Texas A&M favored to win title heading into championships; Arkansas sits No. 2
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. Computers project the Aggies No. 1 with a score of 346.23, narrowly ahead of the Razorbacks at 327.31. Oregon is 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 championships.
The Aggies will be heavily represented in the sprints and hurdles, sending 10 entries in those events, well ahead of No. 7 USC with six and double the number of any other team in the field.
|Check out the full rankings.|
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 eighth at 100. Notably absent for the Aggies will be their top-ranked 4×100 relay after a disqualification in the prelims rounds. A&M earned top seeds in the distance events (Henry Lelei, 3,000 steeplechase), the throws (Sam Humphreys, javelin) and the relays (4×400).
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 No. 5 Jarrion Lawson, No. 7 Tarik Batchelor and No. 13 Raymond Higgs. Batchelor is also 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 1,500 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,. Defending outdoor 400 champ Mike Berry sits 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-10 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 are the Seminoles’ top seeds.