Lexington, Kentucky – Texas A&M women’s 1,600-meter relay lowered its national leading time to 3:34.61 while winning the event at the Rod McCravy Memorial hosted by the University of Kentucky on Saturday in the E.J. Nutter Field House.
Competing on the oversized, flat track, which measures 291 meters, the Aggie relay crew of Sandy Wooten, Jennifer Williams, Simone Facey and Jessica Beard cut over half a second off their winning time from last week at Arkansas.
They turned back the challenge from South Carolina, who finished second in 3:32.32, and Kentucky, who placed third in 3:38.63.
Facey split 53.2 seconds on the third leg and overtook Carolina’s Brandi Cross in the process. Handing off the baton to Beard meant A&M would have the lead to the finish line as the freshman split 52.0 for the victory. Wooten opened the relay with a 54.6 split while Williams turned in a 54.8.
The winning time broke the meet record of 3:36.44 set last year by South Carolina. It also became the No. 3 performer and No. 4 performance on the Aggie all-time indoor list.
“I couldn’t be happier with the relay, since we lowered our time from last week,” Beard noted.
It was the second time for Bread to anchor the relay and deny anyone else from passing, or catching her.
“We rely on each other as a team and the others rely on me as the anchor leg to be strong,” Beard stated. “No matter what situation we are in we know we can overcome it and hopefully come out with the victory.”
Earlier in the meet she survived a bump during the 400 and placed third, falling at the finish line, with a time of 52.87. Beard finished behind Ashlee Kidd (52.52), a Georgia Tech grad who was third at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships, and Cross (52.83).
“I just have to maintain my focus, it’s so easy to get distracted when something like that happens,” said Beard of the jostling. “I just have to keep my composure and think of the overall factor. It was just a bump and I need to continue on with the race.”
Cross and Beard became the first pair of collegians to crack 53 seconds this indoor season and both are currently among the top 10 in the world and top five Americans.
On the A&M all-time indoor list, only two marks from Clora Williams better Beard’s performance, a 52.53 and a 52.57, both of which were run during the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships.
“Even though I ran a personal best indoors in the 400, I would like to have done better,” Beard added. “I was pretty satisfied with it, but I still made a couple of mistakes and that is something I’ll need to work on.”
In addition to her relay duty, Williams also placed third in the 60 hurdles where she recorded an 8.35 in the prelims and the final.
The A&M men’s side had four top three performances on the day.
Leading the way was a runner-up effort by Richard Adu-Bobie as he recorded a 6.69 in the 60 meters to hold off teammate Gerald Phiri, who placed third in 6.71.
Florida’s Jeremy Hall won the race in 6.66 while a third Aggie, Dominique Stafford, finished fifth overall with a 6.76 as he placed second in the consolation final.
“I sure do,” replied Adu-Bobie in regards to any motivation he receives when competing against Florida. “There are no hard feelings towards anybody there. It’s just good to compete well against a school that you came from.”
Adu-Bobie, who competed at Florida for two seasons and holds a personal best of 6.66 prior to attending Texas A&M, moved up to the No. 2 performer with the No. 4 performance on the Aggie all-time list. He only trails three marks by Tyrone Edgar, who ran 6.67 at the Big 12 meet in 2006 and added a pair of 6.68s that season as well.
“Running 6.69 for my second meet of the season, I’m very glad I accomplished the goal I set out this week,” Adu-Bobie said. “A 6.67 is a very good mark, but I’m going to focus and try to get that mark. I’ve told Tyrone that already. He knows I can do it.”
Phiri matched his season best and is now the No. 4 performer with the No. 7 performance. Stafford, meanwhile, slides into the No. 7 performer’s position equal with Dwain Goynes.
A.C. Robinson clocked 47.03 in the 400 to place second in his heat and third overall. At the end of the meet Robinson anchored the Aggie 4 x 400 with a 45.9 split as A&M recorded a NCAA provisional mark of 3:08.03 in a second-place effort.
The Aggies finished behind Kentucky’s 3:07.72 and ahead of Florida’s 3:08.22. All three teams bettered the previous meet record of 3:08.99 set by Kentucky last year.
Running the first three legs of the relay were Bryant McCombs (47.5), Chris Dykes (46.8) and Nick Robinson (47.7). The time is the No. 7 mark on the A&M all-time indoor list.
Khrystal Carter supplied the next highest finish for A&M as she placed fourth in the 200 with a 24.12 while Elizabeth Adeoti finished sixth in 24.18.
Meanwhile, Gabby Mayo lowered her season best time to 7.41 seconds to win the consolation final of the 60 and place fifth overall. She is now the No. 3 A&M performer in the event.
Carter finished second to Mayo in the 60-meter consolation final and was seventh overall with a 7.44. Porscha Lucas ran 7.44 in the final and was eighth overall while a 7.54 from Elizabeth Adeoti placed ninth overall.
Sandy Wooten ran 54.64 in the 400, getting second in her section and sixth overall.
There were also a handful of personal bests marks recorded by Texas A&M, and many of those marks were worthy of cracking the top 10 indoor all-time list.
Kevin Ondrasek lowered his personal best in the 800 by three seconds as he ran 1:51.19 to place seventh. He moved up to No. 7 on the indoor all-time list. In the women’s 800 Evelyn Wing set her third consecutive indoor best this season, hitting 2:14.19 to finish 13th overall. She is now the No. 4 performer on the A&M all-time list.
Just shy of a NCAA provisional mark was Javier Olivas in the shot put, where his heave of 57-11 ¾ was sixth in the competition and moved him to No. 9 on the Aggie all-time indoor list.
Christina Munoz set indoor best marks in two events, running 9:54.39 for 10th in the 3,000 meters and a 5:04.69 in the mile. She is now the No. 8 performer in the 3,000. Nick Toohey placed ninth in the men’s mile, running 4:11.53.