New York City – Two school records and a stellar freshman long jump performance highlighted Friday’s action for Texas A&M at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in the Armory, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this season.
School records were established by Jessica Beard in the 400 and Gabby Mayo in the 60 hurdles while Vashti Thomas made her long jump debut with the Aggies a memorable one.
In relay action the A&M men posted the third fastest time in school history as they placed third in the distance medley relay.
Jessica Beard posted a school record and collegiate leading time of 52.44 seconds in the qualifying round of the 400. The time recorded by Beard, currently fourth in the world for 2009, bettered her previous collegiate leading time of 52.86 from the UT dual met on January 24.
“I was just trying to stick to my race strategy, running the first 200 faster. Coach Anderson told me I’m a good finisher, but I need to push out and accelerate more on my starts.
“I was actually surprised that I ran that fast. I was excited to run that fast here, now I’m really excited to know that it is a school record.”
Beard set the previous Texas A&M school record of 52.48 seconds in placing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships as a freshman last season. Beard was the only sprinter to run a qualifying time under 53 seconds at the New Balance Collegiate.
Running in the finals of the 60 hurdles, Mayo sped to an 8.17 runner-up finish to take down the school record of 8.22 set by Christine Oheari in 2002 at the NCAA Championships. It was just shy of the 8.14 needed for a NCAA automatic qualifier.
“I can’t believe I ran that fast,” Mayo stated. “To start the season with an 8.47 and then get to 8.17 is ridiculous. Whew! I don’t even know what to say. I gave it my all, that’s all I can say. Coach always tells us don’t let the day go by.”
Mayo finished second to the 8.09 run by Houston’s Seun Adigun. Finishing in third behind Mayo was Natasha Ruddock of Essex County JC (8.18), who signed with Texas A&M on Wednesday.
In another Championship final Vashti Thomas established an A&M freshman record with a leap of 20-9 (6.32) to place fourth. She improved upon the freshman record of 20-6 ¼ (6.25) set by teammate Ashika Charan at this same meet in 2007.
Only Adrien Sawyer has jumped further than Thomas on the Aggie all-time indoor list. Thomas becomes the No. 2 performer in school history with the No. 5 performance. Charan finished 11th in the competition with a mark of 19-6 ¾ (5.92).
A relay crew consisting of Nick Toohey, Morquise Cleveland, Oscar Ramirez and Kevin Ondrasek clocked 9:44.23 for third place. That mark only trails the school record of 9:33.12 set in 2004 and a 9:42.92 also from the 2004 season.
Julian Reid finished third in the men’s long jump. His mark of 25-2 ¾ (7.69) trailed a pair of LSU jumpers with Will Coppage winning the event at 25-7 ¼ (7.80) while Jeremy Hicks finished second with a 25-3 ½ (7.71). Coppage claimed the collegiate lead for 2009 with his mark.
Placing eighth with a distance of 24-4 ¼ (7.42) was A&M’s Tyron Stewart. Keenan Hall finished 12th with a leap of 23-2 ¾ (7.08).
In the Championship shot put Anteneshia Lindsey placed ninth with a toss of 46-7 ½ (14.21). Laura Asimakis cleared 12-5 ½ (3.80) in the Championship pole vault. Nearly half the field of 17 ended the competition at that height determining places ninth through 17th. Asimakis placed 15th based on misses.
The women’s 60 final had Mayo (7.37) and Porscha Lucas (7.39) placing fifth and sixth. They each recorded times of 7.34 seconds in winning heats of the 60 meters earlier in the day.
Gerald Phiri won the consolation final of the men’s 60 in 6.66 seconds with teammate Dominique Stafford placing third in 6.70.
In the men’s 500 the Aggies had a pair of top eight finishers in Michael Preble and Brandon Machacek. In placing fifth in the final section of 11 races, Preble posted a time of 1:03.27 to claim fifth overall. Machacek won his section in 1:04.15 and placed eighth overall.
In the women’s 500 A&M frosh Tiffany Singleton ran a 1:14.52 to place second in her section and seventh overall.
Another frosh, Kevin Burnett, led the men’s 3,000-meter field for a while and finished eighth in the final section with an 8:24.91 that placed ninth overall. Kasey McNorton clocked a 10:09.46 to place 16th in the college division of the women’s 3,000 meters.
Bryan Miller advanced to the finals of the men’s 400 after running 47.74 to finish seventh among the 10 qualifiers who advance. Miller finished as runner-up in his heat to North Carolina’s Charles Cox, who posted the top qualifying time with a 47.02.
Also running in the men’s 400 heats for the Aggie men were Joey Roberts (49.15) and Morquise Cleveland (49.16).
Joining Beard in the 400 heats were Sandy Wooten and Brittany Machacek. They each won their respective heats, with Machacek running 55.28 while Wooten clocked 55.48, but did not advance to the final.
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