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Aggies dazzle at Texas Relays

Texas+Relays
Photo by Texas A&M Athletics
Texas Relays

Texas A&M track and field were in Austin this weekend to compete in the 91st Texas Relays. Over four days of competition, the Aggies claimed three relay titles and finished inside the top three in all but one of their relays. Over the last 10 years at the event, Texas A&M has claimed 39 relay titles over 12 different events.
After the meet, the men’s team remained ranked at No. 2 in the nation, while the women’s team jumped up to No. 3.
One of the highlights of the meet came in the women’s 4×800 relay, where the Aggie women won with an 8:29.25; a time good enough to set new meet, facility, and school records. The previous meet record of 8:29.77 was set 32 years ago by Texas, while the previous Texas A&M record of 8:42.42 was set back in 2011.
The Aggies alternated with Clemson until the final handoff, when freshman Sammy Watson distanced herself from the field to claim the title for her teammates. Running for the Aggies was Jean Jenkins, Jazmine Fray, Brittany Parker and Watson.
“It was a good day for the Aggies, we ran to the best of our abilities,” Watson said to 12thman.com. “It’s nice breaking records, but getting the collegiate record is always the goal. It was interesting to break a record that old. Knowing that we train every week and we get to show off here and each weekend is really exciting and fun. This is my first Texas Relays, so it was exciting to compete here and win a relay.”
The men also claimed a 4×800 title, leading a majority of the race. A time of 7:25.17 was run by Ian Cazares, Efrain Hernandez, JaQwae Ellison, and Devin Dixon.
“The event is huge I always tell myself the Texas Relays is basically a practice for nationals,” Dixon said to 12thman.com. “You need to get ready for that crowd and the competition. It’s going to be solid, you must keep poised and stay with what you have to do.”
The weekend was capped off with the Aggie men successfully defending their 4×400 relay title with a time of 3:02.74. The squad cruised to victory with Bryce Deadmon, Kyree Johnson, Ilolo Izu and Dixon on track.
“I feel that it shows that Bobby and Mylik are great athletes, but we know that once again we can run our best without certain members because it’s a team effort,” Dixon said to 12thman.com. “We just don’t depend on one person, we depend on the entire team and how they want to compete for Texas A&M. There is no one singular star, or two stars, it’s a whole team.”
The women’s 4×400 relay team fought for a first place finish, but had to settle for runner-up. After leading at the start of the race and holding a slight edge heading to the anchor lap, the Aggies clocked a time of 3:33.15 to finish second. On track for Texas A&M were Julia Madubuike, Glorilisha Carter, Amber Ivy and Jarra Owens.
Both the men’s and women’s distance medley relay squads finished in second place this weekend.
The women’s team ran the fastest school outdoor time, clocking an 11:09.43 behind a squad of Fray, Carter, Parker and Watson. On track for the men were Cazares, Richard Rose, Ellison and Riba, who ran a time of 9:44.29.
The men’s sprint medley relay ran a time of 3:16.06 to finish second. The squad included Rose, Deadmon, Johnson and Dixon.
The women’s squad led heading into the anchor portion of the race, however, were passed by Baylor and then clipped by LSU at the line to place third with a time of 3:47.10. Running for the Aggies was Ivy, Diamond Spaulding, Madubuike and Jenkins.
The women’s 4×100 relay team ran a season best time of 43.28 to finish second in the race, while the men placed sixth in their side of the event with a time of 39.65.
Texas A&M had three winners in the individual events this weekend. Ilolo Izu won the men’s 400m hurdles with a career best time of 50.00. He is only the second Aggie winner of the event at this meet, and the first since Ricky Pfister in 1996. The time also leads in Division I collegiate times this year.
“This is something that is pretty big for me,” Izu said to 12thman.com. “I’ve been coming to the Texas Relays since I was a sophomore in high school. So, being able to run at this meet, win and have a PR is pretty good. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do since I didn’t break 50, but it’s still a good win.
“Being able to run with my teammates again today helped me a lot. It helped me focus and run to the best of my abilities today. I could definitely feel it in the last 50m of the race. I thought, ‘oh snap’, this is about to happen. It was pretty cool.”
Serena Brown took first place in the women’s A section discus throw with a career best heave of 60.39m.
“I’ve been waiting to throw over 60 meters for so long,” Brown said to 12thman.com. “We’ve been working on it in practice. The main thing was a switch in confidence. After I hit that big one, I know I have to stay calm in order to continue with my competition and improve.”
Gabriel Oladipo, who was the first Aggie winner of the meet, claimed the men’s B section shot put title with a throw of 16.96m. The win was Texas A&M’s first male shot put title since 2004.
In the women’s pentathlon, Tyra Gittens and Shaina Burns each posted career best scores to place second and fourth, respectively. Gittens totaled 5,700 points, while Burns scored 5,464 points. In the men’s decathlon, Nathan Hite managed a seventh place finish with 7,491 points.
“It’s amazing, and I’m really satisfied with my 800 performance,” an elated Gittens said to 12thman.com. “Everybody knows the 800 is the worst, especially for me. Today I really had to put my faith in God and remember that I can do all things through him. While I was running the 800, I kept saying that to myself. Then I finished with a PR.”
Burns was not as pleased with her performance.
“It was a career best score for me, but overall I wasn’t very happy,” she said to 12thman.com. “That’s mostly because most of my open events have been going really well and I was expecting to put together a score closer to 5,600 or 5,700. But that’s not the way the first multi of the outdoor season usually goes.”
There were fourth place Aggie finishers on the men’s and women’s side of the A section triple jump competition. Tahar Triki jumped 15.79m, while Lajarvia Brown jumped 12.89m.
Zephyr Seagraves and Ashton Hutcherson each placed fifth in their respective 3000m steeplechase races. Seagraves’ time of 9:16.09 leads the men’s SEC timing, while Hutcherson’s 10:38.92 came within seven seconds of a career best.
In the women’s B section 1500m, Hannah Campbell and Valarie Bradley each ran career best times to place third and fifth, respectively. Campbell clocked a 4:29.09, while Bradley ran a time of 4:31.86.
Other top male performers included Audie Wyatt, who finished third in the elite division of the university pole vault with a height of 5.60m. Sam Hardin managed a fourth place finish in the A section javelin throw with a heave of 71.91m, while Cameron Villareal also finished fourth in the A section of the 1500m with a time of 3:50.23. Garrett Cragin also claimed a top-five finish, claiming fifth place in the A section high jump with a leap of 2.13m.
The women’s team also had top performers in the field events. Along with her triple jump performance, Brown placed fifth in the B section long jump with a distance of 6.12m. Celine Markert placed third in the B section shot put with a throw of 14.42m, while Kristen Clark placed third in the A section triple jump with a leap of 50.88m.
The Aggies next action will come on April 7 when they will compete in the Houston Alumni Invitational.

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