From the three day NCAA West preliminary rounds at John McDonnell Field the Aggies advanced 26 athletes with 35 entries in 23 events. For the men the total is 14 athletes with 19 entries in 14 events while the women have 12 athletes with 16 entries in nine events. The NCAA Championships will be held in Eugene, Oregon from June 11-14.
The Aggies advanced all four relays, producing the fastest times in three of their efforts. In the 4x100 the A&M women improved its collegiate-leading time to 43.00 seconds while the men clocked a 38.84. For the 4x400 the Aggie men posted a leading mark of 3:01.42 and the women were second overall with a 3:28.24.
Davis lowered his Aggie school record to 13.20 (1.9 wind) in winning his heat over Oregon’s Johnathan Cabral (13.56). In the next heat USC’s Aleec Harris posted the top collegiate time this season with a 13.18 (1.8 wind). Winner of the third heat was Oregon’s Devon Allen in 13.27 (1.9 wind) over Omar McLeod of Arkansas (13.44).
The time by Davis is No. 3 on the all-time collegiate list with the No. 4 performance. Harris moved into the No. 2 position with the No. 3 performance. Only Renaldo Nehemiah’s collegiate record of 13.00 and a 13.16 are faster than the times recorded in the NCAA West preliminary round.
Davis broke the John McDonnell facility record of 13.22 set by Aries Merritt in 2006 and he threatened the Trinidad & Tobago national record of 13.19 held by Mikel Thomas. Davis lowered his school record time of 13.23 that recently claimed the SEC title.
“That was a fun race, but it was bittersweet to have Aleec Harris run a bit faster in the next heat,” said Davis, the defending NCAA champion. “I can’t wait to go head-to-head with him at nationals. I feel great about the time and there’s more to come in the future. This is a lovely track and it’s really fast.
“A lot of people talk about the pressure of being the defending champ and I don’t really feel much pressure. I love the hurdles and I’m not going to let any of that get in my way.”
Garrett opened the competition on Saturday with a school record in the hammer as she produced a career best throw of 201-4 (61.38) on her third round attempt. The effort by Garrett broke a 14-year-old Aggie record of 200-0 set by Meshell Trotter in 2000.
It also placed her third in the competition after she entered the NCAA West preliminary seeded No. 33.
“I wasn’t expecting to do anything spectacular today,” noted Garrett. “I just wanted to have a good season and finish up feeling satisfied.
“Before my third throw Coach Henry told me to relax and just do want I know to do. So I said ok. I was breathing and dancing, just doing me. I take a deep breath to go into the ring and it just came. It felt good and just popped off my hands. I turn around to see and it’s out there. Then I was like YEAHHH!”
Garrett started her series with a 178-10 and then had a 179-0 in round two. The improvement by nearly nine feet on her previous PR of 192-6 (58.68) gave her a chance to get three more throws and contend for one of the 12 berths to Eugene. Returning three hours later Garrett had marks of 169-7, 167-6 and 170-1 in the final three rounds.
“It has been a real struggle for me in the hammer this season,” said Garrett, who won the NCAA Indoor Championship in the weight throw. “I was so torn down because I couldn’t get it or figure it out. I changed how I start the entry and how my feet were. I just tried to do everything Coach De La Garza said and keep my emotions and my brain out of it and relax.”
On Thursday Garrett had placed 13th in the shot put, missing out by one place of making the NCAA Championship field in that event.
“Coming up short in the shot put really sucked, but I guess God had a bigger plan for me to do something else,” said Garrett. “So I’m happy I was able to make the final three rounds and slide to nationals.”
Texas A&M posted the top times in the 4x100 relays as both squads advanced to the NCAA Championships. The Aggie men ran 38.84 with a crew of Shavez Hart, Aldrich Bailey, Jr., Prezel Hardy, Jr., and Deon Lendore. In the women’s race A&M posted a collegiate leading 43.00 with the foursome of Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Olivia Ekponé.
The stadium records at Arkansas in the 4x100 were set in 2009 by Texas A&M when they captured the first set of dual team titles. The men’s mark of 38.51 was an Aggie school record at the time while the women’s mark of 42.36 set the collegiate record.
