.
Ameer Webb, the current world leader in the 100 with a 10.14, will contest that sprint event at Arkansas while Michael Bryan and Ricky Babineaux challenge Arkansas’ Akheem Gauntlett and OU’s Waymon Storey in the 200.
Henry Lelei, the world leader in the steeplechase with his school record 8:32.94, will compete in the 1,500 meters against a pair of Cowboys – Fabian Clarkson and Thomas Farrell – from Oklahoma State and the Arkansas duo of Stanley Kebenei and Solomon Haile.
In the 400 hurdles Greg Coleman brings a season best of 51.33 to face Michael Stigler of Kansas, who recently won the Texas Relays in 50.00 and was the Big 12 champion in 2012 with a career best 49.45, while Aggie Aikan Graham looks to improve upon his 52.52 from last week in Oregon.
Arkansas will run in the 4x400 for the first time since setting the indoor collegiate record of 3:03.50 to claim the NCAA Indoor title. The Aggies, who set the SEC Indoor meet record of 3:04.18, have run a best of 3:02.76 in finishing second at the Texas Relays this outdoor season.
A couple of highlight events on the women’s side include the 400 with SEC Indoor champion Regina George and teammate Sparkle McKnight facing A&M’s tandem of Kamaria Brown, the current collegiate outdoor leader, and Ibukun Mayungbe. McKnight leads the collegiate list with a 52.17 while Mayungbe has posted a best of 53.36. This will be the first 400 of the outdoor season for Brown and George.
In the 100 hurdles Donique’ Flemings brings her season best of 13.35, and a windy 13.21, to square off against Ivanique Kemp of Arkansas, who posted a 13.27 at Arizona State’s Sun Angel meet last week.
While Shelbi Vaughan will headline the discus field again this week, the Aggies throwers in the shot put will face indoor collegiate record holder Tia Brooks of Oklahoma, the NCAA Indoor champion who became the first woman in collegiate history to surpass 63 feet with her record toss of 63-0.75 (19.22).
The women’s long jump highlights a pair of the top freshmen in the nation with A&M’s LaQue Moen-Davis and Sydney Conley of Kansas. Moen-Davis has an outdoor best of 20-3 (6.17) from the first week of the outdoor season while Conley hit a mark of 20-4.25 (6.20) to win the B division at the Texas Relays.
The men’s field events include top A&M seeds in Sam Humphreys and Devin Bogert for the javelin and Dalton Rowan in the discus. Arkansas features a trio of jumpers in Anthony May (high jump), Tarik Batchelor (long jump, triple jump) and Raymond Higgs (triple jump).
In the pole vault, the Aggie pair of Chase Wolfle and Dustin Phillips seek to bounce back from a pair of no heights from last week as they challenge Razorback Andrew Irwin, the 2012 & 2013 SEC Indoor and NCAA Indoor champion, as well as a Kansas duo of Alex Bishop and Casey Bowen.
THE BOWERMAN AWARD WATCH LIST
Ameer Webb, the two-time NCAA Indoor 200 meter champion and current world leader in the 100 meters is on The Bowerman Award watch list that was released recently by United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Bowerman Award, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate male and female track and field athletes in the nation.
The watch list for The Bowerman Award currently numbers 10, while another five athletes are listed as receiving mention. Sam Humphreys, the NCAA runner-up in the javelin a year ago as well as the U.S. Olympic Trials champion, is among those athletes receiving mention.