Aggie women 10th, men 11th as both claim NCAA Indoor silver in 4x400 relay

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Texas A&M wrapped up the indoor season with the women placing 10th and the men finishing 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the CrossPlex as the Aggies claimed a pair of runner-up finishes in the 4x400 relay.

With 17 points the Texas A&M women placed 10th, matching their team finish and point total from 2018 when they tied for 10th place. The Aggie men scored 19 points in placing 11th, one point out of 10th place. It’s the first time since 2007 the A&M men have finished outside of the top 10 in team scoring.

“We had some really good things happen and then we had some things happen that I would like to try to do again,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “But that is what the national championship is about indoors. It’s about trying to gain ground, pushing yourself and trying to win.”

Arkansas won the women’s team title with 62 points over USC (51), Oregon (32), Ohio State (28) and New Mexico (23) while Florida scored 55 points for the men’s team title over Houston (44), LSU (31), Stanford (30) and Wisconsin (30).

“Our kids competed well,” stated Henry. “We ran good relays and almost won it on the men’s side without one of our best legs. Bryce Deadmon got hurt in the prelims of the 400m prelims yesterday and didn’t run in the relay today. The ladies looked good, although I thought we got fouled pretty good at one point, but Syaira almost caught them anyway.”

After defeating South Carolina at Clemson and in the SEC Championships this season, the Aggie women were runner-up to the Gamecocks in the national championship final. South Carolina won the race in 3:30.76 with A&M second in 3:30.85 while Arkansas placed third at 3:30.86. It was the best finish by a Texas A&M squad since the women won the indoor relay in 2011.

Running for the Aggies were Julia Madubuike (53.53), Tierra Robinson-Jones (51.92), Jaevin Reed (52.94) and Syaira Richardson (52.46). That crew will cap the indoor season as the American and collegiate leader for 2019 with their time of 3:29.15 from their SEC victory, which ranks second best in the world.

The A&M men posted a time 3:05.15 with a crew of Ilolo Izu (46.95), Kyree Johnson (46.13), DeWitt Thomas (46.82) and Devin Dixon (45.25) as they finished behind Houston’s 3:05.04 while Florida placed third in 3:05.24. The Aggies, who have won the 4x400 indoors four times since 2010, were runner-up for a second consecutive year.

A time of 1:47.54 placed Dixon fourth in the final of the 800m behind Bryce Hoppel of Kansas (1:46.46), Mississippi State’s Marco Arop (1:47.00) and Robert Heppenstall of Wake Forest (1:47.54).

It was the fourth time an Aggie has placed among the top four in an 800m NCAA Indoor final since 2011. The last time was also in this venue when Hector Hernandez placed fourth in 2016.

Dixon paced the field through 400m with 200m splits of 24.35 and 26.85 (51.20) while Arop moved into the lead at 600m (1:19.43) with Dixon second at 1:19.78 (28.58). Dixon covered the final lap in 27.76.

“Devin didn’t run a real smart race in the 800m, and that’s all it is,” noted Henry. “He didn’t run a smart race. He has a great feel for the race, for him, but there are other people in the race. He lets people sneak away from him and knows he has the speed to catch them. He let them get a little bit too far away today and that’s what got him today.”

Jazmine Fray finished eighth in the women’s 800m final with a time of 2:07.55, scoring three consecutive years at the NCAA Indoor. In 2017 she placed fourth and last season Fray was fifth.

Fray led the field through 400m with 200m splits of 28.62 and 31.55 (1:00.17). During the third lap the field began to pass Fray, who was in seventh place at 600m with a split of 32.39 (1:32.56), as Allie Wilson of Monmouth led the race with a 1:31.71. Penn State’s Danae Rivers claimed the victory in 2:03.69 with Nia Akins of Penn runner-up in 2:03.74.

Nathan Hite’s second day in the heptathlon did not start well. Racing in the 60m hurdles, Hite stumbled at one hurdle and then fell at another. In the process he pushed a hurdle over and was disqualified with zero points for the event.

Rebounding with a 15-7 ¼ (4.76) in the pole vault for 837 points, Hite then clocked 2:47.09 in the 1,000m for 796 points. His final total of 4,658 placed 16th.