Led by an award-winning coach, the North Carolina State A&T University men’s track team is getting closer and closer to the top spot. In the latest update, the NCAT Aggies Division 1 track and field indoor team has been ranked No. 2 in the nation. In addition to creating a winning team, many of the runners are among the best in the nation just by themselves. Learn how the Aggies have been relentlessly representing HBCU excellence with the details from a recent NCAT release below.

NCAT Aggie Akeem Sirleaf, courtesy of Erin E. Mizelle

The United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its first installment of the NCAA Division I Men’s Indoor National Track and Field Ranking Index on Monday, with the Aggies sitting as the second-ranked team in the country by the University of Arkansas. 

Joining the Aggies in the top-5 are No. 3 LSU, No. 4 BYU and No. 5 Tennessee. The Aggies have their highest ranking in the index’s history and the highest-ranking ever of any Division I historically black college or university in history. 

“To quote the great Ricky Bobby, if you ain’t first, you’re last,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs. “That’s what I told them today when they came into practice all excited. Our goal is to be No. 1.” 

Coach Duane Ross (middle) with NCAT recruits, courtesy of NCAT

N.C. A&T is a close second behind Arkansas, according to the USTFCCCA, after an impressive start to the season that includes 14 first-place finishes over two the span of two meets – the McCravy Green Invitational at the University of Kentucky and the Carolina Challenge at the University of South Carolina. 

The Aggies 4×400-meter relay team – sophomore Randolph Ross, seniors Trevor Stewart and Elijah Young and junior Daniel Stokes – moved to No. 1 in the nation this past weekend after running a 3:04.62 at USC.  

In total, N.C. A&T owns seven top-10 marks nationally, including two top-3 rankings by Randolph RossRandolph Ross is ranked No. 3 nationally in the 200 (20.69) and 400 (46.20) meters. Freshman Javonte Harding is tied with Randolph Ross nationally in the 200 after both men broke the USC’s Indoor Track and Complex facility record in the 200 last week. 

Junior Rasheem Brown is 2-0 this season in the 60-meter hurdles. He won at Kentucky in 7.84 before moving up to the fourth in the nation by running a 7.77 at USC. Senior Tavarius Wright is sixth in the country in the 60 after running a 6.65 at USC. 

Not all of the success is on the track, however. Junior Brandon Hicklin is seventh in the nation in the long jump after leaping 25-feet, 3/4-inches at USC. 

N.C. A&T is off this weekend before returning to action at the South Carolina Invitational on Feb. 6.