RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) track & field teams are in the top 15 in the South Central Region, with the women coming in at No. 14 and the men at No. 15, as announced by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday.
The men jumped five spots from No. 20 last week while the women fell one spot from No. 13.
The first national event squad rankings of the season also came out this week. The UTRGV women’s shot put squad leads the way, ranking 18th out of 146 with an average mark of 14.06 meters. Ten of the 17 squads ahead of UTRGV are from Power 5 conferences, including Auburn, which is narrowly ahead at 14.08 meters. UTRGV is currently 0.00635 meters ahead of Ohio State.
UTRGV has broken the program record in the women’s shot put at all three meets this season. The record was 15.31 meters entering the season, as set by then-freshman Samariae Bonds last year. Sophomore Alexandrea Hurst broke the record on Jan. 17 at Texas A&M with a mark of 15.61 meters. Bonds, now a sophomore, reclaimed the record with a distance of 15.98 meters on Jan. 25 at Texas A&M. Bonds then pushed the record to 16.59 meters this past Saturday at Houston. Bonds currently ranks 13th in the nation. If she remains in the top 16 at the end of the season, she will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
The UTRGV women’s team has two other squads ranked in the top 50 nationally, with the weight throw coming in at No. 30 with an average of 16.62 meters and the triple jump placing 50th with an average of 10.50 meters.
On the men’s side, the weight throw squad ranks 29th with an average mark of 16.34 meters while the shot put squad ranks 35th with an average of 15.49 meters.
UTRGV leads the Western Athletic Conference in all three of the aforementioned women’s events and the men’s weight throw while ranking second in the men’s shot put.
UTRGV is back in action on Feb. 14 at Houston’s Howie Ryan Invitational and Feb. 14-15 at Boston University’s David Hemery Valentine Invitational.