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The Battalion

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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A&M starts off hot in outdoor season

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Photo by CJ Smith
Texas A&M sprinter competes competes in the 4×400 Meter Relay during the Ted Nelson Invitational at Murray Fasken Indoor Track on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

Texas A&M track and field junior Heather Abadie and sophomore Jack Mann III swept the pole vault events on the opening day of the Carolina Spring Break Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico to set the pace for the Aggies to finish the March 14-16 meet with 13 event wins, six all-time marks, five meet records and 11 personal-best performances at the Pista Atletica Basilio Rodriguez.

Abadie’s performance set a new women’s pole vault meet record with a clearance of 4.10 meters/13-5.25 from a short approach at the Ana Mendez Stadium, breaking the record previously set by former A&M pole vault record holder Laura Asimakis in 2010. Mann also set a new men’s pole vault meet record with a clearance of 5.30m.

“Both Heather [Abadie] and Jack [Mann III] broke meet records today, which was a great start to the meet,” coach Pat Henry said. “They competed well and cleared some good bars to start outdoor competition.”

Following Abadie’s performance, the Aggies claimed the remaining top-five spots with senior Savannah Hanson in second clearing 4.00m, freshman Ella Vajdos in third clearing 3.85m, junior Riley Floerke in fourth clearing 3.70m in her first appearance and sophomore Ava Riche finishing fifth, clearing 3.50m. Hanson and Vajdos entered in the all-time lists, with Hanson at No. 8 and Vajdos at No. 11.

The men’s pole vault followed up, with freshman Leo Brown finishing second behind Mann, clearing 5.00m to end day one of competition and kick-off of the outdoor season in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Aggies continued their winning ways on Day 2, taking first in six events including the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays. The women’s squad of senior Semira Killebrew, sophomore Camryn Dickson, freshman Laila Hackett and sophomore Leeah Burr took first with a time of 44.44 while the men followed up with junior Isaiah Teer, senior Devante Mount, freshman Omarion Ferguson and sophomore Pierre Goree taking first with a time of 40.15.

Senior Joniar Thomas placed second in the women’s 200-meter dash with a time of 24.10. Burr finished fourth with a time of 24.51 and senior Timara Chapman placed sixth with a time of 24.78. In the men’s 200-meter dash, Teer and Goree placed sixth and seventh, respectively, with times of 21.67 and 21.83.

On the field events side, sophomore Ethan Sanders won first in his debut in the men’s discus with a toss of 48.72m. Freshman Jadan Harris took first in the men’s triple jump with a leap of 14.73m.

Freshman Carlie Weiser secured the Aggies’ fifth win, placing first in the women’s discus with a toss of 47.45m. Graduate senior Nissi Kabongo won the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.70 m. Sophomore Jade Johnson and freshman Alyssa Rodriguez placed seventh and eighth in the women’s long jump with leaps of 5.55m and 5.27m, respectively.

“It was good to get out there and compete today,” Henry said. “This first meet allows us to learn some things, which I think we did. I saw a lot of effort out of our athletes, which was the main thing today.”

On Day 3, the Aggies topped off the meet with more personal bests and meet records, including junior Sam Hankins, who broke both his personal best and meet record in the men’s javelin with a toss of 77.95m to place first. Hankins jumped to No. 3 in the A&M all-time lists. Junior Kimar Farquharson moved to No. 6 on the A&M all-time lists after breaking the men’s 800-meter run meet record with a time of one minute and 46.20 seconds.

Junior Sam Whitmarsh debuted in the men’s 1500-meter and broke the meet record, placing first with a time of 3:44.51. Junior Victor Kibiego placed third with a time of 3:45.10. Whitmarsh moved to No. 9 on the A&M all-time lists while Kibiego was placed No. 12.

Senior Carter Bajoit climbed to No. 3 in the A&M all-time list in the men’s high jump, placing second with a personal best of 2.25m, which tied the meet record. Weiser was the final Aggie to move into the all-time performers lists in the women’s shot put with her first-place toss of 15.28m.

Ten more event wins for the Aggies started off with junior Lianna Davidson breaking the meet record in the women’s javelin with a toss of 57.28m. Dickson finished her first individual win in the outdoor season in the women’s 100-meter dash with a time of 11.51. Sophomore Jaiya Covington placed first in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.20.

Senior Jermaisha Arnold continued her winning ways from indoor-season success to win the women’s 300-meter dash with a time of 36.41. Sophomore Jade Johnson won the women’s triple jump with a leap of 12.63m, and the women’s 4×400-meter team of Kabongo, Burr, Chapman and junior Kennedy Wade secured first place with a time of 3:37.20.

On the men’s side, junior Bryce McCray placed first in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.12. Junior Auhmad Robinson finished first in the men’s 300-meter dash with a time of 32.06. Junior Bryce Foster broke the meet record in the men’s shot put with a toss of 17.68m to secure the final Aggie win of the meet.

Eight additional Aggies set personal bests with the men accounting for five of the eight. Senior Connor Schulman led the way with a personal best in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.72. Junior Cooper Cawthra set a personal best in the 800-meter with a time of 1:49.02 and sophomore Blake Harris finished the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 14.59. Senior Eric Casarez and senior Jonathan Chung both ran personal bests of 3:46.19 and 3:56.49, respectively, in the men’s 1500-meter.

On the women’s side, Chapman had two personal bests in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at 13.79 and women’s javelin at a toss of 44.51m. Senior Victoria De La Garza had a personal best in the women’s javelin with a toss of 37.17m.

“I thought our team did a really good job today,” Henry said at the close of the meet. “Some of the marks were extremely impressive, especially so early in the season. We can take a lot of positives from this meet, and now we head home for another good test next weekend.”

The Aggies return home to E.B. Cushing Stadium to host the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday, March 23.

Youngchan Kang is a journalism sophomore and contributed this article from the course JOUR 359, Reporting Sports, to The Battalion.

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