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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 track and field qualifies 30 athletes for NCAA Championships

Senior+Fred+Kerley+of+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+men%26%238217%3Bs+track+team+broke+the+25-year-old+collegiate+record+in+the+400+meters+at+the+NCAA+West+Prelims+with+a+time+of+43.70.
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Senior Fred Kerley of Texas A&M’s men’s track team broke the 25-year-old collegiate record in the 400 meters at the NCAA West Prelims with a time of 43.70.

The No. 1 Men’s and No. 5 Women’s Texas A&M track and field teams competed in Austin at the NCAA West Preliminary rounds this past weekend. The Aggies qualified 30 athletes in 23 events for the NCAA National Championship to be held later next month in Oregon. The men qualified 18 athletes in 14 events and the women qualified 12 athletes in nine events.
The biggest story of the meet was senior Fred Kerley’s collegiate record-breaking time in the 400 meters on day two. The senior clocked 43.70, breaking a 25-year-old record of 44.00 set by USC’s Quincy Watts at the 1992 NCAA Championship. Kerley’s time is the only sub-44 time this collegiate season.
“I was running smart yesterday to set up the race for today,” Kerley told 12thMan.com. “Coach Francique and I were talking about the collegiate record being set in Austin and it would be wonderful to break it here in front of him. I just want to keep on improving.”
A&M head coach Pat Henry added, “That was maybe one of the best collegiate performances in history. You start looking at big-time, huge performances and 43.70 is just one of the greatest performances of all time. He was ready to go, and it’s a pretty good day but not a perfect day to run a 400m.”
Also qualifying for the men’s 400 meters was junior Mylik Kerley who ran a 45.55. Other men that qualified on day two included freshman Devin Dixon (1:48.46) in the 800 meters and junior Robert Grant (49.52) in the 400 meter hurdles. 
Day two qualifiers for the women were freshman Jaevin Reed (54.95) and redshirt sophomore Briyahna Desrosiers (52.86) in the 400 meters, senior Aaliyah Brown (11.15) and sophomore Brenessa Thompson (11.16) in the 100 meters, and sophomore Jazmine Fray (2:03.65) in the 800 meters.
The Aggies had numerous field athletes qualify on day one of competition. In javelin, junior Ioannis Kyriazis (76.09m) and senior Sam Hardin (69.70) qualified for the men, while junior Madalaine Stulce (52.55m) and freshman Audrey Malone (52.40m) qualified for the women. Senior Austin Cook (65.45m) improved his own school record in the hammer throw to qualify in the tenth spot, while senior Alison Ondrusek (62.69m) managed ninth. Junior Will Williams (8.09m) finished on top in the long jump to qualify first.
“My coaches were telling me coming in to this meet all it takes is one jump,” stated Williams to 12thMan.com. “I usually jump pretty well in this stadium, and I’m pretty consistent here. Walking over here that was the plan, to get the mark on the first jump. Everything felt good with the jump, the run was consistent and set things up well. I was just in the air gliding and knew it was far.”
On the final two days, several others claimed their spot to compete at nationals. Juniors Audie Wyatt and Carl Johanssen and sophomore Jacob Wooten all jumped 5.35 meters in the men’s pole vault to qualify. The height was a career-best for both Johanssen and Wooten. In triple jump, senior Jeffrey Prothro jumped a career best 16.17 meters to qualify, while junior Garrett Cragin qualified by jumping 2.15 meters in the high jump. The final qualifier for the women was freshman Serena Brown who threw 54.95 meters in discus.
“It’s a great thing to not only make it myself, but to make it with my teammates,” Wyatt said to 12thMan.com. “At the beginning of the competition I told Jacob and Carl we need to hype each other up so all three of us can make it to Eugene.”
Johanssen added, “It’s the greatest thing to have all three of us advance. We all kind of push each other, so it will be good having all three of us in Eugene. I think we can all score points at nationals.”
Five track athletes qualified on the final day of racing. Senior Alex Riba ran a 3:48.89 in the 1500 meters, while junior Elijah Morrow ran the 200 meters in 20.41 to both claim spots at nationals. Three Aggie women swept the top spots in their 200-meter race as Aaliyah Brown (22.60), sophomore Diamond Spaulding (22.65) and Thompson (22.86) all qualified.
“It felt like practice with all three of use in the same heat,” noted Thompson to 12thMan.com. “We were just trying to qualify.”
The final events of the weekend were the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. A&M was one of only three schools to qualify all of its relay teams for the NCAA Championships.
In the 4×100, the men clocked a season-best time of 38.78 behind Williams, Jace Comick, Morrow and Fred Kerley. The men also lowered their world-leading 4×400 time, running a 3:00.69 with a line-up of Richard Rose, Fred Kerley, Grant and Mylik Kerley.
“We came here to qualify and we have a lot of people qualified,” Mylik Kerley said to 12thMan.com. “Even a couple of guys who some people wouldn’t have thought they could qualify. It’s good for all of us. We were going for under 3 minutes in the relay, but we didn’t get it today even though we ran another world-leading time.”
The women produced the top time in their 4×100 race running a 43.23 with a line-up of Thompson, Reed, Spaulding and Fray. The women qualified fourth in the 4×400 with a time of 3:29.18 behind Desrosiers, Kadecia Baird, Glorilisha Carter and Fray.
With a successful performance in prelims, the teams will head to Eugene, Ore. on June 7-10 to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“We did exactly what we wanted to try to do and a little bit more,” Henry told 12thMan.com. “There were really a lot of great things to happen four our team here. It’ll be another competitive meet in two weeks.”

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