Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LSC Track & Field Outlook - 2010: Texas A&M-Kingsville

By Special Contributor Don Garrett

Previous outlooks

LSC Track and Field Outlook – 2010: Texas A&M-Kingsville

I hate to start out with an apology, but I ran into Coach Dall from TAMU-K at the Texas Relays and I have to apologize to him for not getting this track and field outlook on the Javelinas posted on in a more timely fashion! I think Coach Dall was just poking fun at me – I certainly took it that way.

Coach Dall has a good reason to want see the predictions for his team in 2010, because it is a GREATLY improved team over 2009. When Dall arrived in Kingsville, things looked pretty bleak. He has recruited like a madman and it showed during cross country, when his teams were greatly improved and it will show again outdoors. The Hoggies may not yet be conference contenders, but they will be greatly improved and will also be able to field credible competitors in almost every single event.

WOMEN -TAMU-K finished 5th with 19 points in 2009 at the conference meet and they have every single person back who scored a point for them. They should improve a bit in 2010 simply because their returnees are more seasoned. They have added some women with promise in a variety of events.

KEY LOSSES – they did not lose a single woman who scored last year. The closest person who competed at conference last year was Veronica Medina, who finished 8th in both the hammer throw and shot put and only the top 6 places score. Now, that brings me to another pet peeve of mine – I think they should score the top 8 places at conference. With WTAMU competing in both the men’s and women’s meet in 2010 and Incarnate Word competing in 2011, surely the LSC will score 8 places beginning no later than 2011.

KEY RETURNEES – Erica Alvarado (4th in the 1500, 6th in the 5K and one of the premier distance runners in the LSC); Zochitl Gomez (5th in the 800); Tiffany Masters (6th in the vault); Cathryn Pratka (5th in the high jump); Ninfa Rios (6th in the 400 hurdles); and Diana Zarate (4th in the 400 hurdles and 9th in the 100H). Plus, Rhonida Carter, who was a finalist in the 100H and was DQ’d in the finals and who also finished 8th in the 400H.

TOP NEWCOMERS – there are lots of good young kids at TAMU-K, I don’t see any of them as superstars this first year, but there are several kids who can be competitive quickly. These include: Tuveesha Jones, who won the 100 and was 2nd in the 200 for Killeen Ellison in District 12-5A and who ran on the Ellison relay that only missed going to the state meet by a few fractions in finishing 4th in the 4X100 at the Region II-5A meet; Samone Lindsey – won the District 23-5A long jump in 2007 and was on the Fort Bend Elkins 4X200 relay that just missed state in 2008; two good kids from Victoria Memorial – Samantha Alvarez who was 5th in the Region IV-5A high jump and Brittany Stafford, who was 6th in that region’s 200; Amy Rabalais – 2nd in the state 2A vault for George West HS in 2008; Rowena Trevino – 8th in the 3A 3200 for San Diego (TX) HS in 2008; Jasmine Jackson, who was 2nd in both the 400 and 800 for San Antonio Burbank in the District 28-4A meet; and Regina Carvajal, who won the District 30-2A 3200 and was 3rd in the 1600 for Taft. One other interesting addition is Katie Dugie, a transfer from Panola College and a graduate of Yorktown HS – interesting because her brother, Ted, is one of the more accomplished decathletes in the LSC.

All in all, this team is much stronger than 2009. They have added some solid sprinters and should be able to field more competitive relays, particularly in the 4X100. Now, can they move up from 5th? Possibly, because 4th place TAMU-Commerce appears to be much weaker. However 6th place Eastern New Mexico also appears to be much stronger than in 2009. West Texas A&M will be in the running for the first time this year. I think that TAMU-K, ENMU, and WTAMU fight it out for 4th, with the 6th place team being stronger than in 2009 – but due to a more balanced conference, some team will fall a place or two.

