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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Aggies send 21 to NCAA Championships after West Regional

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore Brandon Miller during the men’s 800m at the Alumni Muster meet on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

The Texas A&M track and field teams continued on their quest for a national title at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Fayetteville, Ark., from May 25 through 28. In the field of 117 schools, the No. 13 men’s team advanced seven individuals and the 4×400-meter relay team to the NCAA Championships, while the No. 3 women’s squad sent 11 individuals along with the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays.

Athletes that placed in the top 12 of their events earned a trip to the national championships in Eugene, Ore., from June 8 through 11.

Freshman Bryce Foster, a starting center on the A&M football team, earned the Aggies’ first bid on Wednesday with a personal best shot put of 64 feet 8 3/4 inches for a fourth-place finish. The throw makes Foster the fifth-best performer for the maroon and white all time.

“To finish fourth in the West is a great indication of what he is capable of doing,” coach Pat Henry said. “We know and he knows that there is more in the tank. He was a great high school shot putter, but it takes time, and we’ve been talking about that all season. He’s putting himself in better positions, and he’s starting to figure things out. Overall, it was a great day for him.”

On May 26, freshmen Lianna Davidson and Katelyn Fairchild advanced to the NCAA Championships with javelin throws of 179-11and 171-9, respectively. Davidson’s throw was good for second place, while Fairchild finished in fifth. Later, senior Deborah Acquah finished atop the women’s long jump leaderboard with a performance of 21-10, punching her ticket to Eugene for the third time in her career. 

The men’s team showed out on Friday, advancing six athletes along with the 4×400-meter relay team to the national championship. Senior Moitalel Mpoke and junior James Smith II both finished in the top three of their heats of the 400-meter hurdles, with Mpoke coming in fifth overall and Smith II in sixth place. The runners clocked times of 49.35 and 49.54 seconds, respectively.

Sophomore Brandon Miller earned a trip to Eugene after winning his heat and posting the second-fastest time overall in the 800-meter race at 1:46.03. In the 400-meter competition, freshman Emmanuel Bamidele posted a time of 45.64 to earn the final qualifying spot. 
Sophomore Devon Achane, a running back for A&M football, secured the final qualifying spot in the 100-meter race with a time of 10.18. Achane’s time matched that of Roman Turner of Arkansas, but Achane’s faster season-best time allowed him to advance. 

In the field, sophomore Carter Bajoit took the final qualifying spot of the men’s high jump with a clearance of 7-0.5. Meanwhile, Miller, Bamidele and freshmen Ashton Schwartzman and Cutler Zamzow combined to record a time of 3:04.11 in the 4×400-meter relay, good for second place in their heat.

Saturday evening saw the women’s team send eight individuals to the NCAA Championships and two squads: the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relay teams. Sophomore Lamara Distin, looking to avenge her runner-up finish in the championships last season, punched the maroon and white’s first ticket of the day with a clearance of 5-11.25. 

A&M advanced two runners in the 100-meter hurdles as the senior duo of Kaylah Robinson and Deshae Wise clocked times of 12.57 and 12.90, respectively. Robinson’s time was the fastest overall and was equal to the fastest time under all conditions in West regional history. Wise went on to place second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 56.65. 

Two Aggies qualified in the 400-meter race as sophomore Charokee Young clocked a second-place time of 50.80 and junior Tierra Robinson-Jones came in fourth place with a time of 51.59. In the 800-meter race, senior Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete’s personal best time of 2:02.98 was good for seventh place.

The 4×400-meter relay team of Robinson-Jones, Young, junior Jania Martin and senior Jaevin Reed clocked a third place time of 3:26.49 — the eighth-fastest time in program history — to advance to the national championship. In the 4×100-meter relay, Martin, Robinson, junior Rachel Hall and sophomore Laila Owens recorded an eighth-fastest time of 44.18 seconds. 

After a week of rest, athletes with qualifying times will compete in the NCAA Championships from June 8 through 11. 

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