FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- A trio of top six performances highlighted the first day of the NCAA Indoor Championships for the Texas A&M track and field program on Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Chris Dykes placed third in the 200 final while Simone Facey was fifth in the women’s 200. Earlier in the day Caroline Wolf placed sixth in the high jump.
The Aggie women are currently in 13th place with seven points.
Running in the first heat of the two-section final Dykes ran a career best of 20.68 to claim the race. Waiting for the second heat to be run, Dykes watched Florida State’s Walter Dix speed to a 20.32 clocking for the overall win while Ruben Williams of Tennessee was runner-up in 20.63.
But Baylor’s Reggie Witherspoon, the Big 12 champion, came through the finish in 20.77. That meant Dykes nabbed third overall and recorded the best conference finish in the race.
The time run by Dykes is second on the A&M indoor all-time list only to a 20.63 recorded by Stanley Kerr in 1988. Dykes also bettered his outdoor best of 20.84 and a wind-aided 20.72.
A busy day for Simone Facey finished with three school record runs and a fifth-place effort in the 200 split-section final. In posting a time of 22.97 it was the first time for Facey to run under 23 seconds indoors as she placed third in the second section of the final. Facey’s outdoor best is 22.71.
Auburn’s Kerron Stewart won the race in 22.59 while LSU’s Kelly Ann Baptiste was second in 22.91. In the first section of the women’s 200 final all four runners completed the race under 23 seconds as well, led by Tennessee’s Courtney Champion clocking of 22.92, which placed her third overall.
Also running 22.97 in the first section was Shareese Woods of North Carolina-Charlotte, who edged out Facey for fourth when the time was taken out to 1000ths, 22.963 to 22.968.
Two school records run by Simone Facey placed the junior in both finals of the 60 and 200 meters. First she placed second in her heat of the 60 with a personal best of 7.29, lowering her previous school record of 7.31. Then in the 200, Facey lowered her school record by 0.22 of a second in winning her heat with a 23.04.
In the men’s 200 qualifying Dykes advanced to the two-section final with a then career indoor best of 20.86.
Porscha Lucas, experiencing her first NCAA Championships as a freshman, ran 7.44 in the 60 prelims and a 23.43 in the 200 qualifying. She was 17th overall in the 60 and 15th in the 200. The time recorded by Lucas in the 200 is the fifth-fastest performance on the Aggie indoor list.
In the only other two finals involving Texas A&M athletes on day one of the NCAA Championships, Wolf placed sixth in the high jump with a clearance of 6-0 (1.83) while senior Kasey Onwuchekwa finished 10th in the shot put.
Wolf, who was fourth at this meet last season and seventh at the NCAA outdoor meet, matched the height she cleared in placing third at the Big 12 Championships a couple of weeks ago. After passing during the opening height of 5-8 ¾ (1.75), Wolf needed two attempts each to get over 5-10 ¾ (1.80) and 6-0 (1.83).
In attempting 6-1 ¼ (1.86) Wolf missed on her first two tries and then stepped on the mat underneath the bar on a third effort. She was one of five jumpers to leave the competition at that height as only four remained for the next height.
SMU’s Gaelle Niare made the first three heights on first attempts, so she grabbed fifth place ahead of Wolf. Previous misses had Cal’s Inika McPherson, Kaylene Wagner of Kansas State and Nebraska’s Epley Bullock placing behind Wolf as they finished 7-8-9 with each clearing 6-0 as well.
Four jumpers remained in the competition on third-attempt clearances at 6-0, and one of them, Georgia’s Patty Sylvester, ended up winning the event when she made it over 6-2 ¼ (1.89) on fewer misses than her teammate Lavern Spencer. Texas’ Destinee Hooker, the Big 12 champion, finished third at 6-1 ¼ (1.86).
The shot put title was decided in dramatic fashion on the final two throws of the sixth and final round, but Onwuchekwa only experienced the first three attempts in the preliminaries she had from the second flight of the competition.
Onwuchekwa, who placed no lower than second in any of the four meets she contested this indoor season, missed advancing to the nine-person final when her prelim best of 52-4 ¾ (15.97) trailed the final qualifying mark of 52-10 ¾ (16.12) set by Gail Lee of Memphis.
It was the lowest mark produced by Onwuchekwa during a record-breaking season, which had produced a school record of 57-2 (17.42) when she won the New Balance Collegiate Invitational last month in New York.
Defending champion Michelle Carter of Texas overtook Arizona State’s Sarah Stevens by a centimeter with a sixth-round toss of 59-5 ½ (18.12), bettering the 59-5 produced by Stevens in the second round. Stevens, the final thrower, responded with a 59-7 (18.16) put to reclaim the lead and secure the victory.