DES MOINES, IA -- Two Aggies advanced to the NCAA Championships on day one of the Midwest Regional at Drake Stadium while Texas A&M had 12 athletes reach 17 positions in Saturday’s running event finals.
The Aggie women finished day one tied with Texas for second place in team scoring with 18 points apiece. They trail Texas Tech, who is in first with 19 points. Nebraska follows in fourth with 16 points.
A&M was led by a silver-medal performance from senior Caroline Wolf, who set a career best of 6-1.5 (1.87), while fellow senior Kasey Onwuchekwa placed fourth in the shot put with a mark of 54-0.5 (16.47).
Also scoring during the first day of the regional for the Aggies were Ashika Charan, who placed sixth in the long jump, and Jessica Wingfield, who finished seventh in the javelin.
“You have to look at the positives and we’ve had a group of young people really perform well here today,” A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “I’m really pleased with how they have competed.
“We had the best high jump of the season from Caroline, and Kasey placing fourth in the shot put was big for us. I have to be pleased with the day. We finished one meet today and we start another one tomorrow.”
Wolf cleared her first two heights on first attempts, but needed two tries at 5-11.25 and 6-0.5. She secured second place with a first attempt clearance of 6-1.5 (1.84), which bettered her career best by a quarter of an inch.
“Unexpected is pretty much the only word I can think of to describe this moment,” Wolf stated. “I expected to qualify for nationals, of course, by placing among the top five and jump at least 6-0.5. My run was really consistent today and when I cleared 6-1.5 on my first attempt I was just so happy.
“I had really good attempts at the next height, 6-2.75, so hopefully at nationals I’ll hit it. This is a pretty large boost in my confidence going into the NCAA Championships. Everything finally came together today. The speed of my run was right, along with the curve of my run, and I hit my takeoff correctly.”
Onwuchekwa threw in the third flight of the shot put and opened with her best mark of the day. It ranked her fourth going to the final and she remained in that position through the final three rounds. Teammate Anteneshia Lindsey placed 10th with a mark of 48-2.5, improving upon her previous outdoor personal best of 47-4.25.
Charan will have to wait to see if she reaches the NCAA long jump field based on the performance list following the regional weekend. Her mark of 20-1.5 left her less than two inches shy of placing fifth and earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships.
Wingfield produced a season-best mark of 161-6 to place seventh in the javelin. Following her were teammates Michelle Inocencio (9th, 153-9), Hillary Pustka (14th, 143-9) and Hali Henderson (20th, 118-2).
On the track the Texas A&M women set a stadium record on the blue track of Drake University by winning its heat in 43.83. Texas, who won its heat in 44.08, equaled the stadium record during the 98th running of the Drake Relays back in April with a time of 43.94 to match the previous record set by Illinois in 1988.
The Aggie foursome included Elizabeth Adeoti, Porscha Lucas, Simone Facey and Rachel Foster. TCU was runner-up to A&M with a 44.16 while Houston placed third in 44.65.
“I expected us to do well and if we did I knew we would probably set a record,” anchor Rachel Foster noted. “We all ran well and had really good exchanges. I’m pretty happy about setting a stadium record here.
“The speed of a relay usually isn’t a problem, it’s the technique and skill of getting the baton around the track. We took care of that very well today.”
The Aggie men weren’t as fortunate in the sprint relay. A missed exchanged from the third leg to the anchor meant A&M didn’t finish the race. They ran with an order of Bryant McCombs, Justin Oliver, Justin McQueen and Richard Adu-Bobie.
McCombs and McQueen were recent additions to the unit after the Aggies false-started at the Big 12 meet and due to Chris Dykes aggravating a hamstring injury during the prelims of the Big 12 200 meters.
“With Dykes hurt we had to do some substituting in the men’s short relay,” noted Henry. “We’re not prepared to do that, we don’t have the depth to do that on the men’s side yet. So, our relay just didn’t get the stick around.”
In totaling 17 qualifiers for the day two finals, the Aggies had a four athletes advance in two events. In addition A&M will have three other athletes in two events that will be run as finals only on Saturday. Brian Duplechain will contest the 1,500 while Sarah Ravenelle and Brenna Williamson each run in the split-section steeplechase race.
Jennifer Williams won heats of the 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles with times of 13.48 and 58.94, which was a career best mark. Simone Facey won heats of the 100 and 200 meters with clockings of 11.34 and 22.94.
“The relay was okay, we did a very good job through each zone,” said Simone Facey, who ran the third leg. “That’s how we came out on top and set a stadium record. Individually this first day wasn’t a good day for me, I know I can do better. I just have to come out tomorrow and put a little more effort in what I have do and run my own race.”
Meanwhile, Tresha Henry set a personal best in the 100 hurdles as she ran 13.55 and then advanced in the 200 with a mark of 23.31 as she placed third in both prelim races. Porscha Lucas advanced in both the 100 and 200, running an 11.42 (wind-aided) and 23.57.
Additional qualifiers for the A&M women included Whitney Holmes and Lindsey Adams in the 100 hurdles. Holmes set a personal best of 13.48 as Adams clocked 13.76, which is her fastest time this season.
Clora Williams and Katie Baker each advanced in the 400 meters. Williams won her heat in 53.10 while Baker was runner-up in another heat with a time of 53.00.
On the men’s side the Aggies recorded three heat winners in Richard Adu-Bobie (100), Justin Oliver (400) and Nick Robinson (400 hurdles).
Robinson neared his season best of 50.63 with a clocking of 50.67 to win the first heat of the 400 hurdles. His time was second best in qualifying, trailing only a 50.11 posted by Texas Tech’s Bryan Scott.
Adu-Bobie was a double qualifier for the Aggies. He won his 100-meter prelim heat in 10.31 and then added a 21.00 qualifier in the 200 when he placed fourth. Adu-Bobie posted the top qualifying time in the 100 ahead of a 10.35 by TCU’s Justyn Warner, who was second in the same heat.
Justin Oliver won the second heat of the 400 with a time of 46.67, which was fourth besting qualifying. Baylor frosh LeJerald Betters led the field with a 46.01. Bryant McCombs was third in Oliver’s heat, but his 47.35 did not advance. A.C. Robinson finished third with a 46.83 in Betters’ heat, but Robinson was 10th overall in qualifying.
Cade Liverman established a career best of 14.12 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, but did not advance to the final. His time left him in ninth position, just one spot out of the final eight. Later in the meet he ran 53.18 in the 400 hurdles.
In men’s field event finals the Aggie trio of Dylan Conway (174-6), Josh Tiemann (172-2) and Javier Olivas (163-4) placed 10th, 12th and 17th, respectively. Conway established his season best for the second consecutive meet.
2007 NCAA Midwest Region Championships
Women’s Team Scoring: 1. Texas Tech 19; 2. tie, Texas A&M and Texas, 18; 4. Nebraska 16; 5. SMU 12.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
High Jump: Caroline Wolf (2nd, 6-1 ½)
Shot Put: Kasey Onwuchekwa (4th, 54-0 ½)
Advancing to Saturday’s Midwest Region Finals
100: Simone Facey, Porscha Lucas
200: Simone Facey, Tresha Henry, Porscha Lucas
400: Clora Williams, Katie Baker
4 x 100: Texas A&M (Elizabeth Adeoti, Porscha Lucas, Simone Facey, Rachel Foster)
100H: Jennifer Williams, Whitney Holmes, Tresha Henry, Lindsey Adams
400H: Jennifer Williams
100: Richard Adu-Bobie
200: Richard Adu-Bobie
400: Justin Oliver
400H: Nick Robinson