Tuesday, January 29, 2019

UH Volleyball standout Drianna Gardner Inks First Professional Contract

Photo courtsey of
Houston Athletics

HOUSTON COUGARS (Janaury 29, 2019) Former University of Houston Volleyball pupil Brianna Gardner has signed her first professional contract, inking a deal with KV Drita.

KV Drita is a member of Kosovo’s top volleyball league and competed in front of 3,000 fans last season, while becoming the first team in Kosovo to participate in CEV’s Champions League.

“We are excited for Brianna, as she has accomplished one of her many goals becoming a professional volleyball player,” Houston head coach Kaddie Platt said. “I have no doubt that she will continue to grow and develop as a professional, and I am excited for her to expand her knowledge.

“Brianna is competitive and really intelligent, both of which will help her adapt to a new style of play. We wish her all the best on this next adventure.”

Gardner played for the Cougars from 2016-17, where she was named to American Athletic Conference All-Academic team twice. In her senior campaign, Gardner emerged as one of the best servers in the conference, finishing second in The American with her 0.40 service aces per set.

Former Sugar Land Skeeter Barrett Barnes signs with New York Mets

Photo courtsey of
Sugar Land Skeeters
By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS (January 29, 2019) Former Sugar Land Skeeters outfielder Barrett Barnes has signed the Minor League deal with the New York Mets. The Fort Bend Austin High School alumni appeared in 112 game for the Skeeters, connected for 12 home runs and 51 RBI, while stealing 24 bases, and led the Atlantic League with 80 walks in 2018. 

In a press release by the Skeeters, Barnes stated:

“First off, I just want to say thank you to my family, friends, and the community of Sugar Land, Texas, for welcoming me back with open arms. Thank you to the family that came and supported who hadn’t been able to watch me play in years. Thank you to friends who made it to weekend games. Thank you so much to Sugar Land, Texas and the Skeeters organization for allowing me to come home to play ball, get a breath of fresh air and to allow me to get my career back on track. Thank you to the coaching staff led by Pete Incaviglia. Thank you to the fans, volunteers, front office staff, grounds crew and locker room staff. To everyone involved, thank you so much for your hospitality and now I can’t wait to get back on track chasing my childhood dream with the New York Mets!”

The Sugar Land native was drafted out of Texas Tech by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2012 MLB Draft.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Texas natives Olsen, Allison post 20th place finish in bobsled World Cup race.

Photo courtsey of 
U.S. Olympic Committee
via Flickr
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND (January 28, 2019) Texans Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and Kyler Allison (Austin, Texas) teamed up with Adrian Adams (Reidsville, N.C.) and Kyle Wilcox (Tampa, Fla.) to take 20th place for USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS) on Saturday, January 26 in the four-man bobsled World Cup in St. Moritz. They posted a combined time of 2:13.20 with the crew clocking start times of 5.15 and 5.16 seconds for runs of 1:06.53 and 1:06.67, respectively. 

The race completed the European portion of the World Cup. The tour now moves across the Atlantic Ocean, to North America, with the seventh stop in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Six Houston Texans named to 2019 Pro Bowl roster

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 27, 2019) Six Houston Texans have been named to the 2019 Pro Bowl and will take to the field at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, January 27, 2019.  Defensive end J.J. Watt (shown right), outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be starters in the game, while inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney will see action as a reserve. Quarterback Deshaun Watson and running back Lamar Miller were also named to the elite squad as alternates.

The game will feature the same format as the previous five Pro Bowls. For the sixth straight year, the Pro Bowl will differ from standard NFL game rules and format in that there will be no kickoffs and every quarter will have a two-minute warning. Also, the play clock will be only 35 seconds, and the game clock will run after pass incompletions except when there is less than two minutes left in either half.

