DALLAS (AP) _ J.J. Barea is returning to Dallas after considering a move to Miami in free agency.
A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Barea has agreed to terms with the Mavericks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because players can’t sign contracts until Thursday.
The deal is reportedly for two years and $5.6 million. Barea told a newspaper in Puerto Rico that he was rejoining Dallas.
The Mavericks brought back Barea early last season when Minnesota bought out the remainder of the four-year deal he signed after playing a key role in the Mavericks’ run to the NBA championship in 2011.
Barea was linked to Miami early in free agency, but that was before the Mavs reached a deal with center DeAndre Jordan.
Manu Ginobili says he is returning to the San Antonio Spurs for a 14th season.
Ginobili made the announcement on Twitter on Monday. The Argentinian will turn 38 later this month and is coming off of a season in which he battled several injuries.
Ginobili averaged 10.5 points in 70 games, his lowest scoring average since his rookie season. But the Spurs need his experience, versatility and playmaking to bolster the depth on a roster that is a little thin following some big expenditures in free agency.
The Spurs have agreed to terms with LaMarcus Aldridge on a four-year, $80 million contract, Kawhi Leonard on a five-year, $90 million deal and Danny Green on a four-year, $45 million deal in the last week.
Gwangju City, South Korea — Texas A&M freshman Lisa Bratton grabbed first place in the women’s 200-meter backstroke at the World University Games on Sunday at the Nambu University International Aquatics Center.
Bratton, from Richland, Wash., trailed most of the race, but turned in a blistering 32.20 on her final 50 meters to win by a second and a half in a lifetime best 2:09.31. Bratton, who is A&M’s record holder in short course yards and long course meters, covered the final 50 a full second faster than anyone else in the field. Rounding out the medalists were Simona Baumrtova of the Czech Republic and Yuka Kawayoke of Japan.
Other Aggies in action on Sunday were sophomores Franko Jonker (Pretoria, South Africa) and Sycerika McMahon (Belfast, Northern Ireland), who both advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter breaststroke. Jonker was fifth in her preliminary heat in 1:09.01 and sixth in her semifinal race in 1:09.03, while McMahon was fourth in her prelim in 1:09.45 and eighth in semis in 1:10.59.
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
Birmingham, Ala.Â â A total of 822 student-athletes, including 47 from Texas A&M, were named to the 2014-15 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll, this week by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.
Each student-athlete must 1) have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution; 2) be on scholarship or a letter winner; 3) have completed 24 semester hours of non-remedial credit at the nominating institution; and 4) have been a member of the varsity team for the sport’s entire NCAA Championship segment.
The SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2014-15 academic calendar.
Texas A&M â Sport â Major
Cole Bedford â Baseball â Business Administration
Brigham Hill â Baseball â Business Administration
Tonny Trocha Morelos â M Basketball â University Studies
Khaaila Hillsman â W Basketball â Business Administration
Alexandria Desiderio â Equestrian â Agribusiness
Lisa Jordan â Equestrian â Animal Science
Libby Schneider â Equestrian â Animal Science
Madison Bohman â Equestrian â Animal Science
Kai DeVoglaer â Equestrian â Biomedical Sciences
Bailey Cook â Equestrian â Biomedical Sciences
Courtney Weisbart â Equestrian â General Studies
Rachel Hake â Equestrian â Sport Management
Emily Neiberger â Equestrian â Telecommunication Media Studies
Emily Davis â Equestrian â University Studies
Otaro Alaka â Football â Business Administration
Zachary Ledwik â Football â General Engineering
Dakoda Martin â Football â Kinesiology
Nicholas Harvey â Football â Sport Management
DeShawn Washington â Football â Sport Management
Franklin Iheanacho â Football â Telecommunication Media Studies
Andrew Paysse â M Golf â Sport Management
McKayla Paulson â W Soccer â English
