AUSTIN – Texas A&M continued to add multiple entries into the NCAA Championship field on the final day of action in the NCAA West preliminary rounds at Myers Stadium. The Aggies tally on the final day included 17 more entries (seven men, six women, four relays) as the numbers advancing to Eugene swelled to 28 athletes in 21 events with 30 total entries.
The breakdown on the numbers includes 15 athletes for the A&M men, and 13 athletes for the Aggie women. The men will have 15 entries in 11 events while the women will have 15 entries in 10 events.
Leading qualifiers for A&M amid Saturday’s events included Kamaria Brown, who equaled the Myers Stadium record of 22.50 in the women’s 200, Ioannis Kyriazis in the men’s javelin, Latario Collie in the men’s triple jump and the women’s 4×100 relay.
After the Aggie women advanced three sprinters in the 100 meters yesterday K. Brown led another trio of A&M qualifiers in the 200.
With a pair of teammates in her heat K. Brown produced a career best time of 22.50 (0.6 wind) ahead of Texas Tech’s Cierra White (23.19) and USC’s Ky Westbrook (23.22) while Aaliyah Brown clocked 23.23 for fourth as Olivia Ekpone finished fifth in 23.60. Ashton Purvis finished third in another heat with a time of 23.23 (0.2 wind) to advance in the 200.
In addition to equaling the Stadium record, K. Brown posted the top time in the NCAA West region as she bettered the 22.59 set by Ekpone last season. In bettering her previous outdoor best of 22.58, K. Brown remains No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list.
“I wasn’t really focused on time, I just wanted to make sure I executed my race,” noted Brown. “I haven’t been able to get my race together this season. Just to come out here with all the rain delays and set up my race the way I did, I’m very happy.
“I just want as many of us to make it to nationals as we can. That sets us up good for nationals, so I’m very proud of all my sweeties.”
Shavez Hart advanced in the 200 as he won his heat in 20.63 (-0.1 wind), which was the fourth fastest time in the quarterfinal. Devin Jenkins finished fourth in his heat, but his 20.89 didn’t advance on time as he missed third place, and an automatic advancement to Eugene, by 0.02 of a second.
In the javelin Kyriazis only needed one throw to advance to Eugene as his toss of 254-10 (77.67) led the competition while teammate Devin Bogert qualified for his fourth NCAA Championship with a 228-0 (69.50) effort that was seventh best on the day. Sam Hardin placed 21st with a 211-2 (64.36).
“It’s great to be able to qualify four consecutive years and have a chance to score at the NCAAs,” said Bogert. “I just want to able to have the opportunity to really help out our team. It’s been frustrating to finish 12th each year in the NCAA Championship, so I’m hopeful of doing better than that this year.
“After fouling my first throw, I watched Ioannis get a big throw on his first attempt. When you have another teammate going it gives you that much more energy to want to be there with them to experience the national championships.”
Finishing behind Kyriazis with a mark of 246-5 (75.10) was Sam Crouser of Oregon, the defending NCAA champion, and Washington’s Curtis Clauson with a 238-8 (72.75).
At the SEC Championships two weeks ago Kyriazis defeated defending champion Raymond Dykstra of Kentucky and this weekend Kyriazis threw farther than Crouser. Heading into the NCAA Championships, though, he remains focused on himself.
“It was pretty nice and easy to qualify on one throw, especially for my body,” noted Kyriazis. “My PR was 257-3 from winning the SEC title, so when my first throw was 254-10 I was excited. I knew a throw over 239 would probably qualify, so I was excited to get past that mark on my first throw. The thing I mostly care about is taking care of me and how well I can throw.”
Texas A&M added a pair of qualifiers for Eugene in the men’s pole vault as Audie Wyatt and Chase Wolfle both cleared 17-6 ½ (5.35) to finish third and fourth, respectively, among the 11 vaulters who cleared that height. A third Aggie in the event, Carl Johansson, missed his three attempts at 16-6 ¾ (5.05).
Wyatt made 16-6 ¾ on his first attempt and needed three tries at 17-0 ¾ (5.20). Then two attempts were required at 17-4 ½ (5.30) by Wyatt. However, as the first vaulter in his pit to try 17-6 ½, Wyatt cleared on his first attempt.
“I came out here knowing what I could do and I knew that I could qualify,” said Wyatt, who was runner-up at the SEC Championships. “The confidence from SEC was huge. After clearing 17-6 ½, I feel more consistent. I’ve been sick the past week and a half, so I focused on keeping my body cool and prevent any cramping in my legs.”
