Casey Strong improved his school record in the hammer to 211-0 (64.33) to finish ninth and just missed a scoring position.
In advancing from the semifinal races, A&M fared well once again in sending five more entries to the finals this weekend. Wayne Davis II led the 110 hurdle qualifying, Kamaria Brown and Olivia Ekpone advanced in the 200 meters and both Aggie 4x400 relays posted top times of 3:00.76 and 3:28.89.
On Friday the heptathlon continues with Jena Hemann while field event finals are on tap for Devion Harris in the high jump and LaQue Moen-Davis in the triple jump. Track finals include the 400 hurdles, 100 and 400 meters for the Aggies.
Team scores through the second day of the NCAA Championships have the A&M women tied for second place with 10 points behind 19 for Oregon. Also scoring 10 points on the women’s side are Florida, Boise State, Akron and Princeton.
The top six men’s teams include Oregon with 26 points followed by Georgia (24), Texas (19.5), Oklahoma State (16), Wisconsin (16) and Florida (14). The Aggie men didn’t add any points to the 3.5 they scored Wednesday, which currently has them tied for 21st place.
Vaughan had a pair of fouls to open her series, but came through in round three with a mark of 189-0 (57.60) to take over the lead from a 180-9 by Florida State’s Kellion Knibb. Once in the final three rounds Vaughan improved to 196-11 in the fifth stanza, increasing her lead to 14-plus feet over a 182-3 by Alexis Cooks of Akron.
“Winning is really exciting since last year I didn’t even make it here,” noted Vaughan. “So under those circumstances and returning from a back injury it was really great. I’m glad I was able to prove myself to everybody. It’s nice to be able to throw again and not have too much pain in my back.”
In the final round Daniel Thomas of Kent moved into the runner-up position with a 187-4 (57.11) while Oregon’s Laura Bobek slid into third place with a career best 184-8 (56.29). Vaughan, who sought a 200 foot throw on her final attempt, capped the day with a 188-1 (57.34).
“I’m usually really good under pressure,” stated Vaughan. “So I calmed myself down after the second foul and got a good throw in round three. Then I knew I was good to go. With my last throw I really wanted to get one out there and I knew nobody else could pass me since I was the last thrower.”
The 196-11 for Vaughan is the 10th best throw she has produced at Texas A&M and she completes the collegiate season undefeated by collegians through eight meets in 2014. As the first Aggie national champion in the women’s discus, Vaughan is the first A&M NCAA Outdoor champion in a throwing event since 2004 when Katy Doyle won the javelin title.
Strong opened his series with a 210-5 (64.14) that threatened his school record of 210-11 (64.29). A second round mark of 201-6 followed. Then Strong improved to the 211-0 (64.33) that bettered his A&M best and moved him into ninth place, which gave him three more throws. Strong, who needed a mark better than 212-10 to score, wasn’t able to improve in the final three rounds with marks of 208-7, 205-1 and 207-7.
Davis, the defending NCAA champion, led qualifiers in the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.36 (0.0 wind) as he cruised to victory in heat one of the semifinal.
Finishing behind Davis was Greggmar Swift of Indiana State in 13.57 while the two time qualifiers for the final were picked up by Hampton’s Trey Holloway (13.70) and Durell Busby of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (13.75) in the same heat.
The other automatic qualifiers included Aleec Harris of USC in 13.39, Devon Allen of Oregon (13.52), Florida’s Eddie Lovett (13.53) and Radford’s Vincent Wyatt (13.73).
Brown and Ekpone ran in the same heat of the 200 meter semifinal, finishing first and second, with times of 22.99 and 23.15 into a -0.9 wind. Ashton Purvis (23.28) and Aaliyah Brown (23.46) ran together in another heat and placed third and fourth, but neither advanced on time. Purvis placed ninth overall as a 23.27 by Baylor’s Ashley Field claimed the final time qualifier.
The Aggie men cruised to a 3:00.76 heat victory in the 4x400, producing the third fastest time in Aggie history. Aldrich Bailey, Jr. led off with a splendid split of 46.1 while Carlyle Roudette blistered the second leg with a 44.6 carry. Bralon Taplin maintained the huge lead with a 45.08 third leg as Deon Lendore closed out the victory with a 44.88 anchor.
Texas A&M just missed the fastest ever qualifying time of 3:00.60 set by Baylor in 1995. Runner-up to the Aggies was Nebraska in 3:03.61 with Western Kentucky third at 3:03.94. Other teams making the final included LSU (3:03.43), Florida (3:04.33), Arkansas (3:04.74), Arizona State (3:04.88) and Baylor (3:05.64).
The women’s 4x400 had the A&M crew posting a 3:28.89 heat victory with Shamier Little (52.3), Ibukun Mayungbe (53.0), Janeil Bellille (51.91) and K. Brown (51.97). In posting the 10th fastest time in school history, the Aggies defeated Oregon (3:31.35), Clemson (3:34.29) and Texas Tech (3:34.69).
Also advancing to the final were Texas (3:28.89), Arkansas (3:29.95), USC (3:30.29), Florida (3:31.81), Penn State (3:32.45) and Kansas State (3:33.12).
In the men’s 200 meters, headwinds played a factor on qualifiers to the final. Shavez Hart posted a 20.90 into a -2.4 to place 10th overall after finishing fourth in his heat. Prezel Hardy, Jr. ran 20.88 with a 1.2 tailwind for fourth place in another heat, but missed the final time qualifier by 0.01 as UTA’s Clayton Vaughan ran 20.87 for the final position.
The other final on the day involving an Aggie was the men’s long jump where Olabanji Asekun hit a mark of 23-7.5 (7.20) after two fouls. Asekun placed 17th overall.
In the heptathlon Hemann scored 3,164 points through the first four events and is in 19th place. She ran 14.46 (914 points) in the 100 hurdles, high jumped 5-4.25 (771), had a 40-6.25 (684) shot put and ran 26.02 (795) in the 200 meters. Events on the second day for Hemann include the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.