Victoria Vidales â Softball â Agricultural Communications & Journalism
Ashley Walters â Softball â Health
Erica Russell â Softball â Kinesiology
Erin Houthoofd â Softball â Kinesiology
Justin Morey â M Swim & Dive â Biomedical Sciences
Duncan Mulleady â M Swim & Dive â Business Administration
Christopher McAnany â M Swim & Dive â English
Miha Bernat â M Swim & Dive â Physics
Caitlynn Moon â W Swim & Dive â Animal Science
Beryl Gastaldello â W Swim & Dive â Business Administration
Bethany Galat â W Swim & Dive â Food Science & Technology
Lisa Bratton â W Swim & Dive â General Engineering
Esther Gonzalez Medina â W Swim & Dive â General Studies
Sarah Vinezeano â W Swim & Dive â Health
Garrett Cragin â M Track & Field â Agricultural Leadership & Development
Jacob Perry â M Track & Field â Physics
Sara Kathryn Stevens â W Track & Field â Business Administration
Kristen Clark â W Track & Field â Community Health
Karina Buerk â W Track & Field â Environmental Design
Amelia McElhinney â W Track & Field â General Engineering
Devin Norton â W Track & Field â General Studies
Ashtin Zamzow â W Track & Field â Kinesiology
Audrey Malone â W Track & Field â Kinesiology
Emily Gunderson â W Track & Field â Recreation, Park & Tourism Science
Marquita Stalbert â W Track & Field â Sociology
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
ESSEX FELLS, NJâAfter another successful year in the pool that saw the Aggies take fourth place at the NCAA Championship, nine members of the Texas A&M Swim & Dive team have been selected to the 2015 College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American Team, the organization announced.
To be considered for this team, student-athletes must meet strict requirements. The swimmers must achieve a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the same semester as the NCAA Championship and must also compete in the event as well. The Aggies that will represent Texas A&M on the 2015 team are juniorClaire Brandt (Dallas, Texas), senior Emily Neubert (Waco, Texas), senior Kelli Benjamin (Gilbert, Ariz.), freshman Lisa Bratton (Richland, Wash.), sophomoreMadison Hudkins (Murrieta, Calif.), senior Samantha Bosma (Marietta, Ga.), sophomore Sarah Gibson (San Antonio, Texas), sophomore Sycerika McMahon(Belfast, Northern Ireland) and junior Meredith Oliver (Tyler, Texas).
Three other Aggies were also selected to the team as an honorable mention. Junior Colleen Konetzke (San Antonio, Texas) and sophomore Corrine Priest (Atlanta, Ga.) received this designation because while they did maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the spring semester, they did not compete at the NCAA Championship. Swimmers that qualify for the honorable mention designation must, however, make an NCAA “B” qualifying time.
In addition to the 11 individuals representing Texas A&M, the team as a whole received Scholar All-America honors as well. To achieve this, teams must maintain a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Aggies demonstrated their abilities in the classroom this year with an overall team GPA of 3.31, tied for the fifth-highest team GPA in the country.
“These honors are a tribute to strong team leadership and the willingness of every swimmer and diver to hold one another accountable academically. Â This is well deserved and I am especially happy for the seniors and captains who set the academic tone,” said Texas A&M Director of Student Services Chris Barttelbort,Â “No place values tradition more than Texas A&M, and this team lives up to the tradition of success in the classroom that has defined Coach Steve Bultman‘s time with Texas A&M Swimming & Diving.”
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
DALLAS (AP) _ Free agent guard Wesley Matthews and the Mavericks have agreed on a four-year deal. Financial terms depend on whether center DeAndre Jordan decides to join him in Dallas. Matthews is coming off a ruptured left Achilles tendon sustained in a game against the Mavericks in March. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready to start the season.
BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Texas Rangers have activated right-handed reliever Neftali Felize from the 15-day disabled list and optioned starter Nick Martinez to Triple-A Round Rock.
