EUGENE (Press Release) – A score of 5,913 points placed Jena Hemann sixth in a very competitive heptathlon, becoming just the third Aggie to score in the event at the NCAA Championships. She scored the first points for the A&M women on the second day of the national meet in front of a crowd of 10,015 at Hayward Field.
Hemann’s point total is second best on the A&M all-time list behind her 6,002 score set at the Texas Relays in March. Previously there has been only one NCAA heptathlon, in 2013, where more than one athlete produced a score over 6,000 points. This seven-event battle had four athletes surpassing that standard.
“I’m completely excited and very grateful for this opportunity to place sixth,” stated Hemann. “With the caliber of athletes I was competing against, I feel very accomplished with that for sure. I was an All-American indoors when I placed eighth, but I wanted another one under my belt. I’ve been more consistent with my overall score this season, hopefully come USAs I’ll put it all together again.”
Hemann, who placed 14th a year ago and 16th in 2013, joined fellow seniors Kalleen Madden (8th in 1992) and Daphne Fitzpatrick (4th in 2011) as NCAA scorers in the heptathlon. Hemann also has the top three scores in A&M history with the 6,002 followed by the 5,913 set in Eugene and a 5,842 during the SEC Championships in May.
A strong start to the second day of the heptathlon had Hemann produced a PR of 19-9 ½w (6.03) in the long jump for 859 points. Then she improved on each of her three javelin throws with marks of 150-10 (45.98), 151-9 (46.27), and 156-11 (47.82). Hemann bettered the field by nearly 10 feet in the javelin as she added another 818 points to her tally to reach a total of 5,130 heading into the 800 meters. Closing out the multi-event with the 800m, Hemann ran 2:22.98 for 783 points.
“I was definitely excited with my long jump,” noted Hemann. “To get 19-9 helped calm me down. When the javelin left my hand I thought it was going to be a PR, and it came close. To get a good one in, though, set me up for the 800.”
Kansas State’s Akela Jones won the title with 6,371 points and she was followed by three athletes from the SEC in Kendell Williams of Georgia (6,223), Quintunya Chapman of Georgia (6,147), and Mississippi State’s Erica Bougard (6,050).
In fifth place was Jess Herauf of Minnesota (5,965) while the other two scorers behind Hemann were Xenia Rahn of North Carolina (5,851) and Nikki Larch-Miller of Wichita State (5,806). Alex Gochenour of Arkansas also scored 5,806 in placing ninth.
The best-mark-for-place was updated for places 2-3-4-5-6, with Hemann improving a score of 5,865 for sixth place set in 2013.
In semifinal races the Aggies advanced two of three sprinters in both the 100 and 200 meters and the foursome teamed up in the 4×100 to post the top qualifying time. A&M also advanced to the final in the 400 hurdles and 4×400 relay.
The 4×100 crew of Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Aaliyah Brown posted the top time of 43.00 in defeating Texas (43.12) in the same heat. The rest of the teams in the semi were a second slower, led by Purdue (44.20), Oklahoma (44.25), Houston (44.88) and Western Kentucky (44.98).
Joining the Aggies and Longhorns in the final were LSU (43.30), Oregon (43.49), USC (43.62), Mississippi (44.10) and Purdue. Kentucky (43.92) was disqualified for passing the baton outside of the final zone.
The Aggies advanced two of three sprinters in the 100, with career best times of 11.08 and 11.16 for Aaliyah Brown and Jennifer Madu, respectively, as they placed first and third in the final of three heats. Ashton Purvis ran 11.50 in placing sixth in the first semifinal heat.
Brown improved her previous best of 11.24 from the SEC prelims while Madu bettered her previous best of 11.23 from the 2014 NCAA final. Brown moves to No. 3 performer on the A&M all-time list with the No. 3 performance while Madu is now the No. 6 performer.
In the 200 meters defending NCAA champion K. Brown clocked a wind-aided 22.29 (4.8 wind) to defeat Oregon’s Jenna Prandini (22.46).
In the final semifinal heat A. Brown placed fourth with a 22.66 (2.8 wind) to advance to the final on time. Also in that heat was teammate Purvis, who finished sixth in 23.02. In advancing on time A. Brown edged out Florida’s Destinee Gause, who posted a 22.68 for third in the heat with K. Brown.
Shamier Little, the defending champion in the 400 hurdles, cruised to a semifinal heat victory with a time of 57.02 over a 57.24 by USC’s Jaide Stepter. Kentucky’s Kendra Harrison, the NCAA runner-up last year, and Leah Nugent each won a semifinal heat in 56.36 and 56.69, respectively.
Little anchored the 4×400 with a 51.57 split as A&M finished second in 3:32.95 behind a 3:32.73 by Texas as both advanced with automatic qualification. The Aggie foursome included Olivia Ekpone (55.3), K. Brown (51.8) and Ebony Crear (54.34). With A&M in sixth place after the first leg, K. Brown moved the Aggies back into a slight lead at the next baton exchange as four teams were within 0.24 of each other.
In field event finals Maggie Malone finished ninth the javelin with a mark of 170-6 (51.97) that she produced in the first round. Following three fouls, Malone finished her series with a 165-6 and 164-9. A&M frosh Kristen Clark threw in the first flight of the javelin where her 161-7 (49.25) ranked third. Then Clark was bumped to 11th place once the second flight was complete. In the shot put Brea Garrett fouled all three of her attempts.
Racing in the 10,000-meter final Hillary Montgomery placed 18th with a time of 34:48.13. The top three finishers included Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel (33:18.37), Dominique Scott of Arkansas (33:25.81) and Emily Stites of William & Mary (33:26.15). SEC runners in the race included Chelsea Blaase of Tennessee (33:27.73) in sixth place and Diane Robison of Arkansas (34:24.61) in 15th.
action wraps up the men’s chase for the team title and ESPN will have live coverage from . Oregon holds a healthy lead, with 34 points from , over Florida (16) and USC (15). The Aggies scored nine points and are currently tied for sixth place with two other teams.
Texas A&M has both relays in contention for titles while Deon Lendore defends his 400m championship. Gregory Coleman could become the first Aggie to score in the men’s 400 hurdles since 2008.
Also in action for A&M is the tandem of Latario Collie and Olabanji Asekun in the triple jump along with Dalton Rowan in discus. Coverage of the field events will be available online via ESPN3.