MANHATTAN, Kansas – Qualifying for finals became a key element for Texas A&M on the second day of the Big 12 Championships and the Aggies fared very well in claiming 14 men’s positions in six events along with 10 women’s positions in five events.
While the A&M men remained at 23 points, which has them currently in fourth place, the Aggie women added 17.5 points from three finals and are sitting in second place with 38.5 points behind Kansas (53.5).
In addition to Saturday’s qualifiers Texas A&M added, the Aggies will also have scoring potential with its distance runners in the steeplechase and 5,000 on Sunday as well as the remaining field events, which includes the high jump, triple jump, discus and men’s pole vault.
Laura Asimakis placed fourth in the pole vault, clearing 13-0.75 (3.98), as she added to her bronze medal effort in the javelin on the opening day of the conference meet. Aly Daily tied for sixth place, clearing 12-6.75 (3.83). Asimakis and Daily combined for seven and half points.
In the heptathlon Jena Hemann (5,285 points) and Annie Kunz (5,273 – equals No. 6 all-time at A&M) finished fifth and sixth for seven points. Hemann also placed sixth in the long jump (19-2.5) to add three more points to the Aggie total.
The Aggie women will battle with Texas and Kansas in sprint events on Sunday in an effort to claim a sixth consecutive Big 12 team title.
Kanika Beckles provided a standout performance when she led the qualifying in the 400 with a sizzling 51.72 (No. 3 all-time at A&M) that won her heat by over a second with Baylor’s Diamond Richardson runner-up at 52.89. Olivia Ekponé finished second in another heat with a 53.51 PR (No. 7 all-time at A&M).
Beckles time is the second fastest by a collegian this season and takes over the Big 12 lead from Diamond Dixon of Kansas, who has run 51.80 this season. Beckles also bettered the stadium record of 51.75 set by Texas Tech’s Shereefa Lloyd in 2005.
Ashley Collier led A&M with times of 11.30 and 22.89 (No. 5 all-time at A&M) in the 100 and 200 meter qualifying. Dominique Duncan followed with 11.41 and 22.94 (No. 6 all-time at A&M) as she also advanced in both sprint races.
A career best of 11.45 (No. 9 all-time at A&M) advanced LaKeidra Stewart to the 100 final while Ekponé advanced on time when she equaled her PR of 23.28 (No. 10 all-time at A&M) in the 200.
Donique’ Flemings advanced to the final in both hurdle races. She led qualifiers in the 100 hurdles with a smooth 12.99 that was wind-aided (3.8 wind). Kunz just missed the final as her 14.25 was ninth overall, just 0.02 from the final qualifying position based on time.
Flemings ran 58.25 for third place in her heat of the 400 hurdles, finishing sixth best overall in qualifying for the finals.
The Aggie men, who are seeking a second consecutive Big 12 Outdoor title, produced the top qualifying times in four events with solid efforts from Ameer Webb, 10.22 in the 100; Deon Lendore, 45.90 in the 400; Joey Roberts, 1:48.42 in the 800; and Wayne Davis II, 13.68 in the 110 hurdles.
Webb, whose time equals the No. 10 mark on the A&M all-time list, will be joined in the 100m final with Michael Bryan (10.35) and Prezel Hardy, Jr. (10.36).
Those three sprinters also qualified in the 200 along with Carlyle Roudette. Hardy led the crew with a 20.71. In another heat the Aggies went 1-2-3 with Webb (20.75), Bryan (20.92) and Roudette (21.16).
Lendore motored to a convincing win in the second heat of the 400 after current collegiate leader Gil Roberts of Texas Tech won the first heat in 46.59. Lendore, who posted a collegiate leading 45.56 a few weeks ago, had three Baylor Bears in his heat led by runner-up Blake Heriot (46.81).
In the 800 Roberts led from the gun and used a late charge to claim his heat. Michael Preble led for a majority of his heat before placing second in 1:49.17 to make the final.
While Davis led the 110 hurdle qualifiers the Aggies also added Kenneth Minkah to the finals as his windy 14.06 advanced on time. Greg Coleman placed third in his heat of the 400 hurdles (51.59) to earn an automatic spot in the final.
Finals for the Aggie men included the long jump, where the combo of Jonathan Turner (23-8.25) and Olabanji Asekun (23-4) placed ninth and 10th, as well as the shot put, where Dalton Rowan finished 12th (53-2.25).
In the women’s shot put, Brea Garrett led an A&M trio with a 10th place finish (49-9.25). Taylor Rosser (49-0.75) and Jennifer Edwards (48-6.75) finished 12th and 13th. Chelsea Utley scored 4,754 points to place 14th in the heptathlon.
Texas A&M Qualifiers to finals
Men (14 positions)
100: Ameer Webb, 10.22; Michael Bryan, 10.35; Prezel Hardy, Jr., 10.36.
200: Prezel Hardy, Jr., 20.71; Ameer Webb, 20.75; Michael Bryan, 20.92; Carlyle Roudette, 21.16.
400: Deon Lendore, 45.90; Ricky Babineaux, 47.12.
800: Joey Roberts, 1:48.24; Michael Preble, 1:49.17.
110H: Wayne Davis II, 13.68; Kenneth Minkah, 14.06.
400H: Gregory Coleman, 51.59.
Women (10 positions)
100: Ashley Collier, 11.30; Dominique Duncan, 11.41; LaKeidra Stewart, 11.45.
200: Ashley Collier, 22.89; Dominique Duncan, 22.94; Olivia Ekponé, 23.28.
400: Kanika Beckles, 51.72; Olivia Ekponé, 53.51.
100H: Donique’ Flemings, 12.99w.
400H: Donique’ Flemings, 58.25.
Big 12 Team Scoring after day 2
Men: 1. Texas 60; 2. Kansas State 38; 3. Oklahoma 24; 4. Texas A&M 23; 5. tie, Oklahoma State & Missouri 22; 7. Kansas 21; 8. Iowa State 17; 9. Texas Tech 6; 10. Baylor 1.
Women: 1. Kansas 53.5; 2. Texas A&M 38.5; 3. Oklahoma 36; 4. Tie, Missouri & Iowa State, 28; 6. Kansas State 25; 7. Texas 24; 8. Baylor 19; 9. Texas Tech 18; 10. Oklahoma State 3.