Felize went on the DL in late May with an abscess on his right side. His rehabilitation assignment consisted of 10 relief appearances for Round Rock. He is 1-2 with 5.09 ERA in 17 games out of the bullpen.
Thursday’s move comes less than 24 hours after Martinez took the loss in a start against the Orioles. He’s 5-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister says the team is monitoring Martinez’s innings and wants to keep him fresh.
Martinez pitched 150 innings last year and is already at 97.
Banister says, “We’re just trying to manage that number at best we can.”
HOUSTON (AP) _ The Houston Texans have released defensive lineman Brandon Ivory a day after he was charged in a residential burglary in Tuscaloosa.
The team announced his departure on Thursday. The 23-year-old Ivory, a former Alabama standout, signed a free-agent contract with the Texans in May.
Police said Wednesday that Ivory was arrested with a second man after two people said two men busted down a door and took two Apple iPads and cash. One of the suspects was allegedly armed with an assault rifle and the other had a knife.
Ivory and the other man, who police identified as Nicholas Gerald Gibson I, were both charged with two counts of burglary.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Tim Duncan is returning to San Antonio for a 19th season with the Spurs.
Duncan tells the San Antonio Express-News that “I’ll be on the court next year.” Until Duncan made his announcement Thursday, there was speculation that he could call it a career after the Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in a thrilling seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs.
Many expected him to return, particularly since he was coming off such a strong season. Duncan averaged 13.9 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks and earned third team All-NBA and second team All-Defense honors.
Duncan turned 39 in April and accompanied the Spurs on a recruiting trip for star free agent LaMarcus Aldridge on Wednesday.
IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Linebacker Rolando McClain of the Cowboys has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The suspension leaves the Cowboys without two key defenders to start the season as defensive end Greg Hardy was suspended for the first 10 games for his role in a domestic violence case.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ The U.S. women’s World Cup team will play Japan for the championship this Sunday in Vancouver in a rematch of the title match four years ago won by Japan. Japan defeated England 2-1 when Laura Bassett scored into her own net during second-half stoppage time.
The Americans advanced with a 2-0 win Tuesday night over Germany as Carli Lloyd converted a penalty kick in the 69th minute and assisted on Kelley O’Hara’s first international goal late in the victory. Goalkeeper Hope Solo recorded her fifth straight shutout before a crowd of 51,176 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
By the way, when the U.S. plays for the title Sunday, Sepp Blatter, the president of soccer’s governing body won’t be on hand. Blatter’s organization, FIFA, is under investigation in the U.S. for corruption.
CARY, North Carolina â Texas A&M rising junior Ryan Hendrix pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to help the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team record a three-pitcher no-hitter in a 2-0 win over the Cuban National Team on Wednesday evening at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
It marked the third time in USA Baseball Collegiate National Team history the Americans posted a no-hitter. It was Team USA’s first no-hitter since Carson Fulmer, Tyler Jay, Dillon Tate and Ryan Burr combined to no-hit the Netherlands in 2014. The Red, White and Blue also no-hit South Korea in 2010, a combined effort from Sonny Gray, Kyle Winkler and Noe Ramirez, for the first no-hitter in National Training Complex history.
An SEC trio of Tanner Houck (Missouri), AJ Puk (Florida) and Hendrix combined to throw 99 pitches, including 64 strikes. Making his team-high sixth appearance, Hendrix faced the 9-1-2 hitters in the Cuba order, registering three groundouts to earn his third save of the summer.
Houck worked four pre-determined, perfect innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced. Puk worked four innings, allowing a leadoff walk and a one-out error.
The Cubans got two baserunners for the game with one walk and one error and only managed to get one runner in scoring position. In the seventh, Cuba worked a leadoff walk and sacrificed the runner to second, but Puk got a pair of groundouts to strand the runner at third.
Team USA scored a run in the sixth with an RBI single by Virginia’s Matt Thaiss. Louisville’s Corey Ray scored the second run on a groundout in the eighth.
Texas A&M’s Nick Banks recorded a hit in the contest.
