EUGENE, Ore., Sporting Alert – The 2016 NCAA D I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships will run from June 8-11 live on ESPN, with Arkansas and Texas A&M starting as the favourites to lift the respective team titles.
Texas A&M, which qualified 17 men for the national championships, start as the overwhelming favourites to capture its fourth team title in seven years, according to the latest USTFCCCA National Team Rankings.
The Aggies men will be led by three NCAA collegiate leaders – Fred Kerley, who has a nation’s best of 45.10 for the 400m, Ioannis Kyrias (268-7) for the javelin and Lindon Victor (8,446 points) in the decathlon.
The women’s team, which qualified 16 athletes and will be seeking its fifth national championships, is ranked fifth entering the NCAA collegiate finale and head coach Pat Henry is hoping to be challenging for both team crowns.
“The challenge for us each year is to be in the mix and both of our teams are in the mix,” Henry said on the school’s official athletics website. “Our men and women are each among the top five or six schools.
“If you go in there and do things correct, then you can be one of those teams that wins it. It’s about our performances now. We have enough people to win on both sides.”
Henry added: “The numbers we have in the meet is not what wins now, what wins now is the quality of the performances.
“Numbers, though, give you more opportunities to have good performances. So, I’m pleased with the numbers we have in the meet.”
Florida, Oregon, LSU and Arkansas are also ranked in the top five ahead of the meeting at Hayward Field this Wednesday and they too are confident about their chances as well.
Arkansas v Kentucky For Women’s Crown
On the women’s side, top-ranked Arkansas, which advanced the most qualifiers from the NCAA first round of the national meet, will seek to carry over the momentum gained two weekends ago into the national championships, but expects a tough battle across the upcoming four days.
The Razorbacks, who have four collegiate event leaders – Dominique Scott-Efurd (5,000 and 10,000), Lexi Weeks (pole vault) and the 4x400m relay team – are hunting their first outdoor national title in program history.
Expect strong competition from Kentucky, which tussled with Arkansas for the USTFCCCA No. 1 spot in the closing weeks leading up to these championships.
Season performers Texas and LSU are also ranked in the top five.
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