Texas A&M Track and Field
Friday, February 24, 2012
Day 1 team scores
Women (6 finals): 1. Kansas 52; 2. Texas A&M 33; 3. Texas Tech 31; 4. Kansas State 27; 5. Iowa State 23; 6. Oklahoma 19; 7. Baylor 18; 8. Texas 14; 9. Oklahoma State 10; 10. Missouri 7.
Men (5 finals): 1. Texas 39.5; 2. Oklahoma State 26; 3. Texas A&M 24; 4. Missouri 22; 5. Kansas State 20; 6. Kansas 19.5; 7. Oklahoma 19; 8. Texas Tech 15; 9. Iowa State 10.
Asimakis vaults to Big 12 Indoor title, Aggie men claim distance medley relay
COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M capped off the first night of the Big 12 Indoor Championships at Gilliam Stadium with a meet record victory in the distance medley relay.
Laura Asimakis produced an Aggie victory on the women’s side in the pole vault as she scaled 13-11.25 (4.25) to earn A&M’s first conference win in the event since 2001.
Finishing as the runner-up in the women’s 5,000 was Natosha Rogers, who set her sixth school record in as many races this indoor season, but more importantly earned automatic entry in the NCAA Championship field with a time of 15:52.40.
A pair of A&M school records were also broken in the weight throw and in the 5,000 meters. Casey Strong placed third in the weight (61-10.25) while Kevin Burnett ran 13:56.47 for fifth in the 5,000. Both bettered school records they previously set this indoor season.
Annie Kunz came close to claiming the Aggie school record in the pentathlon as her score of 3,823 points placed fifth in a field of 21 competitors. Her tally is third best on the A&M all-time list.
Day one ended with Kansas leading the Aggie women, 52 to 33, in team scoring through six finals. The A&M men are currently third with 24 points behind Texas (39.5) and Oklahoma State (26). Action continues on Saturday with events starting at 3 p.m.
After missing the indoor season in 2011, Asimakis made amends with a Big 12 Indoor win by clearing 13-11.25 in the pole vault. Asimakis claimed the first women’s indoor conference pole vault title since 2001 when Erica Boren won for the Aggies.
“It was very frustrating since I almost no heighted,” noted Asimakis, who needed a third attempt to clear three heights in the competition. “I was able to win on my last attempt, so I’m excited to do that. Now, I’m looking forward to NCAAs.
“I was having a hard time getting my feet down towards the box. Glad I figured it out. It’s great to be back after missing last year’s indoor season and placing second at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. It was great to win.”
Joining Asimakis in the event was Aly Daily, who placed third with a career best vault of 13-3.5 (4.05), as they teamed up for 16 points.
“Aly did awesome today as well,” said Asimakis. “She set a PR and kept inspiring me to do better. To finish 1-3 with her is fantastic.”
Clocking a time of 9:40.75 for the win in the distance medley relay the Aggies bettered the Big 12 meet record of 9:42.18 set by Texas in 2009 on this same track. The A&M foursome consisted of Will Barry, Oscar Ramirez, Michael Preble and Henry Lelei.
As the opening leg of 1,200 meters neared its completion, Barry bolted to the front of the pack and separated from leaders Oklahoma State. Handing off the baton to Oscar Ramirez for the 400m leg the Aggies built a lead they would never relinquish.
“I knew we had pretty strong legs after me,” said Barry. “If I brought it at the exchange in first place there was good chance to get the win and the record. After my leg I knew Preble and Henry were going to finish it off and cruised for the win.
“Not qualifying for the mile final earlier in the meet was frustrating. I was glad to have another race to make amends.”
With a lead of 15 meters over Kansas State, Ramirez gave the baton to Michael Preble for the 800m leg and the lead grew to 35 meters.
“It was good to see Will come in with a good split when he made a move on the backstretch,” noted Ramirez. “I just wanted to give Preble the best lead I could. Emotionally it was awesome to be part of this race, especially to get the Big 12 record.”
Henry Lelei, who also came up short in qualifying for the mile final earlier, took over for the anchor leg 1,600 and cruised to victory.
“Our plan was to win the relay,” said Lelei. “I was frustrated with the mile prelims, so I wanted to give my all for the relay. It was a good battle. It was very nice to get the meet record. “
Chasing the Aggies, but coming up short, were Texas (9:46.03) and Oklahoma (9:46.10). This marked the first win in the distance medley relay at conference for the Aggies since 2002.
A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven added: “We knew when we didn’t get guys qualified for the mile we could bring those guys back to run a better DMR. That was the goal, to win. They took care of business. I told Henry to run 4 minute pace and make them chase you.”