May 28, 2011

EUGENE, Oregon - No. 1 Texas A&M completed a very successful qualifying weekend as they contend for double team titles in a third consecutive year at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

On the third day of the NCAA West Preliminary rounds on the University of Oregon campus the Aggies added 11 more positions, along with all four relays, to the national championship weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

Texas A&M had three advance in the men's triple jump, three in the women's 200, two in the 100 hurdles, two in the men's 200 and one in the 110 hurdles as the third day of action at historic Hayward Field produced a crowd size of 7,087 fans and three-day total of 20,082.

On a wet morning that started out with 45 degree weather, improved to 55 degrees for a couple of hours and then dropped back near 50, the Aggies took care of business to ensure they advanced well enough to be a strong contender for the team championships when Drake hosts the NCAA Outdoor meet on June 8-11.

In field events Texas A&M now has seven athletes qualified for 10 positions while on the track the Aggies advanced 17 athletes in 23 positions. In addition a heptathlete was already qualified for the NCAA Championship weekend.

Twelve Aggie women will compete in 10 events - 100 (2), 200 (3), 400 (1), 100 hurdles (2), 400 hurdles (1), 4 x 100, 4 x 400, triple jump (1), javelin (2) and heptathlon (1). The A&M men will have 13 athletes also compete in 10 events - 100 (2), 200 (2), 400 (3), 800 (2), 110 hurdles (1), 4 x 100, 4 x 400, long jump (3), triple jump (3) and javelin (1).

Texas A&M posted the top qualifying times in both of the 4 x 100 relays. The Aggie women ran 43.60 while the men produced a 39.52. In the 4 x 400 the A&M men had the top time with a 3:03.95 while the women posted a 3:34.53 heat winner, fourth best of the day.

The women's sprint relay ran the order of Gabby Mayo, Jeneba Tarmoh, Dominique Duncan and Ashley Collier. They sped around the oval in lane two and bettered USC (44.07) and Oklahoma (44.42).

Texas women had the second best qualifying time of 44.00 to claim the first heat over Baylor's 44.23. Houston won the third heat in 44.21 and two more Texas schools - Texas Tech (44.89) and TCU (45.16) - advanced to the NCAA semifinals.

For the men's 4 x 100 the Aggies ran Prezel Hardy, Jr. They cruised around the track in lane one and finished ahead of Arkansas (39.65) and Kansas State (39.93).

Following the Aggies in qualifying times was Texas at 39.59 as they bettered Baylor (39.61) in the same heat. TCU placed fourth in the first heat at 40.32, but was disqualified.

In the 100 hurdles the Aggies advanced two of the three hurdlers in the quarterfinal. Natasha Ruddock had a smooth heat victory in 13.04, the second fastest qualifying time of the day, as she bettered USC's Lauren Blackburn (13.09).

"I'm happy to have qualified for the next round," stated Ruddock, who was injured at last year's NCAA West meet in Austin. "I've been able to accomplish something I never go the chance to do last season, due to the mishap last year. There is still room for improvement, but I'm happy for the win and have made it to the NCAA semifinal.

"This was my last chance, so as a senior I had to put the injury in the past and focus on now. I have an urge to perform at the NCAA Outdoor championships."

Donique' Flemings placed sixth in her heat with a 13.62 and did not advance on time.

Wayne Davis II recorded a career best of 13.58 as the fourth-place finisher in the third and final heat of the 110 hurdles. He advanced on time to the NCAA semifinals.

"I'm glad for the PR, I couldn't be happier," said Davis. "At the same time, during the race I could have done much better. I got too close to one of the hurdles, the sixth one, and it threw me off a bit. I managed to recover and finish strong."

Davis also moved up to No. 3 on the Aggie all-time list ahead of three A&M hurdlers who are tied at 13.59 - Rockie Woods (1971), Scottie Jones (1973) and Richard Bucknor (1989).

Tarmoh returned a bit later in the afternoon to lead the qualifiers in the women's 200 with a windy 22.62 as Duncan (23.00w) and Collier (23.28) also made the NCAA semifinal.

Duncan placed third in the same heat with Tarmoh that had a 2.1 aiding wind. Collier finished fourth in the second heat, with a 1.2 wind, and qualified on time to Des Moines.

Both Tarmoh and Collier have made the national championships field in the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 relay.

Also double dipping in Des Moines for the Aggies are the jumping crew of Melvin Echard, Julian Reid and Tyron Stewart, who each qualified in both the long jump and triple jump.

In today's triple jump qualifying the A&M jumpers placed third, seventh and ninth. Reid led the trio in third place with a windy 52-6.75 (16.02). Echard placed seventh with a 51-11.75 (15.84) while Stewart had a 51-9.75 (15.79) in ninth.

Hardy qualified for the NCAA semifinals in his second individual event as the top Aggie qualifier in the 200, where he ran 21.01 for third place. Yesterday, Hardy also advanced in the 100.

Howell will join Hardy in the 200 field in Des Moines as his 21.13 into a 2.5 headwind placed third in the final quarterfinal heat. Howell been part of A&M's 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 the past three years during a NCAA Outdoor championship semifinal and will have his first opportunity in an individual event.

Phiri finished fourth in the heat with Howell, running 21.35 into the headwind and did not advance on time. Carlyle Roudette (21.42) was sixth in Hardy's heat while Michael Bryan (21.72) placed seventh in the first heat.

The men's 4 x 400 relay faced an early challenge from Houston in the third heat. Bryan Miller opened with a 46.7 while Tabarie Henry followed with a 45.8. Then Michael Preble added a 45.91 as the Aggie lead stretched to 15 meters. Demetrius Pinder finished off the win with a 45.60 anchor.

With a 3:03.95 A&M bettered the field by over a full second as USC had the next fastest time of 3:05.08. Iowa finished second to the Aggies in the third heat with a 3:07.58 while Houston faded to sixth in the heat with a 3:10.09.

In the women's 4 x 400 Kansas provided a challenge for A&M on the first couple of legs. Andrea Sutherland opened for the Aggies with a 53.6 carry and Ibukun Mayungbe turned in a 53.4 as she ran against Big 12 champion Diamond Dixon of Kansas.

Donique' Flemings posted a 55.87 on the third leg with the A&M in third. Beard charged to the led on her anchor leg and cruised home with a 51.37 split for a 3:34.53 mark. Kansas placed second in 3:35.01 with Arizona third at 3:36.85.

Arkansas ran the best time of the day in 3:33.17 with Oregon (3:33.63) and Texas (3:34.22) following.

Kevin Burnett placed 10th in the second heat of the men's 5,000 with a career best time of 13:57.91, which was 19th overall. Burnett is now the third best performer on the A&M all-time list with the fifth-best performance, trailing only three marks by school record holder and Olympian Arturo Barrios and one mark by Tommy Bonn.

In the women's discus Jill Hydrick placed 20th with a toss of 155-11 (47.54). Natosha Rogers placed 15th in her heat of the 5,000 meters with a clocking of 16:55.69 and finished 33rd overall.