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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Aggies round out SEC Outdoor Championships

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior Lamara Distin jumps over the bar during the women’s high jump at the Alumni Muster meet on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Entering the 2022 SEC Outdoor Championships from May 12 to May 14, the Texas A&M track and field teams expected stiff competition. Of the 14 women’s teams that participated, eight ranked in the Top 25, with the Aggies leading the pack at No. 2. Meanwhile, eight of the 13 men’s teams ranked in the Top 25, with five teams in the top six, including No. 6 A&M.
Despite the competition against the powerhouse conference’s best athletes in Oxford, Miss., each A&M team put forth strong performances, with the women’s squad finishing in fifth place, while the men’s squad placed sixth. From an individual standpoint, the event featured personal bests and record-breaking performances from a host of Aggies.
“We didn’t finish as a team the way I wanted us to finish, but we had a lot of good efforts,” coach Pat Henry said. “It’s similar [to] last season, we didn’t finish well in this meet, but we still ended up in second on the women’s side at the National Championships and sixth on the men’s side. The big meet [NCAA Championships] is in front of us. I want to win the SEC Championships, but once again you look who wins this meet, and why they win this meet is the telling question.”
Freshman javelin thrower Katelyn Fairchild got the Aggies’ scoring started with a toss of 172-5 feet, earning her a silver medal. Freshman Lianna Davidson then had a toss of 169-6 feet for a fifth place finish to earn the duo a combined 12 points.
“What Katelyn [Fairchild] and Lianna [Davidson] did in this competition speaks well for them as they move forward in their career,” Henry said. “Those are two young athletes that don’t fully understand how well they did in this meet. This is the SEC Championships, and that doesn’t happen very often.”
Later on Day 1, junior javelin thrower Nick Mirabelli’s toss of 228-1 feet earned him a fourth place finish and five points, while junior distance runner Eric Casarez tallied three points after a 29:54.74 minute finish in the men’s 10,000-meter. Casarez now ranks as the seventh-fastest performer in A&M history.
After a six-hour thunderstorm delay, Day 2 of the event saw sophomore Lamara Distin win the women’s high jump with a jump of 6-4.75 feet for 10 points. The jump, her fifth this outdoor season of 6-4 feet or higher, completed a sweep of the event, dating back to the SEC Indoor Championships in February.
“Lamara [Distin] clearing 6 feet and 4.75 inches is outstanding,” Henry said. “She is out there jumping by herself.”
After Distin’s gold medal performance, fifth-year Deborah Acquah earned five points for her fourth place, 21-5.25 foot long jump. Junior mid-distance runner Teddy Radtke also tallied five points after a fourth place, 8:54.70 minute finish in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Radtke now ranks as the sixth-fastest performer in program history.
“I thought Teddy [Radtke] finishing fourth in the steeplechase surprised a lot of people,” Henry said.
The Aggies earned a point apiece from junior Allyson Andress’ eighth-place finish in the heptathlon and freshman Bryce Foster’s eighth-place performance in the men’s shot put.
On the event’s third and final day, the women’s 4×400-meter team of senior Jania Martin, sophomore Laila Owens and juniors Tierra Robinson-Jones and Charokee Young took home second place with a time of 3:22.01 minutes, just eight hundredths of a second behind first place Kentucky. The time, the second fastest in collegiate history, marks a school record.
Along with senior sprinter Rachel Hall and fifth-year Kaylah Robinson, Martin and Owens placed third in the women’s 4×100-meter race with a time of 43.38. To complete her efforts, Owens finished the women’s 200-meter race in fourth.
“Laila [Owens] did a good job today,” Henry said. “I thought she could’ve finished third in the 200-meter but ended up in fourth, but then she comes back and runs a 49-plus in the 4×400-meter relay.”
The men’s 400-meter hurdles saw Aggies come in first and second place, with senior Moitalel Mpoke and junior James Smith II finishing with times of 48.84 seconds and 49.41 seconds, respectively. Mpoke’s time is the third-fastest performance in A&M history.
Freshmen Emmanuel Bamidele and Cutler Zamzow and sophomores Chevannie Hanson and Omajuwa Etiwe combined for a third place time of 3:02.31 minutes in the men’s 4×400-meter race. Meanwhile, senior Deshae Wise finished the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a personal best time of 55.99 seconds for a fourth-place finish.
Robinson finished the women’s 100-meter hurdles in second place with a time of 12.60 seconds, while Young was the runner-up in the women’s 400-meter race with a time of 50.45 seconds.
“Charokee [Young] runs 50.45 but gets beat in this meet, and that will be a situation that ends up helping her,” Henry said. “She’ll use what happened tonight to help her down the road.”
Freshman Sam Whitmarsh rounded out the action for the Aggies in the men’s 800-meter race with a second place time of 1:46.09 seconds, the fourth fastest in A&M history.
“Sam [Whitmarsh] looked fantastic in the 800-meter and probably had the surprise of the meet for everybody else, but not for us,” Henry said. “We knew something good was coming, it was just a matter of when.”
The maroon and white will now focus its efforts on the NCAA West Regional Preliminaries, beginning May 26 in Fayetteville, Ark.

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