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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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Texas A&M men finish fifth, women tenth at NCAA Indoor Championships

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Sophomore Josh Kerr won the mile with a time of 3:57 for the second year in a row.

The 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships came to a close after two full days of action at Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station. Texas A&M’s men’s team finished fifth overall, with a total of 29.5 points, and the women placed 10th with 17 points.  
Florida took the men’s national title, tallying 40 points over the two days, while Georgia won the women’s side of the championship by a distant 12 points, totaling 61.
“I’m pleased where we are,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “On the men’s side, we just made one mistake here or we would have been in the money. We finished fifth with the men, and ended it with a pretty good run. We finished it with a world record time in the 4×400, so it doesn’t get much better than that. On the lady’s side we finished tenth, so we didn’t completely crater, but we didn’t have the kind of meet that we would like to have.” 
Once again, the highlight of the championships came in the men’s 4×400 relays. The top three finishing teams, USC, Texas A&M and Florida, all broke the previous collegiate record of 3:01.98 set by USC earlier this year. USC won with a time of 3:00.77. 
Because all the members of Texas A&M’s squad were of the same nationality, they claimed the official 4×400 indoor world record for the United States with a time of 3:01.39. Running for the Aggies were Ilolo Izu, Robert Grant, Devin Dixon and Mylik Kerley. 
“This was a tremendous meet with the amount of world records, collegiate records and all the records that went down today,” Grant said. “I didn’t have the meet I wanted to have since I had food poisoning this week. My individual event didn’t go like I wanted it to, but I put it together in the 4×400.
“All three teams went under the world record in the 4×400 that was just set last week. That’s when you know it’s a tremendous race.”
The top-three teams were all in the final heat of the championship, and Texas A&M trailed in third place when the anchor, Kerley, was handed the baton. In similar fashion to last year’s final, the senior chased down the two leaders, however this time could only salvage second for the Aggies.
“I just feel like track and field is all about progression,” Kerley continued. “Me and the rest of the guys are all progressing really well. Today USC was just better.”
Earlier in the day, Kerley competed as an individual in the 400m, clocking another career-best time of 45.16 to finish in third place.
“I learned a lot that race,” he said. “Every race you lose isn’t always a loss, sometimes it’s a learning experience for the next time…I think I’m progressing really well in the open 400m, and our relay is doing really good too.”
Like so many athletes, Kerley appreciated the support from the crowd that packed the stands on Saturday night.
“It’s always fun competing in front of the A&M fans,” Kerley noted. “Football has a 12th man, and I like to say we have a fifth man. We have four people in the relays, and the crowd is like our fifth man when we are at these big meets. They are on their feet the whole time, and any time they see us running, there’s always going to be a yell. Not just for us, but for other people too.”
The rest of the men’s points were scored on day one. Will Williams claimed long jump gold with his final leap of 26-10.5 (8.19). In the pole vault, Audie Wyatt (18-2.5) tied for fifth and Jacob Wooten (18-.5) finished in seventh. Unexpectedly, SEC champion Dixon failed to reach the finals in the 800m, leaving some points on the track for the Aggies. 
“I think on the men’s side we did just about everything we could do except for the 800m,” Henry said. “Devin is the SEC champion and didn’t make the finals, so we took a hit there.”
Tyra Gittens earned the first point for Texas A&M’s women’s team on day one with her eighth place finish in the pentathlon. She scored a career-best 4,197 points in the event.
On day two, points first came from the triple jump, where Lajarvia Brown managed a seventh place finish with a career-best leap of 43-11.25 (13.39). This distance came on her first attempt, allowing her to cruise through the trials and jump freely in the finals.
 “I was really nervous coming into this meet, but I was trying to control it and stay within myself,” Brown said. “I was really excited to even make it this far, regardless of the outcome. I’m happy to get an All-American and I’m happy to PR.” 
Ciynamon Stevens also competed in the triple jump, but only had one scoring distance after two foul jumps to start the competition. She finished in twelfth with a distance of 42-7.5 (12.99).
In her last meet in maroon and white, senior Alison Ondrusek placed ninth in the weight throw and came agonizingly close to points. She was just one centimeter short of scoring with a distance of 69-5.25 (21.16).
“I kind of have a mix of emotions,” Ondrusek said. “I’m really happy that I was able to make finals. I started in 14th, and to finish ninth, that’s a pretty good jump up in the marks. On the other hand, it’s hard to miss a scoring position by a pretty slim margin, by a centimeter. That’s kind of hard to take in.”
“This is my last meet ever,” she added. “To have it at an NCAA meet, I feel really lucky to finish off my career that way. I had good throws today, and so I’m really pleased to finish off that way.”
The Aggies had two women in the 800m final. freshman Sammy Watson placed third with a time of 2:02.65, while a time of 2:03.88 placed collegiate record holder Jazmine Fray in fifth. Both women led the race at one point, but fell back into the pack on the final lap.
“I’m not satisfied, but at least I finished the race and scored for my team,” Watson said. “I’m happy I could do that.”
“I know that I can take it out that fast,” she added. “I just need to work on my finish and I need to work on fighting through lactic acid like that.”
Danyel White was the lone Aggie sprinter on the women’s team this weekend. She advanced to the 200m finals on day one, and managed an eighth place finish with a time of 23.09. 
“I am beyond satisfied,” White said. “It was honestly a blessing to make it to finals and compete to the best of my abilities. There’s no complaints here. 
The women’s 4×400 closed out the championships, and the Aggies finished on a positive note, clocking a season-best 3:31.64 to finish sixth in the race. Running for Texas A&M were White, Glorilisha Carter, Julie Madubuike and Fray.
Texas A&M will have little time to think about their NCAA Indoor Championship performances, as the outdoor season gets underway next weekend in Arizona at the Arizona State Baldy Castillo Invitational.
“The events we look good at here indoors are going to compliment what we do well outside,” Henry said. “We’re a good outdoor team…If we start adding those events to our team, we are a different club. We look forward to that now, and that starts pretty quick because we leave for Arizona in three days and start our outdoor season next week.”

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