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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 track places high at SEC Championship

Sophomore+Devin+Dixon%26%23160%3Bfinishes+strong+to+claim+his+victory+in+the+Mens+800+meter+race+by+almost+two+seconds.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Sophomore Devin Dixon finishes strong to claim his victory in the Men’s 800 meter race by almost two seconds.

This weekend, College Station’s Gilliam Indoor Stadium hosted some of the top athletes in collegiate sports as the SEC Championships came to town. 
No. 8 Alabama walked away with the men’s title, scoring 91 points and winning by three over No. 3 Arkansas. The women’s side of competition saw No. 1 Arkansas finish on top with a total of 108 points, 23.5 points ahead of second place finisher No. 4 Georgia.
As for the hometown Texas A&M teams, who are both ranked seventh nationally, the men’s team finished in fourth place, totaling 75.5 points, while the women’s squad ended the weekend in fifth with 62 points.
“We left some points out there, but so did other folks,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said to 12thman.com. “The men’s side was closer than the women’s side. I’m happy for Dan Waters at Alabama. We’re going to get a little better as we go. We just have to wait and see what happens with our nationals people.”
Senior long jumper Will Williams was the first Aggie winner of the weekend, recording an opening round jump of 26-2 (7.99) to finish on top. Williams set the pace early, forcing others to chase, none of which would catch him. The Aggie had earned bronze in the past two years.
“I feel great, especially with the crowd feeding into the clapping game,” Williams said to 12thman.com. “Winning it on our runway, it’s the best feeling in the world.” 
“I mean a lot of people look at the regular season and I like to say to myself that I am a championship guy,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what I do during the regular season, but conference and nationals I’ll be prepared.”
Will Williams had a personal best to win the long jump, and he beat some great long jumpers today,” Henry noted to 12thman.com. “It was the surprise of the day and the highlight.”
The weekend also included a record breaking performance for the men’s 4×400 team. A time of 3:02.55 broke the SEC Indoor meet record, the Texas A&M school record, Gilliam stadium facility record and is the fastest American collegiate time ever run. On track for the Aggies was Ilolo Izu (46.56), Robert Grant (44.61), Devin Dixon (45.66) and Mylik Kerley (45.52).
“My thought was, they’re going to put me into position and I just have to finish this for them,” Kerley said to 12thman.com. “We already know this isn’t the end of it, the national meet is coming up. The goal for me and these guys is to get qualifying marks for the national meet.” 
Coming into the meet with the two fastest times in the SEC this season, freshman Sammy Watson and junior Jazmine Fray finished 1-2 in the women’s 800m. Watson clocked a 2:04.25 to defeat her fellow Aggie. Fray, the defending champion, ran a 2:05.42 to finish just behind her younger teammate.
“I’m a frontrunner type of person,” stated Watson. “That’s what I like to do. I love just looking at the big screen and seeing Jazmine with me when we are racing. We just want to be better than ever, just be our best.
“Our workouts are always meticulous and headed toward the NCAA meet. We all want to win, and there are never any hard feelings between us. I’m amazed that I’m here and competing at the highest level.”
For a sweep of the event, Devin Dixon successfully defended his title in the 800m on the men’s side, clocking a time of 1:49.32. It is the first sweep of the event since LSU accomplished it in 2008.
“I’m really proud of the half-milers,” Henry said to 12thman.com. “We didn’t run fast, but we won the races. That’s all that matters. It just didn’t happen that we ran fast.”
Another Aggie 1-2 finish came in the men’s pole vault. School record holder Jacob Wooten and senior Audie Wyatt both jumped 17-3 (5.28), with Wooten winning based on fewer misses at the height.
In the mile, a time of 4:07.18 was good enough for senior Alex Riba to claim second place and become to first Aggie to medal in the event at SEC Indoors. Earlier this month at the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational, he became the first Aggie to break the four minute mile with a 3:59.12.
In the heptathlon, Nathan Hite managed a third place finish with a career best total score of 5,592. The senior finish first in the shot put portion of the event (14.51), second in the 60m (7:02) and third in the high jump (1.97).
On the women’s side of competition, freshman Tyra Gittens and senior Shaina Burns placed fifth and sixth in the pentathlon, respectively. Gittens totaled 4,121 points, bettering her Trinidad and Tobago national record of 4,009 she set in her event debut earlier this season. Burns totaled a career best 4,085 points in the event. 
Tyra Gittens scored 4,121 which is about a 100-point improvement,” Henry said to 12thman.com. “Any time a freshman steps into the SEC Championships and does that, it’s great. Shaina Burns also did a great job to finish sixth right behind Tyra.”
Gittens finished second in both the high jump (1.76) and long jump (6.19) portions of the event, while finishing third in shot put (12.33). Burns led the shot put portion of the event (13.78) and finished third in the 800m (2:20.04).
Alison Ondrusek met her medal-winning expectations as the senior placed second in the women’s weight throw with a heave of 69-8 (21.25) in the sixth round.
The women’s distance medley relay squad finished in fourth place with a time of 11:21.86. Running for the Aggies was Hannah Campbell (3:30.01), Jarra Owens (54.07), Brittany Parker (2:08.67) and Watson (4:49.11).
A fourth place finish was also managed by the women’s 4×400 team. A time of 3:32.30 was run behind a squad of Danyel White (52.60), Glorilisha Carter (53.28), Julia Mudubuike (54.28) and Fray (52.14).
Highly touted senior Aggie sprinters Grant and Kerley finished fourth and seventh in the men’s 400m, respectively. Grant clocked a time of 46.14, while Kerley ran a 46.38. 
Sophomore Lajarvia Brown, who was also expected to compete for a medal, just missed out, placing fifth in the women’s triple jump with a distance of 43-3 (13.20). Senior Garrett Cragin, competing in the men’s high jump, tied for fifth place with a personal best leap of 7-1 (2.18).
The collegiate track and field world will be back in College Station on March 9-10 when Texas A&M will again host the NCAA Indoor Championships at Gilliam Indoor Arena.

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