The game will be televised on ESPN and ABC with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. CST.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Houston Dynamo down RGVFC 1-0 in preseason scrimmage

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 26, 2019) The Houston Dynamo and Rio Grande Valley FC took to the pitch inside BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday. The 3,000-plus fans in attendance to witness the free scrimmage saw the two teams play three 30-minute periods with 15 minute breaks between periods. The first period was a 1-0 win for the Dynamo, with forward Alberth Elis scoring the goal off a assist by defender A.J. DeLaGarza. The second period saw the Dynamo and RGV battle to a scoreless draw. The third period was a match up consisting of mostly RGV players, with the Gray Squad besting the Blue Squad by the score of 1-0. The Dynamo and RGV will continue training on Monday, January 28, with a second scrimmage occurring on Tuesday, January 29. The Dynamo kicks off their 2019 schedule on March 2 against Real Salt Lake.

Five former Houston Cougars on San Antonio Commanders roster

Photo courtesy of Alliance of  American Football
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (January 26, 2019) The San Antonio Commanders competed their 19th day of training camp on Saturday. They currently have 52 players on the roster with five of those being former University of Houston players. The five include offensive guard Marcus Oliver , running back Kenneth Farrow II, wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, defensive tackle Joey Mbu, and corner back Nick Thurman.

The Commanders will compete their training camp on January 31, with the setting their 52-man roster on Wednesday January 30. They will kickoff the 2-019 season on February 9 against the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome.

Friday, January 25, 2019

San Antonio Commanders add Alonzo Moore to active roster

Photo courtsey of
Ted Gangi
Copyright 2019
All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (January 25, 2019) The San Antonio Commanders have added wide receiver Alonzo Moore (shown right) to their active roster. Moore played his college football for the the Unversity  of Nebraska. He played 44 games for the Cornhuskers from 2013 to 2016. He caught 60 passes for 981 and eight toughdowns while carrying the ball 18 times for 164 yards rushing. He led the Big 10 Conference in 2016 with an average of 18.8 yards per catch. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs in early 2017 and was waived later in the year during training camp.

First Olympic Winter Games begins 95 years ago today

Photo courtsey of imgur.com (dQw4w9WgXcQ)
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA, TEXAS (January 25, 2019) Today, January 25, is the 95th anniversary of the first Olympic Winter Games, held in Chamonix, France, from January 25 to February 5, 1924. Two hundred, fifty-four athelets from 16 countries competed in six sports, consisting of 16 events.

The United States brought home four medals, including the first medal awarded in Winter Olympic Games history. Charles Jewtraw, from Clinton County, New York, bested thirty other skaters to win the gold medal in the men's 500-meter speedskating. His time of 44.0 seconds also established an Olympic record. 

Beatrix Loughran (Mount Vernon, New York) took silver in ladies figue skating. She also took the bronze medal in the event in 1928 ans another silve in pairs in 1932. The United States also took silver in men's ice hockey, while Anders Haugen earned bronze in the ski jumping. Thorleif Haug was awarded third place at the event's conclusion, but a clerical error in calculating Haug's score was discovered in 1974 by Jacob Vaage, who further determined  Haugen of the United States, who had finished fourth, had actually scored 0.095 points more than Haug. The International Olympic Committee verified this, and in Oslo in September 1974, Haug's daughter presented the medal to the 86-year-old Haugen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

St. Moritz hosts final European World Cup race of the 2018-2019 season

ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND (Jan. 23, 2019) The bobsled and skeleton World Cup makes its sixth stop on the only natural track in the world in St. Moritz, Switzerland from Friday to Sunday. This is the final European race before the tour moves to North America.

Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) is expected to have a new crew combination of Kyler Allison (Austin, Texas), Adrian Adams (Reidsville, N.C.) and Chris Kinney (Stockbridge, Ga.). Williamson from Bascue's four-man team will push with Olsen in the two-man race.

The final races of the skeleton-only Intercontinental Cup series will take place Thursday, Jan. 24 and Friday, Jan. 25 in Lake Placid, N.Y. The tour titles will be announced following competitions on Friday. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Houston Selected to CSCAA Scholar All-America Team

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 22, 2019) The University of Houston Swimming & Diving team succeeded in an out of the pool during the fall semester, earning College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team honors for the seventh straight semester.

