DES MOINES, Iowa – While Texas A&M picked up a point from a freshman discus thrower on the opening day of the NCAA Championships in front of 4,052 fans at Drake Stadium, the Aggies advanced both 4 x 100 relay to finals.
In individual event qualifying, though, A&M only managed to send one sprinter into the final of either the 100 or 400 meters.
Dalton Rowan finished eighth in the men’s discus with a career best mark of 193-1 (58.85) to earn the Aggies one point. Deon Lendore, another A&M frosh, moved into the final of the 400 with a time of 45.19 in the semifinal round. In the sprint relays A&M cruised into the finals with times of 42.90 for the women and 39.08 by the men.
In 12th place going into the third round, Rowan hit his PR to move into sixth place and earn three more throws in the final. In rounds four and five Rowan hit marks of 191-1 and 190-10. In the final round he had an out of sector foul.
Ryan Crouser of Texas passed Rowan in round four with a toss of 196-1 (59.77) to place fourth. Then in the final round Mason Finley of Kansas reached a distance of 200-2 (61.02) to move from ninth place to second.
Nebraska’s Chad Wright unleashed a massive throw of 206-0 (62.79) to seal the victory. Wright claimed the lead in round four with an effort that measured 200-0. Oklahoma’s Luke Bryant, the leader going into the final three rounds, finished third with a best of 199-11 (60.94).
Rowan earns first team All-America status for scoring in the final of the discus. His mark ranks No. 5 on the all-time U.S. Junior list and he takes over the World Junior lead for the 2012 season.
“I was pretty excited to get another three throws,” said Rowan, who maintained his place of No. 8 on the A&M all-time list with an improved mark. “Going from 12th place to sixth place with that third round throw was pretty wild.
“My warm-up throws were better than my competition throws, but that was me just being really relaxed prior to the start. It was another great day to throw, I had a PR and I was able to score a point for the team. I wish I could have gotten more the team.”
Laura Asimakis had a best of 155-11 in the women’s javelin to place 11th overall. She had finished 12th twice before in 2009 and 2011. Asimakis improved in each round, recording marks of 153-1 and 155-4 in the first two rounds. The top nine advanced to the final three rounds.
Oklahoma’s Brittany Borman won the javelin title with a 184-7 (56.27) over a 180-2 (54.93) from Stanford’s Brianna Bain and a 169-4 (51.62) by Penn State’s Laura Loht.
In qualifying the Aggies advanced in the 4 x 100 relay. With a season best time of 42.90 the A&M women won their heat over Oregon (43.32), USC (43.94) and Minnesota (44.48).
Running for the Aggies were LaKeidra Stewart, Olivia Ekponé, Dominique Duncan and Ashley Collier.
LSU led qualifying with a 2012 collegiate leading time of 42.68. Also advancing to the final were Oregon, Clemson (43.43), Ohio State (43.87), Houston (43.91), USC and Texas Tech (43.99).
The A&M men were second in their heat with a 39.08 behind the 38.77 posted by LSU. Placing third in the heat was Mississippi State (39.45) over TCU (39.59).
Running for the Aggies were Carlyle Roudette, Ameer Webb, Michael Bryan and Prezel Hardy, Jr.
Auburn, the collegiate leading team with a 38.30 from the Texas Relays, posted the top qualifying time of 38.53. Joining the final are Florida State (38.81), Illinois (39.00), Baylor (39.15), Aransas (39.19) and Tennessee (39.25).
Deon Lendore was the only Aggie to advance to a final individually among the 100 and 400 semifinals A&M had on Wednesday. Lendore placed third in his heat with a 45.19 and was the last time qualifier for the final, which takes place on Friday at 6:55 p.m.
Lendore, who has a career best of 45.13 from this season, placed behind Mike Berry of Oregon (45.05) and Akheem Gauntlett of Arkansas (45.13). Finishing behind Lendore were Errol Nolan of Houston (45.28), Bryshon Nellum of USC (45.45) and a pair of LSU sprinters – Ade Alleyne-Forte (46.34) and Robert Simmons (46.41).
Joining Lendore in the final are Tony McQuay of Florida (44.67), Josh Mance of USC (44.83), Gil Roberts of Texas Tech (44.84), David Verberg of George Mason (45.17), and Penn State’s Brady Gehret (45.29).
In the women’s 400 Ibukun Mayungbe ran a season best of 52.85 from lane one to place fifth in the opening heat. Kanika Beckles clocked 53.39 for seventh place in the third heat.
Prezel Hardy, Jr. recorded a career best time of 10.11 in the 100 meters, but placed fourth in the third heat and didn’t advance to the final. Michael Bryan posted a 10.37 for eighth in his heat.
Hardy’s time was the eighth fastest overall, but the qualifying formula of top 2 in each heat, plus the next two fastest times meant the first and second place times of 10.15 and 10.17 from the second heat moved on.
On the Texas A&M all-time list Hardy moves to equal the No. 5 performer and No. 7 performance, joining Rod Richardson (1981) among performers and Curtis Dickey (1978) among performances.
In the women’s 100 Ashley Collier ran 11.33 for fourth in the final heat while Dominique Duncan posted an 11.43 for fourth in the first heat. Neither advanced on time to the final.
On Thursday the Aggies have three throwers in the men’s javelin final, which starts at 2:30 p.m. and the other final involves Natosha Rogers in the women’s 10,000 meters at 8:45 p.m. Sam Humphreys leads the trio of javelin throwers for A&M, which includes Devin Bogert and Jon Gomez.
Qualifying from semifinal races includes Texas A&M athletes in the 200, 110 & 100 hurdles and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.