NAMPA, Idaho – Texas A&M junior sprinter Ameer Webb captured the gold medal in the 200 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday evening at the Jackson Indoor Track with a time of 20.57 seconds.
Webb nearly broke the school record of 20.38 in the prelims of the 200 when he rocketed to a winning heat time of 20.39, the current world leader for 2012. Curtis Mitchell set the school record time when he won the NCAA Indoor title in 2010.
“It’s awesome to stand on top of the podium to get the first place trophy,” exclaimed Webb. “That’s all the words I have for it. I’m glad I got the 10 points for the win, because we needed them really bad. I’m glad I can contribute to my team.
“This laid out perfectly for what I want to accomplish this season. Running 20.39 is so close to my outdoor PR of 20.33. So, it just opens up a whole new world of times I can run outdoors.”
The Texas A&M women totaled 12 points on the opening day of the meet with Kamaria Brown and Dominique Duncan scoring 10 points in the 200 while Natosha Rogers added two points in the 5,000 meters.
The Aggies are currently in fourth place. Texas leads women’s team scoring with 17 points through six of 17 finals, followed by Iowa State (15) and Arizona (13). Four teams are tied for fifth place with 10 points – Washington, LSU, TCU and Southern Illinois.
Other scoring on the first day of the NCAA Championships included the Aggie men picking up two points in the distance medley relay as they placed seventh in a time of 9:37.31.
The A&M men go into the second day with 12 points as well, currently in seventh place. Arkansas leads the team scoring with 22 points through six of 17 finals followed by Texas (20.5), Arizona (16), Notre Dame (15), Stanford (13) and Indiana (13).
Webb’s prelim time equals the 10th fastest collegiate time ever, tying him with Oklahoma’s Mookie Salaam, the 2011 NCAA winner. Webb, who was the collegiate leader coming into the NCAA meet with a best of 20.62 takes over the world lead in the event from another Aggie, Demetrius Pinder, who ran 20.50 this season.
“I’m very excited with that time, I didn’t think I was going to go that fast,” noted Webb. “It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I’m glad I did it. I’m a bit mad I missed the school record, but it gives me something to chase next season.
“I just listened to Coach Henry who told me to go out and just kill it in the first round. Getting the best lane for the final was the best thing I could do in the prelim so I went out as hard as I can.”
Prezel Hardy, Jr. ran a time of 21.04 in the prelims of the 200, but was ninth-fastest overall with the eight fastest times moving on to the final.
Brown, a freshman, placed third in the 200 final while Duncan finished fifth as each had two rounds of the event on the same day.
“It was my first experience with running two rounds of the 200 on the same day, and I felt I did really good,” said Brown. “This is the first season I’ve run the 200 indoors, so I was very proud of myself.
“I was happy Dominique and I made the final. The more points we can score the better off we going into tomorrow’s events. I’m ready for the relay.”
Brown, who came into the meet with the world leading time of 22.86, ran 23.05 in the final behind the winning time of 22.74 set by LSU’s Kimberlynn Duncan, the defending champion. A&M’s Duncan ran 23.13 to place third in the second section.
In the prelims Brown won her heat in 23.18 while Duncan placed second in another heat with a 23.49. Not advancing to the final from the prelim were A&M sprinters Ashley Collier (23.98) and Olivia Ekpone’ (23.68).
“Going in as number seven after the prelims, I knew I had to do better in the final to get more points for the team,” Duncan said. “Even though I was in lane three I pushed out harder than I did in the prelims.
“I will never really understand the NCAAs and why we have to run two rounds of the 200 on the same day while the 60 meters gets two days. We just go with the flow.”
The men’s distance medley relay consisted of Will Barry (3:02.38), Ricky Babineaux (47.18), Joey Roberts (1:49.50) and Henry Lelei (3:58.67) as they posted a time of 9:37.31 for seventh place and the third fastest time in A&M history.
Rogers ran with the lead group of the women’s 5000 for over half of the race, running even with Big 12 champion Besty Saina during that time. As Saina pulled away for the victory in 15:38.83, Rogers placed seventh in 16:04.06. It’s the fifth-best performance at A&M in an event Rogers holds the school record.
NCAA QUALIFYING RACES
In hurdle qualifying, Wayne Davis II and Donique’ Flemings both advanced to the final.
Flemings recorded a career best of 8.14 seconds for fourth place in her heat of the 60 hurdles. Her time ranks No. 3 on the Aggie all-time list and is the No. 10 performance. Only Gabby Mayo and Natasha Ruddock have run faster in this event at Texas A&M.
“The race went really well,” said Flemings. “My warm-up went great and I felt good, so I knew I was going to run a successful race. I feel even better that I advanced with a PR. Now I can contribute points and help my team be successful.”
Christina Manning (7.98) of Ohio State won the heat Flemings ran in while Jackie Coward (8.02) of UCF placed second with LSU’s Jasmin Stowers (8.05) in third. Clemson went 1-2 in the other heat, posting times of 7.93 and 7.95 with the duo of Brianna Rollins and Bridgette Owens. Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds (8.10) placed third.
Davis, who placed fifth in his heat with a 7.75, was the last qualifier on time. Joining Davis in the final are Andrew Riley (7.55) of Illinois, Jarret Eaton (7.59) of Syracuse, Miami’s Devon Hill (7.60), LSU’s Barrett Nugent (7.63), Florida’s Eddie Lovett (7.66), Caleb Cross of Arkansas (7.67) and Clemson’s Spencer Adams (7.74).
The Aggies had a mixed fortune in the 800 meters as Michael Preble advance as the last time qualifier, but Joey Roberts did not advance.
Roberts ran in the first heat, placing fourth in 1:49.05. Preble ran in the second heat and placed fifth, but his time of 1:48.86 moves him to the final. Preble placed third in last year’s NCAA Indoor final, held in College Station.
Deon Lendore led the field in his heat of the 400 through 200 meters, but finished fourth in the race with a time of 46.81. Running in lane three Lendore passed Oregon’s Mike Berry and Mississippi State’s Tavaris Tate by the break point and held a five-meter lead on the field.
Pittsburgh’s Brycen Spratling won the heat in 46.19 with Berry second in 46.25 as both made the final. Tate claimed third, but his time of 46.44 did not advance.
Lendore finished 13th overall in the qualifying where the top eight times advanced to the final.
In the men’s 60 neither Webb nor Hardy, Jr. made the final. Hardy placed seventh in his heat with a 6.72 while Webb was sixth in his heat at 6.67.