MEN - There is no doubt that the Javelina men’s team has much more potential than in past years. They have added a LOT of new athletes, many with great potential. In 2009, they were a solid 4th place, with 60 points. However, they lost 25 points of that total to graduation – 20 of it in one man. There is no doubt this team is much more balanced and should be competitive in virtually every event. Time will tell if they are able to overcome the loss of big Abel Garcia.

LOSSES – Abel Garcia (2nd in the hammer and discus and 4th in the shot) represents 20 points lost – 1/3 of the total points from 2009 – very hard to replace! Harold Nair also placed 4th in the decathlon and Dusty Block placed 6th in the 800 – those 2 representing the other 5 points lost from 2009.

KEY RETURNEES – starts with the aforementioned Ted Dugie, who placed 2nd in both the decathlon and the javelin for 16 points; Michael Price was a nice addition in 2009 as a transfer from Howard Payne who was 4th in the 200 and 5th in the 100; Trent Hesseltine was 3rd in the HJ; Micah Franks was 6th in the triple jump, as well as 9th in the long jump; and Jorge Guerra was 4th in the discus and 9th in the shot put. Plus, Dustin Appling was 9th in the 400H and Kiya Dandena was 7th in the 5,000 and also ran extremely well in the cross country season. Dandena could well be the most improved kid on the team among the returnees. The Hoggies have a solid core of returnees who should all be in the thick of things in their events in 2010.

TOP NEWCOMERS – and there are lots of newcomers on this men’s team. Coach Dall has loaded up on new bodies and many of them have outstanding potential. Of course, they have to translate that potential into being competitive in the conference meet, but it certainly looks to me like this program is headed in the right direction in a hurry.

Newcomers include: Sergio Rios, who was 5th in the 5A 300H at the state meet for Brownsville Pace HS; Dylan Riedesel, who was 8th in the 5A pole vault for Victoria Memorial in 2008; Isaiah Glover, the runnerup in the Texas state 3A long jump and 4th in the triple jump for the Cuero Gobblers; Michael Glower, who won the Region IV-4A triple jump and was 2nd in the long jump for Corpus Christi Flour Bluff, then for some reason did not compete at state; Jesslie Johnston, who finished 2nd in the state 2A high jump for Vanderbilt Industrial; Gavino Galvan, 7th place in the state 5A pole vault for Edinburg Economedes; Stoney Davis – 5th in the 4A SP for Bay City, after also winning the District 31-5A discus; Brian Boyd, who made the finals of the tough Region III-5A 400 for Clear Creek in the Houston area; Joshua Prado, who placed 7th in the state 3A 300H in 2007 for Orange Grove; Gilbert Rodriguez, who ran on the Florida 3A state champ 4X800 relay at Tampa Wharton HS; Miguel Zarate – 7th in the Region IV-4A 800 for Alice; Anthony Washington – 4th in the Region II-5A 400, just missing a trip to state for Cypress Springs in the Houston suburbs; Matt Busker – 3rd in the TAPPS 4A 800 for Incarnate Word Academy of Houston; Dustin Thompson, 6th in the 2A 200 in 2008 for Edna; and Tommmy Singletary – 4th in the 200 and 6th in the 100 at the Region III-4A meet for Bay City.

Whew! That is a lot of talent right there. There are also some interesting transfers, including Connell Davis, a stud football running back who also has some sprinting wheels, transferring from the University of Missouri. There are also several kids who placed at various district meets around the state. About 65% of this roster is brand new to TAMU-K. If just some of these young kids come through there could be a chance they could move into 3rd, but it is a long climb for them to climb over ACU, Angelo or Tarleton. The Javelinas appear to be a much stronger overall team than in 2009, but Eastern New Mexico and WTAMU also appear to be much stronger than in the past. The fight for 4th will be a tussle, with Kingsville, ENMU, WTAMU and possibly even TAMU-Commerce in the fray.

Throw in conference newcomer Incarnate Word in 2011 and the Lone Star Conference should be dramatically more competitive on the national level. It won’t simply be ACU and Angelo at nationals, but all 8 of the LSC teams in 2011 should have kids capable of going to nationals and fighting for points.

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico