DES MOINES, IA -- The lone final involving Texas A&M on the third day of the NCAA Outdoor Championships had Aggie frosh Deon Lendore placing eighth in the 400 meters with a time of 45.63.
After a light day of action on Friday, the Aggies will be involved in 10 of the 12 track finals on Saturday. A live broadcast of the final day will air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPNU.
The point scored by Lendore gives the A&M men 10 for the meet. The Aggie women have 10 points as well. The men are currently tied for 18th place while the women are tied for 17th.
Florida leads the men’s team competition through 14 of the 21 finals with 36 points followed by Virginia Tech (28), Arizona (24), LSU (23), and Oregon (22).
In the women’s team chase through 14 finals there is a tie at 40 points between LSU and Oregon, followed by Oklahoma (24), Stanford (22), Kansas (21) and Tennessee (21).
Lendore equaled the fastest time ever recorded for eighth place in an NCAA final and did so running in lane one. The 45.63 time was also run by Jamel Ashley of Mississippi State in 2004.
“Knowing that I was going to be in lane one I tried to devise a race plan,” said Lendore. “That was really my first time to ever race out of lane one.
“Especially since it was a big final, I tried not to think about the lane, but focused on my race plan. I tried the best I could, but the race didn’t feel like I thought it would. That had me thinking during the race and that caused me some problems.”
Tony McQuay of Florida won the 400 title in 44.58 over Oregon’s Mike Berry, who clocked 44.75. In third was Gil Roberts of Texas Tech with a 44.99.
Roberts, who was in lane two next to Lendore, shot out of the blocks and tried to take the race to the favored McQuay.
“Even when I got out of the blocks well I looked up and he wasn’t there,” noted Lendore. “I was shocked at first, but I tried not to run with him since I had a different race plan. I just let him do what he usually does knowing I could catch him at the end, but I didn’t get the finish I was looking for.”
Of the 10 races A&M will contest on the final day of the NCAA Championships, four are relay events. Last season the Aggies swept the 4 x 400 relays and placed second in both 4 x 100 relays. Those finishes supplied A&M with 18 points each for the men’s and women’s team titles in 2011.
“Going into the 4 x 4 tomorrow I know there is going to be some pressure,” stated Lendore. “Everyone has been splitting good times so we are looking forward to a hard race. I know that our team is going to look to pull through and do our best.”
Other events for the Aggies include the 200 meters, 110/100 hurdles, men’s steeplechase, and women’s 5,000 meters
The sprint relays start action on the blue track at Drake University as the TV window opens at 11 a.m. on ESPNU. The mile relays will cap the day at 12:40 p.m.
In between the set of relay events Texas A&M will be seeking point production from the trio of Ameer Webb, Ashley Collier and Dominique Duncan in the 200 meters after they get done with the 4 x 100 relays.
In the hurdles, Wayne Davis II posted the top time of 13.26w in the 110H semifinal while Donique’ Flemings was the last time qualifier with a 13.05 in the 100H.
Davis, who has equaled the Aggie school record held by Larry Wade with a career best of 13.37, will face a final field that includes the past two NCAA champions in Andrew Riley of Illinois (2010) and Barrett Nugent of LSU (2011). Riley ran 13.30 in the semifinal while Nugent posted a 13.36.
Likewise the women’s 100 hurdle field is another challenging final with returning silver and bronze medalist in Ohio State’s Christina Manning and Central Florida’s Jackie Coward.
Flemings, the Big 12 champion, has a PR of 13.00 this season and has recorded five times under 13.00 seconds that have been wind-aided. Her best windy time is a 12.87 from her conference victory.
Henry Lelei, who nearly broke his own school record of 8:38.90 in the semifinal with an 8:39.09, will tangle with the American collegiate record holder in Princeton’s Donn Cabral, who placed second in the NCAA final a year ago. Cabral, who has run 8:19.14 this season, claimed the other semifinal on Thursday evening with an 8:38.12.
Natosha Rogers will not be able to surprise anyone in the 5,000 after her stellar victory over 10,000 meters on Thursday night. However, Rogers may hold an advantage due to her training in the heat of College Station as the final takes place at 12:19 p.m. where the highs are expected to reach the low 90s in Des Moines.
Five finalists from last year’s NCAA 5,000 return. They include defending champion Sheila Reid of Villanova and bronze medalist Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth along with Stanford’s Kathy Kroeger (5th), Megan Goethais of Washington (6th) and Wichita State’s Aliphine Tuliamuk (8th), who was runner-up in the 10,000 behind Rogers.
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