It wasn't quite the monster weekend that Texas A&M athletics experienced the past two weeks, but there was plenty to cheer about in Aggieland including the school's second Big 12 Championship in as many weeks.
The big news came out of Ames, Iowa, as the women's track team blistered the field in the sprint events to score 141 points and handily win the conference championship over second place Texas that scored just 104 points.
The Aggies collected points in bunches as they took 25 points in the 200 meter sprint, 19 points each in the 60 and 400 meter runs, 18 points in the triple jump and 11 points in the 60 meter hurdles. In addition, the team is fairly young, so expect more championship hardware coming from women's track.
The men didn't perform as well, finishing in ninth place in a very talented and crowded men's side of the Big 12.
The other big news of the weekend came from Gary Blair's ladies as the Aggies went into a boisterous Ferrell Center in Waco and took down the No. 14 ranked Lady Bears, 63-58. Every time Baylor closed the gap in the second half, the Aggies answered with big play after big play in a hard fought win on the road.
Not only will the win play well in front of the NCAA selection committee when they start looking at seedings, but the win also keeps the Aggies in a first place tie with Oklahoma heading into the final regular season game of the year. The Aggies host Texas, who actually beat A&M handily in Austin a few weeks ago. However, if A&M takes care of business the Aggies ironically will be pulling for Baylor as they travel to Oklahoma to battle the Sooners. A Lady Bear win coupled with an Aggie win will give A&M the outright Big 12 championship. Otherwise A&M will share the crown with OU, although the Aggies will get the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big 12 tournament.
The men's basketball team is in a similar situation after taking care of the pesky Bears at Reed Arena on Saturday, 97-87. Baylor took advantage of its trio of quick guards as they forced the action into the lane, drew fouls and converted on some nice runners and lay-ups against the bigger Aggies. A&M will need to find the answer this Wednesday as Texas brings several quick guards like D.J. Augustin that will look to take advantage of A&M's bigger guards. A&M played a great offensive game with Acie Law draining 31 points and Joseph Jones adding 22 in a complete effort on the offensive end.
A&M will need to win in Austin and then take down a resurgent Missouri squad in College Station and hope that red hot Kansas stumbles once in its final two games at OU and at home against Texas to claim the outright Big 12 title. The Aggies hold the tiebreaker and would gain the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament if there were a tie for first place.
The men's baseball team demolished Jacksonville State as expected, sweeping the Gamecocks 15-5, 6-4 and 12-0. A&M combined to out-hit Jacksonville State, 42-16, for the weekend and got a power surge from Blake Stouffer and Craig Stinson in the middle of the lineup. In fact, Stouffer hit for the cycle and drove in six runs while Stinson collected five hits and five RBIs on Friday. The team is now hitting .320 for the season, which is 70 points over last year's batting average. However, the competition should be taken into account, so a lot more will be known about Aggie baseball after next weekend's Aggie Classic that brings defending national champion Oregon State to College Station.
The No. 2 softball team took one out of three games on the road at No. 4 Arizona. Jamie Hinshaw hit a grand slam on Saturday to give the Aggies their only win of the weekend. A&M lost the series opener, 5-0, winning Saturday, 4-3, and falling in the Sunday finale, 6-2. Arizona is the premiere softball program in the country, so losing two out of three at their house isn't devastating. Expect the Aggies to remain in the top five when the polls come out later today. For the season A&M is 2-2 against Arizona with all the games played in Arizona.
The women's tennis team fed off its win on Thursday against No. 17 TCU and blanked Nebraska, 7-0, in a Big 12 match at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Aggies are now 3-0 in Big 12 play and 10-1 for the season. It's the team's best overall start in program history. The ladies now head on the road for an extended road trip that includes stops in South Bend to face Notre Dame and Ann Arbor to square off against Michigan.
The men had a tough road trip in Los Angeles falling to No. 13 USC, 6-1, on Friday, and dropping a much closer 5-2 decision to No. 6 UCLA. The men now travel to the islands to face Hawaii and Michigan next week before coming home to battle Duke on March 12.
There were some ups and downs this weekend, but the program brought home another Big 12 championship for the A&M trophy case. Given the success of the men's and women's basketball teams on Saturday that trophy case may be filled again next weekend.