Texas A&M Men and Kansas Women Enter NCAA Finals at No. 1

Courtesy: Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

May 28, 2013   

NEW ORLEANS – The NCAA Finals fields are set and the projections are in: the Texas A&M men and the Kansas women will be the favorites in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Team Computer Rankings when the championships begin in Eugene, Ore., next Wednesday.

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The Aggies moved up to No. 1 after a strong weekend at the West Preliminaries, trailed closely by indoor champion and SEC champion Arkansas at No. 2 after a big weekend of its own. Florida took a tumble from No. 1 a week ago to No. 4 after a weekend that saw indoor long jump champion Marquis Dendy fail to qualify for the outdoor finals.

Men’s Top 5

Rank
School
Points
1
Texas A&M
346.23
2
Arkansas
327.31
3
Oregon
275.24
4
Florida
259.00
5
Florida State
231.06
     

Women’s Top 5

Rank
School
Points
1
Kansas
317.16
2
Texas A&M
271.81
3
Florida
260.17
4
LSU
247.86
5
Oregon
245.62
     

 

Kansas’ women will also be without their top outdoor long jumper of 2013 in Francine Simpson after she did not advance, but nonetheless the Jayhawks remain No. 1 ahead of Texas A&M. Florida gained two spots in the rankings, trading places with indoor champion Oregon, which dropped to No. 6 in the midst of a pack of teams chasing the team crown.

 

Texas A&M Men Enter as NCAA Favorites in Tight Race

 With 20 entries apiece into the NCAA Finals June 5-8 at Hayward Field, both No. 1 Texas A&M and No. 2 Arkansas are in very strong position to contend for the team title. The computers project the Aggies No. 1 with a score of 346.23, narrowly ahead of the Razorbacks at 327.31. The Oregon Ducks are No. 3 at 275.24 (13 entries), followed by No. 4 Florida at 259.00 (13 entries) and No. 5 Florida State at 231.06 (10 entries).

The points system used in the computer rankings is not the same as the scoring system used at the NCAA Finals.

The Aggies will be heavily represented in the sprints and hurdles sending 10 entries in those events, well ahead of No. 7 Southern California with 6 and double the number of any other team in the field. Among those entries are top-ranked 110 hurdler Wayne Davis II, second-ranked Deon Lendore at 400 and indoor 200 champ Ameer Webb — seeded No. 5 at 200 and 8 at 100. Notably absent for the Aggies will be their top-ranked 4×100 relay after a disqualification in the prelims rounds. With top seeds in the distance events (Henry Lelei, 3000sc), the throws (Sam Humphreys, javelin) and the relays (4×400), the Aggies have depth at more than just the sprints.

Jumps and mid-distance events are the strengths of the Razorbacks entering the Finals, with a nation-leading seven and four entries, respectively. Arkansas is projected to do very well in the horizontal jumps with three top-13 jumpers in Jarrion Lawson (No.5), Tarik Batchelor (No. 7) and Raymond Higgs (No. 13), and Batchelor at No. 4 in the triple jump. Two-time defending indoor pole vault champion Andrew Irwin is No. 3 going for his first outdoor title. The Razorbacks’ four mid-distance runners are all in the same event, the 800, giving them the largest contingent from a single school in a single event. No. 2 Patrick Rono and No. 10 Leoman Momoh are chief among the group of four.

No. 3 Oregon is tied for the fourth-most entries with No. 4 Florida at 13, including four in the middle distance events led by top seed and indoor champion at 800 meters Elijah Greer and three at 1500 meters. Nine of the Ducks’ 13 entries are ranked within the top six of their events, including Greer, No. 2 Johnathan Cabral in the 110 hurdles, No. 3 Parker Stinson at 10,000 meters and Sam Crouser in the javelin, and defending outdoor 400 champ Mike Berry at No. 4.

The subtraction of indoor long jump champ Dendy from the championships roster is significant — at least in the long jump, as he will be competing in the triple jump — but the Gators are still well in the mix to defend their title with 13 entries. Five of the Gators are entered in the sprints and hurdles, including three at 400 meters at No. 10, 11 and 12 — Arman Hall, Hugh Graham, Jr., and Najee Flass, respectively — who have an opportunity to improve on their rankings and gain valuable team points. Those three give Florida an advantage in the meet-ending 4×400 relay, where they are ranked No. 2. Seven of the Gators’ entries are ranked within the top eight of their events, including top-ranked and defending outdoor champ Omar Craddock in the triple jump.

Rounding out the top five is Florida State with 10 entries; fewer than any other top-ten squad, but all but one are seeded in top-eight scoring position. No. 2 steeplechaser Zak Seddon, No. 3 Stefan Brits in the long jump and No. 4 Dentarius Locke at 100 meters are the Seminoles’ top seeds.

