COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M swept the team titles in the Ted Nelson Invitational, the Aggies first collegiate home meet of 2018, which was renamed to honor the former Texas A&M head coach.
Totaling 218 points, the No. 10 Aggie women enjoyed a 100-point cushion over Clemson (118) and the rest of the field, which included Abilene Christian (64.5), Texas State (57), Army (52.5), Stephen F. Austin (38), UTSA (33) and UT-Arlington (30).
With 172.5 points, the No. 17 Texas A&M men bettered a field that included Army (83), Clemson (81), UTSA (67), Stephen F. Austin (57.5), Texas State (56), UT-Arlington (51) and Abilene Christian (34).
“This is our first rehearsal,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “We have a big play in about two months and this is what this is all about. Let’s get better each week. We had some really good performances today. Any time you’re doing well now, it’s because the fall training went well. A lot of hard work goes into being successful right now.”
Of the 14 victories the Aggies produced on Saturday, eight by the women and six for the men, five wins also included a runner-up performance in the same event while another four victories were joined by a third-place effort.
After the school and meet record in the women’s distance medley on Friday, Austin Cook supplied a meet record in the weight throw on Saturday. His effort of 66-6 ½ (20.28) bettered the meet record he established last year by half an inch.
Cook, who holds the school record with a mark of 67-11 ½ (20.71), equaled the No. 9 performance on the Aggie all-time list. He currently holds nine of the top 10 performances.
Texas A&M prospered in field events, notably with Lajarvia Brown improving to 43-8 (13.31) in the triple jump on her sixth attempt. Her winning mark moves her to No. 3 performer on the Aggie all-time list. Brown’s best indoors last season was 41-11 ¼ (12.78), and she had a wind-aided best of 43-0 ¼ (13.11) outdoors.
Brown, who was in third place with marks of 41-5 ¼ (12.63) and 41-9 ¼ (12.73) from rounds three and five, needed the last round effort to surpass her teammate. Ciynamon Stevenson opened the competition with a career best leap of 43-0 ¼ (13.11) and improved to 43-2 ½ (13.17) in the fifth round. Stevenson moved to No. 7 on the Texas A&M all-time list.
“I love it when it’s very competitive, since that brings out the best in people,” said Brown. “The triple jump was more of a process for me, since I started out shaky. I wanted to compete with Ciynamon, but I knew I needed to take care of some small things first. It just happened to come together on the last jump.”
Tyra Gittens won the long jump with a leap of 20-2 ½ (6.16) with Brown runner-up at 20-2 ¼ (6.15). Gittens moves to No. 7 on the Aggie all-time list while Brown equals the No. 8 mark. Back in December, Gittens winning mark of 5-10 ½ (1.79) placed her No. 10 on the Aggie high jump all-time list.
Texas A&M also finished first and second in the men’s pole vault. Jacob Wooten claimed the victory with a clearance of 17-5 ½ (5.32) with teammate Audie Wyatt runner-up at 16-11 ½ (5.17). Avery Jones picked up some points as well, finishing in a tie for fourth place at 15-5 ¾ (4.72).
Garrett Cragin matched his indoor career best of 6-11 ¾ (2.13), which equals the No. 9 performer on the Aggie all-time list, to claim the high jump as he missed on three attempts at 7-1 (2.16). Sara Kathryn Stevens vaulted 13-4 ¼ (4.07) in winning the women’s pole vault and attempted an indoor best of 13-8 ¼ (4.17).
“The goal is to keep looking at seven feet, or 7-1,” stated Cragin. “Finally it will happen, where you break through. I want to get it now, but I know it’s coming soon. It’s nice to know I’m comfortable over my PR height this early in the season.”
Victories on the track for Texas A&M were led by the stellar performance from Ilolo Izu in the 400m, where his winning time of 46.34 equals the No. 9 performer on an impressive Aggie all-time list. Jaevin Reed won the women’s 400m in 53.67, just off her indoor best of 53.56 set in the SEC Championships last year.
“I knew I was going to run a pretty fast time, due to how we’ve been training,” said Izu, who had a previous career best of 47.65 from 2016. “I wasn’t expecting to run as fast as I did, though. For that time to be among the top 10 at Texas A&M means just that much more to me.”
Ashley Driscoll posted a time of 4:57.73 in winning the mile with Hannah Campbell in fourth at 5:03.87. Will Williams claimed the 60m in 6.80 while Diamond Spaulding clocked 23.82 to take the women’s 200m as Amber Ivy placed third in 24.07 to match her finish in the 60m (7.48).
In the Olympic development 400m, Aggie alum Bralon Taplin sped to a world-leading time of 45.48 seconds.
Texas A&M closed out the meet with a pair of 4x400 relay victories. The women posted a time of 3:40.76 with the foursome of Jarra Owens (56.97), Glorilisha Carter (55.44), Danyel White (54.53) and Reed (53.82).
The men’s main 4x400 crew was disqualified for a false start, but a second Texas A&M group produced a time of 3:11.59 that held up for the win over SFA (3:12.30), UT-Arlington (3:13.58) and UTSA (3:13.84). Running on the Aggie squad were Kyree Johnson (48.98), Devin Dixon (46.54), Austin Warren (48.58) and Bryce Deadmon (47.49).
Alison Ondrusek and Carissa van Beek supplied a 1-2 finish for Texas A&M in the women’s weight throw. Ondrusek hit a mark of 58-10 ¼ (17.94) for the victory as van Beek went 56-7 ½ (17.26) as runner-up. Gabe Oladipo finished second in the men’s shot put with a toss of 55-5 (16.89) while Celine Markert was runner-up in the women’s shot put at 47-3 ½ (14.41).
Jace Comick finished second in the men’s 60m (6.83) and 200m (21.32) with Seth Page placing fourth (21.77) in the 200m. Chinyere Njoku was runner-up in the women’s 60m hurdles with an 8.59 while Tyler Guillory (8.05) and Landon Malouf (8.06) finished third and fourth in the men’s 60m hurdles.
Jacob Perry, who anchored the Aggie distance medley relay to victory on Friday, came up just short of a win in the 3,000m as his 8:18.81 effort left him trailing the winning time of 8:18.76 by Clemson’s James Quattlebaum. Joel Potter finished fourth for Texas A&M in 8:26.00.