SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Texas A&M’s journey to the NCAA Championships begins with the NCAA West Preliminary rounds held at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State this Thursday through Saturday, May 24-27, with the top 12 finishers in each event advancing to Eugene for the semifinal and finals.
The Aggies have the largest squad of national qualifiers with 62 entries among 53 athletes competing in 34 events. The Texas A&M men ranked No. 2 in the latest USTFCCCA national team computer rankings, sport 30 entries among 27 athletes in 17 events. The Aggie women, ranked No. 4, total 32 entries from 26 athletes in 17 events.
Three multi-event athletes – Tyra Gittens and Shaina Burns in the heptathlon, along with Nathan Hite in the decathlon – included in those numbers have already qualified for Eugene. Gittens, though, will compete in the high jump and long jump during the NCAA West prelims as she competes in both events on Thursday.
“This is about advancement now,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “This meet serves as the prelims to the semis and finals. It’s getting to the next round as we whittle down from 48 to 12 in this region.
“We already have three athletes in the multis advancing to Eugene, so we are pleased with that. Tyra Gittens will also compete here in a couple of individual events to see if she can qualify.”
Action in the NCAA West preliminary rounds begins at noon (PT) on Thursday with the men’s hammer and women’s javelin. Other field events begin at 4 p.m. while running events start at 4:30 p.m. The final running event on Thursday will be the semifinal of the 10,000m with Karis Jochen racing for the Aggies.
Live results from the NCAA West Preliminary rounds will be available online at https://www.ncaa.com/sites/
Heading into the NCAA West preliminaries, the Aggies have the leading mark among the entrants in two individual events as well as two relay events. Overall, Texas A&M has 25 entrants who rank among the top 12 in their respective events, 13 for the men and 12 for the women.
Individual event leaders include Jazmine Fray, with a collegiate-leading 2:01.18 in the 800, and Tahar Triki, with a collegiate-leading 55-5 ¾ (16.91) in the triple jump. The Aggies also sport the top 4×400 relays with a 3:01.17 for the men and a 3:29.61 for the women.
“I was very pleased with that group during the SEC meet,” said Henry of the men’s 4×400 who ran a season-best time without Robert Grant and Mylik Kerley during the conference meet. “They stepped up and did what they were capable of doing. I think we have the possibility of running a little faster. Same with the ladies.”
Triki’s career-best secured the SEC triple jump title and left him just half an inch away from the Algerian national record set in 1993 by Lotfi Khaida. Triki also ranks sixth in the long jump with a mark of 26-1 ½ (7.96) while Will Williams, the NCAA Indoor champion, ranks second with a windy 27-1 (8.25).
Texas A&M has a pair of entrants ranked among the top 12 in six events. In addition to the men’s long jump, they include Infinite Tucker (49.46) and Ilolo Izu (50.00) in the 400m hurdles, Audie Wyatt (18-4 ½ | 5.60) and Jacob Wooten (17-10 ¾ | 5.45) in the pole vault, and John Kyriazis (263-6 | 80.33) and William Petersson (231-10 | 70.66) in the javelin.
Women in action at NCAA West Preliminary
On the women’s side, the event pairings include Fray and Sammy Watson (2:02.49) in the 800m, along with Kristen Clark (184-4 | 56.20) and Maddy Stulce (173-6 | 52.89) in the javelin.
Other Aggies ranked among the top 12 heading into the NCAA West meet include Bryce Deadmon (45.71) in the 400m, Devin Dixon (1:45.62) in the 800m, Alex Riba (3:40.66) in the 1,500m, Brenessa Thompson (11.16w) in the 100m, Diamond Spaulding (22.92) in the 200m, Tyra Gittens in the high jump (6-1 ¼ | 1.86) and long jump (21-2 ¾ | 6.47), Lajarvia Brown (44-6 ¾ | 13.58) in the triple jump, and Serena Brown (198-1 | 60.39) in the discus.
In addition, the women’s 4×100 relay ranks third (43.26) while the men’s sprint relay is 12th (39.57).
A pair of Aggies who rank 13th include Efrain Hernandez (1:48.13) in the 800m and Ciynamon Stevenson (43-1 ½ | 13.14) in the triple jump.
Individuals who are seeded outside the top 12 and among the top 20 include Richard Rose (46.28) in the 400m, Garrett Cragin (7-0 ½ | 2.15) in the high jump, Gabe Oladipo (186-6 | 56.84) in the discus, Julia Madubuike (52.72) in the 400m, Brittany Parker (2:05.92) in the 800m, Chinyere Njoku (13.31w) in the 100m hurdles, and Sara Kathryn Stevens (13-9 ¼ | 4.20) in the pole vault.