NEW ORLEANS – Postseason honors awarded by the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association included the men’s National Track Athlete of the Year for Aggie junior Deon Lendore along with the National Women’s Coach of the Year for Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry.
Lendore scored 14.5 points in the NCAA Championships for the third-place Aggies as he claimed the 400m title in 45.02 seconds, anchored the Aggie 4x400 relay to a school record of 2:59.60, which is the second fastest collegiate time in history, and anchored the 4x100 relay to a runner-up finish in 38.84.
The A&M women claimed its fourth national championship since 2009 as Coach Henry earned his 35th career NCAA Championship and eighth with the Aggie program, where the women and men have each attained four NCAA team titles over the past six seasons. Of his 35 NCAA Championships, Henry has won the women’s national championship 16 times at the NCAA Outdoor meet.
This past month Henry was also named SEC Men’s Coach of the Year as well as the South Central Men’s Coach of the Year.
In totaling 75 points for the team championship, the A&M women won four events, finished second twice and had a pair of third-place efforts. It was the highest winning team total since 2002 while the squads chasing the Aggies produced the highest point tallies for second, third and fourth place – with Texas (66), Oregon (59) and Florida (55) – since the introduction of eight-deep scoring system in 1985.
Event winners for Texas A&M included Kamaria Brown in the 200, Shamier Little with a school record 55.07 in the 400 hurdles, Shelbi Vaughan in the discus and the 4x100 relay, which included Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis, Brown and Olivia Ekpone.
LaQue Moen-Davis finished second in the triple jump while the 4x400 relay set a school record of 3:25.63 as runner-up with the eighth fastest time in collegiate history as they became the fourth fastest school. Members of the relay included Little, Brown, Janeil Bellille and Ekpone. Bellille added a third place in the 400 hurdles as did Ekpone in the 200.
An undefeated season for Lendore in the 400 meters included winning both NCAA titles during the indoor and outdoor season as he won 14 total races, which included eight finals. In winning the SEC Outdoor 400 title Lendore broke a 45-year-old A&M school record with his time of 44.36, which ranks seventh on the all-time collegiate list.
Anchoring the Aggie 4x400 relay to a school record in the NCAA final, Lendore split 44.10 as A&M just missed the collegiate record of 2:59.59 set in 2005 by LSU. The split by Lendore ranks 12th all-time among 4x400 relays contested in the NCAA final.
National athlete awards also included Ryan Crouser of Texas as the Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, Longhorn Courtney Okolo as the Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and Georgia’s Kendall Williams as the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.
Coaching honors were also awarded to Robert Johnson of Oregon as the Men’s Coach of the Year, Andy Powell of Oregon as Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year and Texas’ Tonja Buford-Bailey as the Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.