COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Opening day of the SEC Indoor Championships was capped with an Aggie school record for Texas A&M’s Jena Hemann as she scored 4,079 points to place seventh in the women’s pentathlon Thursday at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
Mississippi State’s Erica Bougard won the pentathlon with 4,458 points over Georgia frosh Kendell Williams, who produced a score of 4,283 points as runner-up. Georgia also claimed third place and eighth place in the event to total 15 points in the team score.
A score of over 4,000 points was needed to place in the top eight and earn team points in the deep field that began with 17 athletes. Bougard’s tally, the second best winning score ever at the SEC Indoor meet, moves her to fifth on the all-time collegiate list with the ninth-best performance. She only trails the collegiate record of 4,569 scored last year by Arkansas’ Makeba Alcide among the best SEC marks in the event.
“I was shooting for the collegiate record at first, but after the high jump when I missed 5-11 I knew it would be hard to reach,” noted Bougard. “My leg started hurting so I knew my long jump wouldn’t be as good as it was the year before. I put the record to the side and tried to do my best for the win.
“It’s great to be the champion, especially after last year. That hurt my feelings really bad. I was sad, but I just came back stronger. After getting disqualified in the 800 last year at the SEC meet I knew to stay in the lane rather than hugging the rail. I just put it all together this year.”
Hemann started the pentathlon with a time of 8.67 seconds for 980 points in the 60 hurdles. A 5-8.75 (1.75) high jump followed for 916 points. With a mark of 41-7 (12.67) in the shot put Hemann picked up 706 more points. While disappointed with her long jump of 17-6 (5.33) for 651 points, Hemann made up for it in the 800.
Needing a time of 2:24.40 to break her school record by one point, Hemann clobbered that standard by five seconds with a sterling 2:19.85 to add 800 points to her final score. She bettered her Aggie school record of 4,017 set at the SEC meet a year ago.
“I’m glad a time like that finally came for me in the 800,” said Hemann. “I’m very excited that I broke the school record, it’s awesome. But, of course, I’m disappointed with the place. Coach Henry just told me it’s still two points for the team. Overall, though, I’m pleased. I need to improve my long jump and I think if I get it back to where it’s been in the past the whole thing will come together.”
Texas A&M’s Daniel Martin is currently in 11th place with 2,579 points in the men’s heptathlon. They will complete the event with three more disciplines on Friday. Martin ran well in the 60 meters, posting a time of 7.23 for 802 points. A 20-7.25 (6.28) long jump added 648 points while a 34-7.5 (10.55) shot put supplied 519 more points. Martin ended the first day of the heptathlon with a solid high jump of 5-10 (1.78) for 610 points.
SEC Indoor action continues Friday and Saturday with start times of 1 p.m. each day. Web coverage of the meet will be available on ESPN3.com.