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Aggies finish second twice in first day of action at Penn Relays

April 24, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
PHILADELPHIA – On the first day of action for Texas A&M at the 120th Penn Relay Carnival the Aggies registered a pair of runner-up performances along with a third-place effort. In qualifying races Texas A&M women advanced both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays to finals.

While running on a sun-splashed day for the prelims of the 4x100 relay, a brisk wind and temperatures in the 50s greeted the Texas A&M women as they led the qualifiers to Friday’s final with a time of 44.09 seconds.

Isaac Spencer repeated his runner-up finish in the 3,000m steeplechase on Thursday evening with a time of 8:53.92 behind the winning 8:47.94 from Michael LeDuc of Connecticut College. Spencer led the race for the first four laps with a group of four in the lead pack.

“I didn’t do as well as I hoped,” noted Spencer. “I’m not really down on it since I know I’m bound to have a good one soon. I’m looking forward to that. I was familiar with the warm-up routine here and was more aware this time. I was more prepared, but I’m not really satisfied with the race.”

In the final stages of the steeplechase LeDuc slipped on the final water barrier, but quickly regained his balance to maintain his advantage for the victory. On the run in to the finish line Indiana’s Joshua Roche challenged Spencer for second place. Spencer held his ground to hold off the threat by Roche, who placed third in 8:54.17. A&M’s Dylan Williams ran 9:17.41 to place 25th overall in the two-section race.

“I had some last minute speed at the end,” said Spencer. “That was more satisfying to finish second than getting passed before the finish. It’s there, I just need to keep going and doing the same things and I’m sure it will pay off for me.”

In the first final for the Aggies during Thursday’s action, LaQue Moen-Davis placed third in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 5 inches (6.22). North Carolina State’s Alexis Perry won the event with a mark of 20-9.25 (6.33) while Rochelle Farquharson of Mississippi State claimed second place with a 20-8.5 (6.31).

Competing in the college division long jump Melissa Mays placed second with a mark of 19-7.5 (5.98). The winning distance of 19-9 (6.02) was turned in by Shakinah Brooks of St. Augustine’s. A&M’s Jordan Wilson turned in a windy 18-3.75 (5.58) to place 17th in the field of 28 jumpers. Mays produced her best mark in the sixth round, moving from seventh to second in the process.

The women’s 5,000 meters had the Aggie tandem of Grace Fletcher and Hillary Montgomery placing fifth and sixth in a race won by Kentucky’s Cally Macumber in 16:07.21. Fletcher posted a 16:25.58 while Montgomery ran a career best of 16:27.11 to move to No. 4 on the A&M all-time list.

Competing in the Olympic Development 5,000 meters, Gabby Salazar placed 12th with a career best clocking of 16:50.08 that improved upon her then PR of 16:59.68 from the Texas Relays in late March. Salazar moves to No. 8 on the Aggie all-time list, passing Stacy Ware (16:50.80) from 1993 as well as a pair of times from 1982 that were set by Barb Collingsworth (16:52.33) and Marilee Matheny (16:53.05).

In the men’s 5,000 meters Ryan Miller recorded a season best time of 14:38.09 to finish 20th in the Championship division. In the next section of the 5,000 meters Austin Wells ran a career best of 14:29.27 to place fifth. He lowered his previous best of 14:47.61 set at the Texas Relays in March. Overall, Wells placed 24th and Miller finished 31st in combining the two sections.

The Aggie 4x100 foursome included Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Olivia Ekpone. Running without starting blocks in the prelims, the A&M crew dominated the opening heat as the 44.09 bettered a field that included St. Augustine’s (45.92), Cal State Fullerton (46.08) and Syracuse (46.55).

Joining the Aggies in the Championship of America final, which will be run at 12:50 p.m. (EST) on Friday, were Oregon (44.30), UTech of Jamaica (44.56), Texas (44.68), LSU (44.80), East Carolina (45.01), Auburn (45.19) and Hampton (45.43). SEC schools that advanced to the college final of the 4x100 include South Carolina (45.65) and Kentucky (45.67) along with Houston (45.55) and Clemson (46.32).

Oregon comes into the weekend as collegiate leaders with a 43.31 from the Mt. SAC Relays last weekend. The Aggies, winners of five consecutive Penn Relay titles in the 4x100, have the third best collegiate time this season with a 43.51. Texas (43.62), Kentucky (43.56) and LSU (43.72) rank fourth, fifth and seventh this season.

Later in the evening the Aggie women’s 4x400 advanced to the Championship of America final on Saturday with a 3:37.15 that placed them second in the prelim heat behind a 3:31.93 for Texas, who posted the top qualifying time. Finishing behind the two Texas schools were Harvard (3:43.13), LSU (3:43.91) and Houston (3:47.35).

The A&M foursome of Shamier Little (54.2), Ibukun Mayungbe (53.7), Janeil Bellille (55.1) and Kamaria Brown (54.2) had the fifth fastest time from the prelims as the top eight marks advanced to the final. Also advancing were Oregon (3:34.49), Penn State (3:34.92), UTech (3:36.95), Kentucky (3:37.84), Texas Tech (3:39.12) and Hampton (3:40.58).

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