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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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A&M track and field heads to NCAA Indoor Championships

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Photo by CJ Smith
Texas A&M senior Connor Schulman jumps the hurdle during the Ted Nelson Invitational at Murray Fasken Indoor Track on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

After the men placed third and the women took fourth at the SEC Indoor Championships, Texas A&M track and field athletes will travel to Boston to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 8-9.

With four gold medals, two silver and six bronze from the SEC Indoor Championships, the men’s and women’s teams are set with the top-16 performers in each individual event and top-12 for relays. The Aggies have 11 total entries.

Senior Lamara Distin became the first collegiate woman to leap 2.00 meters to win gold in the high jump at the SEC Indoor Championships. Distin looks to secure another three-peat in the NCAA Indoor Championships. Earlier this week, she was named NCAA Athlete of the Week and SEC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.

“I think that this is going to be a fun part of the national championships for Texas A&M,” coach Pat Henry said. “We had some situations happen this year indoors. It’s just the way it feels unusual, but I’m pleased with the group we are taking.”

Senior Connor Schulman and junior Ja’Qualon Scott, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in the 60-meter hurdles, respectively, said competing against one another has helped them throughout the indoor season.

“Confident — that’s the easiest way to put it,” Schulman said. “I know we can go one-two, just like we have all year, so it’s just a big confidence thing going.

“Obviously, I want to win,” Schulman said. “Everybody wants to win. I think the biggest expectation is just to see what I can do. Obviously, this is the best I’ve ever run indoors, and I like to think of myself as an outdoor runner, so I just want to see what I can do over five hurdles and get a good stepping stone to go outdoors.”

Scott said he was confident they had put in the work and were prepared for the meet.

“It definitely feels good coming in as a team,” Scott said. “ … We give each other a bunch of tough love out there, and, you know, we just push each other every single day to be better.”

Junior Heather Abadie won the first conference title of her career in the women’s pole vault at the SEC Championships. The junior cleared 4.38m/14-4.5 earlier this season, qualifying her for nationals and setting the A&M indoor program record. Competing will be better this year since she is not competing alone in the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time in a while, Abadie said.

“So my whole goal was just going in and trying to be consistent and doing better than last year,” Abadie said. “This whole year has been incredible … knowing that my coaches are also here and they’re supportive just shows that I’m ready and capable to go out there and compete.”

Senior Jermaisha Arnold in the 400-meter, senior Semira Killebrew in the 60-meter and senior Joniar Thomas are also headed to Boston for the women. Thomas holds the fourth-longest leap in the country this season at 6.56m/21-6.25 in the long jump.

On the men’s side, junior Auhmad Robinson will compete in the 400m race and junior Ushan Perera will compete in the high jump.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay team of junior Auhmad Robinson, Scott, senior Jevon O’Bryant, and junior Kimar Farquharson and the women’s 4x400m relay team of sophomore Camryn Dickson, graduate senior Nissi Kabongo, senior Jermaisha Arnold and junior Jaydan Wood will compete at the meet coming in with the fourth fastest time at nationals.

The NCAA Indoor Championships will be streamed live on ESPN, and live results will be posted on Flash results.

Youngchan Kang is a journalism sophomore and contributed this article from the course JOUR 359, Reporting Sports, to The Battalion.

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