LOS ANGELES, CA -- A pair of school records were broken amid a 10 win weekend for Texas A&M during the USC Trojan Invitational held at Loker Stadium this weekend.
Michael Preble won the men’s 800 in 1:46.43 to break the school record of 1:46.98 held by current teammate Joey Roberts. In running the U.S. leading time for the 2012 outdoor season, Preble also bettered the Olympic Trials A standard of 1:46.50.
Natosha Rogers, meanwhile, continued her school record breaking spree with a runner-up time of 4:18.75 in the women’s 1,500 meters. Rogers bettered a mark of 4:18.82 set by Suzanne Sheffield at the 1983 Texas Relays.
Donique’ Flemings was part of three winning efforts for the Aggies as she swept the two hurdle events and anchored the 4 x 100 to victory in 44.18 seconds. In the 100 hurdles Flemings clocked 13.41 for the win into a -0.7 wind. Then in the 400 hurdles a 60.15 secured the win for Flemings.
“I feel like I got a lot accomplished today,” said Flemings. “I didn’t run the times I wanted to run, but I felt like my races were good. I just have to go back into practice and work on a few things to progressively get better.
“Getting to run the 4 x 100 was special, since I usually don’t run on it. To be able to jump in and help my teammates be successful in that event makes me feel good.”
In addition to the 10 victories the Aggies garnered, they also produced 11 runner-up efforts and seven third-place finishes.
The men’s 800 had Roberts leading the field through 200 (25.1) and 400 (51.8) meters with Preble and Oscar Ramirez setting up an A&M 1-2-3. Preble moved on Roberts in the backstretch and led the field at 600 (1:18.7).
Oregon’s tandem of Elijah Greer and Travis Thompson challenged in the final curve, but neither had enough to close the gap on Preble. Greer moved into second place and clocked 1:46.84 while Roberts recovered to take third in 1:47.52, the fifth fastest performance on the Aggie all-time list.
In placing fifth, Ramirez set a career best of 1:48.21, which makes him the No. 5 performer all-time at A&M with James Bonn placing seventh in 1:49.26, the No. 10 mark on the all-time list.
“It was very exciting to get the win, a school record, and the Olympic Trials qualifier all in the same race,” noted Preble. “It was a great race for all of us. We had three PRs from Oscar, Bonn and myself while Joey ran really well.
“Indoors was really exciting finishing with a silver medal in the 800 at NCAAs. I would have preferred the win, but it was a good opportunity. Bringing the times down now that we are outdoors will hopefully keep that trend going. It’s so great to finally get in the 1:46 range. I felt like I was in shape to do that last year, but just couldn’t put a race together.“
During the indoor season Rogers broke six school records, ranging from the mile to the 5,000 and including an anchor leg on the distance medley relay, and added her seventh one today. Rogers previous PR in the 1,500 was 4:31.32 from last season.
Rogers led a quality field through 400 (69), 800 (2:20) and 1,200 meters (3:29). Then Oregon’s Anne Kesserling, who has a PR of 2:02.15 in the 800, made a move for the lead and built a 10-meter lead on Rogers, who still held a 15m lead over Washington’s Christine Babcock.
German native Kesserling won in 4:16.75, just off her career best of 4:16.50, to take over the collegiate leading time this season. Rogers becomes the current American leader with her 4:18.75 while Babcock placed third in 4:22.26.
“I had already looked up the time for the school record and was ready to get after it,” stated Rogers of the 29-year old A&M mark. “Any record older than I am needs to go. I was feeling pretty tired this week and I didn’t realize I could actually do it.
“I was expecting to PR by a lot just because I’ve taken a big leap this year. Doing it by that much was pretty shocking.”
Other winning efforts on the day included the Aggie men in the 4 x 100 with a 39.48 and Dominique Duncan claiming the 100 in 11.67 while facing a 2.5 head wind. Texas A&M swept the 200 meters as Olivia Ekponé (23.28) and Ameer Webb (20.46) each notched the No. 10 marks on the Aggie all-time list.
Webb, a native Californian who went to high school in Tustin and was a California junior college sprint champion at Cerritos, ran the third fastest time in the world so far this outdoor season in winning the 200.
“I had all the support I needed from being in California with all the Californians in the stands,” said Webb. “Running that fast in my first outdoor 200 puts a target on my back that I’m willing to bear.
“I like my time in the 200 and the conditions were great for me. I love to breath this air, so it was good.”
Prezel Hardy Jr. set a personal best of 20.59 as runner-up to Webb. Hardy also placed second in the 100 (10.35) with Michael Bryan in third (10.37).
Earlier in the meet Webb ran the second leg of the winning 4 x 100 with Ricky Babineaux starting the race while Bryan and Hardy, Jr. wrapped up the last two legs. The Aggies posted a winning time of 39.48 over Washington (40.13), USC (40.14) and Washington State (41.21).
“The better our exchanges get the faster we will go,” added Webb. “Basically we are still getting the feel for one another. Once we all mesh and come together we’ll be great.”
The A&M women wrapped up the meet with a 3:36.95 win in the 4 x 400 relay over Oregon (3:37.80) and USC (3:44.97). Each team exchanged the lead over the first two legs with Ekponé (55.4) and Kanika Beckles (54.1) running for the Aggies.
Then Tiffany Singleton pushed A&M into the lead with a 54.6 split as she handed the baton to Ibukun Mayungbe. With an anchor leg of 52.9, Mayungbe sealed the win.
While the men’s relay race was a bit closer throughout each leg it was host USC claiming victory in 3:02.24 over the Aggies 3:03.16. The A&M foursome included Roberts (46.3), Babineaux (45.8), Preble (46.0) and Lendore (44.9).
A second group of Aggies placed third overall after winning the second section in 3:09.39 with the foursome of Carlyle Roudette (47.7), Ramirez (46.7), Ashton Young (47.3) and Greg Coleman (47.7).
The women’s 4 x 100 relay began with a false start from Oregon, who pleaded to run the race anyway under protest. Given the opportunity they ran 44.11, but were disqualified for the original false start.
Running on the A&M sprint relay were LaKeidra Stewart, Ekponé, Duncan and Flemings. They finished ahead of USC (44.64) and Washington State (45.93).
Other runner-up and third place results for the Aggies included a 2-3 finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with Stephen Curry (9:05.62) and Isaac Spencer (9:09.11) moving to No. 8 and No. 11 on the A&M all-time list.
Wayne Davis II (13.93) and Kenneth Minkah (14.31) were second and third in the 110 hurdles behind a 13.76 from Oregon’s Johnathan Cabral.
In the 400 both Kanika Beckles (53.94) and Deon Lendore (46.20) placed second while Ibukun Mayungbe (54.00) finished third in the women’s race as well. Oregon’s English Gardner won the women’s 400 in 53.73 from another section while USC’s Josh Mance posted a 45.65 for the men’s 400 win with Joey Hughes (46.24) in third.
Singleton ran 2:13.75 as runner-up in the women’s 800 behind a 2:10.22 from Oregon’s Claudia Francis.
Cameron Alexander cleared 6-11 (2.11) in the high jump while Tyler Lee (6-9) placed fifth. Jena Hemann was second best in the long jump with an 18-8 (5.69) mark. Chandrell Stephens won her section of the 100 in 11.84 to place third overall.