The win snaps a five-game winning streak for Cuba vs. the USA Collegiate National Team and marked the first win for Team USA in America vs. the Cubans since sweeping Cuba in a five-game series in 2013, the first games played between the two nation’s on American soil since 1996.
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
To the entire Texas A&M Family:
I am certain that the words in this letter will fall hopelessly short of conveying exactly what I feel as I leave this great University and Athletics Department. Nor will this letter sufficiently thank or give credit to everyone in Aggieland that has left such an indelible mark on my life and career.
To leave no room for ambiguity: A large part of my decision to leave has everything to do with my private life. Aside from my passion for my career, at 43 years old it is time to make room for the opportunity to have a meaningful private life, relationship, and even a family. The chance to pursue this critical element makes moving to Austin an obvious choice.
I have many people to thankâ¦
I want to thank Eric Hyman for helping shape and mentor me in a way that allowed my career to flourish. Eric’s smarts and generosity as well as his love for intercollegiate athletics and the students goes way beyond the scope of this letter. In Eric, Texas A&M has a leader that has and will continue to prioritize the things that really matter.
Marcy Girton has been my supervisor for the bulk of my time in Aggieland. Without her mentoring, intelligence and calm, Texas A&M Women’s tennis could not have reached the heights it has over the past few years. Not only has Marcy been a source of strength and an exemplarily role model for me, but she is the epitome and perfect example of what our young ladies ought to be striving toward. Texas A&M is awful fortunate to have Marcy Girton on its team!
To all of the 12th Man. The passion and the class with which you all support our students is an example to all communities throughout our country. The 12thMan is strength and teamwork personified.
And onto the most gut wrenching part of this decision. The Aggie Women’s Tennis team and my associate Head Coach:
To my great friend and Associate Head Coach Mark Weaver: The richness of the experience that we are able to afford our players at Texas A&M has everything to do with how classy a person you are. Texas A&M University has profited from your lifetime of service as a student, an athlete and now as a Coach.
To the ladies of the Texas A&M Tennis Team: Any opportunity or praise that I have benefitted from is the result of your success, your hard work, and the class that you all exude in everything you do!
Lastly, to the entire athletic Department at Texas A&M: Thanks for four of the best years of my career. What a kind group of people. I have been so lucky to have worked alongside you to serve the students and athletes here in Aggieland. You will all be missed!
Howard Joffe was named the Texas A&M women’s head tennis coach in July 2011. The 2014 ITA Texas Region Coach of the Year produced an ITA All-American in each of his four years at Texas A&M and led the Aggies to at leastÂ the NCAA Championship round of 16 and a top-10 final ranking in each of the last three seasons, including an all-time high No. 3 final ranking in 2013 after stunning the tennis world with a first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship finals.
Joffe, whose 2013 team also captured Texas A&M’s first Southeastern Conference regular season championship in any sport, is 131-61 (.682) in his eight-year head coaching career. He produced an impressive 83-23 (.783) record in his four seasons at Texas A&M while playing an excitingly challenging schedule that resulted in a 13-10 record against Top 10 opponents.
Read the Texas press release on Joffe’s hiring here.
JOFFE’S COACHING RECORD AT TEXAS A&M
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â — Overall — Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â —– Conference —-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Final ITA
YearÂ Â Â Â W-LÂ Â Â Â Â Pct.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â W-LÂ Â Â Pct.Â Â FinishÂ Â Â Â Â Â NCAAsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ranking
2012Â Â Â Â 19-6Â Â Â Â Â .760Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 7-2Â Â Â Â .777Â Â Â Â T-2ndÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Second RoundÂ Â Â Â #17
2013Â Â Â 26-4Â Â Â Â Â .867Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 12-1Â Â Â .923Â Â Â Â T-1stÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â FinalsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â #3
2014Â Â Â 21-7Â Â Â Â Â .750Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10-3Â Â Â .769Â Â Â Â 5thÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Round of 16Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â #9
2015Â Â Â Â 17-6Â Â Â Â Â .739Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 11-2Â Â Â Â .846Â Â Â Â T-2ndÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Round of 16Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â #10
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Overall Â Â Â Â Â Conference
W-LÂ Â Â Â Â Pct.Â Â Â Â Â W-LÂ Â Â Pct.Â Â Â Â Â Â NCAAs
Career Totals (8 years)Â Â Â Â Â Â 131-61Â Â .682Â Â Â Â 58-28Â Â .674Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10-6 (NCAA tournament)
A&M Totals (4 years)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 83-23Â Â Â .783Â Â Â Â Â 40-8Â Â Â Â .833Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10-4 (NCAA tournament)
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas hired Howard Joffe to as the new women’s tennis coach, poaching from former rival at Texas A&M.