After combining for a 3.38 team fall semester grade-point average, including five 4.0’s (Rebecca Brandt, Peyton Kondis, Rachel Hicks, Jenny Penneck, Victoria Tillman) the Cougars are one of 476 institutions across all divisions to earn the distinction.

The honor is awarded to teams with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and on average 23 of the 25 top-finishers at the NCAA Championships earn the award. All of the women’s teams in The American were recognized for their academic achievement.

FBCA swimmers place at regionals; qualify for state championships

Story and photo by Tracy Brown
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 22, 2019) The First Baptist Christian Academy (FBCA) Swimming Team competing in the TAPPS East Region Swimming Championships at the University of Houston on Saturday, February 19, 2019. The men's 200-yard freestyle relay took the bronze medal;  beating out the 4th place team by 1/100ths of a second!  They will represent FBCA at the State Championships in Mansfield in February.  The men's 400 free relay took the silver medal and punched their ticket to the state meet as well. The relay swimmers were Christopher Brown, Harrison Brown, Timothy Henry, and Stephen Lawson.

Freshman Harrison Brown earned a silver medal and will represent FBCA at the state meet in the 200-yard freestyle with a new personal best while setting a new FBCA school record.  Harrison finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a new personal best and new school record.

Junior Christopher Brown earned a silver medal and will represent FBCA at the state meet in the 500-yard freestyle with a new personal best while setting a new FBCA school record.  Christopher also finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley, with a new personal best and a new school record.

Sophomore Stephen Lawson finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle and set a new personal best in the 100-yard butterfly during his seventh place finish.

Annalyn Henry, Makenzee McComb, and Keeleigh Wilbanks each set new personal bests in the 50-yard freestyle.  Annalyn's swim set a new FBCA women's school record.

Annalyn continued to have the best meet of her freshman year with a new school record and personal best in the 100-yard freestyle.

Sophomore Makenzee McComb swam a new personal best in the 100-yard backstroke.

Timothy Henry, or as he should now be called "SWIMMY TIMMY," swam a new personal best in the 100-yard backstroke and earned an eighth place ribbon at Regionals.  He also swam a new personal best in the 100-yard freestyle and earned an eighth place ribbon.

Monday, January 21, 2019


PRAIRIE VIEW, TEXAS (January 21, 2019) The Prairie View A&M men’s basketball team will end its three-game home stand against defending SWAC Regular Season champion Grambling Monday at 6 p.m. in the William J. Nicks Building.

It’s the Blackout Game for Monday’s doubleheader that begins with the 4 p.m. women’s game between the two of the three teams tied for first in the standings. The PVAMU women (6-8 overall, 3-1 SWAC) will face defending SWAC Tournament champion Grambling (7-10, 4-1) and can be viewed live at pvpanthers.com/women.

The men’s game between the Panthers (6-11, 4-0) and GSU (9-9, 3-2) can be viewed online as well at pvpanthers.com/men.

PVAMU has won five straight games, including four straight in league play. The five-straight wins ties the longest streak in the Byron Smith era, set last season. (Alabama St. 80-74 2/24/18, Alabama A&M 71-58 2/26/18, at Alcorn 79-69 3/1/18, at Southern 77-69 3/3/18 and vs. Alcorn 87-71 3/6/18.)

The Panthers rallied to win over Jackson State, only leading twice in the last four minutes. Gary Blackston had his second straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Gerard Andrus scored 12 points and seven rebounds, and Antoine Lister came off the bench to score 11 points and five rebounds. PVAMU held Jackson St. to only 20 points in the second half, tied for the fewest points allowed in any half this season.

After losses to open league play at Alabama St. (L 53-74) and at Alabama A&M (60-65 ot), Grambling posted wins against Southern (69-63), Alcorn St. (77-42) and at Texas Southern in overtime (88-87). Dallas Polk-Hilliard (12.8 ppg/t-9th SWAC) and Ivy Smith (11.5 ppg/t-14th SWAC) lead the Tigers in scoring. GSU is second in the SWAC in both scoring offense (71.0 ppg), scoring defense (69.9 ppg), and field goal defense (43.4%), and is first in field goal defense (39.6%).

