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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 to host SEC Indoor Championships

Jumper+Lagarious+McQuirter+finished+the+Long+Jump+in+third+with+a+distance+of+7.09+meters.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Jumper Lagarious McQuirter finished the Long Jump in third with a distance of 7.09 meters.

For the third time, the Texas A&M track and field teams will host the SEC Indoor Championships, featuring some of the top teams in the nation, at the Gilliam Indoor Stadium on Feb. 28 and 29.
SEC teams comprise four of the top 10 teams in the nation on the men’s side and six of the top seven teams on the women’s side, including five-time defending champions in No. 3 Arkansas. For A&M’s teams, ranked No. 5 for women and No. 13 for men, this meet is their biggest of the season so far.
“We try to talk to our athletes like it’s just another step on the ladder,” A&M coach Pat Henry said. “Everything we’ve done to this point, all competitions that we’ve had are a rehearsal to try to get ready for this meet.”
Since joining the SEC in 2012, A&M has yet to finish first place at this event. To change that, many solid individual performances will be crucial for A&M to win as underdogs in this tough field, Henry said.
“Track is one of those sports, it’s about individual performances and then at the end of that thing, somebody adds up the points,” Henry said. “You can have the best season and you have the best performances of any team in the country, but it really comes down to what you do in championship events and who you qualify to move on to the next round. To win the SEC, it’s got to be everybody have a good day on the same day. Everybody’s got to try to contribute.”
Among the Aggies’ contributors is senior Devin Dixon, middle distance runner, who was named the Men’s Runner of the Week by the SEC this week and is No. 2 in the SEC, as well as No. 7 in the NCAA. Dixon will be defending consecutive SEC Indoor 800-meter wins this weekend, in the hopes of helping A&M win against No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Georgia, No. 10 Arkansas and the other SEC opponents
“We’re ready to show everybody that the rankings are wrong,” Dixon said. “We’re the team that everybody should fear.”
With the first event kicking off at 11:45 a.m., some Aggies will use their underdog position as a motivating factor this weekend, hoping a boost from the home crowd can push them to the top, said senior distance runner Jon Bishop.
“Running with a chip on your shoulder might be some of the best feelings ever because you’re out really chasing something,” Bishop said. “This is what we’ve been training for. All the fans are here, the coaches … my family’s here, it’s just a really special experience.”
After clocking in personal best indoor runs in the mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter this season, Bishop was named a SEC Indoor Track and Field Scholar-Athletes of the Year, alongside Georgia’s Jessica Drop and Alabama’s Daija Lampkin.
“My personal goal for the weekend, something I’ve always dreamed about, is finishing in a medal position,” Bishop said. “I’ve done that work, I owe it to myself, I owe it to my team, my coaches, my family to just go out there and run really well.”
In the last eight years, Arkansas has won a championship in this event either on the men’s side, women’s side or both, with six wins for the men and six for the women since 2011.
“I think it will come down to Arkansas, LSU and possibly Texas A&M, who always has a tendency to rise when they are at home,” Arkansas women’s head coach Lance Harter told arkansasrazorbacks.com. “We [SEC] are very top heavy in the national rankings, and the SEC, traditionally, is an absolute battle to try to win.”
A&M hosted the SEC indoor championships in 2014, where the women’s team placed second, and again in 2018. The women’s team was also runner-ups at last year’s meet, whereas the men’s best performance was in 2016, as they grabbed second place.
“From an athlete’s standpoint, you get to run in front of Aggies and that’s a good thing,” Henry said. “We always have a good crowd. We have a great venue. It’s one of the best venues we have on campus when it’s really going and you get 5,000 people in that building and there has been times you couldn’t hear yourself.”

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