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The Battalion

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A&M track and field closes season in Eugene

Sophomore+Laila+Owens+takes+her+place+on+the+starting+block+before+the+start+of+the+womens+200m+race+at+the+SEC+Indoor+Track+and+Field+Championship+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+25%2C+2022.
Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore Laila Owens takes her place on the starting block before the start of the women’s 200m race at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championship on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022.

The Texas A&M track and field team had a successful performance at the NCAA Championship at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., from June 9 through 11. 

A&M’s women’s track & field team had eight Aggies combine for 39 points in six events to tie for fourth place with LSU in team standings. The men’s team finished 25th in team standings with a total of 11 points. 

On Day 1 of the meet, the Aggies had four entries make it to the finals. Sophomores Omajuwa Etiwe, Chevannie Hanson and Brandon Miller and freshman Ashton Schwartzman won section two of the men’s 4×400-meter with a time of 3:02:09. A&M had three runners make their marks individually to move on to the finals with Miller, 800-meter, freshman Emmanuel Bamidele 400-meter, and junior James Smith II , 400-meter hurdles. Bamidele finished fourth with a time of 45.53 to advance as the seventh-highest qualifier. Miller finished second with a season-best time of 1:46:00 to automatically qualify. Meanwhile, Smith ran for a personal best time of 49.38 that etched his place as the fourth-fastest performer in A&M history. 

Honorable mentions for the squad included sophomore Devon Achane ,100-meter, 10.48, freshman Bryce Foster in shot-put, 60-9.25/18.52m, and senior Moitalel Mpoke, 400-meter hurdles, 51.58. 

Day 2 of the event switched over to the women’s side where the Aggies had four athletes advance to the finals. All-American graduate Deborah Acquah registered eight points with her second-place performance in the long jump at 21-8/6.60m, 0.5w. Her efforts earned her the 11th-career recognition of First Team All-America honors. 
Senior Jaevin Reed, juniors Jania Martin and Tierra Robinson-Jones and sophomore Charokee Young registered the fastest qualifying time of 3:25:63 for the women’s 4×400-meter relay. Individually, seniors Kaylah Robinson,100-meter,12.87,0.5w, Deshae Wise 400-meter hurdles, 56.24, and Young 400-meter, 50.46, advanced to the finals in their events. 

Six Aggies earned second team All-America honors, including senior Avi-Tal Wilson-Perteete, 800-meter, 2:03.50, sophomore Laila Owens, 200-meter, 22.97,0.5w, freshmen Lianna Davidson, javelin, 170-7/52.99m, and Katelyn Fairchild, javelin, 170-7/52.00m, Wise, 100-meter hurdles, 13.07, -0.3w, and Robinson-Jones , 400-meter, 51.73. 

The men’s portion of the meet wrapped up on Day 3 with Miller winning bronze in the 800-meter and the 4×400-meter relay placing fifth. 

Miller ran for a season-best time of 1:45:09 in his event to finish third. Following the first lap, the St. Louis native led the race at 50.90 before Texas Tech’s Moad Zahfi,1:44.49, and Mississippi State’s Navasky Anderson, 1:45:02, took charge. 

Miller helped the maroon and white place fifth in the 4×400-meter relay at 3:01.72. Schwartzman and Hanson combined at 1:31.31 for the first two laps, while Miller clocked in at 45.02 and Etiwe finished off at 45.40. The group earned first team All-America honors, Miller’s second recognition of the day. 

“I feel like I’m getting fast at the right time,” Miller said. “This outdoor season has been a process and I feel like guys have been teaching me a couple things. I’ve learned some lessons and been through some things that I haven’t been through before. Again, I’m just excited for the opportunity to go out there and run and compete with the best people in the nation.”

Notable performances include Smith who contributed one point after placing eighth in 400-meter hurdles at 50.19 to earn first team All-America honors while sophomore Carter Bajoit earned honorable mention in high jump. 

The women’s team wrapped up the final day of the four day meet, where A&M head coach Pat Henry registered his 19th top-five finish with the squad. 

“We had a lot of good things happen today,” Henry said. “For everyone to do what they did today, there was really great effort. Overall, I am pleased with the group. We finished fourth in the NCAAs — we’re not happy with fourth but I am proud of this group. We have some things that we need to do different, but we have people in this program right now that are dedicated to their craft and dedicated to getting better and that is the key for next year’s group.”

Sophomore Lamara Distin earned her second career national title after a stunning showing in the high jump at 6-4.75/1.95m. The Hanover, Jamaica native became the first Aggie in history to sweep the indoor and outdoor national title in her event and was the Aggies’ top performer of the day with ten points. 

Young scored 9.25 points in her two events, the 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay. She finished as a runner-up with a time of 50.65 and helped the 4×400-meter to fourth-place at 3:24.55. Reed, Robinson-Jones and Owens earned first team All-America honors with their performances in the 4x400m relay. 

Robinson and Wise added four points each with fifth-place finishes in their events. Robinson recorded 12.86 ,-0.2w, in the 100-meter hurdles while Wise matched her personal best in the 400-meter hurdles at 55.99 in the final meet of her collegiate career. 

“I feel like I am so thankful to have such an amazing graduate-transfer experience,” Wise said. “I love the team, I love my coaches and I’m having the greatest season of my entire life. I couldn’t even imagine performing the way I have. Not only in the 100[-meter] hurdles, but in the 400[-meter] hurdles; a race that I was previously running in 62 seconds and now I’m running 55 seconds in. Just the huge improvement and I can see myself going even further beyond the marks I’ve already done.” 

The meet concludes the men and women’s track and field teams 2022 outdoor season.

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