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The Battalion

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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Texas A&M welcomes in SEC for Indoor Track Championships

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Texas A&M welcomes the best teams and athletes from around the SEC to Gilliam Indoor Track complex for the 2018 SEC Indoor Track Championships.

The SEC will converge on College Station this weekend as Texas A&M hosts the track and field SEC Championships at Gilliam Indoor Stadium. Both of the Aggie men’s and women’s teams are ranked seventh nationally coming into the meet.
The men’s squad finished in a three-way tie with Florida and Mississippi at last year’s SECs, before going on to win the NCAA Championships at home by half a point over the Gators.
The women’s team has finished seventh in this meet in the last two years, however last time the meet was hosted at Texas A&M in 2014, they managed a runner-up finish.
This weekend’s championships will feature 10 ranked women’s teams and eight ranked men’s team.
Along with No.1 Arkansas, other ranked women’s squads include Kentucky (3), Georgia (4), LSU (6), Texas A&M (7), Florida (8), Missouri (12), Tennessee (14), Alabama (17) and Mississippi State (24).
For the men, No. 2 Florida is the highest ranked nationally, followed by Arkansas (3), Georgia (5), Texas A&M (7), Alabama (8), Kentucky (11), South Carolina (23) and Auburn (25).
“It’s probably the finest track meet in the country,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said to “This one rivals the NCAA Championships and from a team aspect there is no better meet than the SEC. The enthusiasm that goes into this conference meet is second to none.
“It’s a great one to watch, to participate in and be involved in from a coaching standpoint. It’s a win for our community to host it. We’re ready to go, but whether we have enough bullets to win I don’t know yet. I look for us to have good performances and maybe the home environment will enable us to get a little bit better.”
Overall, 19 athletes will be returning as defending champions this year, including two Aggies.
Audie Wyatt will be attempting to win his third consecutive pole vault title, with his best jump of the season being a height of 18-114. His main challenger will come from within the team in Jacob Wooten, who broke Wyatt’s record of 18-212 set at the 2017 NCAA Championships. Wooten hit both 18-3 (Arkansas) and 18-412 (Clemson) this year. Together, the two had four 1-2 finishes this indoor season.
With a season best time of 2:02.30 in the 800m, Jazmine Fray is the other Aggie set to defend her title this weekend. The collegiate record holder will also be challenged by a fellow Aggie, this time Sammy Watson. The freshman won her sole 800m race of the season with a 2:03.42, a time second only to Fray in the SEC this season.
“I’m excited since we are hosting the meet at Texas A&M,” Fray said to “This is a high-caliber meet and I think we have a high-caliber team. I’m feeling very confident and excited going into this meet. It’s very comforting to have the SEC Indoor at Texas A&M with a home-field advantage.
Alex Riba comes in as another Texas A&M athlete to watch this weekend. The senior became the first Aggie to break a four-minute mile, setting a school record with a 3:59.12 at the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational. Riba also runs anchor for the team’s distance medley relay squad. He helped the team to run the second fastest time in school history last week at Notre Dame with a 9:32.99.
“It’s our first time hosting the indoor SEC meet since 2014, and we’re glad to be back home on our track,” Riba said to “It’s always an advantage being comfortable with the track we train on. Being a senior it’s great to perform on this level in front of a home crowd. We’re ready to compete for a title. Individually, the goal is to score as many points as possible.”
Both Will Williams and Danyel White won bronze medals at last year’s championships and will look to be on the podium again this weekend. Williams, a long jumper, has a season best leap of 25-914 this year. White, a sprinter in the 200m, hit times of 23.10 and 23.08 this season, close to her career best of 23.00 she set as a freshman last year at the NCAA Semifinals.
Other athletes competing for medals on the men’s side include Devin Dixon, Mylik Kerley and Robert Grant. Dixon owns the fastest 800m time of the season with a 1:47.37, a facility record he set at Clemson earlier this year. Kerley (46.10) and Grant (46.22) will be competing for medals in the 400m.
Women athletes expected to compete for medals include Alison Ondrusek (69-11 34) in the weight throw and Lajarvia Brown (43-8) in the triple jump, while Tyra Gittens (4,009) and Shaina Burns (4,006) will go for medals in the pentathlon.
For the first time, the final day of competition will be broadcast live on the SEC Network starting at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Action gets underway on Saturday at Gilliam Indoor Stadium with the men’s heptathlon and women’s pentathlon at 11 a.m.

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  • Coach Johnson prepares Senior Nathan Hite for the first event of the Men’s Heptathlon, the 60 meter dash. 

    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

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