Kansas Women No. 1 Prior to NCAA Finals Among Closely-Bunched Pack

As tight as the men’s race may be at the top, the women’s race is equally so with a large number of teams having similar numbers of entries and a few more teams projected by the computers to be in strong contention. Kansas remains No. 1 at 317.16 points (13 entries), followed by No. 2 Texas A&M at 271.81 (15 entries), No. 3 Florida at 260.17 (15 entries), No. 4 LSU at 247.86 (12 entries) and No. 5 Oregon (15 entries).

Again, ranking points in the computer projections do not follow the same system as that used at the NCAA Finals.

Both of the top two teams fell victim to significant upsets in the Prelims, as both second-ranked Kansas long jumper Francine Simpson and No. 2 discus thrower Shelbi Vaughan of Texas A&M did not advance to Eugene in their respective events. Nonetheless the two squad remain atop the rankings, though the field was able to tighten the race for the crown as a result.

Despite having the fourth-most entries at 13, the Jayhawks are in strong position with each of their competitors ranked within the top nine of their events — seven of whom are seeded in the top five. Though none are ranked No. 1 in their respective events a number of student-athletes have prior championships to their names, including indoor long jump/triple jump champ Andrea Geubelle (No. 3 and No. 2, respectively), indoor pole vault champ Natalia Bartnovskaya (No. 2) and 2012 indoor 400 champ Diamond Dixon (No. 5). Geubelle and Bartnovskaya headline a nation-best five entries in the jumps events for Kansas.

Texas A&M has the advantage over the field in sheer number of entries at 16, with half of those coming in the form of eight sprints/hurdles entries — most in the nation. The Aggies will send four at 100 meters, the most by a single women’s team in a single event. All four entries are seeded in the top 10 in No. 6 Ashley Collier, No. 7 Ashton Purvis, No. 8 Jennifer Madu and No. 10 Olivia Ekpone, all of whom are juniors or younger. No. 2 Kamaria Brown joins Purvis and Ekpone at 200 meters. Also a significant factor for the Aggies will be freshman jumper LaQue Moen-Davis, ranked No. 4 in the triple jump and No. 5 in the long jump. In total, 12 of the Aggies’ 16 entries are seeded within their respective events’ top 10.

No. 3 Florida was the biggest beneficiary of the Prelims on the women’s side, jumping to No. 2 with 15 entries, tied with No. 5 Oregon for second-most in the nation. Like Texas A&M, the Gators are very sprints/hurdles heavy with seven entries in those event, though only 400 hurdler Ugonna Ndu is ranked within the top 10 of her event. That depth in sprints correlates to the No. 2 4×400 team in the nation, which could be a definite advantage at the end of a potentially close meet. Elsewhere, the Gators have a pair of top-five performers in both the 1500 in No. 2 Cory McGee and No. 4 Agata Strausa, and in the javelin in No. 2 Marija Vucenovic and No. 5 Fawn Miller.

No. 4 LSU will bring 12 entries to Hayward Field, tied for fifth-most with No. 6 Arizona and No. 12 Texas. The Lady Tigers’ five entries in the sprints and hurdles are headlined by reigning 200 champ and top seed Kimberlyn Duncan — the 2012 The Bowerman Winner — who is also No. 3 at 100 meters. Middle distance is also a strength for the squad with top-seeded Natoya Goule and No. 3 Charlene Lipsey both competing at 800 meters.

No. 5 Oregon, the indoor NCAA champion, was another team that sustained a major blow at the prelims with No. 2 10,000 meter runner Jordan Hasay unable to qualify for the NCAA Finals. Despite that setback, the Ducks will still field 15 entries in front of their home crowd at Hayward, the second most of any team in the country. The Ducks are well-balanced on the track with five entries apiece in the sprints/hurdles and middle/long distance events, including top-seeded English Gardner at 100 meters as the defending champion and No. 5 at 200 meters, No. 2 Laura Roesler at 800 meters and No. 3 Phyllis Francis at 400 meters. Hasay could provide a big boost if she outperforms her No. 16 seed at 5000 meters and scores valuable points for the Ducks, who also have the top-ranked 4×400 team in the nation waiting to repeat their indoor-title-clinching performance from earlier this year.

