NCAA Indoor Track Championships Day One (copy)

Junior Tyra Gittens redshirted during her sophomore season with a knee injury.

The No. 5 Texas A&M men’s and women’s track and field teams will host the Charlie Thomas Invitational Feb. 7-8 at the Gilliam Indoor Track and Field Stadium.

Some of the teams competing in the invitational include Vanderbilt, Houston, Texas Christian University, Rice, South Plains, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The Aggies are coming off last weekend’s Texas Tech Invitational, in which A&M won four events.

“We did some things that were really good last week, so I was pleased with our performances,” A&M coach Pat Henry said.

However, Henry said the team must keep improving as the season progresses into the championship slate, which includes staying healthy.

“We’ll be competing a lot of people this weekend, and we can’t afford to have anyone hurt,” said Henry.

In preparation for the meet, senior Devin Dixon said the week’s practices have been intense so far.

“These workouts are hard, but we’ve just been focusing on our goals and stepping up the plate to reach that next level,” said Dixon.

Junior Tyra Gittens said the intensity of training has created momentum heading into the weekend.

“The energy is a lot more intense,” Gittens said. “I’m just going to feed off that energy and do my best.”

For Gittens, training for the weekend’s meet is not only about the physical side.

“I’ve been really training mentally and physically this semester, and I feel a lot more confident in this race than I’ve ever been,” said Gittens.

Dixon said a contributing factor that will play into the success of this weekend’s meet is teamwork.

“Running with each other makes it easier than running by yourself,” said Dixon.

A vital challenge going into this meet is maintaining focus, Dixon said.

“We have to remember why we’re on that track and why we’ve trained so hard for this moment,” said Dixon.

Last year, the Aggie women won a team title in the Charlie Thomas Invitational, with the men following second. Henry and the Aggies are looking to match that success this season.

“We look at the season like it’s a big ladder, each meet is another step up that ladder,” said Henry.

The Charlie Thomas Invitational will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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