PHILADELPHIA, PA. -- Texas A&M freshman Ashika Charan won the long jump competition during Thursday’s action at the 113th Penn Relay Carnival held in Franklin Field. In claiming the title with a jump of 20-5.25 (6.23), Charan becomes the first Aggie female to win a field event at the historic meet.
Individual female winners from Texas A&M in the past have included Anjanette Kirkland in the 100 hurdles, twice in 1995 and 1997, along with Stacy Ward in the 10,000 meters during the 1993 Penn Relays.
Going into the sixth and final round of competition, Charan held the tie-breaking edge for first place among three jumpers who recorded a 20-4.5 (6.21) leap. With thoughts of what had occurred during the Big 12 Indoor Championship, when she was bumped out of first place in the final round, Charan produced her best mark of the day on the last jump to secure the victory.
“The only thing I was thinking is that I couldn’t let what happened at Big 12s happen again,” noted Charan. “I had to stay determined and keep it going. That’s always going through my head, ‘get it going.’
The distance of 20-5.5 returns Charan to the top of the Big 12 list and establishes an outdoor career best for the California native (West Covina). She is now equal to the No. 5 performer on the Aggie all-time outdoor list. During the indoor season Charan set a personal best of 20-6.5.
“It was a little surreal,” Charan said of receiving a Penn Relays watch for winning the event. “I was like, ‘I got the watch, really?’ It didn’t hit me until I got back to my room.
“I was anticipating a really big crowd and that’s what it was like. It’s great to come up here. It’s a great experience to see the crowd and the competition.”
Texas A&M also ran qualifying rounds in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays on Thursday and advanced to the Championhip of America finals in both events with the fifth-fastest times on the day in each relay.
Running the sprint relay from lane 9 in cool, overcast conditions, the Aggie quartet of Tresha Henry, Porscha Lucas, Khrystal Carter and Simone Facey won the sixth heat of 10 in 45.16 seconds. They bettered Oklahoma (45.37), GC Foster of Jamaica (45.51) and Florida A&M (46.14).
Needing a time among the top eight fastest on the day to reach the Championship final, which will be held Friday at 12:50 p.m., A&M was fifth overall. Other heat winners included Auburn (44.62), South Carolina (44.71), LSU (44.92), TCU (44.95), and Tennessee (45.29). Also advancing to the Championship final were Oklahoma and Georgia Tech (45.42).
In the 4 x 400 qualfying rounds, the Aggies ran with the foursome of Tresha Henry, Sandy Wooten, Katie Baker and Simone Facey. A&M ran a time of 3:38.09 to finish second to LSU’s 3:32.60 while Florida State finished third in 3:40.88. All three were among the eight fastest qualifiers for Saturday’s Championship of America race.
The Aggies were the fifth-fastest qualifiers in the 4 x 400. Another heat with three qualifiers included TCU (3:36.10), UTech of Jamaica (3:37.69), and Miami (3:37.79). The other two teams advancing to the Championship final were South Carolina (3:38.32) and Oklahoma (3:39.50).
Friday action at the Penn Relay Carnival for Texas A&M will include Nick Robinson and Cade Liverman running in 400 hurdles qualifying at 9 a.m. followed by the women’s triple jump at 11 a.m. and the women’s high jump at 1:45 p.m. Liverman will also run the 110 hurdles at 3:20 p.m.
The Aggie men will contest qualifying rounds in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays while competing in a final for the sprint medley with a foursome of Bryant McCombs (200), Richard Adu-Bobie (200), Morquise Cleveland (400) and Nick Toohey (800).
Relays for the A&M women include Championship of America races in the 4 x 100 (12:50 p.m.) along with the shuttle hurdle relay (3 p.m.) and qualifying rounds in the 4 x 200 (2 p.m.). The Aggies previously won a shuttle hurdle relay at Penn back in 1997 with a clocking of 54.01 seconds.