Des Moines, Iowa – Texas A&M opened and closed the second day of action at the NCAA Midwest Regional by winning the women’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays and in the process totaled 98 points for its first-ever region championship.
In a season in which the Aggie women were double conference champs as they claimed Big 12 team titles during the indoor and outdoor season, they added their third postseason team championships at Drake Stadium. Texas A&M was runner-up in the 2006 Midwest Region meet, held in Austin.
Texas A&M won the Midwest Region meet by 32 points as Texas was runner-up with 67 points. Nebraska (55), Texas Tech (43) and TCU (42) rounded out the top five. A total of 32 teams scored in the regional.
The Aggie women advanced two relays to the NCAA Championships along with seven individuals competing in eight events. A few more may be added by Monday when NCAA fields are filled from athletes placing among the top 12 at regionals from the season descending order list.
“That’s the problem with this meet, it’s looked at as just a step,” A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “The focus is on the next one, the NCAA Championships, and so that is part of our challenge as coaches. You have to focus on this one to make sure you get to the next one.”
Led by four runner-up efforts on the day, the Aggie men scored 37 points and placed eighth in team scoring. Big 12 champion Oklahoma claimed the men’s title with 75.33 points as Nebraska took second with 60 points. Rounding out the top five schools were Texas Tech (58), Kansas (50) and Texas (47). A total of 36 schools scored on the men’s side.
Individual A&M runner-up efforts were achieved by Zuheir Sharif (triple jump – 51-10.5w), Richard Adu-Bobie (100 – 10.31) and Nick Robinson (400 hurdles – 50.76).
The Aggie men also earned silver in the 4 x 400 with the foursome of Bryant McCombs (47.0), A.C. Robinson (45.5), Marcus Pitre (46.7) and Jusitn Oliver (45.8). The Aggie crew recorded a season best of 3:04.99 in placing second to Baylor’s collegiate leading 3:01.66.
“It was a meet of two’s for us,” Henry said. “This group competed well. Again this is a situation we need to get better at, but we’re coming.”
The Aggie women’s 4 x 100 relay crew of Elizabeth Adeoti, Porscha Lucas, Simone Facey, Rachel Foster opened the running events with a sterling victory, lowering the stadium record they established in the prelims to 43.29.
It also lowered the A&M school record from 43.67 the same foursome ran to win the Big 12 title. On the current 2007 performance list the Aggies are third on the collegiate list and No. 6 in the world. Of the four region meets held this weekend Texas A&M recorded the fastest time.
“What we are doing right there is we are being consistent,” Henry said of the sprint relay. “When you have some consistency in the run, then you’re going to have something big happen one day.
“Today we got closer to something really big happening. Anytime you run low 43, then you’re starting to get your act together. This group is starting to get some things done.”
Nearly even with Texas on the first two legs of the relay, the edge went to Texas A&M with Facey on the third leg. She churned through the curve and gave a sizeable cushion to Aggie anchor Foster.
“The exchange was really good with Rachel,” Facey noted. “We executed out of the zone and everyone did a wonderful job passing the stick around the track. I have to run the third leg strong, because I know that Rachel is on the anchor leg and I have to open that gap to take off some of the pressure to finish the race.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to run 43.29, that’s a really good time. We have a really good shot at winning the NCAAs., so hopefully we can do just as well there.”
Foster not only held off the charge of Longhorn anchor Chaunte Bayne, but also the effort by TCU’s Virgil Hodge. Her reaction to the win was a fist pump once she crossed the finish line, then a facial expression of amazement when she heard the time the Aggies recorded.
“I saw that everybody who was on our relay did their part, so I knew I had to do mine,” Foster said. “It’s a very good feeling getting the baton from Simone, because I know she is going to open it up for me. Then I just take it home.
“I was surprised at our time, but at the same time I expected us to run fast today. I just didn’t know we were going to run that fast. We tried to start it out right today, so it’s a good feeling to get this win.”
The women’s 4 x 400 relay unit consisted of Tresha Henry (53.1 split), Clora Williams (51.8), Sandy Wooten (53.3) and Katie Baker (51.9). They blistered the field in running a season-best of 3:30.04 while Texas was runner-up in 3:33.33.
Facey went on to place second in the 100 and 200 to Houston’s Ebonie Floyd. The margin in the 100 was 11.15 to 11.19 with Facey matching her career best. In the 200 Floyd held a margin of 22.32 to 22.58. Porscha Lucas placed sixth in the 200 (23.54) and eighth in the 100 (11.56)
Jennifer Williams was a double qualifier for the NCAA Championships as well, placing third in the 100 hurdles (13.43) and setting another career best in the 400 hurdles (58.77) as she placed fourth.
Tresha Henry joined Williams in the NCAA hurdle field as she finished fourth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 13.57. Lindsey Adams placed sixth in 13.61 while Whitney Holmes finished seventh in 13.72. Henry also added a seventh-place effort in the 200 (23.57).
Clora Williams raced to a second-place finish in the 400 meters, running a season best of 52.59 to place behind Iowa’s Kineke Alexander (52.34). Katie Baker placed sixth in 53.38, but may advance off the performance list with her season best of 52.96.
Ashika Charan tied for second in the triple jump with a career best effort of 42-9.5, and placed third with the tiebreaker of second-best effort. Yasmine Regis followed in 10th place with a mark of 41-4.5.
2007 NCAA Midwest Region Championships
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
100: Simone Facey (2nd, 11.19 equals school record)
200: Simone Facey (2nd, 22.58)
400: Clora Williams (2nd, 52.59)
100H: Jennifer Williams (3rd, 13.43), Tresha Henry (4th, 13.57)
400H: Jennifer Williams (4th, 58.77 PR)
4 x 100: Texas A&M (Elizabeth Adeoti, Porscha Lucas, Simone Facey, Rachel Foster) (1st, 43.29 School Record)
4 x 400: Texas A&M (Tresha Henry, Clora Williams, Sandy Wooten, Katie Baker) (1st, 3:30.04)
High Jump: Caroline Wolf (2nd, 6-1 ½)
High Jump: Ashika Charan (3rd, 42-9.5 PR)
Shot Put: Kasey Onwuchekwa (4th, 54-0 ½)
100: Richard Adu-Bobie (2nd, 10.31)
400H: Nick Robinson (2nd, 50.76)
4 x 400: Texas A&M (Bryant McCombs, A.C. Robinson, Marcus Pitre, Justin Oliver) (2nd, 3:04.99)
Triple Jump: Zuheir Sharif (2nd, 51-10.5 wind-aided)