MANHATTAN, Kansas – In winning a third consecutive Big 12 javelin title on Friday, Texas A&M junior Sam Humphreys broke the facility, meet and Aggie school records with a victorious mark of 259 feet, 1 inch (78.98).
“I wanted to come out here and make it a three-peat,” said Humphreys. “I’ve always had a better season mark that surpassed the Big 12 meet record since my freshman year, so I finally wanted to break the record this time. I’m so happy that I also set a school record.”
Texas A&M, the defending dual team champions, finished the first day of three at the Big 12 Championships on the Kansas State campus in first place in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
With 23 points the A&M men lead the field through three finals ahead of Oklahoma State (22) and Oklahoma (21). Missouri (13) and Kansas State (12) round out the top five.
The Aggie women, led by a winning performance from Natosha Rogers in her debut 10,000 meters, have 21 points and are tied with Iowa State with Kansas a point back at 20. Missouri (14) and Baylor (12) round out the top five while Oklahoma and Texas are tied for sixth place with 10 points apiece.
Rogers, who has set 10 school records this season for the Aggies, pulled away from the field in the 10,000 with a 4:49 over the final four laps (1,600m) and had a 2:59.7 over the final 1,000 meters.
She won the race by a comfortable margin with a time of 34:18.66, which put her right at 10 seconds over runner-up Sara Sutherland of Texas (34:28.07). On the A&M all-time list Rogers becomes the No. 4 performer with the No. 6 performance.
“I was sick of getting beat,” noted Rogers, who was second twice at the Big 12 indoor in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters. “So, I wanted to make sure this time. This feels really good to win.
“I definitely want to pursue the 10k, I’ve always wanted to run it. We’ve been a little hesitant to do it this season. I guess this is a pretty good opener, so I’ll definitely keep running it.”
Through a slow, sluggish first part of the race Rogers was third amid a lead pack that consisted of Iowa State’s Dani Stack, Texas Tech’s Rose Tanui and Sutherland. The first 5,000 meters rolled off with splits of 3:43.9 (1k), 7:12.3 (2k), 10:44.8 (3k), 14:17.3 (4k), and 17:53.0 (5k).
When a 3:27.9 (21:20.9) for the next 1,000 meters had the pack of four pulling away from the rest of the field Rogers was in second place behind Stack. Quicker splits followed at 3:23.2 (24:44.1) and 3:24.5 (28:08.6).
Then a lap before the 9,000 split Sutherland moved up to Rogers shoulder. Rogers decided it was time to go and she moved ahead of Stack. Her lap of 72 seconds eventually put a 15-meter gap on Stack, Sutherland and Tanui.
Rogers had a split of 31:18.9 at 9,000 meters covering the 1,000 meters in 3:10.3. With her lead growing to 20 meters her lone chaser became Sutherland. Tanui finished third in 34:34.32 while Stack placed fourth in 34:40.19.
“It felt really weird, since I’ve never been in a race where I felt that relaxed before,” said Rogers. “It did gradually get harder. Then I just had a lot left at the end.
“I wanted to make my move before the 9k split, but I was being a little cautious. When Sutherland moved up to my shoulder my fighter instinct took over. With all the miles I’ve been running in practice it felt pretty natural and good to close the race in that way. I didn’t know I hit it that fast though.”
In the opening round of the javelin Humphreys claimed the lead quickly with a 253-11 (77.39) that bettered the Big 12 meet record of 251-5 (76.64) set in 1999 by Nebraska’s Scott Warren as well as the facility record of 247-0 (75.29) at the R.V. Christian Track Complex set in 2004.
Humphreys threw further in the second round with a heave of 259-1 (78.98), or the equivalent of 86 yards, topping his own A&M school record of 256-6 (78.19) set back in March of this season.
A&M frosh Devin Bogert finished second to Humphreys with a season best of 222-10 (67.91) to supply the Aggies with an early 18 points in their team title defense. Bogert improved on his previous best this season of 217-6 (66.30) and came within two feet of making the Aggie all-time top 10 list.
