EUGENE – Qualifying from semifinal to final was the mantra for Texas A&M on the second day of the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field as the Aggies didn’t have any entries in the few finals that were contested Thursday in front of a crowd of 9,835.
Texas A&M fared well in moving seven more entries into finals this weekend to join the five entries who advanced on Wednesday. The next batch of qualifiers included Kamaria Brown (200), Olivia Ekponé (200), Ameer Webb (200), Donique’ Flemings (100 hurdles) and Wayne Davis II (110 hurdles) as well as the women’s and men’s 4x400 relay.
“This was a very good day for us,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “We advanced in the 200s like I thought we would, although I thought Prezel Hardy would slip in there as well. Both of our hurdlers I’m really pleased with as they ran their fastest times of the season. We advanced both of our mile relays, with the men running their fastest time. Across the board I think we had a good day, which sets us up well for the next two days.”
Track finals on Friday for the Aggies include the 100 meters (Ameer Webb, Jennifer Madu), 3,000-meter steeplechase (Henry Lelei) and 400 meters (Deon Lendore) as well as field event finals in the women’s triple jump (LaQue Moen-Davis, Jennifer Madu) and men’s discus (Dalton Rowan). The conclusion of the heptathlon will take place for Jena Hemann (3334) and Annie Kunz (3312), who are currently in 14th and 16th place.
The first set of qualifiers for A&M came in the women’s 200 as Brown placed second in her heat with a 22.50w (2.7 wind) behind the 22.15w from two-time defending champion Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU. Ekponé was a time qualifier from the first heat as she placed third in 22.91w (2.2). Ashton Purvis finished fourth in the heat with Brown, running 23.33w.
This marks the fourth time in the past six years the Aggie women will have at least two finalists in the 200 meters. It will also be the seventh consecutive year A&M will score in the event.
Webb sped to a sizzling 20.05w (4.3 wind) victory in the first semifinal heat of the men’s 200, passing TCU’s Charles Silmon (20.30w) with 50 meters left in the race.
At the time Webb produced the third fastest time in the world for 2013 under all-conditions, but ended up with the fifth fastest mark after the semifinal was completed. Webb, who has a wind-legal PR of 20.30, produced the fourth fastest time in A&M history under all-conditions.
The next two heats also produced very fast winning times as USC’s Bryshon Nellum ran 19.99w (3.2) and Jackson State’s Anaso Jobodwana posted a 20.02w (3.1). A&M’s Prezel Hardy, Jr. placed fifth in the second semi with a 20.54w while Michael Bryan finished sixth in the third semi with a 20.68w.
Flemings set a career best time of 12.95 seconds in the 100 hurdles to advance to the final as the top time qualifier. Clemson’s Brianna Rollins won the heat, running a collegiate record of 12.47 (1.2 wind) to better the 12.48 mark set by Virginia Powell of USC in 2006, while Stanford’s Kori Carter finished second in 12.94.
Flemings, who placed sixth in the NCAA final a year ago, bettered her PR of 13.00 she set last year. She moves to No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list with the No. 7 performance.
Davis won his heat of the 110 hurdles in an all-conditions personal best of 13.25w (3.0 wind) over a 13.32w by Kentucky’s Keith Hayes. Both time qualifiers also came from Davis’ heat as Greggmar Swift of Indiana State (13.51w) and Colorado State’s Trevor Brown (13.55w) advanced.
Johnathan Cabral of Oregon (13.46w) and Spencer Adams of Clemson (13.24w) were the other heat winners with Syracuse’s Donald Pollitt (13.55w) and Florida’s Eddie Lovett (13.29w) taking the automatic runner-up positions.
Davis, a NCAA silver medalist in 2012, recorded the fastest time in Texas A&M history under all-conditions. The previous best mark was a wind-aided 13.26 run by Davis in the NCAA semifinal a year ago in Des Moines, Iowa. The wind-legal Aggie school record is 13.37 shared by Davis and Larry Wade.
The women’s 4x400 placed second to earn an automatic spot for the final as they ran 3:32.72 behind the 3:30.45 posted by Arkansas. Running for the Aggies were Ekponé (54.4), Ibukun Mayungbe (53.2), LaKeidra Stewart (52.93) and Brown (52.17). Stewart had a solid leg in moving the A&M squad from fourth to second place on her carry.
A 3:02.38 from the Aggie men lowered their collegiate leading time for this season from a 3:02.52 at the NCAA West. Oddly enough it matched the same time A&M ran in the NCAA semifinal a year ago, equaling the No. 10 performance in school history.
Strong legs from Ricky Babineaux (46.5), Aldrich Bailey, Jr. (45.7), and Carlyle Roudette (45.77) had A&M in the lead throughout. Then Deon Lendore delivered a split of 44.33 to close out the victory. Oregon finished second to the Aggies in 3:04.20 with Kansas third in 3:05.63.
Other heat winners included Florida (3:02.62) and Arkansas (3:04.00) as they defeated Baylor (3:05.38) and LSU (3:04.08). Advancing on time were TCU (3:04.71) and Illinois (3:04.97).
The opening day of the heptathlon had Hemann running 14.28 (939 points) in the 100 hurdles, clearing 5-3 (736) in the high jump, hitting a mark of 44-1.5 (757) in the shot put and clocking 24.83 (902) in the 200 for her first day score of 3,334 points.
Kunz, recovering from a recent ankle injury, ran the 100 hurdles in 14.27 (941), cleared 5-5.25 (806) in the high jump, had a 41-7 (706) toss in the shot put and finished with a 25.30 (859) in the 200 to score 3,312 points.