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Aggie women win McDonnell Invitational, A&M men finish third

April 14, 2013
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
FAYETTEVILLE – Texas A&M women won the John McDonnell Invitational hosted by Arkansas on Saturday while the Aggie men finished third in team scoring.

A score of 189 points had the No. 3 A&M women taking the team title over 148 points for No. 12 Arkansas with No. 1 Kansas finishing third with 91. The rest of the field included No. 24 Oklahoma (66) and Oklahoma State (31).

In the men’s team scoring the host No. 2 Razorbacks and No. 22 Minnesota tied for the win with 137 points apiece while No. 1 Texas A&M scored 129 in third place. The rest of the field included No. 15 Oklahoma (73), Kansas (62) and Oklahoma State (32).

The Aggies totaled 11 victories in the meet, six for the men and five for the women. Women’s winners included Shelbi Vaughan (185-4 discus), Donique’ Flemings (13.15w 100H), Olivia Ekponé (11.27w 100m), Kamaria Brown (52.21 400m) and Kendall Munoz (141-3 javelin). The A&M women also turned in six runner-up efforts.

Winners for the men included Sam Humphreys (252-2 javelin), Dalton Rowan (185-7 discus), Ameer Webb (10.08w 100m), Henry Lelei (3:44.78 1500m) and both relays, the 4x100 (39.44) and 4x400 (3:06.88).

Brown posted a winning time of 52.21 in the 400 meters, defeating Regina George of Arkansas (52.48) in the process. A&M’s Ibukun Mayungbe placed third with a 53.78 while another Razorback, Sparkle McKnight, finished fourth in 53.98.

Brown rallied in the late stages of the race to overtake George, the 2013 SEC Indoor champion and NCAA Indoor runner-up as well as the defending SEC Outdoor champion. Brown’s 52.21 is the second fastest collegiate time of the 2013 season and places the Aggie sophomore in the No. 4 position on the A&M all-time list.

“Today went very well and I’m very happy with my time,” said Brown, who bettered her previous outdoor PR of 52.99 from 2010. “I didn’t expect to win, but I’m very happy I did. Coach gave me a race strategy and I followed it. The fact that I couldn’t run at this time last year was very devastating, but to come back better is a greater feeling.”

Earlier in the day Brown was set to run the third leg of the Aggies 4x100 relay, but the exchange from Ashton Purvis never took place and the squad did not finish.

“The 4x100 is usually a good warm-up for our individual races,” noted Brown. “Winning the 400 was a good experience for me, since I try to focus on my race rather than who I’m racing against.”

Ameer Webb lowered his best time of the season in winning the 100 meters in a swift 10.08 seconds, although the wind was assisting at 4.3 meters per second. Akheem Gauntlett of Arkasas ran 10.46 for second place while A&M’s Jermaine Davis placed third in 10.49.

Webb led off the Aggie 4x100 that claimed a win in 39.44 over a 39.51 from Arkansas. Following Webb on the sprint relay were Aldrich Bailey, Jr., Michael Bryan and Ricky Babineaux.

Donique’ Flemings also produced a dominating victory in the 100 hurdles as her windy 13.15 had her well ahead of the 13.72 from runner-up Georgina Tamez-Reyna of Oklahoma. The main challenger for Flemings, Ivanique Kemp of Arkansas, did not finish the race. A&M’s multi-event tandem of Annie Kunz and Jena Hemann posted times of 13.99 and 14.32 to place fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the women’s 100 Olivia Ekponé defeated Diamond Dixon of Kansas by a slim margin, 11.27 to 11.37, with an aiding wind of 4.0 mps. LaKeidra Stewart and India Daniels each clocked 11.50 in finishing fourth and fifth.

Ekponé came back with a runner-up finish in the 200, as her 23.19 trailed a 22.76 from Paris Daniels of Kansas as they raced with an aiding wind of 3.5 mps. Daniels finished fifth in the race with a 23.76 and placed sixth overall.

Sam Humphreys claimed an early win for the Aggies in the javelin as his sixth round best of 252-2 (76.87) topped the field by 35 feet. Humphreys mark is the 10th best performance on the A&M all-time list. The series for Humphreys, the current collegiate leader at 267-1, included marks of 225-1, 244-2, foul, 241-3, 238-0 and 252-2. Devin Bogert placed third with a mark of 216-9 (66.08).

A&M frosh Shelbi Vaughan remained undefeated against collegiate competition with a 185-4 (56.49) mark in the discus while teammate Jill Hydrick finished second with a 149-11 (45.70). Vaughan’s effort is her third-best performance this season.

“My throwing has been pretty consistent this season, but the wind was kind of hurting me today,” noted Vaughan. “I still need to figure a few things out when throwing with a wind, but I’m learning as we go. Technique-wise it didn’t feel very good today.”

