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Aggies enjoy Dominant performances amid 16 wins at LSU Alumni Gold

April 19, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

BATON ROUGE – A total of 16 victories highlighted Texas A&M’s performance at the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational at Bernie Moore Stadium on Saturday which included a sizzling 20.14w from Prezel Hardy, Jr. in the 200 along with an impressive 52.26 world junior leading time by Shamier Little in the 400.

The Aggies, with the women ranked No. 1 in the nation and the men No. 4, had nine overall winners, four top collegian finishes and three winners in B section events.

“For me there were some people who overcame and did some great things today,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Prezel Hardy is one as he did some things today that made him look like a senior member of our team who has been in our program for a while.

“He stepped it up when Shavez Hart wasn’t able to go on the mile relay. PJ steps in and runs 45 second split after running 20.14 in the 200 as well as competing in the 100 and running on the sprint relay.”

Overall winners also included Devin Bogert (238-6) in the javelin, Deon Lendore (45.47) in the 400, Wayne Davis II (13.46w) in the 110 hurdles, Hector Hernandez (1:48.91) in the 800, the women’s 4x100 (43.51) as well as both 4x400 relays with the women (3:33.38) and the men (3:02.64).

Aaliyah Brown (11.31) and Olivia Ekponé (22.80w) were the top collegians in their respective races over 100 and 200 meters that were won by former LSU NCAA champion Kimberlyn Duncan in 11.20 and 22.39w. Top collegian finishes for A&M also included Chase Wolfle (17-3) in the pole vault and Ryan Teel in the 3,000m steeplechase (9:30.59).

Claiming wins in B section races were Jermaine Davis (10.60) in the 100, LaQue Moen-Davis (13.43) in the 100 hurdles and Deon Hickey (47.77) in the 400.

Hardy, Jr. displayed his speed in the 200 meters with a windy 20.14 (3.2 wind) clocking that currently ranks second in the world under all-conditions for the 2014 season. Teammate Shavez Hart finished third in the race with a 20.39 behind a 20.32 by Southern’s Devin Jenkins. In the 100 Hardy ran 10.32 (1.6) as the third collegian and placed sixth overall.

“It was windy, but at the end of the day it was 20.14 so I’ll take it,” stated Hardy. “I’m very blessed to have run it. To be honest I didn’t think it was me when I crossed the line. I looked up, saw 20.1 and thought ‘aw, somebody got me.’ Then I saw my name and it was ‘oh, all right, I’ll take it.’ “

Little, who is the current collegiate leader at 400 hurdles, posted the third fastest collegiate time this season and sixth fastest American with her 52.26 in the 400 meters. The time, which is an outdoor career best for the Aggie frosh, places Little No. 5 on the A&M all-time list.

As the world junior leader in the 400 from her indoor time of 51.86, Little has now produced the fastest world junior time outdoors this season. She is also the world junior leader in the 400 hurdles at 56.55.

Arizona’s Shapri Romero finished second to Little with a 52.70 while Tennessee’s Felicia Brown race to third in 53.56. Former A&M sprinter Kanika Beckles placed fourth in 53.65 with Ibukun Mayungbe fifth in 54.39.

Ekponé ran down LSU anchor leg Rushell Harvey for a 43.51 victory in the women’s 4x100 relay with the Tigers second in 43.72,Louisiana Tech third at 44.88 and Tennessee fourth in 45.26. The first three legs for A&M include Aaliyah Brown, Ashton Purvis and Jennifer Madu while LSU ran with a line-up of Jasmin Stowers, Kiersten Duncan, Jada Martin and Rushell Harvey.

“I was a little nervous when we were running, but I was excited I was able to close on LSU and finish off a great race,” said Ekponé. “I was really happy to run on the anchor leg of this 4x100.”

In the 200 Ekponé faced a field that included Duncan as well as teammate Kameria Brown. In running a 22.80w (2.1), Ekponé ran the second fastest collegian time this season while Brown recorded the fourth fastest with a 22.83w for third place. LSU’s Kiersten Duncan, younger sister of Kimberlyn was fourth overall after taking the second section in a wind legal 23.52.

“I enjoyed racing against Kamaria and Kimberlyn,” said Ekponé. “Going into the race I knew I had to focus on my lane and focus on myself. This whole week we’ve been practicing curve starts and executing where I could get my legs going quicker in the race since I’m usually better at closing.”