The Panthers lost both meetings to Grambling last season, and PVAMU is 2-4 in the Smith Era against GSU.

Three SBAS swimmers bring home honors from TAAF Winter Games

Submitted Photo
By Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PEARLAND, TEXAS (Janaury 21, 2019) Three members of the South Belt Area "All Stars" Swimming Team competed in the masters division of the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF) Winter Games of Texas at Pearland Natatorium on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

Renee Martinez (above center), who competed in the women's 50-54 division won gold medals in the 50-yard freestyle and 50-yard backstroke. Isabella Martinez (above left), Renee's daughter and a former member of the Pasadena Memorial High School's swimming team, won the gold medal in the 50-yard backstroke in the women's 18-24 age group. She also picked up a silver medal in the 50-yard freestyle.

Former Pasadena High School swimmer Alfredo Vasquez (above right) won the gold medal in the men's 18-24 ahge group. He also won silver medals in the 50-yard backstroke and 100-yard individual medley.

As a result of their success, all three have qualified for the State Games of America National Championships to be held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on July 31-August 4, 2019.

The South Belt Area “All Stars” Swimming Team is a select swimming team consisting of elite swimmers from the Pasadena, Deer Park, Pearland, Friendswood, Clear Lake and Houston South Belt areas.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

American Emily Sisson takes fifth at Houston Half Marathon

Photo by Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
Narrowly missing American Record in the event

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 20, 2019) In her debut appearance in Houston, Emily Sisson (shown right) posted a finishing time of 1:07:30, which was good enough for fifth place in the Houston Half Marathon. Her performance was a scant five seconds off the American Record (1:07:25) set in 2018 by Molly Huddle in Houston.

Sisson, who is a two-time U.S. champion in the 10K (2016) and 5K (2018), had run a previous personal best of 1:08:21 in New York City in 2017. Later in 2017, she placed ninth in the 10,000 meters in the IAAF World Championships. The two-time NCAA champion also holds the NCAA indoor record for the 5,000 meters. The 27-year-old  Providence College alumni is planning to run her debut marathon later this spring and is the training partner of Huddle.

Kenya's Brigid Kosgei Wins Half Marathon in Houston

Photo by Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 20, 2019) Leading a group of seven Kenyans who placed in the top 10, Brigid Kosgei posted a 1:05:50 in winning the women's division of the Houston Half Marathon through and around the streets of the Bayou City. Her time established a race record, breaking the previous mark of 1:06:39 by Ruti Aga (Ethiopia) in 2018. The 24-year-old also established a new personal record; elipising her pervious best of 1:06:35 set on September 17, 2017 in Kobenhaven, Denmark. Rounding out the top three were Fancy Chemutal (Kenya) with a 1:06:48 performance and Aga (1:06:56). The top American, Emily Sisson, placed fifth with the time of 1:07:30, just five seconds off the American record.

Kitata wins Houston Half Marathon

Photo by Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 20, 2019) With the temperature hovering in the high 30s, Ethiopia's Shura Kitata maintained a 4:36 pace in winning the Houston Half Marathon on Sunday, His winning time of 1:00:11 was a scant three seconds ahead of fellow countryman Jemel Yimer (1:00:14). Placing third was Kenyan Bedan Karoki Muchiri wth the time of 1:10:18.

Kitata time was the fourth fastest in race history, and was nine seconds fastest than in the 2018 Houston Half Marathon, which he placed fourth. The top American in the field, Reed Fisher placed tenth with the time of 1:02:06. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Carlton Orange becomes 10th fastest collegian at 600m in Aggie Triangular

Photo courtsey of Errol Anderson
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS (January 19,2019) Texas A&M junior Carlton Orange (No. 4, Shown right) produced a school record in the 600 meters as his runner-up time of 1:16.51 makes him the No. 10 performer on the all-time indoor collegiate list.

