Saturday, February 20, 1993

2013 - West Texas A&M Track Preview

West Texas A&M Track and Field Preview
2013 Season – Don Garrett
West Texas A&M continued their ascent into the upper echelon of the LSC and D-II track and field world after re-starting the program just 4 seasons ago. The men’s team moved up to 4th in the LSC and made a big jump to 13th at the D-II national meet. They do lose some serious firepower, but also had an outstanding recruiting year. The women are right on the cusp of being one of the dominant programs in the LSC, a position held by Angelo State and ACU for the past few decades. WT has an outstanding chance to make a run at both Angelo and ACU, with ACU being particularly vulnerable this year.

Athletes lost from last season – WT loses 18.5 points from last year’s total of 134 points, only 13.8% of their point total. The small group of losses include: Rachel King (2nd 100H, 9th 100, 1st 4x100 relay); Aleese Pittman (6th 100H, 7th 400H, 8th TJ); Aries Bazaldua (a former LSC 10K champ, she only finish 7th in the 10K last year and 11th in the 5K); Allie Reyna (9th in both the 800 and 1500, missing points in both by one place) and Erin Bryant (10th in the heptahlon).

Key Returnees – WT has a great group of returnees that includes:
·         Jessica Blakeley – Sr        6th in the steeplechase and 10th in the 1500
·         Paula Bowens – Sr – 3rd 100
·         Rhemecka Graham – So                - 8th 800
·         Marisa Holliwell – So - she made the finals in the 400H (she was 4th in the event in 2011), but did not run in the finals
·         Katie Jones – Sr – 6th javelin, 8th in the heptathlon
·         Kirsten McCowan – Sr - 4th in the javelin, 8th 100H (she was 4th in 2011), 10th shot put
·         Amber Moore – Jr - 5th 1500, 9th 5K
·         Casey Nelson – Jr – 6th discus, 8th shot put
·         Morgan Shelton – Sr – 1st heptathlon, 3rd long jump, 4th 100H, 5th javelin, 6th 400H; then she finished 5th in the D-II national meet heptathlon
·         Carnisha Simpson – So – 5th 100
·         Brenda Sindet – Sr - 3th in the steeple and the 5K, 7th in the 1500, then followed that up by winning the LSC cross country title last fall – I said last fall in my XC preview, “ if this kid ever figures out that she is good, she could be scary” and that appears to be happening
·         Bailee Skeen – Sr – 7th in the 100H, but in 2011 she was 5th 100H, 6th 400H and 8th TJ – return to her 2011 form this season could be a swing of 6 points
·         Sarah Snider – Sr – 2nd in the 100 and 200 – one of the premier sprinters in the LSC
·         Tara Tarrant – Sr – 7th 400, 12th in 2012, still coming back from a devastating injury that stole her 2011 season completely, back in 2010 she was 2nd 400 and 5th 200
·         Jessie Thomas – So – 8th 400
·         Brittany Williams – Jr – WT basketballer who came out for track and got 4th in the TJ

Returnees who could contribute – there are always some kids who underachieved the previous season. In many cases, teams might be able to improve dramatically simply by getting better production from athletes who were on the team in 2012. This group is very small for WT, who got excellent production from virtually the entire team in 2012:
Emma Love – So (14th 1500, but was 11th in the LSC XC meet last fall); Haley Sparks –So (11th 10K); her twin sister, Taylor Sparks – So (9th steeplechase)

Newcomers – fairly small group because WT lost so few people, but there are some real gems in this group that includes:
·         Tanesha Blair – comes in as a junior, she is the Jamaica junior national champ in the javelin
·         Jacy Butler – Fr, from Hereford – at the Region I-4A meet she finished 3rd in both the shot put and discus, missing a trip to state by one place in both
·         Mireia Guarner – Fr, from Spain – I never could find info on her on-line (my Spanish is lacking), but she finished 2nd in the LSC XC meet, a really good sign for WT
·         Bri Leeper – Fr, from Amarillo HS – 2nd in Dist 2-5A 100
·         Trianna McAlister – Fr, from Monahans – at the 3A state meet, she won the triple jump and got 2nd in the 300H and 3rd in the 100H
·         Cristina Saladrich – Fr, from Spain – couldn’t find much, but I did find a 2:18 half-mile, which will be competitive, plus she was a decent 33rd in the LSC XC meet
·         Libby Strickland – Fr, from Canyon Randall – 2nd in the 4A high jump

It looks to me that WT will contend with Angelo State for the LSC title and appears to have the personnel to jump over ACU. This is a senior-laden team, therefore 2013 appears to be the best chance, for the foreseeable future, for them do make that move.

