NORMAN, Okla. — The Oklahoma Track and Field program returns to action this Saturday in College Station, Texas at the Texas A&M Challenge, a conference challenge that pits the combination of OU, Texas A&M and Baylor against teams from the Sunbelt, Southland and Conferences. Each conference will be represented by three programs with each event scored in the race for conference supremacy.
It’s a return to action for the No. 10 Oklahoma women who had 15 athletes compete at last week’s Arkansas Invitational. The Sooner women are one of two ranked teams at the event as Texas A&M comes in No. 2 nationally. Ten Sooners will make their 2011 debuts for the Oklahoma women’s squad, joining the 15 who accounted for eight top-three finishes at last week’s Arkansas Invitational.
On the men’s side, the No. 18 OU men are sandwiched between two ranked conference members in No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 24 Baylor. Saturday’s action marks the first of 2011 for the Oklahoma men which will send 23 athletes to the meet.
Four Oklahoma women currently sit in the top 10 of the national descending order list with freshman Kelsey Brown leading the group at No. 5 in the 800-meter run. She is joined in event by Natalie Crain at No. 6 while Candyce McGrone is No. 7 and 60-meter dash and Sherine Wells is No. 9 in the same event.
The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason rankings have a number of Oklahoma athletes in the nation’s top competing in their respective events this weekend. Jasmine Simmons, ranked No. 6 in the triple jump, will make her season debut in the event. On the men’s side, the No. 10 Oklahoma 4×400-meter relay will compete.
A couple of Sooners will directly face off with other ranked opponents in their respective heats or flights. The second heat of the women’s 200-meter dash will feature No. 13 McGrone taking on No. 5 Jessica Beard of Texas A&M. The women’s triple jump will also feature a rankings battle as Simmons takes to the runway at No. 6, facing No. 4 Jessica Ubanyionwu of Baylor.
On the men’s side, the featured race will be the fourth and final heat of the 4×400-meter relay where the No. 10 Oklahoma men will square off vs. No. 1 Texas A&M and No. 2 Baylor.
Action at the event is slated to begin at 12 p.m. with the prelims of the women’s 60-meter hurdles. A live webcast will be provided by Texas A&M and a full recap of action will be available on SoonerSports.com following the event.