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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies and Big 12 dominate Challenge

ACDC ‘s “Thunderstruck” blared over the PA system in Gilliam Indoor Facility before the start of the Texas A&M Challenge Saturday, setting the tone for an electrifying day by the Texas A&M track and field teams. The Aggies won 13 events and set three school records in the last meet before the conference championship, as the Big 12 swept the men and women of the Pac-10, SEC and Conference USA.
Head Coach Pat Henry said many individuals stepped up to some added pressure, improving the team’s chances of winning the conference title in two weeks.
“This was the last meet before conference and we put a little bit of pressure on some people to do some things today,” Henry said. “We talked about taking a chance, talked about consistency, and we had some people do all three of those things today. This is one of those tune-ups where you’ve got to put yourself on the line and say ‘let’s do what we can do.'”
The Aggies proved what they can do in this meet as they played a vital role in the Big 12 sweep of both genders by more than 100 points each. The women’s score totaled 297 points for the Big 12, with the Pac-10 coming in second with 176 points. The men’s side totaled to 329 points for the Big 12, and the Pac-10 finished second with 140 points.
Junior sprinter Joey Roberts bettered his school record time in the 800 meters with a 1:49.15. Roberts said it was a strategic race that held many surprises.
“I didn’t expect to race against a guy twice my size. I mean he was a giant, so getting around him was like playing chess. I had to move at the right time,” Roberts said. “It’s great to be happy and successful in my own right [but] the support on this team is beyond anything that I could ask for.”
The team became more supportive after junior sprinter Michael Preble stepped up with a career day, setting the A&M record in the 600-yard run and anchoring an NCAA-qualifying men’s 1600-meter relay. Preble said the determination of the team to improve through training shined in this meet.
“We’ve been working hard in practice and doing well so it’s not a surprise that Joey, Ross or [any of us] did well today,” Preble said. “It’s because we’ve been doing well in practice. It’s good that everyone is having success right now.”
Another Aggie with a successful day was senior sprinter Gerald Phiri, who matched his own school record time of 6.59 in the 60-meter dash and won the 200 meters. Phiri said he is content with the performances but plans to improve upon the times.
“My fourth time ever running 6.59, and I’m all ready tired of it, but consistency is good and I’ve shown that I’ve stabilized a 6.59,” Phiri said. “It was good, I can’t really be disappointed with the best I’ve ever done, but I’m a bit impatient sometimes. I have high expectations for myself so in that regard I was a bit disappointed.”
The Aggies want to prove that they are ready for the conference championship meet to happen Feb. 25 and 26 in Lincoln, Neb. Time will tell, as the Aggies are waiting for key athletes to return from injury and make a few more adjustments.

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