Aggies advance four athletes to NCAA Championships on day one of Midwest Region

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LINCOLN, NE -- In battling for top five positions to earn an automatic spot in the NCAA Championships, four Aggies advanced during the handful of finals held on the first day of the NCAA Midwest Region hosted by the University of Nebraska.

Ashika Charan established a career best while placing second in the long jump. Julian Reid also produced a second-place effort in the men’s long jump as he matched his personal best. Christina Munoz finished third in the 5,000 meters and Javier Olivas placed fourth in the shot put with a series that included three marks over his previous best.

In addition Texas A&M had a very solid day of qualifying for Saturday’s finals. With a total of 19 entrants for the finals, the Aggie women claimed 12 positions while the A&M men had seven. Qualifying with the leading times in the 4 x 100 also netted a pair of stadium records for the Aggies.

Charan’s effort of 21-0 (6.40) improved upon her previous best of 20-9 ¼ she set in placing third at the Big 12 Championships two weeks ago. Charan maintains her position as the No. 3 performer on the Aggie all-time list and improves to the No. 5 performance.

“I always say it’s about time when I have a performance like that,” Charan said. “Everything came together today. I’m happy for that.”

In battling UTEP’s Blessing Okagbare throughout the competition, Charan posted a 20-8 ½ during the first three rounds. Okagbare led the competition with a 21-0 from the opening round. Charan matched the leading mark in round four, but Okagbare answered with an improvement to 21-5 ¼ (6.53) as the next jumper.

“I didn’t realize I was in the lead at that time,” noted Charan. “I came into this meet with the mindset that I didn’t want to pay attention to who was leading the event. I just focused on my technique.

“I wanted to keep doing the things Coach VanHootegem always tells me about improving my run off of the board. That’s my thing, each time I’m on the track I want to improve.”

Last season Charan placed sixth at the region meet, but still advanced to the NCAA Championship field as an at-large entry. This marks her third time to set a personal best in the long jump this outdoor season and now she is just five and a quarter inches from the school record.

“I know last year I kept thinking about the other jumpers who were there,” Charan said of her NCAA experience. “This time I will just focus on myself. It’s all about execution.”

Reid, the Big 12 indoor and outdoor champion, equaled his career best of 25-6 ¼ (7.78) to place second to Nebraska frosh Nicholas Gordon, who tied the region record of 25-11 ½ (7.91) set by TCU’s Aundre Edwards in 2004.

With a leap of 25-3 ½ (7.71) in round two, Reid briefly held the lead. However, Gordon responded in the same round with his best jump of the day. Reid improved to 25-6 ¼ in round five.

“I’m disappointed with the loss, but very grateful about making the NCAA Championships,” Reid said. “Hopefully I can improve on this performance in my next meet to make amends for today’s competition.

“I’m very pleased with the progression of my season. I just pray to God for patience with the remaining meets I have this season.”

Munoz posted a time of 17:00.93 for third in the 5,000 meters. NCAA Champion Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech won the race in 16:56.34 while Oklahoma State’s Mihaela Susa was runner-up with a 16:58.52.

Holding the lead during a couple of different times during the race, Munoz found herself in fifth place with one lap to go. She held a 20-meter edge over Rice’s Allison Pye, who was stationed in sixth place.

Along the backstretch of the final lap Munoz moved into third place to secure her NCAA berth and held off a late charge by Nebraska’s Lara Crofford in the final 15 meters.

“I’m really excited about making it to the NCAA Championships,” Munoz said. “It’s going to be an awesome experience.

“It was really hot out there when we started and that made the pace slow. On the final lap I knew I had to go and get after it. You never know what is going to happen. It’s regionals and everybody wants to make it to nationals.”

In the shot put Olivas recorded three consecutive PRs in the final three rounds and placed fourth with his best mark of 59-2 (18.03). Olivas ranked sixth going into the final with a 57-4 ¾ (17.49) from round three. Then he hit 58-8 (17.88) in rounds four and five, creating a new career best.

Texas A&M led sprint relay qualifying to start the running events on Friday.

In the men’s 4 x 100 the Aggies clocked a winning time of 38.93, which bettered the Midwest Region mark of 39.18, which was set by A&M in 2006, as well as the Ed Weir Stadium record of 39.19 set by Texas in 2003. The Aggie crew consisted of Richard Adu-Bobie, Gerald Phiri, Dominique Stafford and Chris Dykes.

Other heat winners included Colorado (39.80) and Baylor (39.95). Also qualifying for the final were TCU (39.80), UT-San Antonio (39.96), Houston (40.08), Nebraska (40.18), and North Texas (40.35).

The Aggie women, previous holders of the Ed Weir Stadium record at 43.67 from last year’s Big 12 meet, cruised to a winning time of 43.66 seconds with the foursome of Elizabeth Adeoti, Porscha Lucas, Simone Facey and Gabby Mayo. On the A&M all-time list the 43.66 is the No. 10 performance.