The Aggies swept the team titles in the Texas A&M Triangular they hosted in front of 1,128 fans on Saturday inside Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. The Aggie men, who improved to 20-0 in dual scored indoor meets, totaled 120 points to better UTEP (72) and TCU (51), while the A&M women, who are 17-3, tallied 117 points in defeating TCU (68) and UTEP (52).

“These kinds of competitions are really difficult for young people,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Because a majority of them have never had a dual meet or triangular, even through high school. So, they think a small meet is not something they can’t progress in. I saw some good things happen today, but I also saw some things in people who were not motivated enough to do the competition. We need to continue to learn.”

Aggie alum Donavan Brazier opened his season by winning the 600m race in a world and U.S. leading time of 1:15.46, which moves him to No. 5 performer with the No. 7 performance on the American all-time indoor list as well as the No. 10 performer with the No. 12 performance on the all-time world list.

Deon Lendore, the 2014 Bowerman winner for Texas A&M, placed third in the race with a 1:16.90, the second fastest time by a sprinter from Trinidad & Tobago, while current Aggie JaQwae Ellison finished fourth in 1:19.01.

“It’s always great getting to race against national champions and Olympians,” stated Orange of the field he faced in the 600. “I like how they pushed me and I was able to push them during the race. I’ve never run the open 600 competitively, but today is a good indicator of where I am with my shape and what I can do next at 800m.”

With Texas A&M having only run 600 yard races since opening Gilliam due to it being an event at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, there was no listed school record for the Aggies in the 600m. However, Brazier had a split of 1:17.88 at 600m when he won the SEC Indoor 800m title at Arkansas in 2016.

Brazier’s 200m splits in this race were 24.65, 25.65 (50.30), and 25.17 while Orange went 24.50, 26.09 (50.59) and 25.93. Lendore led the crew through 200m at 24.30, then continued with a 26.45 (50.75) and 26.16.

“They pushed me to my max,” noted Orange. “Although I felt I could have run a little faster, I really had a good effort today. I always like racing Donavan, since I know he is in great shape and will be good competition. When he went around 350 to 400m, it kind of surprised me a little bit. I didn’t expect him to go that hard. So, I tried to match it a little bit. I wasn’t quite there but we’re getting there though.”

Henry added: “Carlton is a talent. He was with us last year, but couldn’t compete since he was a transfer. He is a guy who will run a good 800 and I think he will be involved with our 4x400 as well.”

The Aggie men produced 10 victories on the day as Gabe Oladipo continued to display his proficiency in the weight throw with a winning toss of 64-8 ½ (19.72), improving his No. 3 performer status on the A&M all-time list. Teammate Josh Brown moved to No. 7 performer in the weight throw with a mark of 59-5 (18.11) that placed him third.

“The whole process has been great and I’ve been having a lot of fun with learning a new event,” said Oladipo. “That’s kind of an underrated aspect of training. You have to have fun with it and I’ve been enjoying the weight throw. Everything is coming together.

“Learning the weight throw has taught me numerous things that will help me in the shot and discus. The core strength, the coordination and footwork all play a part in any of the throwing events I compete in. Throwing the weight will help me progress in the other throws as well.”

Eight victories highlighted the women’s winning effort as the Aggies had double victories from Celine Markert and LaJarvia Brown while Syaira Richardson breezed to a 53.18 win in the 400, moving to No. 8 on the A&M all-time list.

Markert won the shot put and weight throw with marks of 45-5 ½ (13.85) and 53-3 ¾ (16.25), respectively, while Brown claimed the high jump at 5-8 ¾ (1.75) and long jump with a leap of 18-11 ¾ (5.78).

Devin Dixon powered to a 46.95 victory in the 400 over teammate Ilolo Izu’s 47.05 along with TCU’s Blake Hennesay (47.46) and UTEP’s Sean Bailey (47.61). Dixon improved his previous indoor best of 47.74.

