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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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Men’s track finishes in close second at NCAA Championships

Senior+Fred+Kerley+is+one+of+two+Aggies+named+finalist+for+the+Bowerman+Award.
Photo by By Errol Anderson

Senior Fred Kerley is one of two Aggies named finalist for the Bowerman Award.

This time around, it was a story of revenge for Florida who scored 61.5 points at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Friday evening to edge Texas A&M by two points and win the Men’s NCAA Outdoor title. Back in March, it was the Aggies who beat the Gators by half a point to claim the Men’s NCAA Indoor title.
“Today was a really disappointing day,” A&M head coach Pat Henry said to 12thMan.com. “To do the things we do with the nucleus of people that we have, there were a few events where we should have scored better than we did. We had two or three things go wrong today, but we turned around and did some really good things, too.
“We did about half the things real well today and about half the things very poor.”
Coming into the last event of the meet, A&M needed to win the 4×400 relay and have Florida finish seventh or worse to be crowned national champions. In the semifinals on Thursday, the Aggies set their fifth world-leading time of the season, clocking a mind-boggling 2:59.95.
The Aggies won the final in commanding fashion with a speedy 2:59.98, but the Gators managed a fourth place finish and dashed any hopes of a team title for the boys from College Station. Running for the Aggies was Richard Rose (46.7), Mylik Kerley (44.1), Robert Grant (45.11) and Fred Kerley (43.99).
A&M may have taken home the title if junior Robert Grant had not fallen while running the 400 meter hurdles. Grant was in prime position to finish around fourth or fifth, but fell on hurdle six and settled for eighth place. The 3-4 point difference proved key, as Florida’s T.J. Holmes was able to finish sixth, scoring two extra points for the Gators.
It was a mixed bag for A&M in terms of performances, but many of the big names still brought their best. Junior John Kyriazis was the first Aggie winner of the meet, setting a new NCAA meet record in javelin with a heave of 82.58, easily blowing past the competition. Also on day one, junior Will Williams placed third in the long jump with a distance of 7.96 while sophomore Jacob Wooten placed fifth in the pole vault with a height of 5.45.
Day two was highlighted by senior Lindon Victor’s successful decathlon title defense where he scored 8,390 points, his fifth 8,300-plus score. Victor holds the collegiate decathlon record which he broke twice this season, first at the Texas Relays (8,472) and again at the SEC Championships (8,539). His win gave A&M an 11.5-point lead heading into the final day of competition.
In 54 degree temperatures, senior Fred Kerley opened day three with an electrifying 44.10 in the 400 meters, the fourth fastest collegiate time ever, for a sweep of the NCAA titles.
“The time was never a factor,” Kerley told 12thMan.com. “Since I’ve been winning, the target was on my back. I just really had to win the race to finish my collegiate track season. This race was different, because the cold weather played a factor. I was a little tight in the race and I didn’t get out like I normally do.”
“It was a great, great day for Fred Kerley,” Henry added to his comments to 12thMan.com. “He won the 400m and anchored two 4×400 relays to sub three minutes. Fred has grown so much in one year, it’s just fantastic to see what that young guy has done over this past year.
“He’s the best quarter-miler in the world right now, and it will be fun to see what he does now on the world scene for the United States of America.”
The Aggies’ 4×100 relay team finished in fourth place with a time of 38.72 behind Williams, Jace Comick, Elijah Morrow and Fred Kerley. Freshman Devin Dixon, the SEC 800 meters champion, ran a 1:49.32 to finish seventh.
A&M’s men’s team still has a lot of positives to look back on this year, including several collegiate and meet records, world-leading times, and of course the NCAA Indoor title.
“It’s been a blessing to wear the Aggie uniform,” Fred Kerley said to 12thMan.com. “When I first got here I was coming off an injury and ran 45.10 that season. Coach told me that if I can get through this last season healthy there is no telling what I can do. This season was a blessing.”
The women’s NCAA champion will be crowned on Saturday night. The Aggies still have business to take care of as Aaliyah Brown will run the 100 meters and 200 meters, Jaevin Reed will compete in the 400 meters and Serena Brown will throw the discus. A&M’s 4×400 relay team will also be in action.

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