FAYETTEVILLE – Texas A&M earned a pair of third-place team finishes at the SEC Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Sunday. Aggie senior Henry Lelei claimed the men’s Cliff Harper trophy as the high point scorer with 22 points and the A&M 4 x 400 relay broke a SEC meet record with a world-leading 3:04.18.
The Aggie women broke a pair of school records on the way to scoring 88 points. Arkansas won the women’s team title with 116.5 points while LSU finished second with 111.5 points. Florida finished fourth with 87.5 points while Georgia (53.5), South Carolina (50) and Kentucky (34) rounded out the top half of the 14-team field.
Arkansas men totaled 152.5 points in capturing the team title over 117 points for Florida and 88.5 for Texas A&M. Georgia placed fourth with 56 points while LSU finished fifth with 44 and Auburn had 41 in sixth place among the 12 men’s teams.
Combined medalist for the Aggies included five gold, six silver and three bronze for the weekend. The A&M men totaled four victories, one silver medal and a bronze while the women had one winner, five runner-up and one third place finish.
“We had a great meet across the board,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Point-wise it doesn’t look good, but our athletes competed real well. It’s a positive step forward towards the national championships.
“The NCAA meet will be a completely different meet than the SEC. Winning the NCAA meet is going to be a different challenge than winning the conference meet. I think we have some really good up front points and it will be interesting to see what we can put together and be successful in two weeks.”
Early in the meet on Sunday, Deon Lendore cruised to the 400 title with a 45.23, the second fastest time ever run at A&M, while Ricky Babineaux added a fourth place finish in 46.57 for a total of 15 Aggie points.
To close out the meet, Lendore split 44.51 as the Aggies broke the SEC meet record in winning the 4 x 400 relay in a school record and world-leading 3:04.18. The previous SEC Championship record was 3:04.75 set by Florida in 2005 while the A&M school record of 3:04.24 was set in 2011.
The foursome on the Aggie relay included Ricky Babineaux (46.50), Aldrich Bailey, Jr. (47.37), Carlyle Roudette (45.82) and Lendore. Texas A&M, stationed in third place after Bailey’s leg, trailed Florida and Arkansas.
On the anchor leg Lendore closed the gap while remaining in third place. With a lap remaining he made his move as Florida moved past the leading Razorbacks. Coming off the final curve Lendore moved past Florida’s Dedric Dukes and cruised to the finish line for the win.
Florida, who held the world leading time of 3:05.93 coming into the meet, ran 3:04.31 to also eclipse the previous SEC meet record. LSU ran 3:07.86 for third while Arkansas was disqualified for impeding.
Lelei completed a double victory at the SEC Indoor, taking the 5,000 meters with a school record of 13:54.33. Since Lelei had not run a 5,000 this indoor season he was stationed in the first and slower heat. However, Lelei’s time wasn’t bettered in the second section as Stanley Kebenei of Arkansas ran 14:03.60.
“I knew it would be a slow place and I would have to push it myself,” said Lelei. “I had some help with teammates assisting with the pace early in the race. Then at 2,000 meters I took over to the finish. It was hard to do, especially pushing the pace by yourself for that long. It’s very special to win another SEC title.”
Lelei is three-for-three in individual SEC Championship races, having won the SEC cross country title last fall to go with the 3,000 and 5,000 titles he claimed this weekend. He anchored the Aggie distance medley relay to a runner-up finish in 9:51.10 behind Arkansas’ 9:50.67.
Joining Lelei on the distance medley relay were James Bonn (3:00.67), Greg Coleman (47.45), and Hector Hernandez (1:51.43). Lelei anchored in 4:11.56.
“It’s great to score that many points for the team and win athlete of the meet honors,” noted Lelei. “This is my last indoor season with A&M, so I had to do everything I could to help score points for the team. It was a little difficult to anchor the distance medley relay after running the 5,000 in less than an hour.”
The women’s lone gold medalist was LaQue Moen-Davis, who turned in a career best mark of 44-2 (13.46) to win the triple jump. Jordan Wilson added a pair of points in finishing seventh with a career best of 41-8.5 (12.71). Melissa Mays just missed scoring, placing ninth with a personal best of 41-0.25 (12.50).
Brea Garrett started the final day of the SEC Indoor off with a silver medal performance as she broke her school record with a mark of 65-11.5 (20.10). LSU’s Denise Hinton won the event with a toss of 69-6.25 (21.19) while Missouri’s Kearston Peoples placed third with a 65-0 (19.81) effort.
