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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sports

National Champion Aggies perfect road test for track


Track & field is taking a full squad to face the Texas A&M Aggies at the Charlie Thomas Invitational, among them freshman sprinter Nick Alexander (left). | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

After dropping to No. 15 from No. 11 in the USTFCCCA rankings, the track & field team is hitting the road once again.

This time they are making their second drive up to College Station to compete in the Charlie Thomas Invitational at Texas A&M. The Cougars opened their season at the Reveille Invitational in December. This meet will give the team another chance to improve their times on the same track that will host the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 9.

The Charlie Thomas Invitational will feature teams from the NCAA South Central region, including the TCU Horned Frogs and the Sam Houston State Bearkats, as well as American Athletic Conference teams like the Cincinnati Bearcats.

The toughest opponent will indeed be the hosting Texas A&M Aggies, who are currently ranked No. 3 by the USTFCCCA. They are the defending NCAA Indoor National Champions, so getting to run with them should give some of the younger members of the squad a prime opportunity to test their skills.

The most interesting matchup at the meet will likely be junior sprinter Kahmari Montgomery against A&M’s Mylik Kerley in the 400m races. Kerley is the brother of 2017 NCAA 400m national champion Fred Kerley and, given he took bronze in the final last year, is expected to fill his brothers place.

Montgomery will be looking to get back into the NCAA Top 16 this weekend after resting this past week and seeing his 400m time of 46.83s drop to No. 22 from No. 16. Kerley currently has the No. 3 time in the nation at 46.10s. If these two end up racing against each other in the final on Saturday, it could easily result in an NCAA leading time.

The two could also end up running aside one another in the NCAA 4x400m relay. The Cougars currently have the No. 5 time in the country with a best time of three minutes, 7.01s. The Aggies, also the defending champions in the race, have the No. 2 time at three minutes, 3.95s.

Overall the Cougars are sending nearly a full travel roster. Everyone from junior sprinter Mario Burke, an NCAA First Team All-American in the 60m, to senior sprinter Elijah Hall, who owns the No. 4 200m time in the country, and the freshmen sprinting duo of Joe Williams and Nick Alexander will be making the trip to Aggieland.

The Charlie Thomas Invitational is the first of back to back meets against NCAA Top 10 schools for the track & field team. The long term goal is at the end they will be ready to race at the American Athletic Conference Championships and hopefully be within reach of the NCAA Championships.

Competitions will start at 2:30 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. Saturday, respectively.

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