Finishing behind the Aggie men in their heat were Arkansas (39.37), Texas-Arlington (39.55), Houston (39.59) and California (39.91), who all advanced. Other heat winners included Arizona State (39.08) and Iowa (39.55).
The Aggie women dominated their heat as runner-up UTEP ran 44.53 while Cal State Northridge finished third in 44.72. Heat winners included Oregon in 43.47, over Texas (43.84), and USC with a 43.55.
Texas A&M men also posted the best time in the 4x400 with a 3:01.42, No. 7 on the Aggie all-time list, to break the meet record. They ran with the foursome of Carlyle Roudette (46.0), Aldrich Bailey, Jr. (45.7), Bralon Taplin (44.92) and Deon Lendore (44.84). Finishing behind A&M was Arizona State (3:05.78) and TCU (3:06.68).
In the women’s 4x400 the Aggies led the race over NCAA indoor champion Oregon until the final 50 meters of the race. The Ducks won the heat in 3:27.34 with A&M runner-up in 3:28.24.
Shamier Little led off with a 51.6 while Ibukun Mayungbe ran the second leg in 52.9. Janeil Bellille kept the Aggies in front with a 52.17 split and Kamaria Brown anchored in 51.52. Oregon’s Phyllis Francis anchored in 49.97.
The time for A&M is No. 3 on the Aggie all-time list with the No. 5 performance. Other leading times included Texas (3:28.27), Arkansas (3:31.07) and USC (3:31.94).
In the 200 meters Hardy and Hart finished first and second with times of 20.42 and 20.43 while Michael Bryan finished sixth in another heat with a 20.86. Hardy and Hart both qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100, 200 and 4x100.
All four Aggie sprinters in the women’s 200 advanced as Ekponé and K. Brown went 1-2 in the first heat, running times of 22.59 and 22.66 while Purvis and Aaliyah Brown finished second and third in the next heat with times of 23.02 and 23.12.
Already a qualifier in the long jump, Olabanji Asekun added the triple jump with an impressive effort in the third round. A career best leap of 51-11.75 (15.84) moved Asekun from 25th to fifth and earned him three more jumps.
Asekun finished seventh as his best effort in the final three rounds measured 51-8.5. Jeffrely Prothro’s best mark of 49-5 placed 26th overall.
In the men’s discus Ben Skrla established a career best of 178-5 (54.38), improving his previous best by one inch, to lead the first flight of throwers. After the second flight finished, which included A&M’s Dalton Rowan throwing 164-5, Skrla was in fifth place. Then then third flight of throwers moved Skrla down to 18th place, with the top 16 getting another three rounds of throws.
NCAA Championships – Texas A&M qualifiers
TOTAL (26 athletes, 35 entries, 23 events)
MEN (14 athletes, 19 entries, 14 events)
100: Prezel Hardy, Jr., Shavez Hart
200: Prezel Hardy, Jr., Shavez Hart
400: Bralon Taplin, Deon Lendore, Carlyle Roudette, Aldrich Bailey, Jr.
800: Hector Hernandez
110H: Wayne Davis II
400H: Gregory Coleman
4x100: Hart, Bailey, Hardy, Lendore
4x400: Roudette, Bailey, Taplin, Lendore
HJ: Devion Harris
PV: Chase Wolfle
LJ: Olabanji Asekun
TJ: Olabanji Asekun
HT: Casey Strong
JT: Devin Bogert
WOMEN (12 athletes, 16 entries, 9 events)
100: Olivia Ekponé, Aaliyah Brown, Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis
200: Olivia Ekponé, Kamaria Brown, Ashton Purvis, Aaliyah Brown
400H: Janeil Bellille, Shamier Little
4x100: Madu, Purvis, K. Brown, Ekponé
4x400: Little, Ibukun Mayungbe, Bellille, K. Brown
TJ: LaQue Moen-Davis
DT: Shelbi Vaughan
HT: Brea Garrett
Hept: Jena Hemann