FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- Texas A&M shattered its school record by nearly two seconds in the women’s 4 x 400 relay on the way to capturing a silver medal in the final event of the NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Saturday evening.
The foursome of Tresha Henry, Clora Williams, Simone Facey and Katie Baker ran away from the field in the second heat of the three-section final. With an anchor leg of 52.4 seconds Baker crossed the finish line in 3:29.91, which bettered the previous school record of 3:31.67 set last year at the NCAA meet.
With the eight points from the relay the Aggie women totaled 17 for the meet to place 13th overall, the best-ever finish by an A&M squad at the NCAA Indoor Championships. It improved upon the Aggies 17th place from last year.
“The mile relay was a good finish,” A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “I told the team afterwards that we really had a meet of highs and lows. There were some real highs, and some real lows.
“You’ve got to come into this meet and be a lot more level and consistent to be successful as a team. We need to be tougher mentally.”
Arizona State claimed the women’s team title with 38 points to finish ahead of LSU (33), Tennessee (30), Georgia (28) and Auburn (26). Texas A&M was just three points shy of a top 10 finish.
On the men’s side a dropped baton in the 4 x 400 limited the Aggies to 11th place in the event and only six points in the meet. Texas A&M tied for 32nd place in team scoring.
The men’s team title went to Wisconsin, who tallied 40 points. Rounding out the top five were Florida State (35), Texas (34), Stanford (28) and Auburn (25).
With the women setting a blistering mark in the second section the race was on for either South Carolina or LSU to eclipse it in the third and final heat. South Carolina needed a 50.6 split from 400-meter champion Natasha Hastings on the final leg for the Gamecocks to nip A&M with a time of 3:29.57. LSU finished third with a 3:30.26.
Louisiana Tech was second to A&M in the second section by nearly five seconds with a clocking of 3:34.68 and placed fifth overall.
“Before the race we had already set in our mind that we would have to run for a time,” Baker said. “We went out trying to set the stakes high, which we did. Even though we weren’t in the last heat we still gave it our all and came out successful.”
Facey, who was part of four school records over the weekend, added two points to the A&M total with a seventh-place finish in the 60 meters. After running a career best 7.29 in the prelims, Facey recorded a 7.34 in the final. Kerron Stewart of Auburn claimed the title in 7.15 with a slight gap ahead of Tennessee’s Courtney Champion, who took runner-up in 7.19.
Day two of the NCAA didn’t start out well for the Aggie women as Big 12 champion Yasmine Regis fouled three times as the first jumper in flight one of the triple jump.
Then Zuheir Sharif placed ninth in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 51-1 ¾ (15.59) and just missed scoring the Aggie men.
The night finished with a dropped baton on the exchange between A.C. Robinson and Bryant McCombs following an opening leg by Justin McQueen during the 4 x 400 relay. Justin Oliver ran the anchor leg in 46.8 as the Aggies ran 3:13.76 to place 11th.
A&M NOTE: The time for Chris Dykes in the 200 from Friday evening was lowered to 20.67 in the final results from the 20.68 initially listed. The mark is the fastest time in A&M history indoors on a banked 200-meter track. The Aggie record of 20.63 set by Stanley Kerr in 1988 was produced on a 300-meter oversized flat track in Lubbock.