Nationally ranked Aggies sweep team titles at A&M 12-Team Invitational
COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M combined for a dozen victories as they swept team titles during the 12-Team Invitational they hosted in front of 2,534 fans inside the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on Saturday.
The No. 4 Aggie men totaled 111.5 points of six victories to outscore the field that include Baylor (83), Stephen F. Austin (67), Texas-Arlington (62), Houston (56.5), UTSA (48), Rice (33), Sam Houston State (3), Prairie View A&M (32), Texas State (26), North Texas (18) and Texas Southern (14).
Prezel Hardy Jr. led the A&M effort with a pair of victories, claiming the 60 meters in 6.64 and then breaking the meet record in the 200 meters with a blistering career best time of 20.78. Hardy bettered the meet record of 20.87 set by his former teammate Gerald Phiri in 2011 and is equal No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list. In the 60, Hardy just missed Phiri's meet record of 6.63 while Texas-Arlington's Clayton Vaughn placed second in 6.67.
Hardy had some A&M company in both sprint races as Michael Bryan placed third in the 60 with a career best 6.69, equal No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list, and fourth in the 200 with a 21.14. A&M frosh Aldrich Bailey Jr. finished second in the 200 with a time of 21.00, No. 9 on the Aggie all-time list, to better Houston's Errol Nolan, who placed third in 21.06.
Casey Strong improved his school record in the weight throw once again, and this time his victory included a meet record with his 64-3.75 (19.60) effort. Strong bettered the previous meet record of 64-1.75 (19.55) set by Oklahoma's KP Singh in 2010 and improved upon his own A&M school record of 63-10.5 set in December. A&M's Ben Skrla placed fifth with a toss of 58-5.25 (17.81) to improve to No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list.
Among six victories the No. 6 Aggie women totaled 145 points to better a field that included Baylor (108), Houston (57), Texas-Arlington (50), Rice (43), Texas State (42), UTSA (35), Stephen F. Austin (31), North Texas (28), Prairie View A&M (23), and Sam Houston State (18).
A&M freshman LaQue Moen-Davis became the second best performer and produced the third best long jump in Aggie history with her winning leap of 20-11.25 (6.38). Moen-Davis overcame four fouls among her six attempts, claiming the victory in the fifth round. Her sixth round effort, which was barely a foul, was even closer to bettering 21-feet.
Moen-Davis broke the meet record of 20-7.75 (6.29) set by TCU's Whitney Gipson last season. Gipson's 2012 campaign included winning a pair of NCAA long jump titles, indoor and outdoor, before placing fourth at the Olympic Trials. Moen-Davis was just an inch way from topping the field by nearly two feet as Baylor's Brianna Richardson placed second with a 19-0.5 (5.80).
Jennifer Madu claimed a second victory over 60 meters this indoor season with a time of 7.44 seconds while Kamaria Brown posted a 23.57 win to lead an Aggie 1st through 9th finish in the 200 among a field of 39 entrants. Only the top three finishers per school scored in the meet.
The display of Aggie sprinting talent and depth had Ashton Purvis, who finished second to Madu in the 60 with a 7.49, claiming second in the 200 with a 23.58 while Ashley Collier placed third in 23.59.
Madu finished fourth in 24.20 and was followed by LaKeidra Stewart (24.34), Olivia Ekponé (24.37), Ibukun Mayungbe (24.40), India Daniels (24.45) and Chandrell Stephens (24.52) in occupying places fourth through ninth. Mayungbe also placed second in the 400 with a 54.45.
Texas A&M capped the meet winning each of the three relay races they contested. In the men's 4 x 400 A&M broke the meet record with a convincing 3:06.25 behind the efforts of Carlyle Roudette (47.3), Deon Lendore (45.4), Ricky Babineaux (46.8) and Bailey Jr. (46.7). Houston placed second in 3:09.83 while Baylor finished third in 3:11.77.
Henry Lelei led the Aggies to a meet record in the distance medley relay as he ran the opening leg of 1200 meters in 3:02.8. C.J. Brown ran the 1600 in 4:10.9 to anchor the winning effort as A&M clocked 9:57.03 while Nick Rollo (49.9) and Colin Slattery (1:53.4) handled the 400 and 800 legs. The Aggies bettered the 10:16.92 meet record they established last season in bettering Sam Houston (10:14.59) and Baylor (1016.20).
In the women's 4 x 400 relay the Aggie women held off the challenge from Baylor for a 3:43.19 to 3:43.31 victory. The A&M crew included Kanika Beckles, Donique' Flemings, Olivia Ekponé, and Brown.
Other Aggie wins included Sophie Blake (4:57.77) in the mile, Raul Ramirez (2:29.43) in the 1000, and Aliese Hyde (2:16.01) in the 800.
Baylor's Skylar White won a third consecutive shot put title with a mark of 55-0.75 (16.78) with A&M's tandem of Brea Garrett (48-6.75 / 14.80) and Shelbi Vaughan (48-4 / 14.73) placing second and third. Vaughan, who played Aggie volleyball in the fall, moved to No. 7 on the A&M all-time list in her debut with the track and field team.
Other runner-up efforts for A&M included Stephen Curry (4:20.098) in the mile, James Bonn in the 1000 (2:30.20), Josh Hernandez in the 800 (1:53.68) and Jordan Wilson in the triple jump (39-2.25), with Melissa Mays finishing third (38-11).
The Aggie women also had a solid scoring effort in the 3,000 meters as Tara Upshaw (10:06.60) led a 3-4-5-6 finish with Grace Fletcher (10:07.65), Gabby Salazar (10:10.62) and Amanda Jenkins (10:11.22) in tow.
Kenneth Minkah had a solid prelim race in the 60 hurdles as his 8.06 heat winner equaled No. 10 on the Aggie all-time list. In the final, though, an 8.11 placed him fourth.