AUSTIN – Texas A&M’s multi-event sophomore pair of Jena Hemann and Annie Kunz both set career best scores in placing fourth and fifth in the Texas Relays heptathlon. Hemann scored 5,531 points, moving to No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list, while Kunz totaled 5,442 points, now No. 6 all-time.
In B division field events A&M had a pair of runner-up performances with Chase Wolfle in the pole vault and Krystyn Bradley in the javelin. The Aggie 4 x 800 relay also placed second during Thursday’s action.
An action packed Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium will begin at 9:30 a.m. with qualifying races in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays along with the 100/110 hurdles and 100 meters. Events for the Aggies will continue throughout the day until the 4x1500 closes out the evening at 9 p.m.
Erica Bougard of Mississippi State claimed the heptathlon title with 5,649 points while Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas moved into second place with a score of 5,578 and Arkansas’ Makeba Alcide finished third with a 5,576.
“After missing the NCAA Indoor field by a seven points, I just knew every point in each event is important,” said Hemann. “My main goal out here this weekend was to fight for each point I could get. I wanted to make sure I got a good score.
“Coach and I talked before the 800 and he told me what I needed to do to score over 5,500. So I was pretty set to get that score.”
Kunz noted: “When Jena and I do our best I think we can compete with the top competitors in the field. I think we make each other better when we compete together.”
The second day of the heptathlon opened with the long jump. Kunz turned in a windy leap of 18-10 (3.7 wind) for 771 points while Hemann had a mark of 18-3.75 (1.8 wind) to score 723 points. In the javelin Hemann turned in the better performance with a toss of 136-10 for 700 points while Kunz fell back in her total score with only 433 points off a throw of 90-9.
“I really surprised myself in the long jump after having PRs the day before in the hurdles and 200,” said Kunz. “I still have room for improvement in the javelin and shot put, but I still have a few weeks to work on those events before conference to get that down.”
Closing the multi with the 800 meters, the Aggie tandem ran together. Kunz finished first in 2:24.20 while Hemann was a step behind in 2:24.42, scoring 767 and 764 points, respectively.
“After yesterday I was a little upset with my high jump, but I didn’t let that get me down,” noted Hemann. “I was able to finish strong with a good 200 time. I was hoping to do really well in the long jump and the javelin, thinking I’d pick up some points there. When I didn’t score as well in the long jump I knew I had to make up those points in the javelin.”
The Aggie 4x800 relay, winners the past two years and holder of the meet record, finished second with a 7:31.16 behind a 7:29.51 for Texas while Kansas placed third in 7:37.82 following a disqualification for UCLA (7:34.61).
A&M’s foursome included James Bonn (1:51.9), Cameron Thornton (1:53.3), Henry Lelei (1:52.9) and Hector Hernandez (1:53.1). Windy conditions kept the field from approaching the Stadium and meet record of 7:15.99 set by the Aggies last year.
Bradley challenged for a win in women’s B javelin as her best mark of 144-3 (43.96) was only bettered by a 151-2 (46.07) from Tanesha Blair of West Texas A&M. Annie Whitfield of Oregon finished third with a 143-9 (43.82) effort. Bradley led the field of 13 in the first round with an opening throw of 143-6 (43.74) and improved to 144-3 in the fifth round.
Wolfle cleared 17-9 (5.41) in the pole vault on his first attempt to share the lead in the B division title with defending champion Thomas Reinecke of LSU and Rice’s Chris Pillow. In the initial tie-breaker of misses at the last height cleared, Wolfle and Reinecke were still tied on a first attempt clearance while Pillow needed three attempts.
Going to the second tie-breaker, which includes total misses, Reinecke held the edge over Wolfle by one less miss and successfully defended his title while Wolfle finished second and Pillow placed third.
Wolfle avoided early trouble when he made it over his opening height of 16-7.25 on his third attempt. Following a first try clearance at 17-1, Wolfle needed two attempts to get over 17-5. A first try clearance at 17-9 had Wolfle moving beyond 18-0, but three attempts at 18-1 (5.51) were unsuccessful. Wolfle moves to No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list with his 17-9 performance.
Casey Strong finished seventh in the men’s hammer as he produced the fifth best performance on the Aggie all-time list with a toss of 196-3 (59.82).
Amanda Jenkins ran the 1,500 in 4:37.71, placing third in the first heat of the event and ninth overall. Grace Fletcher (4:43.78) and Hillary Montgomery (4:48.84) finished 19th and 27th overall. In the women’s 5,000 meters Gabby Salazar placed 14th with a time of 17:30.02. Over 10,000 meters Tara Upshaw ran 37:14.80 for 11th place.
Greg Coleman led a trio of 400m hurdlers with a time of 52.39 on a windy evening. He placed eighth overall among a field of 55 to advance to the final. Coleman was runner-up to Jeffery Gibson of Oral Roberts, who ran 51.28. The leading qualifying time was 50.83 by Michael Stigler of Kansas.
Aikan Graham finished third in another heat with a 53.41 while Kenneth Minkah placed fifth in the final of seven heats with a 53.44. They finished 21st and 22nd overall.