Jan. 16, 2014
BEAUMONT – With everyone back on campus and the first meet out of the way, the Lamar men’s and women’s track and field teams will be looking for some solid performances this week as they hit the road for College Station to participate in the Texas A&M 12-Team Invitational at Gillam Indoor Stadium.
The event, which offers a rare chance for LU to compete on a banked track, could serve a vital role in preparations for next month’s Southland Conference Championships.
“This is a very important part of the season for us with the indoor championships just six weeks away,” explained head coach Trey Clark. “It’s a chance for the kids to get out there on a banked track, and that’s important because it will be a banked track at conference as well. In addition to that, it’s a scored competition, which is not the case at a lot of the meets that we go to. I think that’s an important component in getting ready too.”
After opening up in 2009, Gillam Indoor Stadium has turned into one of the premier indoor facilities in the country, having previously hosted both the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships. Clark feels that competing in such a high-profile environment may also add another incentive for the Cardinals that are set to compete.
“This is a good meet for us in a high-quality facility,” Clark said. “This has a chance to be a dress rehearsal for conference, but it’s also a great chance to evaluate the athletes in a pressure situation with points on the line. The whole atmosphere, from the venue to the competition, is just a critical way of preparing for the conference championships.”
After taking home the Southland’s Track Athlete of the Week award on Wednesday, Louise Webb will look to lead LU’s traditionally-strong distance group into the meet. The Southamption, England, native etched her name onto the school’s performance list with her 800-meter time last Saturday, and she’ll look to improve upon it once again at A&M.
A member of LU’s Southland champion cross country team, Webb will be joined by Leigh Lattimore
, winner of Newcomer of the Year during the fall cross country season, as well as fellow members of the championship-winning team in Belinda Aguilar
, Claire Arnold
, Kayla de Bondt
and Megan Flanagan
Sean Chalmers, Mike Kershaw, Sean Guiney and Sam Stabler will highlight the men’s distance group after helping secure a seventh title in eight years for the men’s cross country team, and they are set to be joined by Aaron Bennett, who made his LU debut a week ago, and Laurie Probert, who joined the team from England earlier this week.
Trevon Davis will look to lead the LU sprinters as he aims to build on a strong season last year. The Houston native placed second at last week’s Houston Indoor Opener. A number of freshmen are set to feature alongside him, including Jared Benford, Brandon Franz, Thomas Lightfoot, Kevyn Smith and Chance Williams.
On the women’s side, Clark will be looking for strong performances from veterans like Elzbieta Gawron, Chasity Peters, Sarah Shim and Saschelle Slaughter.
Dominique Taylor and Trey Burton will both compete in hurdles. Taylor, a freshman out of Houston, had a strong opening meet last week, posting a time of 8.95 seconds for the 60-meter hurdles, which tied her for second on the school’s all-time performance list.
Johnathon Reece is set to make his 2014 debut in the high jump. The sophomore earned all-conference honors in both the indoor and outdoor seasons last year, and he’s looking to build off of earning the conference’s Freshman of the Year award last indoor season.
Long jumpers Erin Brown and Carissa Hill both participated in the long jump at UH. Hill advanced to the finals last week, placing ninth.
Among the other 11 teams that are set to compete this weekend are conference foes in Houston Baptist, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. North Texas, Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern, Louisiana, Texas-Pan American and ULM round out the field.
The Texas A&M 12-Team Invitational will begin at noon with the high jump and the long jump and run throughout the day. Live coverage will be available through Texas A&M’s official website, AggieAthletics.com