EUGENE – Texas A&M Aggie junior Deon Lendore completed a sweep of NCAA titles in winning the 400 meters with a 45.02 as he added the outdoor title to his indoor crown on Friday’s action at Hayward Field.
Lendore had to contend with Oregon’s Mike Berry in the homestretch of the 400 as the crowd cheered the Duck home. With a lean at the line it was Lendore with a 45.02 victory over a 45.07 from Berry. LSU’s Vernon Norwood placed third in 45.45 ahead of a 45.49 by Pittsburgh’s Brycen Spratling while Florida’s Najee Glass finished fifth in 45.63.
In winning his second NCAA 400 title this season Lendore became just the second Aggie to capture the NCAA Outdoor 400 meters. The other A&M sprinter to do so was Curtis Mills in 1969 when he set the school record of 44.67 that Lendore recently broke with a 44.36 in winning the SEC title.
A runner-up in last year’s NCAA final on the Hayward Field track, Lendore used the crowd’s reaction towards Berry as motivation to battle to the finish.
“I was trying to get the double because it’s a nice double to have,” stated Lendore. “So I’m thankful I accomplished that goal.
The Aggie women scored 31 points on the third day of the meet to reach a total of 41. A&M men produced 14 points to improve its tally to 17.5 points.
Oregon leads the women’s team chase with 43 points while A&M is second with 41. Florida and Texas are tied in third with 29 each and Georgia is fifth with 25. The Ducks have a larger lead in the men’s team scoring with 53 points ahead of Florida’s 28 with Georgia third at 24 and Wisconsin fourth with 20. Texas has 19.5 points in fifth while the Aggies are currently sixth with 17.5.
Saturday’s final day includes some key events for Texas A&M with the 4×100 and 4×400 relays, defending NCAA champion Wayne Davis II in the 110 hurdles, as well as returning NCAA runner-up Kamaria Brown and SEC champion Olivia Ekponé in the 200 meters. In addition Devin Bogert is in the javelin and Olabanji Asekun competes in the triple jump.
The Aggies totaled 16 team points in the 400 hurdles as Janeil Bellille (Trinidad & Tobago) placed third in a time of 56.14 behind SEC champion Kendra Harrison of Kentucky (55.55). LSU’s and Jamaican tandem of Nikita Tracey (56.35) and Chanice Chase (56.51) placed fourth and fifth.
In the 100 meter finals the Aggies scored seven points in the women’s race and picked up four points in the men’s race.
The Aggie tandem of Olivia Ekponé and Jennifer Madu, running into a -3.4 headwind, placed fifth and sixth in the women’s final with times of 11.43 and 11.54.
The race was won by Alabama’s Remona Burchell, the NCAA Indoor 60 champion, with an 11.25 while Morolake Akinosun of Texas finished second in 11.33. Then Oregon’s Jennifer Prandini claimed third after a slow start from the blocks in 11.42 (11.416) over Florida’s Shayla Sanders 11.42 (11.417).
Shavez Hart clocked 10.15 (1.8 wind) for fifth place in the men’s 100 as Baylor’s Trayvon Bromell broke the world junior record with a 9.97 victory. Florida State’s Dentarius Locke repeated his runner-up finish from 2013 with a 10.02 over USC’s Aaron Brown (10.07) while Justin Walker of Northwestern State placed fourth in 10.12.