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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Women’s Texas A&M track and field close out season at NCAA Championships

Tyra+Gittens
Photo by Provided by Texas A&M Athletics
Tyra Gittens

Texas A&M’s women’s track and field team placed 19th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon this week, tallying 15 points. The final day of competition on Saturday drew a crowd of 12,998 despite the cold and rain. USC went on to win the national title with a total of 53 points.
The Aggies’ standout performance of the week came in the 800m where freshman Sammy Watson and junior Jazmine Fray became the first women to score points in the event for the maroon and white. Watson won the event with a time of 2:04.21, while Fray ran a time of 2:07.34 to place eighth.
“I couldn’t let the conditions get to me,” Watson said to 12thman.com. “It’s outdoors, so you can race in anything. Knowing that I could perform under the pressure and all the conditions, I’m really proud of myself.”
Watson took the lead on the last turn and pushed to the end, leaning over the line to finish ahead of Tennessee State’s Abike Egbeniyi. Fray led for 600 meters of the race, but was passed by the field down the closing stretch.
“I knew it was going to be close because we were still in a pack with 200m to go,” Watson said to 12thman.com. “I just had to stay relaxed and not panic. On the homestretch I saw the girl out of the corner of my eye and on the big screen. I knew I just had to pump my arms and finish my race.”
Watson is only the third freshman to win the NCAA Outdoor 800m title, joining Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers and Rebekah Noble.
“The weather was horrible here today, so it’s a testament to this young lady’s strength and her will,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said to 12thman.com. “She wanted to win today.”
“Plus she was racing against the NCAA Indoor champion, Sabrina Southerland, who is from Oregon. The cards were stacked against her. She was a freshman, bad elements and Oregon had a favorite in the meet. Sammy just did a fantastic job in winning the race.”
The Aggies’ first point came earlier in the week from Kristen Clark, who placed eighth in the javelin throw with a distance of 52.83m. The senior’s first attempt ended up being her best and allowed her to claim the final point-earning place.
“It was really cool to make it here, and I feel like that was my big goal all year,” Clark, who qualified for the NCAA Championship as a freshman, said to 12thman.com. “To make finals is really exciting, because the last time I was here I got 11th. Obviously I wanted to do better, but it’s kind of hard to be upset with eighth place, scoring a point and getting a trophy.”
Fellow Aggie Madalaine Stulce competed alongside Clark, but the junior threw three consecutive fouls to bow out of the competition early.
“It’s a tricky situation,” noted Clark. “I like when one of us does well on the first throw, then that person kind of becomes the helper and encourager. It’s tough when both of us aren’t super happy with our throws. We want to encourage each other, but we also want to figure out our own stuff. I wish so badly she could have been in the finals with me, because we for sure throw better together.”
Texas A&M’s 4×100 relay squad put points on the board, running a time of 44.26 to place seventh. On track for the Aggies were Amber Ivy, Diamond Spaulding, Brenessa Thompson and Julia Madubuike.
The Aggies had two athletes competing in the heptathlon. Freshman Tyra Gittens produced her second best career score with 5,748 points to place eighth, while senior Shaina Burns placed 14th with 5,553 points.
Gittens was the top finisher in the long jump portion of the event with a leap of 6.14m. Burns topped the shot put with a distance of 13.76m and recorded a career best in the long jump with a distance of 5.63m.
Gittens also competed as an individual in the long jump but just missed out on points, placing ninth with a leap of 6.38m.
Other Aggie competitors in the field events included sophomores Lajarvia Brown (13.19m) and Ciynamon Stevenson (13.02m) in the triple jump who placed 11th and 14th, respectively. In the discus throw, Serena Brown placed 13th with a distance of 50.48m.

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