Athletes lost from last year – the men’s team took much bigger losses from 2012 than the women’s team – some were expected and some were not. It appears that WT lost 43 out of their 104 points from last year – or 41.3 % of last year’s total. The list includes: Cameron Armstrong (5th DT); Tyler Bickley (8th PV); Dane Hamrick (2nd shot put, 10th discus); Thomas Harris (6th steeplechase); Cody Trimm (8th high jump); Ellis Maise (16th 400, 5th 4x100, 5th 4x100); Gage Mayer, who won the high jump in 2011, then trained all of 2012 as a decathlete – does not appear to be back for his last year of eligibility; Servell Dandridge (3rd in the discus, 5th in the shot, then placed 3rd in the D-II DT, he inexplicably transferred to Texas State, I believe – makes no sense whatsoever); and judging from Tommy Curry being entered in meets as unattached, it appears he will not be competing for WT this fall, although he appears to still be in school there (1st in the 100, 5th in the 500, 5th 4x100, 5th 4x400).

Returnees – still has a strong group of returnees that includes:
·         Tanner Dennis – Sr, from Amarillo Tascosa – 2nd LSC PV and actually ran on the 4th place 4x100 relay at the D-II national track meet
·         Dustin Dickson – So, from Whitesboro – redshirted in 2012, but was 7th in the decathlon in 2011
·         Dylan Doss – So, from Water Valley – had an astoundingly productive freshman year, winning the 1500 and steeplechase and finishing 3rd in the 5K (26 points!), he then finished 2nd in the LSC XC meet last fall
·         Aaron Gordon – Sr, from Clarendon – 7th high jump and he finished 4th in the event in 2010
·         Tyler Howard – So, from Amarillo HS – 5th 400H
·         Taylor Johnson – Jr, from Moore, OK – 4th javelin, 12th 400 in 2011, before redshirting 2012
·         Alexander Korn – So, from Germany – the LSC 800 champ, 6th in the 1500
·         Ross Myatt – Sr, from Dimmitt – 7th 400H, 8th 110H

Returnees who could contribute : Jerell Banks (15th 200); Xavier Bennett (18th 100, 19th 200); Martin Puga (13th in the 800, but 9th in the same event in 2011); Patrick Scheuchzer (16th 1500, 18th 800, but finished a much stronger 14th last fall in the LSC XC meet); Daniel Zewde (12th 400H)

Newcomers – a good bunch that includes a few redshirts from last season:
·         Hugo Aguinaga – Jr transfer from Dumas and Western Texas – 16th JC 10K
·         Paul Alongo – fr, from France – I found a 25 foot long jump outdoors and he has already jumped 23-7 in the long jump indoors and 47-6 in the triple jump, both solid marks indoors
·         Tate Bartlett – fr, from Smyer – 4th Region 1-1A discus, missing state by 2 places
·         Kenny Jackson – Jr transfer from Riverside CC in California, where he was 2nd in both the 100 and 200 in the California junior college championships (the California junior colleges do not compete in the NJCAA championship meets)
·         Cameron Lacour – Jr transfer from University of Houston – former 5A state 110H champ and was 2nd in the Conference USA 110H in 2010, before injuries delayed his career
·         Casey Lantelme – Fr, from Stratford  - where he was 2nd in the 1A discus and 6th in the Region I-1A shot put
·         Jaques Lewis – Fr, from Mansfield Timberview – at the 5A state meet, he was on the 3rd place 4x100 and 4x400 relays with the great Aldrich Bailey
·         Courtney Macon – RS-Fr, from Dallas Carter – 3rd in the 4A 110H in 2011, he redshirted last year
·         Lucas Marquez – Fr, from Andrews – at the 3A state meet, he was 3rd 1600 and 4th 3200, then was 20th as a freshman at the LSC XC meet last fall
·         Baptiste Moreu – Fr, from France – my French is no better than my Spanish, so I was not able to find much about him, but he finished a strong 5th in the LSC XC
·         Fabian Muller – Fr, from Germany – my German is a little bit better than my French, so I found that he was a finalist in the Germany Junior Championship 100, running a 10.66
·         James Ritter – Fr, from Aztec, NM – won the NM 4A pole vault, then was DQ’d after his cousin showed him a cell phone video of his vault before he left the competition area – I hate stupid rules that take away a kid’s accomplishments for absolutely no sane reason!
·         Brady Sanders – Fr, from Bushland – won the 2A state discus and the Dist 1-2A shot put
·         Damian Vidales – Fr, from Seagraves – at the 1A state meet, he won the 400, 2nd in the 200 and 3rd in the 100 – 24 points all by himself
·         Zac Weatherly – Fr, from Amarillo Tascosa – probably saved the best for last – this kid won the 5A shot put and discus last spring – terrific prospect

West Texas has put together a stellar group of newcomers, that includes some fantastic young throwers, led by Weatherly. This team looks solid up and down the way – good sprinters, good hurdlers, the best returning distance runner, excellent jumpers. Last year’s top three teams – ACU, Kingsville, and Angelo – better be looking over their shoulder. Right this minute, I think only Kingsville may have the firepower to hold off WT.

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