Wolfle entered the competition at 17-0 ¾ and had first attempt clearances at that height as well as 17-4 ½. Then he needed two attempts to make 17-6 ½. Wolfle tied for fifth place at the NCAA Championships last season with a clearance of 18-0 ½ (5.50) after setting a career best of 18-3 (5.56) during the 2014 SEC meet.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever cleared two bars in a row on my first attempt,” stated Wolfle, who had a no height during the recent conference meet. “It was good to get out here and jump. I felt good and confident. I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed than I was at SECs. So, it was good to have my feet under me again and get a good bar in.”
The Aggies performed well in both 4×100 relays as each won their respective heats. The A&M women cruised to a leading time of 43.29 as they finished ahead of Oklahoma (44.02) and Houston (44.52). Other top qualifiers included Texas (43.41), Wichita State (44.30), and USC (44.50). Running on the Aggie crew were Jennifer Madu, Purvis, K. Brown and A. Brown.
In the men’s 4×100 the A&M foursome of Jenkins, Hart, Elijah Morrow and Deon Lendore posted a 39.05 to claim its heat over a spirited Illinois squad (39.42) and Oregon (39.55). Arkansas ran the leading time of 38.66 while other top qualifiers included TCU (39.15), USC (39.49) and Houston (39.56).
Later in the 4×400 the Aggie men ran 3:03.66 to finish second to a 3:03.11 by Illinois as they squared off in the final heat and produced the top two times. A&M’s foursome included Deon Hickey (47.0), Bralon Taplin (45.8), Gregory Coleman (46.0) and Lendore (44.9). Other top qualifying times included BYU (3:03.82), Arkansas (3:04.06), Texas Tech (3:04.15) and Arizona (3:04.51).
The women’s 4×400 foursome of K. Brown (53.0), Olivia Ekpone (53.6), Ebony Crear (54.8) and Shamier Little (51.7) posted a time of 3:33.09 as runner-up to USC’s 3:27.86. Other top qualifiers included Texas (3:30.53), Arkansas (3:30.74), Kansas State (3:31.20) and Minnesota (3:32.68).
Collie finished as the top triple jumper with a 54-3 ¾ (16.55) leap that bettered the field by over two feet. Meanwhile, Olabanji Asekun produced a season best of 51-0 (15.54) from the second flight of jumpers to earn the 12th position. Jeffrey Prothro placed 22nd with a 50-2 ¾ (15.31) mark.
Asekun was sitting sixth as the third and fourth flight reached the third round of their jumps. Half of dozen jumpers improved in the last round to pass Asekun, but he claimed the final qualifying position to Eugene with Stanford’s Darian Brooks came up two inches short of passing him with a 50-11 (15.52) effort.
Brea Garrett shook off her disappointment from the hammer on Thursday to battle in the shot put. Down to her final attempt Garrett was in 15th place with a mark of 51-0 ¼ (15.55). She improved to 51-11 (15.82) on her third throw and that moved her into 10th place and earned a trip to the national meet.
In the final field event of the evening, Aggie javelin throwers Maggie Malone (171-6|52.29) and Kristen Clark (158-5|48.28) finished second and seventh to advance to Eugene while Kendall Munoz (151-0|46.04) and Audrey Malone (150-6|45.88) just missed out in placing 14th and 15th. Krystyn Bradley (142-7|43.46) finished 34th.
A&M had a pair of runners contest the 5,000 meters with Hillary Montgomery (16:31.58) and Cameron Villarreal (14:38.50). Montgomery finished 11th in her heat and 19th overall while Villarreall placed 16th in his heat and 31st overall.
NCAA Championships – Texas A&M qualifiers
MEN (15 athletes, 11 events, 15 entries)
100 – Shavez Hart
200 – Shavez Hart
400 – Deon Lendore, Bralon Taplin
800 – Josh Hernandez
400 Hurdles – Gregory Coleman
4×100 – Texas A&M (Devin Jenkins, Hart, Elijah Morrow, Lendore)
4×400 – Texas A&M (Deon Hickey, Taplin, Coleman, Lendore)
Pole Vault – Chase Wolfle, Audie Wyatt
Triple Jump – Latario Collie, Olabanji Asekun
Discus – Dalton Rowan
Javelin – Ioannis Kyriazis, Devin Bogert
WOMEN (13 athletes, 10 events, 15 entries)
100 – Aaliyah Brown, Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis
200 – Kamaria Brown, Ashton Purvis, Aaliyah Brown
10,000 – Hillary Montgomery
400 Hurdles – Shamier Little
4×100 – Texas A&M (Madu, Purvis, K. Brown, A. Brown)
4×400 – Texas A&M (K. Brown, Olivia Ekpone, Ebony Crear, Little)
Shot Put – Brea Garrett
Discus – Shelbi Vaughan
Javelin – Maggie Malone, Kristen Clark
Heptathlon – Jena Hemann