TEMPE, Arizona – Texas A&M collected 15 more victories on the second day of the Baldy Castillo Invitational, nine of which were attained by the women’s team during Saturday’s action at Sun Angel Stadium. For the weekend the Aggies totaled 19 wins as they started their outdoor season.
“Overall, I can’t be anything but pleased with the weekend,” stated Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “It was a good week of training and competition to get the outdoor season going.”
Texas A&M freshman Nick Mirabelli produced a career best throw of 234-2 (71.37) in winning the javelin and leading a 1-2-3 sweep by the Aggies. Mirabelli came into the meet with a high school best of 227-10 and bettered that mark five times. His 234-2 ranks No. 10 on the Aggie all-time list.
“I’ve been waiting all year for this,” noted Mirabelli of his first competition in an Aggie uniform. “I just tried to come out here and stay relaxed, focused and centered. I felt good today and the weather was great, which helped a lot. To have a PR in my first meet is a great feeling.”
Mirabelli neared his career best on the first attempt, 227-7 (69.38), and broke it on his second throw that measured 233-11 (71.31). The rest of his series included marks of 228-1 (69.53), 232-0 (70.71), 228-1 (69.54) and then he finished with another PR of 234-2.
“Hopefully I’ll stay this consistent throughout the season,” added Mirabelli. “That’s what I’m hoping to do and peak at the perfect time.”
Senior Sam Hardin, who only threw twice, challenged Mirabelli with a 232-2 (70.77) on his second attempt while William Petersson placed third with a 218-0 (66.46). This was Hardin’s first competition since having surgery last spring on his knee.
“It’s due time that we talk about the throwers now that we are in the outdoor season,” said Henry. “Our javelin guys today, and the women yesterday, did well. We had a freshman in Nick Mirabelli who had a heck of throw in his debut for us. Then Sam is coming off a full knee reconstructive surgery and he throws 232 today. Those are big time throws for this early in the season.”
The Aggie women sped to a 43.86 victory in the 4x100 relay to start Saturday’s running session. The crew of Jania Martin, Brenessa Thompson, Diamond Spaulding and Julia Madubuike had solid handoffs around the oval as they defeated Long Beach State (45.40) and Iowa (45.60).
Thompson later claimed the 100m in 11.30 (1.3 wind), which was just off the 11.27 meet record set in 1998 by LSU’s Kwajalein Butler. Runner-up in the race with an 11.47 was Courtne Davis of Long Beach State.
In the 200m, Madubuike produced a wind-aided victory in 22.98 (2.7 wind) over the 23.26 runner-up time by Arizona State’s Josephine Anokye. Aggie Chinyere Njoke won another section of the 200m in a career best of 24.71 (0.4 wind) to place eighth overall.
In the men’s 4x100, the A&M squad of Roger Ethridge, Kyree Johnson, Jake Lanier and Jace Comick did not finish as the last pass was not completed. Cal State Fullerton won the relay in 40.54 over a 40.60 by Iowa with Northern Arizona third in 40.92.
Comick rallied back with a pair of victories in the 100m and 200m. A 10.44 (-1.8 wind) netted the win in the 100m over a 10.61 from Iowa’s Antonio Woodward while a 20.75 career best (-1.3 wind) collected the 200m title over a 21.32 by Rasaun House of Cal State Fullerton.
“Jace had a great day winning both sprint races,” said Henry. “He ran a PR in the 200m and was right at his PR in the 100m.”
Jaevin Reed cruised to a 53.11 win in the 400m over teammate Jarra Owens, who ran an outdoor career best of 53.81 as runner-up. Colby Zamzow clocked 48.15 as runner-up in the men’s 400m to a 46.80 by Arizona State’s Steven Champlin.
Ashton Hutcherson won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in 10:41.57, the No. 7 performance on the Aggie all-time list, while teammate Rachel Bernardo set a career best of 10:45.44 as runner-up, improving her time as No. 4 performer on the A&M all-time list. For Hutcherson it was her fifth mark among the Aggie all-time top 10 performances.
“In the steeplechase we didn’t have much competition, but that didn’t stop Hutcherson and Bernardo from running well,” noted Henry. “For the first time they’ve been able to race outside they did a good job. Bernardo ran a PR while Hutcherson was near her best.”
The Texas A&M women posted a time of 3:32.84 to win the 4x400 relay with a foursome of Syaira Richardson, Jarra Owens, Jaevin Reed and Tierra Robinson-Jones. The men won in 3:06.65 with a crew of DeWitt Thomas, Roger Ethridge, Infinite Tucker and Carlton Orange. A second men’s crew placed third in 3:11.40 with a squad of Tyler Hart, Jake Lanier, Richard Rose and Colby Zamzow.
Aggie alum Audie Wyatt won the pole vault with a clearance of 17-9 (5.41) after challenging to better the meet record of 18-0 ½ (5.50) he set in 2016. Jacob Wooten, the top collegian in the field, tied for third with a make of 17-5 (5.31) as he passed 17-9 to contend for the meet record height of 18-1 (5.51) with Wyatt. Robin Nool tied for fifth place, also clearing 17-5, while Carl Johansson finished seventh at 17-1 (5.21).
Deborah Acquah won the long jump in the final round as a leap of 19-2 ½ (5.85) moved her ahead of teammate Taryn Milton, who finished as runner-up with a mark of 19-0 ½ (5.80). They were the only two in the field to surpass 19 feet. Nool finished fifth in the men’s long jump with a distance of 22-3 ¾ (6.80).
LaJarvia Brown produced a mark of 42-0 (12.80) to claim the triple jump title. Runner-up to Brown was a 38-11 ¾ (11.98) by Jelani Minix of Cal State Fullerton.
Tyra Gittens cleared 5-11 ¼ (1.81) in winning the high jump while teammate Kirby Matocha finished second with a career best height of 5-8 ¾ (1.75). Freshman Parker Clay placed fourth in the shot put with a toss of 47-5 ¾ (14.46), which is No. 12 on the Aggie all-time list.
Another victory by a freshman came in the men’s 800m with Carlos Rodriguez topping the field with a 1:53.75 to edge out the 1:53.92 by Arizona State’s Adam Meyer while A&M teammate Wes McPhail finished third in 1:54.06. In the women’s 800m, Brittany Parker ran 2:11.04 for third while Hannah Campbell finished sixth in 2:16.68. Valarie Bradley claimed the second section in 2:17.27 and placed seventh overall.
A time of 51.26 earned Infinite Tucker a win in the 400m hurdles as teammate Tyler Hart clocked 52.63 as runner-up.
Zephyr Seagraves ran 9:13.86 as runner-up in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase with Raymond Gonzales fourth with a 9:17.96. The debut race in the event for Brady Grant had him finishing sixth in 9:42.63.
Gabe Oladipo placed fourth in the men’s discus with a toss of 173-9 (52.97) with teammate Josh Brown finishing fifth with a throw of 169-10 (51.78). Competing in her third throwing event this weekend, Celine Markert finished seventh in the discus, fifth among collegians, with a toss of 160-3 (48.85). Markert competed in the hammer and javelin on Friday.