Later in the meet Vaughan recorded a career best mark of 51-9.25 (15.75) for second place in the shot put. Oklahoma senior Tia Brooks, the indoor collegiate record holder, won the event with a 60-4 (18.39) mark while another Sooner, freshman Brooke Garner, finished third at 50-6.25 (15.40).

Garner passed Vaughan in the fifth round to move into second place, but Vaughan answered on her fifth round attempt with the PR toss to improve from a 49-9.25 (15.17) she had hit in the second round.

“I was really excited with my shot put performance,” stated Vaughan. “This was the first time I actually celebrated a throw. I had a fire put under me once Brooke of OU passed me. I thought, ‘oh no, this is not happening.’ It was good competition between us, and the best I’ve had against someone else not on my team.”

Vaughan’s shot put effort ranks No. 2 on the Aggie all-time list and improves upon her high school best mark of 50-1.25. Finishing behind Vaughan were teammates Brea Garrett in fourth (46-5.5), Jennifer Edwards in fifth (45-6.25), Hemann in sixth (42-8.75) and Kunz in seventh (41-10.75).

Dalton Rowan produced an Aggie victory in the men’s discus with a mark of 185-7 (56.58) while Ben Skrla finished third with a 174-3 (53.12). Rowan held an early lead in the event with an opening throw of 176-5 (53.77), but was passed by a throw of 178-8 (54.46) by Minnesota’s Dominique Howard in round three. Rowan responded in the fourth stanza with the winning distance. Skrla improved his season best mark of 165-1 and neared his career best mark of 176-2 set in 2012.

Henry Lelei generated a 3:44.78 victory in the 1,500 as he moved to No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list with his career best time. Runner-up to Lelei was a 3:45.86 from John Simons of Minnesota. A&M’s Isaac Spencer rallied for a 3:50.00 in the first of two heats and placed sixth overall.

Kendall Munoz led an Aggie 1-2-3-5 finish in the women’s javelin. Munoz won with a 141-3 (43.06) and was followed by Jean Deason in second place (137-3), Krystyn Bradley third (135-5), and Kelly Czumble in fifth (127-5).

The final victory on the night came in the men’s 4x00 where the A&M crew of Babineaux (46.5), Bailey (47.8), Carlyle Roudette (46.9) and Deon Lendore (45.7) had a close race with Arkansas throughout all four legs. The Aggies won in 3:06.88 as Lendore maintained the edge on the anchor leg with Arkansas second in 3:07.20.

In breaking his school record in the hammer throw, Casey Strong bettered 200 feet with a final throw of 201-5 (61.40) to place third. Strong’s fifth round attempt fell near his school record of 198-9 (60.58), but his momentum following the release caused him to bend over and touch the area outside of the throwing ring for a foul.

“It was such a relief,” noted Strong. “I’ve been improving every week since throwing the hammer outdoors. It was great to see it all finally come together.

“It’s been a goal of mine for a while. I’m glad to get over 200 feet and I never want to go back below 200. I just want to keep improving. Something just clicked during the meet and felt right on the fifth round. I just wanted to go out on the sixth throw and do the same thing.”

Oklahoma State’s Nick Miller won the event with a 227-4 (69.29) effort while Micah Hegerle of Minnesota placed second with a 208-7 (63.59). Strong moves to No. 5 among SEC throwers with his school record. Skrla placed sixth (161-2) while Rowan finished seventh (149-5).

“I’m focusing on improving every week, working on my technique with Coach De La Garza, getting ready for the SEC meet,” said Strong, who also placed second in the shot put with a mark of 55-7.5 (16.95).

In the women’s hammer Brea Garrett finished second with a career best of 170-0 (51.82) to move to No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list. Jill Hydrick placed third with a 149-2 (45.47).

Other runner-up performances for A&M included Sophie Blake in the 800 with a PR of 2:10.56 to move to No. 10 on the Aggie all-time list. Ashley Chamberlain won another section of the 800 in 2:14.01 and placed sixth overall.

LaQue Moen-Davis finished second in the long jump (20-4.5), while the triple jump had a pair of runner-up A&M efforts from Haley Gooch (40-11.75) and Dave Brown (50-3.5). Melissa Mays finished third in the triple jump (40-3.5).

Michael Bryan added a third-place finish in the 200 with a 20.88, which was aided by a 2.1 wind, as he challenged Gauntlett of Arkansas (20.79) and Oklahoma’s Waymon Storey (20.85). In the 400 hurdles Greg Colman placed third in 51.74 with Aikan Graham fourth in 52.38. A tie for fourth place in the women’s pole vault had Aggie freshman Brittany Wooten clearing 12-4.5 (3.77), which moves her to No. 6 on the A&M all-time list.

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