COLUMBIA, Missouri -- Texas A&M junior Casey Strong placed fourth in the hammer final on the first day of action at the SEC Track and Field Championships with a mark of 206 feet, 7 inches (62.97) that improved his Aggie school record.
“It’s always great to come out to a big meet like this and perform to the best of your ability,” Strong said. “It feels really great to get a PR today. This past week in practice things have been clicking and getting there at the right time. I want to keep improving through regionals and nationals.”
In the women’s heptathlon the A&M tandem of Annie Kunz and Jena Hemann are in fifth and sixth place, respectively, after the first four events. Kunz has scored 3323 points while Hemann has 3314. The leader is Makeba Alcide of Arkansas with 3756 points. Alcide scored 1,080 in the high portion of the heptathlon when she set a SEC record of 6 feet, 2 inches.
All four of Strong’s measured hammer marks bettered his previous school record of 201-5 (61.40) set in Fayetteville last month. His series included 201-8 (61.48), 206-7 (62.97), foul, 201-5 (61.41), foul, 205-1 (62.50).
Florida produced the top two finishers in the event and added a seventh place to compile 20 points in the event. Kyle Strawn won the hammer with a 219-6 (66.90) effort while Jeremy Postin hit a mark of 219-3 (66.83) for second place.
Third place ahead of Strong was a 214-11 (65.50) by Alabama’s Elias Hakansson. Finishing fifth was Missouri’s Brian Duncan with a 203-2 (61.93).
“Hopefully this will be a good boost for the team and encourage them to get after it,” noted Strong in scoring five points in the first final of the conference meet.
A field of 14 entrants competed in the heptathlon, in which the start was delayed by two hours due to inclement weather. In the 100 hurdles, Kunz ran 14.03 (1.4) for 974 points while Hemann finished in 14.30 (1.8) for 936 points. Kunz then cleared 5-7 in the high jump for 855 points with Hemann getting over 5-4.5 for 783.
Moving to the shot put amid another rain shower, Hemann had the better mark of 41-9.25 for 709 points while Kunz produced a 36-4 for 600 points. Kunz rolled to a 24.92 (894) in the 200 as Hemann ran in the same heat and finished with a 25.019 (886 points).
Friday’s action at the SEC meet starts at noon for the Aggies with the continuation of the heptathlon, which includes the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
Finals include the women’s hammer with Brea Garrett and Jill Hydrick competing for A&M and the 10,000 meters. Running in the 25 lap race for the Aggies are James Hodges, Ryan Miller, Grace Fletcher, Amanda Jenkins, and Hillary Montgomery.
Qualifying events on Friday will take place in the 800m, 200m and 400 hurdles. The top eight qualifiers advance to the final.