Coral Gables, Fla. – Renewing a friendly rivalry that began during the World Junior Championships in Jamaica five years ago, Simone Facey challenged U.S. Olympic silver medalist and former NCAA champion Lauryn Williams in two events Saturday during the Miami Elite Invitational at Cobb Stadium.
In the 200 meters Facey pulled away from the field with 80 meters left and charged to the finish line in a world-leading time of 22.77 seconds while Williams posted a 23.02 as the runner-up. Jamaican Sheri Ann Brooks was third in 23.42.
“To run here against Lauryn was my motivation,” noted Facey in racing Williams at the school she attended as a collegian. “I competed against her before back in 2002, back when I was very young. Now I’m more mature in the sport and I know what it takes to get to this level.
“I really work hard in practice so I can compete against the best in the world. Recent work on our 4 x 400 helped me today during the last 30 meters of the race. It gave me the strength and endurance to finish like I did with such a fast time.”
Facey bettered the current world best of 22.95 set by LSU’s Kelly Ann Baptiste on March 31 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Aggies head to LSU next week for the annual Alumni Gold Invitational hosted by the Tigers.
“It was great to see my time on the scoreboard,” Facey added. “That is really a fast time, especially in my first 200 of the outdoor season. It gives me motivation to do the same thing or even run faster in the next meet.”
Facey smashed the 24-year-old Aggie school record in the event, which was a 23.48 set in 1983 by Novaita Samuels.
Including Facey’s sterling performance, Texas A&M also registered 16 wins (eight men, eight women) in the meet, five of which featured 1-2 sweeps by the Aggies. They also had the top collegiate performance in four other events.
On the men’s side Richard Adu-Bobie registered some fast finishes in the 100 (10.33) and 200 (20.95 PR) after he anchored Texas A&M’s 4 x 100 to a winning time of 39.49 over Florida A&M (40.84) and Miami (41.24).
The Aggie sprint relay, which consisted of Quinton Young, Justin Oliver, Chris Dykes and Adu-Bobie for the third consecutive week, posted its best mark of the season and currently equals the second fastest time on the 2007 collegiate list and is equal to the seventh-fastest time in the world for this season.
Adu-Bobie set a personal best in the 200, his previous best mark was 21.31 along with a wind-aided 21.03. Adu-Bobie recorded a best of 21.28 during the indoor season with the Aggies.
“It’s been a good weekend, coming back to Florida,” noted Adu-Bobie, who attended the University of Florida the past two years. “I was just glad to be back in the state, competing well and to show them what I’ve been accomplishing while at Texas A&M.
“I’m very happy about the 200. It was my first time to go under 21 seconds and I’ve been praying about it for so long. To do it back here in Florida was just a great experience. Running a 39.49 in the relay is just another stepping stone for us as we build towards NCAAs. I know we’ll get it down pact and run a lot faster.”
Earlier in the meet Williams was the anchor leg of an all-star relay team that won in 43.44, just ahead of the 43.87 recorded by Texas A&M, which equaled the school record the Aggies set three weeks ago in Los Angeles. Texas A&M ran with the foursome of Tresha Henry, Porscha Lucas, Katie Baker and Facey.
Williams, who anchored a South Florida Elite squad which consisted of Angela Williams, Debbie Ferguson, and Dominique Darden, earned silver in the 2004 Olympic 100 and was the NCAA champion on the same event that year. She also claimed the 2005 World Championship title in the 100 and ran on the winning 4 x 1.
Angela Williams was an Olympian in 2004, running on the USA 4 x 100 and earned silver with the sprint relay at the 2003 World Championships. Ferguson, meanwhile, represented the Bahamas in the last two Olympics, winning gold in the 4 x 100 in 2000 and claiming a bronze medal in the 200 during 2004. She is also a World Champion in the 200. Darden, a multiple All-American for Miami, placed third in the NCAA Championships last year and anchored the Hurricanes 4 x 400 to a silver-medal finish.
Clora Williams bettered a field of elite athletes in gutting out a 400 win in 52.36. Facing a stern contest with professional runners Darden and Kia Davis during the homestretch Williams was not going to be denied as she closed strong and pulled ahead for a comfortable margin of victory. Darden was runner-up in 53.23 while Davis placed third in 53.55.
Another highlight on the women’s side was Jennifer Williams setting a career best of 13.27 in the 100 hurdles. She was the top collegiate finisher behind professional athletes Damu Cherry (12.89) and Andrea Bliss (13.19). The previous best for Williams, who moved to No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list, was a 13.40 from last year’s Big 12 Championships.
Williams also produced a runner-up effort in her season debut over 400 hurdles as she ran 59.65 behind the winning time of 58.63 run by Naim Yisrael of Florida International.
Other winners on the women’s side included: Kathryn Hearn (4:45.42) in the 1,500; Brenna Williamson (11:12.14, No. 3 all-time A&M) in the steeple chase; Caroline Wolf (5-10.75) in the high jump; Jennifer Davidson (11-11.75) in the pole vault; Michelle Inocencio (162-11) in the javelin; and the women’s 4 x 400 (3:38.71), which featured an opening relay split of 52.9 by Baker and also featured Jennifer Williams, Ana Coutino along with Sandy Wooten.
Men’s winners included: Nick Robinson (51.41) in the 400 hurdles; Chad Stoermer (16-0.75) in the pole vault; Zuheir Sharif (51-3.5) in the triple jump; Javier Olivas (55-5) in the shot put; Josh Tiemann (168-9) in the discus; Chad Brown (209-7) in the javelin; and the 4 x 400 (3:09.29) as the quartet of Bryant McCombs, A.C. Robinson, Nick Robinson and Morquise Cleveland held off another Aggie foursome in second place (3:11.57), which consisted of Justin McQueen, Marcus Pitre, Jonathan Collins and James Jerry.
A&M’s freshman sprinters set career bests in the 100 and 200 during the Invitational.
In the 100, Porscha Lucas posted the top collegiate time in the meet, an 11.42, as she placed fourth in the elite race behind Bahamian Olympian Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (11.14), Jamaican Sheri Ann Brooks (11.19) and Britain’s Emma Ania (11.35). Lucas managed to eclipse her previous best of 11.49 and a windy 11.43.
Elizabeth Adeoti, who just missed her PR of 11.50 when she won the second section of the 100 in 11.51, did clip her 200 best of 23.93 when she clocked 23.71 to win the third section and finish fifth overall.
Running in the same section of the 100 hurdles race with Jennifer Williams, A&M’s Tresha Henry and Whitney Holmes placed fourth and fifth with career best times. Henry ran 13.56 to better her previous mark of 13.77 while Holmes clocked 13.58 to improve on her 13.76 best.
Aggie triple jumpers went 2-3-4 behind Miami’s Brenda Faluade, who had a winning mark of 44-5.25. Ashika Charan led the A&M crew with a 41-7.75 for second as Crystal McBrady hit 41-0.5 in third and Angela Thomas finish fourth with a 40-8.75 effort.
Justin Oliver led a group of seven Aggies in the men’s 400 field. A clocking of 46.09 placed Oliver in third behind pro runner Ricky Harris (45.93) and Columbia’s Erison Hurtault (45.99). A.C. Robinson finished fifth in the same section with a 46.42.