The previous school record set by Garrett was 64-7 (19.68) during the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge in January. After the first three rounds at the Walker Pavilion, Garrett was in fifth place with a best of 62-5 (19.02). In the fourth round, though, she unleashed her career best to move into second place.
Jennifer Edwards missed making the final group of nine as her best effort measured 57-9 (17.60) for 11th place. Jill Hydrick placed 16th with a toss of 52-9.5 (16.09).
A pair of silver medals was attained by Aggies in the 60 hurdles. Wayne Davis II set a career best of 7.65 in chasing defending champion Eddie Lovett of Florida, who set a meet record of 7.54 for the win. Caleb Cross of Arkansas finished third with a 7.72 while another A&M hurdler, Kenneth Minkah, placed eighth in 8.09. Davis, who improved his national record for Trinidad & Tobago, is No. 2 on the Aggie all-time list with the fourth-best performance.
Donique’ Flemings produced a time of 8.20, a season best, to claim second place in the women’s 60 hurdles. Jasmin Stowers of LSU won the race in 8.06 while South Carolina’s Kierre Beckles placed third in 8.24.
The A&M women scored 17 points in the 60 final. Ashley Collier posted a 7.26 for second as she challenged LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan, who won in 7.24, while Jennifer Madu picked up third with a 7.34. Ashton Purvis added three more Aggie points in placing sixth with a 7.41.
Behind a runner-up performance by Kamaria Brown in the 400, where she produced a career best of 52.16, the Aggies also picked up two more points from Ibukun Mayungbe, who set a career best time of 52.86 to place seventh overall. Arkansas’s Regina George won the race in 51.40.
Brown’s time is second fastest at A&M, only trailing Jessica Beard’s school record of 50.79, and is the No. 7 performance by an Aggie.
In the 200 final the Aggie women totaled 18 points as Brown and then Ashton Purvis broke the school record in placing second and third. Brown blazed to a 22.73 in claiming the first section, topping the 22.83 Porscha Lucas set in 2008 and matched again in 2009.
Purvis then finished second to defending champion Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU (22.54) with a sizzling 22.70 while Ashley Collier posted a 23.22 for fifth place overall.
In the women’s 4 x 400 the Aggie crew of Janeil Bellille (54.86), Ibukun Mayungbe (52.91), Brown (52.92) and Olivia Ekpone (54.65) won the second of three sections in 3:35.33 and ended up fourth overall following a disqualification of Florida. Arkansas claimed the win in 3:29.60.
Ameer Webb placed third in the men’s 200 with a 20.75 while Michael Bryan posted a 20.93 for third. Prezel Hardy, Jr. ran 21.01 for eighth place.
Hector Hernandez supplied a career best of 1:49.66 to place fourth in the 800 final while teammate James Bonn finished seventh in 1:50.37. Hernandez moves to No. 4 on the Aggie all-time indoor list.
Hardy, Jr. ran 6.70 for fifth in the 60 final. Missouri freshman Markesh Woodson won the race in 6.60 over Auburn’s Marcus Rowland (6.63) and Florida’s Hugh Graham, Jr. (6.65).
In the pole vault Chase Wolfle tied for fifth place with a clearance of 17-1.5 (5.22).
Dave Brown put together a solid series in the triple jump and made the nine-person final. His best of 50-4.75 (15.36) placed ninth. In the mile final C.J. Brown placed ninth with a time of 4:08.52. Amanda Jenkins also finished ninth in the 5,000 with a clocking of 16:54.55.
The A&M women’s distance medley relay finished 10th in 11:40.93 with the crew of Ashley Chamberlain, Donique’ Flemings, Aliese Hyde and Sophie Blake.
Texas A&M – SEC medalist
(5 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze)
200: 3. Ameer Webb, 20.75
400: 1. Deon Lendore, 45.23
3,000: 1. Henry Lelei, 7:57.57
5,000: 1. Henry Lelei, 13:54.33, school record
60H: 2. Wayne Davis II, 7.65
4x400: 1. Texas A&M, 3:04.18, SEC meet record, school record
60: 2. Ashley Collier, 7.26; 3. Jennifer Madu, 7.34
200: 2. Ashton Purvis, 22.70, school record; 3. Kamaria Brown, 22.73, school record
400: 2. Kamaria Brown, 52.16
60H: 2. Donique’ Flemings, 8.20
Triple Jump: 1. LaQue Moen-Davis, 44-2 (13.46).
Weight: 2. Brea Garrett, 65-11.5 (20.10), School record