Texas A&M is No. 1 in preseason poll; Arkansas, Florida round out top three
Texas A&M is projected as a narrow favorite against recently crowned indoor champ Arkansas and a heavy favorite against defending outdoor champion Florida. The Aggies, with nine individuals or relay teams ranked inside the preseason top five of their respective events, are scored at 328.71 team points, while Arkansas sits at 306.75 and Florida at 220.46.
Sprints and hurdles are shaping up to be the backbone of the Aggies. Wayne Davis II is the nation’s top returner in the 110 hurdles, while indoor champ at 200 meters Ameer Webb (No. 2 at 200, No. 10 at 100), Prezel Hardy Jr. (No. 2 at 100, No. 5 at 200), and Deon Lendore (No. 4 at 400) combine for a potent sprints corps.
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Arkansas will look to carry its momentum from its indoor championship to the outdoor season, where it boasts five returners from 2012, or 2011 after a redshirt season, who are ranked within the top five of their events. Indoor pole vault champ Andrew Irwin enters the outdoor campaign No. 1, as does Raymond Higgs in the long jump.
After losing their streak of three consecutive indoor titles to the Razorbacks during the indoor season, the Florida Gators will look to keep at least one trophy in Gainesville as they defend their 2012 outdoor crown. Six returners from 2012 are ranked within the top six of their events, including defending triple jump champion Omar Craddock and indoor 60m hurdles champ Eddie Lovett. The Gators also boast indoor long jump champion Marquis Dendy, who should provide a boost to the Gators’ chances outdoors.
Texas (214.91 team points) came in at No. 4 in the preseason projections, with the top-ranked returners at 1,500 meters and in the decathlon in Kyle Merber and Isaac Murphy, respectively. Auburn rounded out the top five behind sprinter Harry Adams, the top-ranked returner at both 100 and 200 meters and a leg of the top-ranked 4×100 relay. Adams was the only sprinter to go under 10 last season at 100 meters.