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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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Personal, program, collegiate, national records set by A&M track and field in Austin

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore Devon Achane before the start of the men’s 200m race at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championship on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022.

How can Texas A&M’s men’s and women’s track and field teams expect to stand out among the crowd at a meet that includes high school, collegiate and invitational athletes from every corner of the country and globe? A couple of record-setting days on rival tracks will do the trick.
After competing throughout the previous weekend at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., the Aggies stayed in-state for the 94th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin from Thursday, March 24 through Saturday, March 26.
Day 1
Four Aggies set A&M top-12 marks, two of which came in the 5,000-meter race. Junior Eric Casarez finished in second with a time of 13:56.83, and senior Julia Black finished in fifth with a time of 16:44.35, placing themselves at No. 4 and No. 12 in program history, respectively. Black had broken the program record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase the week before.
At double the distance, senior Grace Plain finished in third place in the 10,000-meter event with a time of 35:32.12, the 11th-best performance in A&M history.
As well, the No. 4 mark in program history in women’s outdoor pole vault was met by freshman Heather Abadie, skying up and clearing the bar at 13-7.25/4.15m.
Despite being in just her first collegiate year, Abadie has quickly established a name for herself. The week before, she reached No. 7 on the outdoor list, which she has already improved upon; during the indoor season, her debut performance saw her immediately reach No. 6 in indoor program history, improving to No. 3 by late January.
Day 2
Another day of strong A&M performances was highlighted by a collegiate and program record from the women’s and men’s medley relay teams, respectively.
The quartet of juniors Tierra Robinson-Jones, Charokee Young and Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete and sophomore Laila Owens won the women’s sprint medley relay event with a time of 3:38.93, breaking the collegiate record which was previously held by A&M. They narrowly edged out the Texas Longhorns’ team, which also broke the record but trailed the Aggies by a mere 0.02 seconds.
Wilson-Perteete broke her second collegiate record in two weeks, having set the women’s 600-meter record with a 1:28.02 the weekend before in Tempe. Not only had she earned SEC Runner of the Week for her performance, but she also earned the United States Track & Field Cross Country Association National Athlete of the Week.
On the men’s side, the distance medley team was the one to shine, breaking a six-year-old school record. The quartet of freshman Cutler Zamzow, sophomores Cooper Cawthra and Allon Clay and senior Gavin Hoffpauir combined for a time of 9:43.43, a program-best by 8.36 seconds.
The women’s distance medley relay team of freshmen Gemma Goddard and Bailey Goggans and graduate students Jaevin Reed and Annie Fuller finished both third in the meet and third on the program’s all-time top-12 list with a time of 11:27.18.
In the hurdling events, two men took third and fourth place in the 400-meter hurdles, senior Moitalel Mpoke and junior James Smith II, respectively. Mpoke is already the best 400-meter hurdler in school history, holding the four fastest times by an Aggie, running a 49.36-second race on Friday. However, the junior — both in class and suffix — kept right up with Mpoke, making Smith the seventh-best in A&M history with a 49.53.
Out on the field, three more athletes had top-five finishes in their events: freshman Bryce Foster, a center for the football team, tossed his shot put for a distance of 59-7.75/18.18m, good for first place in the “B” competition; sophomore Carter Bajoit soared up for a men’s-best “B” high jump of 7-1.75/2.18m, clearing his personal best and setting himself at eighth in program history; and fifth-year jumper Deborah Acquah, who holds both the indoor and outdoor A&M triple jump records as well as the indoor long jump and the second-best outdoor long jump, placed fourth in the triple jump in Austin with a jump 44-1.5/13.45m.
“Overall, it was a productive day in many different areas,” coach Pat Henry told “Our women’s sprint medley relay had a very impressive performance running a collegiate record, and our men’s distance medley relay set the school record … I’m looking forward to see how they run tomorrow, as well as how the rest of our athletes compete.”
Day 3
With the bar set high after Day 2’s performances, A&M sophomore high jumper Lamara Distin beat it the only way she knew how: by clearing it.
Distin cleared a personal-best high jump of 6-5/1.96m, 1.5 inches or 0.04 meters higher than her previous best. Not only was it her personal best, but the height marked a school record, a Jamaican record for the Hanover-native, the fifth-best collegiate jump and the best mark by any woman in the outdoor high jump so far in 2022, qualifying her for the world championships.
A trio of mid-distance relay teams each took second place: the men’s 4×800 team and both the men’s and women’s 4×400 teams.
The men’s 4×8 team, featuring Clay, Cawthra, freshman Sam Whitmarsh and sophomore Caden Norris, combined for a time of 7:24.03, the eighth-best time in program history. The women’s 4×4 team, featuring Robinson-Jones, Owens, Young and senior Syaira Richardson, ran a program-second-best time of 3:23.30. The men’s 4×4 team ran its own 3:02.41, featuring sophomores Brandon Miller, Chevannie Hanson and Omajuwa Etiwe and freshman Emmanuel Bamidele, and was highlighted by Bamidele running a 400-meter split of 44.17 seconds — which would rank second in program history in the 400-meter race if ran individually.
“The 4×400-meter looked good,” Henry said. “Our women ran 3:23.30 and that’s the second-fastest time we’ve ever ran, and that’s one of the fastest times in this stadium, but we just got nipped at the wire … We’ve got to put ourselves in better positions to win those kinds of races, and I think we will be able to run with anybody.”
A series of wind-aided times and distances kept multiple Aggies off the all-time top-12 lists — wind legality qualifies as under 2 miles per hour to the runner’s back.
One example was A&M running back and sophomore sprinter Devon Achane. On Day 2, Achane ran a 100-meter time of 10.14 seconds in his qualifying heat with an aided +1.8, the ninth-best time in A&M history. On Day 3, he ran an all-conditions personal-best time of 10.02 with an aided +4.6, which would be a program record had it been unassisted, placing second in the event.
Senior Kaylah Robinson finished in second with an all-conditions personal-best time in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, a 12.49-second run with an aided +2.5. Acquah, who was competing in the “A” long jump, placed third with a jump of 22-3/6.78m with an aided +2.7.
“Devon [Achane] looked really good,” Henry said. “He got beat a little bit but he still ran 10.02, and it was a little windy, but it doesn’t make any difference. I think the same thing for Kaylah [Robinson]; she ran 12.49. That’s a huge run because she ran the fastest she has ever run in the race before that. She continues to get better.”

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