The school announced the hire on Tuesday. Joffe led the Aggies women to NCAA top-10 finishes each of the last three seasons. He replaces Danielle Lund McNamara, who resigned June 3.
A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Joffe spent four seasons at Texas A&M, leading the Aggies to a national runner-up finish in 2013.
He also was the women’s coach at Maryland from 2010-2011 and Miami of Ohio from 2008-2009.
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Josh Hamilton has been activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Texas Rangers, who placed the outfielder in the starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Orioles.
Hamilton was sidelined since May 31 with a strained left hamstring. He has played in only seven games this season, batting .273 with two homers and five RBIs.
He was fifth in the lineup and in left field against Baltimore.
Texas made room for Hamilton on the 25-man roster by optioning rookie Joey Gallo to Triple-A Round Rock. Gallo had his contract purchased from Double-A Frisco on June 2 and hit .218 with five home runs and 13 RBIs over 25 games in his major league debut.
He ended his stint with a 7-for-47 skid that included 27 strikeouts.
DALLAS (AP) _ Former Stanley Cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi has signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars.
The deal Monday came two days after Dallas acquired Niemi’s contract rights from San Jose for a seventh-round pick during the draft and two days before the goaltender would have become an unrestricted free agent.
Niemi won all 16 postseason games for Chicago in 2010 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup title. He went to San Jose as a free agent after that season.
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury is the only goalie with more wins than Niemi’s 163 the past five seasons with the Sharks.
The 31-year-old Niemi, who is from Finland, has a 190-100-40 regular-season record with a 2.39 goals against average in his NHL career with Chicago (2008-10) and San Jose (2010-15).
HOUSTON (AP) _ The Astros have agreed to a contract with shortstop Alex Bregman, the second overall pick in the amateur draft, that includes a $5.9 million signing bonus.
The deal, announced Thursday, is for well under the $7,420,100 slot value.
Houston received the No. 2 pick as compensation for not signing pitcher Brady Aiken, last year’s top pick. Aiken was taken by Cleveland at No. 17 this year following Tommy John surgery in March.
The 21-year-old Bregman was the offensive leader of an LSU team that advanced to the College World Series. The Golden Spikes Award finalist hit .323 with 22 doubles, nine homers and 49 RBIs for LSU this season and added 38 steals.
COLLEGE STATION- Texas A&M womenâs basketball team will head to Las Vegas, Nevada to take on two of the sportâs power programs this season in the South Point Shootout. The Aggies take on 2013 Final Four participant Cal on Nov. 27 and 22-time NCAA Tournament participant Ohio State on Nov. 28 at the South Point Arena.
The Aggies begin the South Point Shootout on November 27 against Cal, who went 25-10 and reached the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15. The Aggies hold a 2-1 series edge over the Golden Bears, defeating Cal 74-58 in the schoolsâ most recent meeting during the 2010-11 season.
Texas A&M takes on Ohio State to close the South Point Shootout on November 28, taking on a Buckeye squad that went 24-11 and reached the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15. Texas A&M and Ohio State have never met on the hardwood. This is a projected Top 25 matchup, as ESPN analyst Charlie Creme projects Texas A&M as the No. 17 team for 2015-16 and has Ohio State ranked as No. 13 in his Way-too-early Top 25, published in April.
