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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies earn medals on first day of NCAA Indoor Championships

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Photo by Cassie Stricker

Freshman Carlos Rodriguez finished the men’s 800 meter run with a time of 1:55.98.

Texas A&M track and field earned two medals on day one of competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships and qualified two 800m runners for Saturday’s finals. With a majority of the events still to be scored, the women’s team currently sits in ninth with eight points, while the men’s team sits in 15th with six points.
Two Aggie field athletes scored points for the Aggies on Friday. Sophomore long jumper Deborah Acquah won silver with a career best leap of 6.46m, while senior pole vaulter Jacob Wooten earned a bronze medal with his own career best height of 5.73m.
“It was a huge jump for Deborah, she’s just a great competitor,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said to 12thman.com. “If you give her a shot to make the final, then she is going to take advantage of it. She’s a good athlete and a great competitor.”
After three rounds, Acquah sat in ninth place, claiming the last qualifying spot for the final three rounds by one inch. Acquah fouled in the fourth round, but managed her career best leap in the fifth to tie the lead heading into the final round. Jasmyn Steels of Northwestern State ended up claiming victory, but Acquah managed to hold on to her second place spot.
“It wasn’t easy at first, during the qualifying rounds,” Acquah said to 12thman.com. “It came down to hard work. Just making the final three rounds was the edge I needed. When I saw the mark I had in the fifth round my reaction was, ‘Wooooooo’, I did it! I was so happy. It’s the happiest time of my life.”
Her leap set the new national record of Ghana and came within a quarter inch of breaking A&M’s school record.
There was some confusion in the middle of the men’s pole vault, as the officials accidentally set the bar two inches too high. The round was redone, and when it was all said and done, Wooten’s jump of 5.73m broke his own school record.
“The officials made a mistake in the pole vault and it cost Jacob,” Henry said to 12thman.com “They admitted they made a mistake. It’s not a good situation for Jacob. Also, you never know what two points is going to do with the team score at the end of this track meet. I’m proud of Jacob, he did a great job.”
Despite the mistake, Wooten said he enjoyed breaking the Aggie record and winning a bronze medal.
“I felt comfortable attempting the higher heights,” Wooten said to 12thman.com. “I think I may have let my emotions get to me a little bit. I should have stayed clean with my earlier bars. I’m happy with the school record, but I’m still hungry.”
In the 800m, SEC champions Devin Dixon and Jazmine Fray qualified for tomorrow’s finals and will have an opportunity to score points for the Aggies. Each of them were automatic qualifiers by finishing in the top-three of their respective heats. Dixon clocked a time of 1:49.15 to win his heat, while Fray ran a 2:06.94 to finish third.
Junior Carlton Orange also competed in the event, but failed to qualify for the finals with his 10th place time of 1:49.65.
Nathan Hite sits in 14th place (3,025 points) in the heptathlon with four events under his belt. The senior placed fifth in the 60m, 16th in the long jump, eighth in the shot put and 14th in the high jump. The event will conclude tomorrow with the 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1,000m.
The Aggies struggled in their sprint events on Friday night. In the women’s 400m, Syaira Richardson (53.19), Julia Madubuike (53.96) and Tierra Robinson-Jones (54.13) all failed to qualify for the finals. In the 200m, Brenessa Thompson finished second in her heat and 11th overall with a time of 23.35 to miss out on qualification.
The men’s team’s only individual sprinter, Bryce Deadmon, was looking strong in his 400m semifinal, but pulled up with an injury on the back straight of his final lap and was not able to finish. The senior is also part of the 4×400 relay team, but his status for Saturday night is still unknown.
A&M will have two triple jumpers competing in their respective finals tomorrow evening. Junior Tahar Triki, the current collegiate leader, will represent the men, while junior Ciynamon Stevenson will represent the women.
The Championships will close with the 4×400 relays on Saturday night, an event the Aggies have had much success in this season. The men’s team enter with the second best time of the season (3:01.56), while the women’s squad have set two world-leading times in 2019.
Tomorrow’s action gets underway at 1 p.m. with the field events followed by the track finals at 4 p.m. The event will be streamed live on ESPN3 starting at 4 p.m. CT.

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