In the mile, Jon Bishop led an A&M 1-2-3 finish with a 4:10.54 as Wes McPhail (4:13.48) and Zephyr Seagraves (4:15.53) followed.

Other wins for the men included Tyler Guillory in the 60m hurdles (8.02), Jacob Wooten in the pole vault (17-7), David Torkington in the 800 (1:56.47), CJ Stevenson in the triple jump (47-11 ¾) and Jake Lamberth in the high jump (6-8 ¾).

Additional victories for the women included Ashton Hutcherson in the mile (4:59.52) and Diamond Spaulding in the 200 (23.61).

Nikki Keys also went under five minutes in the mile as runner-up to Hutcherson with a 4:59.66. In the 200, racing in a different section than Spaulding, Tierra Robinson-Jones and Julia Madubuike placed second and third with identical times of 23.67. They were separated by 0.003 of a second with the edge going to Robinson-Jones.

In sweeping the 4x400 relays, a winning time of 3:07.33 gave the A&M men an edge over TCU (3:07.78). The Aggie foursome included Bryce Deadmon (46.37), Ilolo Izu (47.51), Kyree Johnson (47.44) and Dixon (46.01). The anchor leg by Dixon was essential in holding off the 45.74 split by TCU’s anchor Derrick Mokaleng.

The women posted a winning time of 3:38.08 while another Aggie squad finished second in 3:39.78. Racing on the winning crew were Robinson-Jones (54.18), Richardson (54.34), Fray (55.00) and Madubuike (54.56).

Kelsie Warren moved to No. 10 on the Aggie all-time list in the 3,000m with a runner-up time of 9:42.29 as Ashley Driscoll placed third in 9:43.30. TCU’s Evelyn Mandel won the race in 9:41.23.

A close finish in the 60m hurdles had Taryn Milton (8.58) and Kennedy Smith (8.59) trailing UTEP’s Kimisha Chambers (8.53).

Texas A&M travels for the first time this season with a trip to Lubbock next week for the Texas Tech Classic on January 25-26.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Pro Athletes to Tackle Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 18, 2019) A tantalizing mix of veterans, newcomers, speed and savvy will be on display at the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Sunday, as top international fields of professional athletes join 25,733 other runners in tackling the streets of the city, cheered by an estimated 250,000 spectators for the city’s largest one-day sporting event.

“This is a year of milestones for us,” said Brant Kotch, race director, in welcoming media to the pre-race press conference on Friday morning. Led by the 25th anniversary of the Run for a Reason Charity Program and the inaugural year of a partnership between Chevron and Aramco in sponsoring Saturday’s We Are Houston 5K, the milestones may also include record-breaking performances and a well-earned birthday party.

In the Chevron Houston Marathon, Ethiopia’s Yitayal Atnafu is seeking to celebrate his 26th birthday by breaking the tape after three consecutive runner-up finishes here. “I am ready to be first this time,” he said Friday. Last year, he led the race by as much as 40 seconds before finishing as runner-up to Bazu Worku, who is not in the field this year.
He will be challenged by, among others, compatriot Abayneh Ayele (the fastest man in the field, with a personal best of 2:06:45); 2017 champion Dominic Ondoro of Kenya; and Albert Korir, a 24-year-old Kenyan who will be racing for the first time in the U.S.

On the women’s side, defending champion Biruktayit Degefa returns for the sixth consecutive year. The Ethiopian’s streak includes victories in 2018 and 2016, a runner-up finish in 2017 and third place in 2015 – the race in which she set her personal best of 2:23:51, the fastest in the women’s field. Her closest rival may be Buze Diriba, a 24-year-old Ethiopian making her debut at the distance. Diriba has seen great success on the U.S. roads, with wins in 2018 at five different distances (5K, 10K, 12K, 10 mile and the half marathon).

For the Americans, 40-year-old Kara Goucher makes her masters debut. The two-time Olympian is running her first marathon since finishing fourth in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, after overcoming a series of injuries. “I’m here for the joy of it,” she said, when asked about her race goals. “I’m here for the love of competing.”