This trip marks the Aggies first visit to Las Vegas since 2012-13, when A&M went 2-1 in the World Vision Classic. This is the fourth trip to Las Vegas under Gary Blair for the Aggies, who own an 8-4 record all-time in the City of Lights, dating back to 1978.
The Aggies went 23-10 in 2014-15, and made their 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. For the first time in program history, the Aggies return two All-Americans for the 2015-16 season.
These games join the previously-announced Big 12/SEC Challenge game against Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on Dec. 20, 2015 on the Aggiesâ 2015-16 schedule.
Texas A&M Scheduled Games For 2015-16
December 20, 2015 â TBA
Big 12/SEC Challenge â Oklahoma City, Okla.
#17 Texas A&M vs. #19 Oklahoma
November 27, 2015 â 2 p.m. CT
South Point Shootout â Las Vegas, Nev.
Cal vs. #17 Texas A&M
November 28, 2015 â 2 p.m. CT
South Point Shootout â Las Vegas, Nev.
#17 Texas A&M vs. #13 Ohio State
Rankings indicative of ESPN analyst Charlie Cremeâs Way-too-early Top 25
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
DALLAS (AP) _ Monta Ellis is declining the player option for the final year of his contract with the Dallas Mavericks and will become an unrestricted free agent. Ellis was set to make $8.7 million in the final year of a three-year, $25 million contract. His agent doesn’t rule out a return to the Mavs.
NEW ORLEANS â A pair of Texas A&M athletes have been selected as semifinalists for the womenâs Bowerman Award, collegiate track and fieldâs highest individual honor that is awarded by the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Aggie junior Shelbi Vaughan and sophomore Shamier Little are among the semifinal list of 10 athletes. This marks the second consecutive year that Vaughan earned a place among the Bowerman semifinalist while Little makes her first ever appearance on a Bowerman list.
Both Little, in the 400 hurdles, and Vaughan, in the discus, successfully defended NCAA Outdoor titles this month in Eugene as they completed the collegiate portion of the season undefeated in their specialty events.
They each became just the fifth athlete in their respective events to defend their national championships since the womenâs NCAA meet started in 1982. Little is the first defending champion in the 400 hurdles since 2003-04 (Sheena Johnson, UCLA). Vaughan is the first defending champion in the discus since 1997-2000 when UCLAâs Seilala Sua won four consecutive titles.
Texas A&M joined Kentucky as the only schools to have two athletes among the semifinalist list. The Wildcats, who finished second in team scoring at the NCAA championships with the Aggies placing third, are represented by sprinter Dezerea Bryant and hurdler Kendra Harrison.
The rest of the semifinalist for the womenâs Bowerman Award includes Sandi Morris of Arkansas, Georgiaâs Keturah Orji, Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin, Oregonâs Jenna Prandini, and Emily Sisson of Providence.
From this group of 10 women, three will be named finalists for The Bowerman Trophy on July 9. The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes in the nation.
Aggie senior Deon Lendore won the menâs Bowerman Award in 2014 while Jessica Beard was the first Texas A&M athlete to garner the prestigious honor in 2011. In 2009 Aggie Porscha Lucas was a finalist.
Little lowered her Aggie school record in the 400 hurdles twice this season, and set world leading times for the 2015 season on each occasion. She went undefeated in nine races, which included five finals.
Amid the rain in Starkville, Mississippi, at the SEC Championships, Little produced a winning time of 54.68 that improved the school record of 55.07 she had set in winning the 2014 NCAA title. Little defeated the defending champion in the SEC race as Kentucky senior Harrison finished second in 55.60.
In Eugene, Little paced herself well on the backstretch into a steady headwind as she ran in lane six with Harrison charging to the lead from lane four. Harrison maintained an edge on Little through the 10th hurdle. On the run-in to the finish line a stern challenge by Little had her taking over the lead as she defended her title with an amazing 53.74 clocking. Harrison (54.09) finished runner-up for a second consecutive year.