Ekponé closed out her day with the opening leg on the A&M 4x400, where she split 53.3 as the Aggies won comfortably in 3:33.38 over Louisiana Tech’s 3:39.09 as LSU opted not to run. The next three legs for A&M included Little (53.5), Janeil Bellille (53.6) and K. Brown (53.0).

In the men’s 400 Lendore won with a 45.47 over a 45.64 from LSU’s Vernon Norwood. A&M teammate Carlyle Roudette finished third in 46.34 ahead of LSU’s tandem of Darrell Bush (46.99) and Cyril Grayson (47.00).

Later in the meet Roudette and Lendore teamed up as the final two legs of the Aggie 4x400 to secure a 3:02.64 victory over NCAA Indoor champion LSU, who ran 3:03.24. It was a season best time for A&M as they remain second on the 2014 collegiate list. Hinds CC finished third with a 3:09.33 while a second Aggie 4x400 won the second section in 3:12.49 to place fourth overall.

“Coach Henry told me they may need me run since one of my teammate may not be able to,” said Hardy. “He said they may need me to step up and be a leader, just see what I could do to get around the track. For the sake of the team I had to. I gave my best and it ended up being a PR split for me and a season best time for the team.”

Texas A&M, the indoor collegiate record holders in the 4x400, was running in second place behind LSU after the first two legs from Gregory Coleman (47.4) and Hardy (45.5). Then a 44.9 split from Roudette made up the gap on LSU’s Grayson and the two teams were even on the final exchange. Lendore quickly moved into the lead over LSU anchor Norwood and never relinquished it as he split 44.8.

“It’s about a lot of pride in that group,” said Henry. “Carlyle is solid as a rock right now. The guy is going to give you everything he’s got every time. Deon is just running smarter all the time.”

The second group of Aggies in the 4x400 included Kenneth Minkah, Deon Hickey (47.0), Gaines Kinsey (48.2) and Hector Hernandez (46.9).

Dominating the 110 hurdle field Davis breezed to a 13.46w (2.4) victory with Harvard’s Jarvis Harris second in 13.80 and LSU’s Joshua Thompson third at 13.88. In two previous finals this outdoor season Davis has produced winning times of 13.45w at Texas Relays and 13.50 at Stanford.

A 238-6 (72.70) earned a javelin victory for Devin Bogert, who was just a foot off his career best set last week. Bogert threw just twice and passed his remaining four attempts with the runner-up mark only measuring 218-3 by Louisiana Tech’s Joshua Cox. Aggie decathlete Daniel Martin placed eighth in the event with a 179-9 (54.80).

Controlling the pace of the 800, Hernandez defeated LSU’s Blair Henderson with a 1:48.91 to 1:49.18 while Gaines Kinsey ran 1:52.71 for sixth. Earlier in the day during the B section races, Cameron Cardwell led a crew of five Aggies with a 1:52.86 for fourth place. Cameron Villarreal placed fifth in 1:52.92 while Isaac Spencer won the second section and placed sixth overall with a 1:53.22.

A. Brown’s 11.31 (0.8) in the 100 meters moves her equal No. 7 on the Aggie all-time list as teammates Jennifer Madu ran 11.33 for third and Ashton Purvis clocked 11.54 to place fifth.

Wolfle cleared 17-3 to match the winning height of post collegian Joseph Caraway. But misses placed Wolfle second overall. It was the opening height for Wolfle, who needed three attempts to clear. Both missed 17-8.25.

In the steeplechase Teel clocked 9:30.59 as the top collegian with teammate Elliott Farris third in 9:39.79. Adam Saloom of adidas won the race in 9:06.15.

A busy day for Coleman included his specialty of the 400 hurdles in between anchoring the 4x100 and leading off the 4x400. Coleman ran 50.57 as runner-up to a 50.27 from Sergio Rios of Texas A&M-Kingsville. The time for Coleman was just off his career best of 50.50 set in the NCAA West preliminary round last season.

The women’s 400 hurdles had Bellille working hard from lane one to place fourth with a season best time of 57.58, which places her No. 4 on the A&M all-time list. LSU’s Nikita Tracey won the race in 56.80 with Arizona’s Nnenya Hailey runner-up at 57.07 and Iowa State’s Eseroghene Okoro third in 57.21.

An outdoor career best of 7-1.5 (2.17) placed Devion Harris third in the high jump and No. 11 on the Aggie all-time list. Harris needed three attempts to claim the milestone height and then moved up to 7-2.5 (2.20) where he had three misses. Arizona’s Nick Ross won the high jump with a 7-5 clearance.