They will all be chasing a first-place prize of $45,000, as well as a race record bonus of $30,000.

In the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, both the men’s and women’s fields are arguably the fastest and deepest ever assembled in this country, with six men bringing personal bests of under 1 hour and six women under 1:07. Few will be shocked if both the men’s and women’s winners run the fastest half marathon ever on U.S. soil: two men come in with personal bests faster than the current mark of 58:46, and four women better or equal the mark of 1:06:29.

Leading the men’s field is Jemal Yimer, a 22-year-old Ethiopian who less than three months ago ran a 58:33 half marathon, tying him for the third-fastest man in history. Not far behind him on the depth chart is Kenya’s Bedan Karoki, the sixth-fastest man in history at 58:42, with another 22-year-old Ethiopian, Shura Kitata (59:16) coming in as one of the best marathoners in the world, having finished as runner-up in 2018 in both London and New York City.

For the women, all eyes will be on Kenya’s Fancy Chemutai, whose personal best of 1:04:52, set in 2018, is only one second off the world record. Sunday will be not only the 23-year-old’s first race in the U.S., but her first in cool temperatures. As of Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service forecast for the 7 a.m. start is for a temperature around 35 degrees and winds of 5-10 mph.

Among her international challengers will be defending champion Ruti Aga of Ethiopia; Kenya’s Mary Wacera (whose winning time here of 1:06:29 is the fastest half marathon ever run on U.S. soil); and Kenyans Gladys Cherono, the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Champion and Brigid Kosgei, the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Champion.

But at least two Americans are also worth watching. Sally Kipyego, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2011 IAAF World Championship silver medalist at 10,000 meters for Kenya, will be running her first race after becoming an American citizen in 2017, and Emily Sisson will be looking to run a personal best that could put her in the record books.

Sisson has twice run the United Airlines NYC Half – in her 2017, she ran 1:08:21 for the fastest-ever U.S. debut – but Houston will her first half marathon on a flat, fast course. The 27-year-old said she is hoping to run under 68 minutes. When asked if she might challenge the American record (67:25) set here last year by her training partner, Molly Huddle, she said, “I know Molly made a comment about her record, and she wouldn’t just say something like that so I’m going to take that as confidence she thinks I’m fit.”

The Aramco Houston Half Marathon athletes will vie for the first-place prize of $20,000, along with a race record bonus of $15,000 and a world record bonus of $50,000.

Perfect Game posts preseason Top 25 baseball rankings

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

DEER PARK, TEXAS (Janaury 18, 2019) The Perfect Game website has annoucned their 2019 Preseason College Top 25 Rankings, with the LSU Tigers claiming the top spot. The list was put together by Perfect Game’s Patrick Ebert and Mike Rooney. The Tigers finished 2018 with a 39-27 record and finish at the Corvallis regional. Texas schools who made the ranking include Texas Tech (No. 5, 45-20 in 2018), Baylor (No. 12, 37-21 in 2018), and TCU (No. 16, 33-23 in 2018). Texas A&M also received votes, but  not enough to break the Top 25.

You can view the list here.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

SA Commanders, AAF announce 2019 schedule

By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (January 17, 2019) The Alliance of American Football (AAF) and the San Antonio Commanders have announced the game times for the Commanders’ weeks 2-10 games.The Commanders’ full schedule with game times is below:

Week 1 Saturday, Feb. 9 vs. San Diego Alamodome 7 p.m.
Week 2 Sunday, Feb. 17 vs. Orlando Alamodome 3 p.m.
Week 3 Sunday, Feb. 24 at San Diego SDCCU Stadium 7 p.m.
Week 4 Sunday, March 3 at Birmingham Legion Field 3 p.m.
Week 5 Sunday, March 10 at Arizona Sun Devil Stadium 7 p.m.
Week 6 Sunday, March 17 at Atlanta Georgia State Stadium 3 p.m.
Week 7 Saturday, March 24 vs. Salt Lake Alamodome 7 p.m.
Week 8 Sunday, March 31 vs. Arizona Alamodome 7 p.m.
Week 9 Saturday, April 6 vs. Memphis Alamodome 3 p.m.
Week 10 Friday, April 12 at Salt Lake Rice-Eccles Stadium 7 p.m.
NOTE: All times Central, and subject to change.

