* Alicia Burnett (left)/Laila Owens (right)
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Two of the
nation's top sprinters have recently announced their commitment to Texas
Parkway North (MO) High School's Alicia Burnett and Fort Bend Bush (TX) High School's Laila Owens are the first elite sprinters on the MileSplit's Class of 2020 Top 50 Recruits to announce their
And Burnett, a specialist at 100m and 200m, and Owens, a 200m specialist with emerging 400m
talent, are pledging to a program that can turn their skill into some immediate returns.
producing individual and team national champions, Texas A&M has become a
place of instant development. The elite competitiveness of the
SEC and the leadership of head coach Pat Henry could create the ideal elite environment for sprinters such as Barnett and Owens to flourish.
her choice via social media on Nov. 5 in a personal video. As a sophomore, she
ran 11.47 in the 100m at the Class 4 Section 2 Championships to put herself on the national
In the same year, she won the 100m at the Brooks PR
Invitational. Since then, Burnett has won two state championships in the 100m
(11.58) and 200m (23.38) and her new 200m PR allowed her to finish the season at
US No. 22.
Owens, meanwhile, was the first athlete to announce her commitment to the program this recruiting
The Texan began her junior year with a historic effort indoor. She ran 23.54 in the 200m, which ranked her No.16 all-time indoors. Then she used that momentum
into the outdoor season, as she ran sub-24 seven times. Through her efforts, she
won her first UIL Track and Field Championship in a new PR of 23.38 (US No. 18).
And as a corollary: As she's continued to dominate the 200m, Owens has also been improving in the
400m. She posted a US No. 9 (54.76) indoor and US No. 32 (54.0) mark outdoors.
Overall, Texas A&M
has a growing reputation for dominance in women's sprints, with standouts like Jessica Beard leaving the program to become Olympians.
In this decade alone, the Aggie women have had at
least one relay in a national championship final and have had six consecutive years
with scoring in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. In 2019, the women won the outdoor
4x400m national title in a new school record, led by sophomore sprinter Syaira Richardson.
And this 2020 recruiting
season may be important for the Aggies, since the program didn't sign any new
freshmen-scholarship sprinters into the women's team last season.