“It’s very nice to get 18 points with Devin placing second,” noted Humphreys. “For him to come out here in his freshman year and get second, I love it.
Bogert added: “It was a great feeling getting first and second and scoring that many points. Performance-wise I felt I had a lot more today, but I’ve been battling some little injuries.”
Only taking two more throws in the competition Humphreys had marks of 243-3 (74.15) and 258-3 (78.71) in the third and fourth rounds, producing one of his best series ever.
“It’s the best weather I’ve ever had for a Big 12 meet,” stated Humphreys. “Right now, I wish I would have taken all six throws. I wanted to get an extra meter to get 80 meters, but we have regional and nationals coming up and those are the bigger meets.
Humphries currently ranks second on the U.S. and collegiate lists in the javelin, trailing a 266-9 (81.31) by defending NCAA champion Tim Glover of Illinois State. On the 2012 world list, Humphries is currently 22nd.
While Humphreys is the second person to win three javelin titles, he becomes the first to claim three consecutive titles. Scott Russell of Kansas, who held the stadium record, won three Big 12 javelin titles over a five-year period in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
“Going into the NCAA meet now I have a bit more confidence from winning another Big 12 title. I’m very happy with the consistency I had today. That’s the best series I’ve ever had in my life.
“In practice I’ve been working on pushing through my crossovers, when in the past I would just let it go. So today I wanted to push through and hit the block a little bit harder.”
Bogert opened with a 209-5 (63.84) and then improved to a career best of 222-10 to better his previous best of 221-8 set in 2010 during high school. After a 216-1 (65.86) in round three Bogert passed his final three attempts.
“Even throwing that far today, I felt I still had some more in me,” noted Bogert. “You are always a little nervous passing on some throws waiting to see what others are going to do. Today, it worked out well.”
In the women’s javelin Texas A&M accumulated 11 points with Laura Asimakis placing third while Jena Hemann finished fifith and Bonnie Richardson was eighth.
Asimakis, the 2009 Big 12 champion, recorded a best of 162-7 (49.56) to finish with the bronze medal behind winner Brittany Borman of Oklahoma (181-2 / 55.21) and runner-up Heather Bergmann of Kansa (168-7 / 51.39).
Hemann, who is also competing in the heptathlon today, threw 145-2 (44.26) to claim four points in fifth place. Richardson supplied a mark of 138-5 (42.18).
Lauren Berg finished ninth with a 136-2 (41.50) while Kelly Czumble (129-8 / 39.52) and Aly Daily (128-7 / 39.20) placed 11th and 12th. Also placing 12th in the men’s javelin was Jon Gomez (188-6 / 57.46).
In the men’s hammer final Casey Strong led the Aggie effort with a sixth-place mark of 192-9 (58.75), which is the No. 9 performance behind his school record. Cole Knuth placed ninth with a 182-1 (55.49) while Landon Hartwick finished 14th with a 168-8 (51.41).
Kevin Burnett first foray into the 10,000 meters produced a 30:04.14 for seventh place as he became the No. 5 performer with the No. 8 performance on the A&M all-time list. Oklahoma’s George Alex won the race in 29:32.61.
The first day of the heptathlon has the Aggie freshman trio in second, seventh and 10th place. Annie Kunz is in second place with 3,378 points while Hemann is seventh with 3,198 points. Chelsea Utley has scored 3,047 points and is in 10th place among a field of 19 entrants.
Kunz ran 14.05 in the 100 hurdles, cleared 5-6.5 in the high jump, had a shot put toss of 41-4.5 and ran 25.26 in the 200. Hemann’s marks included 14.70, 5-7.75, 40-2.75 and 26.44. Utley’s marks were 15.15, 5-6.5, 34-3 and 25.68.
Texas Tech’s Precious Nwokey leads with 3,431 points while Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas is third with 3,326.