Biggest Jump (Men): 10 – No. 17 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Iowa
Biggest Jump (Women): 13 – No. 22 South Carolina

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)

2013 Week #9 — May 28 (Pre-NCAA Finals)

next ranking: final, NCAA Championships results
Rank School Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) Last Week
1 Texas A&M 346.23 SEC Pat Henry (9th) 2
2 Arkansas 327.31 SEC Chris Bucknam (5th) 4
3 Oregon 275.24 Pac-12 Robert Johnson (1st) 3
4 Florida 259.00 SEC Mike Holloway (11th) 1
5 Florida State 231.06 ACC Bob Braman (10th) 5
6 LSU 191.88 SEC Dennis Shaver (9th) 7
7 Southern California 178.82 Pac-12 Ron Allice (19th) 6
8 Texas 176.97 Big 12 Bubba Thornton (18th) 8
9 Nebraska 162.54 Big Ten Gary Pepin (30th) 10
10 Virginia Tech 141.53 ACC Dave Cianelli (12th) 11
11 Georgia 137.63 SEC Wayne Norton (14th) 12
12 TCU 118.43 Big 12 Darryl Anderson (9th) 20
13 Wisconsin 112.73 Big Ten Ed Nuttycombe (29th) 9
14 Mississippi 111.48 SEC Brian O’Neal (1st) 13
15 Kansas 97.05 Big 12 Stanley Redwine (13th) 21
16 Alabama 96.90 SEC Dan Waters (2nd) 17
17 Oklahoma State 95.97 Big 12 Dave Smith (5th) 27
18 Penn State 92.11 Big Ten Beth Alford-Sullivan (7th) 14
19 UCLA 87.90 Pac-12 Mike Maynard (4th) 15
20 Iowa 87.30 Big Ten Larry Wieczorek (17th) 30
21 Ohio State 85.29 Big Ten Ed Beathea (2nd) 23
22 Arizona 83.66 Pac-12 Fred Harvey (11th) 22
23 Mississippi State 78.42 SEC Steve Dudley (3rd) 29
24 BYU 78.06 Independent Mark Robison (13th) 19
25 Kansas State 77.16 Big 12 Cliff Rovelto (21st) 28
dropped out: No. 16 Texas Tech, No. 18 California, No. 24 Colorado, No. 25 Oklahoma

 

Men’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 SEC 1730.49 8
2 Pac-12 852.63 4
3 Big Ten 847.30 5
4 Big 12 760.93 5
5 ACC 517.72 2
6 Big East 236.00
7 Ivy 159.26
8 Missouri Valley 132.21
9 Mountain West 124.02
10 Big Sky 120.62

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I

Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)

2013 Week #9 — May 28 (Pre-NCAA Finals)

next ranking: final, NCAA Championships results
Rank School Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) Last Week
1 Kansas 317.16 Big 12 Stanley Redwine (13th) 1
2 Texas A&M 271.81 SEC Pat Henry (9th) 2
3 Florida 260.17 SEC Mike Holloway (6th) 5
4 LSU 247.86 SEC Dennis Shaver (9th) 4
5 Oregon 245.62 Pac-12 Robert Johnson (1st) 3
6 Arizona 211.26 Pac-12 Fred Harvey (11th) 6
7 Arkansas 201.76 SEC Lance Harter (23rd) 8
8 UCF 195.52 Conference USA Caryl Smith Gilbert (6th) 7
9 Arizona State 192.60 Pac-12 Greg Kraft (17th) 9
10 Georgia 175.97 SEC Wayne Norton (14th) 10
11 Stanford 173.45 Pac-12 Chris Miltenberg (1st) 12
12 Texas 168.38 Big 12 Rose Brimmer (1st) 11
13 Clemson 161.44 ACC Shawn Cobey (1st) 15
14 UCLA 141.51 Pac-12 Mike Maynard (1st) 13
15 Iowa State 134.35 Big 12 Corey Ihmels (6th) 14
16 Illinois 117.82 Big Ten Tonja Buford-Bailey (5th) 27
17 Texas Tech 108.39 Big 12 Wes Kittley (14th) 20
18 Florida State 105.66 ACC Bob Braman (10th) 17
19 Southern California 96.92 Pac-12 Ron Allice (19th) 21
20 Washington 96.52 Pac-12 Greg Metcalf (11th) 19
21 Wichita State 88.94 Missouri Valley Steve Rainbolt (13th) 18
22 South Carolina 87.34 SEC Curtis Frye (17th) 35
23 San Diego State 83.37 Mountain West Shelia Burrell (4th) 16
24 Penn State 82.16 Big Ten Beth Alford-Sullivan (14th) 26
25 Michigan State 81.94 Big Ten Walt Drenth (7th) 24
dropped out: No. 22 Baylor, No. 23 Oklahoma, No. 25 Illinois State

 

Women’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 SEC 1567.08 6
2 Pac-12 1243.84 7
3 Big 12 929.34 4
4 Big Ten 548.64 3
5 ACC 418.12 2
6 Conference USA 351.12 1
7 Missouri Valley 239.60 1
8 Big East 233.57
9 Mountain West 167.28 1
10 Ivy 148.91