The effort by Little lowered the world leading time for the season from a 54.15 set by Jamaicaâs Kaliese Spencer in Olso, Norway, two days prior during a Diamond League meet. On the all-time collegiate list Little and Harrison moved into the number four and five performer spots. It was also the fourth and fifth fastest times recorded in a NCAA final while Little registered the third fastest NCAA winning time.
Little is the first 400m hurdler to claim SEC and NCAA victories in the same season since 2006. She became just the fifth SEC hurdler to achieve the double in the same season.
The previous SEC hurdlers to win NCAA titles in the same season include: Schowanda Williams (LSU, 1988), Debbie Parris (LSU, 1993 & 1994), Ryan Tolbert (Vanderbilt, 1997), and Markita James (Auburn, 2006).
In 2014 Little became the first freshman to capture the NCAA 400 hurdle title since Lashinda Demus of South Carolina in 2002. In winning the 2015 national championship Little is the first sophomore to do so since UCLAâs Nicole Leach in 2007, when sophomores claimed the first three places. The only other sophomores to win a NCAA 400 hurdle title were Janeene Vickers of UCLA in 1989 and Nebraskaâs Linetta Wilson in 1987.
Vaughan, undefeated through eight competitions this season, also improved her A&M school record in winning a third SEC discus title with a meet record of 211-8 (64.52). Since establishing the Aggie record in her first competition as a freshman with a mark of 185-0, Vaughan has added 26-plus feet to the A&M school record and moved to fifth on the collegiate all-time list.
As the only discus thrower in the nation to throw over 200 feet this season, Vaughan was the collegiate leader throughout the season. She opened with a 195-2 (59.49) at Arizona State in March and improved to 201-8 (61.48) to claim another Texas Relays title. During the SEC Championships, Vaughan improved her collegiate lead with three efforts over 200 feet in her series â 201-9 (61.49), 205-11 (62.76) and 211-8.
The 211-8 performance also had Vaughan becoming the U.S. leader and moved into the top 10 in the world. Heading into the USATF Championships this week, Vaughan is currently second among U.S. throwers and No. 10 in the world.
In the NCAA competition a couple of weeks ago, the leading mark out of the first flight of throwers was a 191-5 (58.34). The lowest winning distance for Vaughan during the season was 192-7, which she threw twice in wins at the Sun Angel Classic and at TCU.
Throwing in the second flight during the NCAA Championships, Vaughan opened with a 186-3 and then claimed the lead with a 201-5 (61.39) in round two. That claimed the victory as Wisconsinâs Kelsey Card challenged with a 194-10 (59.38) in the fifth round as the runner-up.
A winning mark of 196-11 for the 2014 NCAA title was the eighth best throw in the history of the national championship meet. Vaughanâs winning toss of 201-5 for the 2015 title is the sixth best throw ever at the NCAA Championships and the best winning mark since 2004 when Nebraskaâs Becky Breisch won with a 204-5 (62.31).
Last year Vaughan became just the third thrower to win SEC and NCAA discus titles in the same season and her repeat victory at both meets made her just the second thrower to accomplish the feat twice. LSUâs Danyel Mitchell won a pair of SEC and NCAA sweeps in 1993 and 1994 while Alabamaâs Beth Mallory won three SEC titles from 2004-06, but only added the NCAA crown in 2005.
THE BOWERMAN AWARD â WOMENâS SEMIFINALISTS
Dezerea Bryant, Kentucky*
Quanesha Burks, Alabama
Kendra Harrison, Kentucky*
Shamier Little, Texas A&M
Sandi Morris, Arkansas
Keturah Orji, Georgia
Demi Payne, Stephen F. Austin*
Jenna Prandini, Oregon
Emily Sisson, Providence*
Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M
* First women’s Semifinalist(s) for school
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics