SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - Earning 11 event wins in Saturday’s portion of the UTSA Roadrunner Invitational offered Texas A&M some surprise victories along with well-earned accolades. In addition the Aggies added nine runner-up and seven third-place finishes on the day for another dominating team performance.
“I’m pleased with the efforts we had here,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Now we lead into a big meet in Austin and we’ll see how we step up in a different environment. This was a meet where we got some things done, but sometimes the environment just isn’t there in some events. This is one of those meets where you had to create your own environment. Some people can do that and some people can’t.”
Kirby Matocha claimed the Aggies first victory on the weekend, clearing a career best of 5-10 ¾ (1.80) in the high jump. Matocha, who moved to No. 8 on the A&M all-time list, added two inches to her previous best she set last weekend.
“For Kirby to jump 5-10 ¾ that is just a great performance for that young lady,” stated Henry. “She just keeps getting better and better. I don’t think anybody expected her to be doing what she is doing. When someone clears a bar and before they get out of the pit there are tears in her eyes, because they’ve had that height written on the wall in her room for years. For that to happen for her is huge.”
Setting the meet record held by collegians with a third attempt clearance, Matocha bettered the previous best of 5-10 ½ (1.79) shared by two athletes. Then Matocha attempted 6-0 (1.83) when she was the lone jumper remaining. SFA’s Kadejah Wilson cleared 5-7 (1.70) as runner-up.
Matocha had first attempt clearances at 5-3 (1.60) and 5-5 (1.65), then needed a pair of attempts at 5-7 (1.70) and 5-8 ¾ (1.75), which equaled her previous career best.
A 1-2 finish in the 400m had Syaira Richardson winning in 52.21 with Tierra Robinson-Jones runner-up at 52.66. Those marks place the pair of Aggies at No. 8 and No. 12 on the Aggie all-time list. Richardson, who ran 52.09 indoors this season, had a previous outdoor best of 52.25.
Jarra Owens cruised to an overall victory in the 200m with a wind-aided time of 23.00 (2.6 wind), winning the fourth of five sections. Cayla Burch of SFA was runner-up in 23.11.
“Our two quarter-milers, Syaira and Tierra, looked really good and the 23.00 for Jarra is a big run for that young lady,” noted Henry.
The Aggies swept the 100m titles with Jace Comick grabbing the men’s title with a swift 10.22 that was aided by 4.0 wind. Runner-up to Comick was a 10.55 by Oklahoma’s Quoi Eillis.
Diamond Spaulding won the women’s 100m in 11.67 (2.7 wind) to lead a 1-2-3 sweep by A&M. Deborah Acquah won the second section in 11.70 (2.4 wind) to place second overall while Amber Ivy, runner-up to Spaulding, was third overall with an 11.76.
Josh Brown won the discus with a career best throw of 181-0 (55.18) with teammate Gabe Oladipo runner-up with a 179-5 (54.70). Brown’s previous best was 176-0 (53.64). Celine Markert placed third in her third throwing event of the weekend, hitting a distance of 160-7 (48.94) in the discus.
Gabrielle McDonald won the 100m hurdles in a barely wind assisted 13.36 (2.1 wind) over a 13.41 by Mariam Abdul-Rashid of Texas. Kennedy Smith won the second section in a windy 13.50 (3.1 wind) and finished fourth overall. Chinyere Njoku ran 13.71w for fourth in the race with McDonald to place fifth overall while Taryn Milton posted a 13.72w as runner-up to Smith to finish sixth overall.
Ilolo Izu defended his title in the 400m hurdles with a clocking of 51.24 over a 52.38 by teammate Infinite Tucker, who clipped a hurdle coming off the final curve. Izu set the meet record with a 50.42 last season while A&M’s Robert Grant holds the stadium record with a 50.21 from 2016.
Grant (46.7) and Izu (46.9) teamed up as the final two legs on the 4x400 relay as the Aggies won in 3:08.33 over a 3:10.74 from Stephen F. Austin and a 3:14.02 by a second A&M squad. Devin Dixon (47.4) and Kyree Johnson (47.3) ran the first two legs of the winning relay.
"We have a guy who graduated a year ago and he’s been hurt, but he wanted to be on this team,” said Henry of Grant, who missed the 2018 outdoor season due to an injury. “Bobby Grant coming back and running on the track for us for the first time today, I’m so happy for that guy.”
In the women’s 4x400, the Aggies prevailed in 3:35.16 while a second A&M crew finished second in 3:41.54 with UTSA third in 3:46.10. Running on the winning relay were Julia Madubuike (53.8), Robinson-Jones (54.2), Jaevin Reed (53.0) and Richardson (54.1).
Jean Jenkins bettered the 800m field with a 2:10.60 as Madison Compass of SFA finished second in 2:14.10. Laura Fairchild won the first of three sections in 2:16.73 and placed fifth overall. Emily McCollum, runner-up in the second section in 2:16.83, placed sixth overall.
Carl Johansson tied for second in the pole vault, clearing 17-0 ¾ (5.20) as teammate Robin Nool placed fourth in clearing 16-6 ¾ (5.05). Another runner-up effort was turned in by Mason Farley, who cleared 6-8 ¾ (2.05), while Alstian Walker tied for third at 6-6 ¾ (2.00).
The Aggie men were runner-up in the 4x100 relay with a time of 40.18 as Oklahoma won in 39.52. The A&M foursome included Roger Ethridge, Kyree Johnson, Jake Lanier and Comick. The Aggie women were leading the 4x100, but were not able to complete the final exchanged and did not finish. The A&M women’s crew consisted of Amber Ivy, Danyel White, Spaulding and Madubuike.
Jake Bootz ran 8:54.21 as runner-up in the 3,000m with Noah Jacob third in 8:56.65 and Eli Canal fifth with a 9:04.24. Bootz earlier set a career best of 3:57.74 to finish third in the 1,500m behind Akron’s duo of Marc Migliozzi (3:53.56) and Andre Bollam-Godbott (3:55.71). A&M’s Carlton Orange finished seventh in 4:00.01.
Racing in the 2,000m steeplechase Julia Black led a trio of Aggies in the women’s race placing third in 7:33.43. Amelia McElhinney finished fifth in 7:33.77 with Michala Janssen sixth in 7:38.17. Brady Grant placed fourth in the men’s steeplechase with a clocking of 6:12.19.
In the women’s 3,000m race Lizette Chapa led the A&M group with a time of 10:26.16 that placed her third. Abbey Santoro finished fourth in 10:27.36 while Grace Plain (10:39.73), Olivia Arriaza (10:43.15) and Sara Pia (10:47.19) placed 8-9-11.