Texas A&M Triangular has Aggies hosting TCU and UTEP on Saturday

COLLEGE STATION (JANUARY17, 2019) Saturday’s Texas A&M Triangular will have the Aggies hosting TCU and UTEP in a dual scored meet at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. Field events begin at 1:15 p.m., with running events starting at 1:30 p.m. and the meet will conclude by 4 p.m.

Team scoring in the triangular will have only two athletes per school scoring in individual events, based on scoring system of 7-5-4-3-2-1 points for the top six places, while relays will be scored 7-5-4 with only one relay per team scoring.

“We have TCU and UTEP in this weekend for a triangular meet and it will be a two and a half hour track meet,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “It’s a good field and we will have some great events.

“I was pleased with how the team performed and reacted to the competition last weekend. We had some really good performances and we also have some people trying to figure out what they need to do to get better.”

Since opening the venue in 2009 Texas A&M has hosted a dual, triangular or quadrangular meet on this weekend except for 2017 when they held a seven-team invitational. The Aggie men are undefeated in dual meet scored events they have hosted indoors, compiling a record of 17-0. The A&M women have compiled a record of 14-3 over that time frame.

A key match-up will occur in the men’s 400m with Devin Dixon racing at that distance for the first time this season against Sean Bailey of UTEP. Dixon, a three-time SEC champion at 800m, posted career best times of 45.22 outdoors and 47.74 indoors at 400m in 2018 while also supplying the Aggies with 43-second split on the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay during the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

“Running this 400m will be a very good start for the indoor season,” stated Dixon, who has run on a pair of 4x400 relays in two previous indoor meets. “I’m really looking forward to this 400 to see where I’m at right now at this point of the season. Last year showed me what I was able to accomplish and what I’m capable of doing. Now I want to carry over that experience to this season.”

Baily is a Jamaican sprinter who ran career best times of 46.08 indoors and 45.24 outdoors in 2018 while competing at Western Texas junior college, where he swept the 400m indoor and outdoor titles in the NJCAA Championships.

A 600m race will feature a pair of current Aggies – Carlton Orange and JaQwae Ellison – racing against a field of A&M alums that includes 2014 Bowerman winner Deon Lendore, 2016 NCAA 800m champion Donavan Brazier and Bralon Taplin, a 2016 Olympic 400m finalist and World Indoor fourth-place finisher.

“I’m going to try to run a fast pace and see what I can do as I prepare for my first 800m the following weekend,” said Orange. “This will be different than racing at 1,000m or an 800m since we start faster than normal. I’ll focus on staying relaxed while running fast.

“When I run the 400m I tend to get out slow since I’m an 800m runner, but the 600m should offer a nice balance since I can get out and it won’t be as slow. The 600m should be a good race for me.”

In the women’s 400m, the Aggie tandem of Syiara Richardson and Jarra Owens square off against the TCU duo of Lily Beckford and Kayla Heard. In the shorter sprints, the A&M crew of Brenessa Thompson and Amber Ivy will race in the 60. Ivy will also compete in the 200 with teammates Diamond Spaulding, Julia Madubuike and Tierra Robinson-Jones.

After opening with a long jump victory last weekend, Tahar Triki will contest the long jump and triple jump in the Triangular for the Aggies. Triki set an indoor best of 51-11 (15.82) last season competing unattached and outdoors established a personal best of 55-5 ¾ (16.91) in winning the SEC title.

The meet record in the triple jump still stands from the 2009 opening season of Gilliam with a mark of 53-3 (16.23) by A&M’s Zuheir Sharif.

After setting a meet record a week ago with his 18-3 ¾ pole vault, Jacob Wooten enters this weekend as the meet record holder from his winning effort of 18-1 ¼ last season.