Other heat winners included UTEP (44.21) and Baylor (44.18). Advancing to the final were Oklahoma (44.35), Houston (44.69), Rice (44.92), North Texas (45.26) and Kansas State (45.32). TCU ran 44.61 as runner-up to Baylor, but was disqualified for passing out of the exchange zone.

The Aggie women advanced four sprinters to the eight-person final in the 100 meters. Heat winners included Simone Facey (11.40) and Porscha Lucas (11.41). Other heat winners were Nickesha Anderson of Kansas (11.40) and Alexandria Anderson of Texas (11.45).

A&M sprinters advancing on time were Allison George (11.51) and Khrystal Carter (11.51). Running in the prelims, but coming up short of advancing were Elizabeth Adeoti (11.57) and Gabby Mayo (11.81).

Gerald Phiri and Richard Adu-Bobie claimed heat victories in the men’s 100. Phiri ran 10.32 while Adu-Bobie recorded a time of 10.38. Other heat winners included Oklahoma’s Marcus Pugh (10.47) and Marvin Bonde (10.43). A&M’s Dominique Stafford ran 10.46 for third in his heat, just missing the 10.45 time qualifying cutoff.

Later in the day during the 200, three Aggie women won their heats to advance to the final. Lucas led the trio with a 23.00 while George posted a 23.02 and Facey ran 23.18. In the men’s 200 both Chris Dykes (20.61) and Phiri (20.90) were heat winners as well.

Carter was the ninth-fastest runner with a 23.40, just a tenth off the final time qualifier of 23.30. Adeoti placed fourth in her heat with a 23.54 while Mayo ran 23.98 for fourth in another heat.

Jennifer Williams, a double silver medalist in the hurdles at the Big 12 Championships, led the 100-meter hurdle qualifying with a time of 13.39. Lindsey Adams advanced to the final with a 13.66 that placed her fifth in heat one. Whitney Holmes (14.19) did not make the final.

Nick Robinson was a heat winner in the 400-meter hurdles, clocking a time of 50.40. Adams also qualified for the 400-meter hurdle final, running 60.05 for second in her heat.

In the 400 meters Jessica Beard, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, won her heat in 53.06 and had the third best time from the prelims. Other heat winners included Oklahoma’s Leslie Cole (52.65) and Iowa’s Kineke Alexander (52.95). Sandy Wooten placed fifth in her heat with a time of 55.46.

Justin Oliver claimed a heat victory in the men’s 400, running a time of 46.80 to hold off Baylor’s Quentin Summers (46.82). Both runners, though, were disqualified for running out of their lane.

Bryan Miller, the current world junior leader with a 45.85 from the Big 12 meet, placed third in the final heat of the 400 and advanced on time with a 46.71.

Heat winners included Baylor’s LeJerald Betters (46.24), Colorado State’s Drew Morano (46.33) and Andretti Bain of Oral Roberts (46.07). Aggies not advancing to the final were A.C. Robinson, who finished third in heat one (46.88), and Morquise Cleveland, who placed sixth in heat four (47.99).

The men’s 110 hurdles resulted in a third place effort from Cade Liverman (14.37) and a fifth-place finish from Melvin Echard (14.61) as the pair of Aggies ran in the same heat. A time of 14.17 was the final time qualifier for the final.


5,000: 3. Christina Munoz, 17:00.93.
Long jump: 2. Ashika Charan, 21-0 (6.40) personal best.
Pole Vault: 12. Laura Asimakis, 12-6 (3.81); 15. (tie) Jennifer Davidson, 12-0 (3.66).

Long Jump: 2. Julian Reid, 25-6 ¼ (7.78) equals personal best.
Shot Put: 4. Javier Olivas, 59-2 (18.03) personal best.
Javelin: 15. Chad Brown, 201-4 (61.36); 20. Jacob Rodriguez, 190-5 (58.04); 23. Josh Posten, 181-9 (55.40).

Qualifiers to finals:

Women (12)
100: Simone Facey, 11.40; Porscha Lucas, 11.41; Allison George 11.51; Khrystal Carter, 11.51.
200: Porscha Lucas, 23.00; Allison George, 23.02; Simone Facey, 23.18.
400: Jessica Beard, 53.06.
100H: Jennifer Williams, 13.39; Lindsey Adams, 13.66.
400H: Lindsey Adams, 60.05.
4 x 100: Texas A&M 43.66

Men (7)
100: Gerald Phiri, 10.32; Richard Adu-Bobie, 10.38.
200: Chris Dykes, 20.61; Gerald Phiri, 20.90.
400: Bryan Miller, 46.71.
400H: Nick Robinson, 50.40.
4 x 100: Texas A&M, 38.93

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