COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M women’s distance medley relay set a school record in winning the event during Friday’s portion of the Ted Nelson Invitational. Aggie freshman Sammy Watson anchored the relay over the 1,600m leg as the squad posted a time of 11 minutes, 12.06 seconds to chop 17-plus seconds off the previous record set in 2012.
Covering the first three legs of the distance medley relay for the Aggies were Jazmine Fray (3:27.21, 1,200m), Glorilisha Carter (55.03 400m) and Brittany Parker (2:06.86 800m). Watson closed out the record performance with the 1,600m leg in 4:42.97. Finishing behind the Aggie women were a pair of teams from Army with times of 12:01.70 and 12:11.21.
“It was a pretty big job for a freshman to anchor the relay,” said Watson. “Leading up to the race it put me in the right spirit, because I was just happy that I would be the one on the relay and coach trusts me enough, so far, to carry the team like that for the anchor leg.”
The previous Texas A&M record of 11:29.89 set five years ago included Hillary Hagan (3:37.77), Kamaria Brown (53.99), Aliese Hyde (2:14.33) and Natosha Rogers (4:43.80).
“For this record we talked about doing the best that we can,” stated Fray. “We knew doing the best we could at this stage of the season would break the school record, but we just had to get it done. We were really confident in ourselves.”
Carter added: “Our focus was just trying to get the record and race no matter if we were alone in the lead. Watching the lead-off leg I knew Jazmine was doing her thing and I knew I had to do the same.”
Parker said: “Doing the 800m portion is what I train for, so it’s not that much different for me, except for not knowing your splits while you go around. It’s more in your head and how you feel. Watching my teammates during the first two legs pushes and motivates me to do the best that I can. I know I have to get Sammy in a good position for her to finish off the mile.”
This is the second school record for Watson this season. In December she broke the Aggie 1,000m record at the Reveille Invitational with a winning performance of 2:42.12. This week Watson was also one of the first two freshman to ever be named to a watch list for The Bowerman.
“I’ve had a lot of fun so far,” noted Watson. “It’s been proven to me that my training has been paying off and I’m more than ready to compete at the collegiate level.
“Mentally, I knew the mile would be tough since it’s so many laps. Knowing my coach would be somewhere around the track for me to hear him with splits helped a lot.”
In the men’s distance medley relay the Aggies finished first and second, with times of 9:59.47 and 10:02.12, as Army placed third in 10:06.2. Running on the winning Texas A&M squad were Ian Cazares 2:59.37, Kyree Johnson 48.01, Jonathon Blaine 1:54.96, and Jacob Perry 4:17.13. The runner-up unit consisted of Alex Riba 3:00.28, Devin Dixon 48.03, Taylor Clayton 1:53.80, and Jon Bishop 4:20.01.
The winning crew led at the first two exchanges of the baton, while the runner-up team took over the lead, by less than a stride, heading into the anchor leg. Bishop led Perry throughout the 1600m stage of the race, until the bell lap. Perry moved into the lead and maintained an edge to the finish line.
On Saturday, at 11 a.m., there will be a dedication reception for Ted Nelson in the Heritage Lounge of Kyle Field. Field events and prelim races begin at noon, and there will be a special presentation in the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at 1:50 p.m. prior to the start of finals at 2 p.m.
Scores for teams competing in the Friday portion of the Ted Nelson Invitational had Sam Houston State claiming the women’s title with 98.5 points over Louisiana Tech (80), Northwestern State (77), Incarnate Word (74) and North Texas (65.5).
Northwestern State totaled 80 points for the men’s team title to finish ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette (79.5), Sam Houston State (73), Incarnate Word (60.5), Texas A&M-Kingsville (54).
Among other Aggies in action on Friday, Tyler Guillory ran 8.01 for third place in the 60m hurdles and moved to No. 10 on the Aggie all-time list. Bryce Deadmon won the 400m in 48.21 to top a 48.62 produced by Sam Houston’s Ethan Woods from another section.
Gabe Oladipo contested three attempts the shot put and produced a mark of 54-6 ½ (16.62) on his first effort to place second, just a quarter of an inch behind the 54-6 ¾ (16.63) from Paul May of UT-Rio Grande Valley.
Maddie Vondra placed second in the 5,000m, clocking a time of 17:53.06, while Devin Norton finished fifth in 18:17.43. Sam Erickson ran 15:08.04 for fourth place in the men’s 5,000m.
Three Texas A&M hurdles advanced to the women’s final of the 60m hurdles. Taryn Milton led the trio in fifth place with a time of 8.62. She was followed by Zharia Moore (8.64) and Kennedy Smith (8.81).
A clearance of 15-0 by Logan Freeman placed him in a three-way tie for fourth place in the pole vault. Matthew Abrahams placed second in his section of the 800m with a 1:58.20 and finished ninth overall.