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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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Track teams head to Nebraska

Teams from across the Big 12 will converge in Lincoln, Neb. this weekend to compete in the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The meet will feature many of the top track and field athletes in the nation as the Big 12 has grown to become a major force in NCAA track and field competition.
Highlighting an impressive field of men’s teams is No. 12 Nebraska, No. 21 Texas A&M and Missouri. Several teams ranked among Trackwire’s top 25 will also be competing in the women’s events, including No. 5 Texas, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 18 Iowa State and No. 20 Kansas State.
Nebraska’s men’s team is searching for its fourth consecutive Big 12 title. The Huskers are anchored by senior pole vaulter Eric Eschbach and junior shot-putter Carl Myerscough. Eschbach captured the 2002 Big 12 title with a mark of 17-5 3/4, one that he has already surpassed this season on his way to becoming one of Trackwire’s top six pole vaulters in the country.
Myerscough, currently the nation’s top shot-putter, will face off against one of the world’s best throwers in Missouri’s Christian Cantwell, in what may prove to be the most exciting event of the meet.
“There are a number of athletes you could call one in a million,” Nebraska Field Coach Mark Colligan said. “They might be one in a billion. How often do two one-in-a-billion athletes meet in a college setting?”
The No. 21 A&M men will be relying on senior hurdler Chris Pinnock, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation by Trackwire in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Pinnock holds the A&M school record.
The Aggies have been fine-tuning their performances all season and have set numerous season and personal bests in the meets leading up to the Big 12 Championships. Senior pole vaulter Chad Walters cleared a season-best 16-10.75 to take first in the Aggies’ final meet of the regular season.
Aggie jumpers freshman Fabrice Lapierre and sophomore Andrew Gamble also fared well in A&M’s last meet of the regular season. Lapierre posted an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 24-11.25 while Gamble leaped to a career-best distance of 51-9.75 in the triple jump.
“The long jump will be a good event for us, and it will be a factor in how we place at the meet,” said A&M Head Coach Ted Nelson.
Junior Ellison Collins has also provided A&M with a threat in the high jump competition.
Another spot the Aggies hope to score in is in the men’s multi-events. Senior John Bloom gives the Aggies a good chance to take the conference title in the men’s pentathlon. Bloom has had great success during outdoor contests, but has struggled indoors.
“(Bloom) has not been fortunate at the indoor championships throughout his career,” Nelson said. “I think he wants to do really well this last time around, and I think that is going to take over and solve a lot of problems. I think I have seen a rejuvenated John Bloom this fall.”
On the women’s side, No. 5 Texas looks to be the favorite as it competes for its fourth conference title since the inception of the Big 12. Longhorn freshman phenom Sanya Richards anchors an impressive group of Texas sprinters. Richards has taken the track and field community by storm since her NCAA debut earlier this year for the Longhorns, and is currently fifth in the 60-meter in the country, and is leading the nation in the 200- and 400-meters.
Richards also runs a leg of the Longhorns’ 4×400-meter team that is the best in the nation.
No. 13 Nebraska will need to score in the horizontal jumping events to repeat as Big 12 champions and capture its third title in four years. Junior Ineta Radevica leads a formidable corps of Husker jumpers. Trackwire currently ranks Radevica among the top three athletes in both the women’s long jump and triple jump events.
“Competition is always good for jumping,” Radevica said. “Competition is what pushes you to do your best.”
The Championships are set to begin at 10 a.m. Friday and conclude at 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

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