BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M men’s and women’s track & field teams are set to host the Ted Nelson Invitational on Jan. 14-15 at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
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A year after the women’s team finished runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the Aggies return seven NCAA point scorers for the 2022 season. In total, the women’s squad return eight All-Americans from a year ago that have combined to garner 48 All-America honors in their careers. The group includes: Deborah Acquah, Lamara Distin, Tyra Gittens, Jania Martin, Jaevin Reed, Kaylah Robinson, Tierra Robinson-Jones and Charokee Young.
The men’s team returns eight Aggies that earned All-America honors in 2021, including NCAA runner-up Brandon Miller. The sophomore swept the Southeastern Conference 800m titles, making it the fourth consecutive season an Aggie has swept the event after former student-athlete Devin Dixon swept the 2018, 2019 and 2020 titles. Returning All-Americans from the 2021 season include: Miller, Devon Achane, Lance Broome, Allon Clay, Omajuwa Etiwe, Moitalel Mpoke, James Smith II and Emmanuel Yeboah.
The Bowerman is Watching
Gittens was one of 10 athletes named to the women’s Bowerman Preseason Watch List on Jan. 5, while Miller was one of 10 named to the men’s list on Jan. 6. Miller is making his Bowerman Watch List debut, while Gittens is making her eighth career appearance. Gittens finished the 2021 season as a Bowerman finalist, while fellow Aggie Athing Mu claimed the award. The Bowerman is given annually by the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association to the top male and female collegiate track & field athlete. The watch list will be updated seven times throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons prior to the semifinalists being announced on June 20 and the finalists on June 27.
Last Time Out
Texas A&M opened the 2022 indoor slate on Dec. 3, at the Wooo Pig Classic in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Miller highlighted the meet, winning the 600m at 1:15.49, an under-20 600m all-time world best. Nine Aggies finished with a Texas A&M all-time top-12 list performance. A&M finished with seven individual event winners and one relay victory. Notably, Laila Owens ran a school record 300m time of 37.06. Her time ranks No. 9 on the all-time collegiate performer list.
Other top performances included Distin winning the high jump (6-1.25/1.86m) and Pablo Zolezzi finishing as the top collegian in the men’s weight throw (63-7/19.38m). Heather Abadie and Bailey Goggans each made their collegiate debuts turning in Aggie all-time top-12 list performances, Abadie cleared 13-5.25/4.10m in pole vault and Goggans clocked 2:50.10 in the 1000m.
Collegiate teams entered include: North Texas, Sam Houston State, SMU, Stephen F. Austin, UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio, along with other regional teams. Notable professionals entered in the meet include Texas A&M’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu, while Shannon Osika, Ella Donaghu and Jessica Hull enter the 3000m. Craig Engles and Charlie Hunter plan to hit the track as well.
How to Keep Up
Doors open at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, the first 250 fans on Saturday will receive a mini E. King Gill 12thMan statue. Tickets are available for purchase online at 12thman.com/tracktickets as well as at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium ticket office. Those unable to attend can follow the meet’s live results provided by flashresults.com, as well as the meet’s live stream on the SEC Network +.
About Ted Nelson
Ted Nelson Invitational served as the Texas A&M head coach for 14 years (1991-2004), following 24 years as an assistant under Charlie Thomas and one season as a graduate assistant. In addition to 39 years of coaching with the Aggies, Nelson was a four-year letterman in track and field and a 1965 letterman in football. He served as team captain in track and field during the 1964 and 1965 seasons. With a collegiate career that included winning the 1964 SWC title in 440-yard dash and setting a conference record of 46.2 seconds, Nelson once owned 13 Texas A&M records. He was also a member of collegiate record efforts in the 440-yard and mile relays. In 1999, Nelson was inducted into the Aggie Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2010, Nelson was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Texas Track and Field Association Hall of Fame.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach Pat Henry on early season meets (Ted Nelson Invitational)….
“This will be a relatively competitive meet that starts a ladder of competitions where each one gets a little bit more competitive. We had an early December meet where we got to look at some of our personal and now we’ll get to see a few more things this weekend. A lot of this is about where we are at right now and each athlete begins to understand where they are in the relationship to the training they have done to this point.
“Sixteen athletes will qualify in each event for the NCAA Indoor Championships. If you look at years past, the first couple meets really dictate about half of that field because the great ones are ready to go. Then you have some time for the other ones to come along. This meet is about finding a few new people. We know who the great ones are, let’s see what our young ones are able to do.”
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