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Monday, December 11, 2023


Cougars face No. 5 Aggies at Charlie Thomas Invitational

Cougars face their toughest competition to date as they travel to College Station for the Charlie Thomas Invitational | Courtesy of Stephen Pinchback

Last week, the Houston Invitational offered the track team a chance to rest some people and pad their times and marks against fairly lighter competition.

They will need everyone to perform to the best of their ability this Friday and Saturday as they travel to College Station for the Charlie Thomas Invitational. The No. 25 Cougars come into the meet with six athletes ranked in the top 16 of the NCAA charts, the mark needed to qualify for the national championships in March.

In their toughest meet to date, the Cougars will face teams from Baylor, Cincinnati, Clemson, Rice, Texas Christian, UCLA and the hosting Texas A&M. The Aggies come into the meet ranked No. 5 in the NCAA by USTFCCCA.

The Cougars will have the opportunity to greatly improve their marks against athletes who could likely be competing for national titles in Birmingham.

The sprints are once again the highlight of the men’s squad.

Senior Cameron Burrell was named the American Athletic Conference Track Athlete of the Week for his 6.64 60m at the Houston Invitational. Burrell ran against his former teammate LeShon Collins at the meet, where the two tied for what is currently the No. 7 time in the NCAA.

Junior Eli Hall-Thompson and sophomore Mario Burke are tied for the No. 11 time in the NCAA in the 60m, after they both ran 6.65 at the Mark Colligan Memorial in Nebraska. The trio of Burrell, Hall-Thompson and Burke is arguably one of the best sprinting trios in the country.

Hall-Thompson also has the No. 4 time in the 200m at 20.71.

Last week, senior Brian Barraza lost the No. 1 time in the country in the mile, a mark he had held since December. While his time of 3:58.66 is no longer the top mark, it is still No. 3 in the country.

Elsewhere with the Cougars, sophomore hurdler Amere Lattin is currently No. 16 in the 60H with a time of 7.86 and junior Trumaine Jefferson’s 7.67m is currently No. 14 in the long jump.

Freshman Nathaniel Mechler sits just outside the top 16 after making his heptathlon debut last week. His 5401 points is currently No. 17.

Meanwhile on the women’s side, expectations aren’t as high as they aim for a conference championship.

They are well on their way to accomplishing that goal as several athletes currently sit at the top of the conference charts. Given the competition they will face in College Station, those marks could very well skyrocket.

Senior Tori Williams, junior Tonye’cia Burks and freshman Samiyah Samuels have emerged as the top performers for the women.

All currently rank in the Top 40 of the NCAA charts: Williams in the 200m, Samuels in the long jump and Burks in the triple jump.

These three and others have either won or placed highly in several events. For them to claim a title at season’s end, they will need to turn second place finishes into wins.

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