Harris just needs another quarter of an inch to make the all-time top 10 list at A&M, where he would become the first addition since 1993.

An early morning discus throw had Dalton Rowan placing third overall with a 181-5 (55.31) as he finished as the second collegian behind the winning effort of 191-10 (58.47) by Rodney Brown of LSU. Jared Thomas, competing unattached, finished second with a 190-5. A&M’s Ben Skrla placed seventh (166-8) while Jeff Bartlett finished ninth (161-1).

The men’s 4x100 ran 39.48 for third with a crew of Prezel Hardy, Jr., Shavez Hart, Michael Bryan and Gregory Coleman. LSU won the race in 38.90 with a line-up of Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Aaron Ernest, Tremayne Acy and Shermund Allsop. A squad of former LSU sprinters, including Richard Thompson, placed second in 39.19 while Louisiana Tech finished fourth in 39.78.

Micah Dettmer and Aaron Murray finished 2-3 in the 1500 with times of 3:54.86 and 3:55.18 while another pair of Aggies finished fifth and sixth with Dylan Williams (3:56.36) and Ryan Miller (3:57.07). In the 5,000 meters, Austin Geerts claimed second place with a 15:12.20 while a trio of Aggies placed 4-5-6 with Austin Wells (15:18.30), Miller (15:18.31) and Julian Castellano (15:22.68).

Brittany Wooten placed third in the women’s pole vault, clearing 12-6.25 (3.82), as she finished behind Tulane’s Joanna Lapucha and Tennessee’s Linda Hadfield, who both cleared 13-0.25 (3.97).

Winners of B sections for the Aggies included Jermaine Davis, LaQue Moen-Davis and Deon Hickey.

Davis equaled his PR in the 100 with a 10.60 that placed him ahead of a 10.61 by Darius Roy of New Orleans and a 10.62 by Arizona’s Mohammad Alhasan. Davis also finished second in the 200 with a 21.35 (1.8) behind a 21.32 by Roy.

Moen-Davis lowered her career best in the 100 hurdles for the third time this season with a 13.43 (1.4 wind) to better a 13.51 from Southern’s Tershauna Broadnax and a 13.66 by Erin Busbee of Michigan. Moen-Davis later finished second in the long jump with a windy mark of 20-2.25 (6.15) while Jennifer Madu placed third with a 19-9 leap. Mississippi State’s Rochelle Farquharson reached a distance of 21-3.25 for the win.

Hickey clocked 47.77 for a victory in the 400 a step ahead of Mississippi State’s Alistair Moona, who ran 47.81 as runner-up with Keenan Jackson of Northwestern State third in 48.04.

A group of fourth-place efforts included career best efforts for Texas A&M. Katie Willard ran 2:07.41 in the 800, moving to No. 3 on the Aggie all-time list with the No. 3 performance while Aliese Hyde clocked 2:08.82 for seventh place. While post-collegian Charlene Lipsey controlled the race with a 2:01.09 victory, Willard strong close had her challenging Alexis Panisse of Tennessee (2:06.44) and Ahlivia Spencer of Illinois (2:07.40) to the finish.

In the hammer Alison Ondrusek threw 179-6 (54.72) to improve her hold on the No. 3 spot on the A&M all-time list while Brea Garrett placed sixth with a 178-3 (54.54). Casey Strong placed fourth in the men’s hammer as his 207-4 was the fourth best performance all-time at A&M behind his school record. Austin Cook improved again, reaching 199-2 (60.72) for fifth place and the No. 2 performer on the Aggie all-time list.

Kendall Munoz tossed the javelin 153-1 (46.66) for fourth place while Jena Hemann had a 140-11 for seventh place. Hemann also had a 18-11.75 for fifth place in the B section of the long jump.

Hillary Montgomery and Gabby Salazar finished in fourth and fifth place in the 1500 with times of 4:31.21 and 4:41.53. Montgomery just missed her career best time of 4:31.08 from her first outdoor meet in San Antonio this season.

Sierra Patrick tied for fourth in the high jump with a 5-7.25 clearance. Kara Erickson matched that height in tying for sixth place. Haley Gooch jumped a windy 40-8.75 for sixth in the Invitational triple jump.

In the B section of the 800 Ashley Chamberlain lowered her career best to 2:11.32 in placing third. Kaila Brooks ran 2:17.44 as she finished third in the second section and was 11th overall. Wells also ran in the B section of the 1500 where his 4:02.71 placed second. Jessica Laseak clocked 1:02.61, setting a PR, for second in her section of the 400 hurdles, placing 12th overall.

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