NEW YORK CITY - Texas A&M churned out solid performances across a variety of track and field events during the opening day of action at the Armory Collegiate Invitational. Action resumes early Saturday morning for Aggie distance runners and field event personnel, who will be involved in nine events from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
In qualifying events for Saturday finals the Aggie women claimed four heat victories in the 400 meters, advancing three athletes to the finals while the A&M men advanced a pair of sprinters. Kanika Beckles ran the second fastest qualifying time in recording an indoor career best of 53.64, which is No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list. The top qualifier was Melissa Caddle of Coppin State with a 53.08.
Amanda Jenkins experienced a breakout performance for fifth place in the women's championship division of the 5,000 meters as her 16:43.55 set a career best and places her No. 5 on Aggie all-time list. Jenkins took 34 seconds of her previous best in the event. LSU's Laura Carleton won the race in 16:11.58 over Maine's Corey Conner (16:14.19).
LaQue Moen-Davis reached a distance of 20-6.25 (6.25) in the championship division of the long jump for sixth place. Teammate Jennifer Madu placed 15th with a leap of 18-9.25 (5.72). Andrea Geubelle of Kansas won the event with a 21-11.5 (6.69) leap. Moen-Davis was the top SEC finisher in the field as she bettered LSU's Keri Emanuel , who placed seventh, by a couple of inches.
Ashley Collier led a trio of Aggie sprinters in the final of the women's 60 meters. Collier placed sixth with a time of 7.38 seconds while Madu ran 7.40 for seventh and Ashton Purvis placed eighth with a 7.44. LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan won the race in a meet record of 7.16 to top the 7.17 set by LSU's Kelly Baptiste in 2008.
In the prelims of the women's 60 it was Madu who led the A&M trio with a 7.39 while Purvis ran 7.42 and Collier posted a 7.43.
Prezel Hardy, Jr. qualified for the consolation final of the men's 60 and finished second with a time of 6.75. Tennessee's Jamol James won the race in 6.72 while Kendel Kee of South Carolina placed third in 6.76.
Wayne Davis II advanced to the consolation final of the 60 hurdles. He placed third with a time of 7.86, which ended up as fifth best overall when including times from the championship final. In the prelims Davis ran 7.96 for the 13th best qualifying time.
Texas A&M women's distance medley relay finished fifth in their section of the college division race with an 11:49.53, the No. 8 time on the Aggie all-time list. Ashley Chamberlain led of the foursome with a 3:37.0 split on the opening 1200m leg. She handed the baton to Ibukun Mayungbe, who split 54.3 on her leg.
The Aggies were in third place when Aliese Hyde received the baton from Mayungbe and she moved into second with a 2:09.7 carry on the 800m leg. A&M only trailed Ohio State when Sophie Blake took over the anchor leg of 1600m. Blake maintained second place for a majority of her leg, but faded a bit in the late stages with a 5:08.5 split.
Cameron Thornton placed 11th overall in the men's 1000 meters with a time of 2:27.86, which is No. 11 on the A&M all-time list.
Devion Harris placed second in the college division of the high jump as he matched his best effort while an Aggie with a clearance of 6-10.25 (2.09), which is No. 9 on the A&M all-time list.
The women's college high jump final had Jena Hemann placing sixth with a clearance of 5-7 (1.70) while teammate Sierra Patrick finished 13th with a clearance of 5-5 (1.65). In the college division pole vault Brittany Wooten placed 22nd as she cleared 11-7.75 (3.55).
Casey Strong, who will compete in the weight throw on Saturday, placed 20th in the shot put with a mark of 51-5.75 (15.69). Brittany Wooten placed 22nd in the women's pole vault as she cleared 11-7.75 (3.55).
Joining Beckles in the women's 400m final on Saturday are Kamaria Brown (54.39) and Janeil Bellille (54.48). Ibukun Mayungbe ran 54.89 to win her heat, and her time was 14th overall.
Deon Lendore and Aldrich Bailey, Jr. advanced to the men's 400 finals with a pair of heat victories. Lendore, the current world leader with a 45.91, cruised to a 47.07 heat victory, the fourth fastest mark in qualifying.
Bailey was second at the halfway point in his race, but rallied on the final lap and used a lean at the finish to clock 47.16 over the 47.20 by Stephon Pamilton and 47.25 for Juan Green, both Illinois sprinters. All three advanced to the final. Bailey's time is fifth fastest from qualifying.
The top mark in the men's 400 was a 46.26 from George Mason's David Verburg with Pitt's Brycen Spratling clocking 46.66 and Errol Nolan of Houston posting the third best time with a 46.69.
Aggie newcomer Bralon Taplin ran in the same heat as Verburg, but was knocked off stride at the 200m mark and was unable to recover. He finished fourth in 52.12. Greg Coleman placed fourth in his heat with a 48.66.