Emily Gunderson becomes first Aggie female to clear 14 feet, breaks pole vault record

Published: Feb. 18, 2017 at 9:14 PM CST
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Texas A&M junior Emily Gunderson became the first Aggie female to clear 14 feet in the pole vault, indoors or outdoors, as she broke the school record with a clearance of 14-0.75 (4.29) during the Texas A&M Aggie Twilight Invitational on Saturday evening.

Gunderson cleared a career best 13-11 (4.24) on her third attempt and made the school record height on her third attempt as well. The previous Aggie record was 13-11.25 (4.25) set by Laura Asimakis during the Big 12 Championships in 2012.

“When I stepped back on the runway, my mind was completely clear and I had never really felt that before,” noted Gunderson, who is currently eighth on the 2017 collegiate list. “I didn’t know the specific height when I broke the school record. My teammates were pushing me all the way, and to do this at home was really cool.

“I’ve been working on acceleration with Coach Anderson and carried that over today on the runway. To look up at that wall of indoor school records every day when we are in here practicing and knowing I’ll be up there with those great athletes is humbling and also very exciting.”

Teammates Augusta Thomason and Sara Kathryn Stevens both made a career best height of 13-7 (4.14) as they placed third and fourth, respectively, behind post collegian Ariana Ince, who finished runner-up at 13-11. Thomason and Steven now share the No. 3 performer and No. 8 performance on the Texas A&M all-time list.

Another strong field event performance came in the women’s weight throw with Alison Ondrusek winning the event with a toss of 65-8.25 (20.02), adding two-plus feet to her previous best of 63-7.25 (19.40). Ondrusek produced the big throw on her first attempt and it places her No. 2 on the Aggie all-time list.

“To have a meet like this, which was low key, and do the things we did today, we really had a good meet overall,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “The vaulters looked good and across the board we looked better. In the weight throw, Ondrusek was better, and there were a lot of things I was pleased with.

“We feel pretty good about ourselves and next week it comes down to everyone having a good day on the same day when we compete at the SEC Championships.”

On the track Briyahna Desrosiers sped to an indoor best of 53.45 to claim the 400m, moving her to No. 8 on the school’s all-time list. In the men’s 400m Richard Rose provided another career best with a 46.51 to defeat teammate Deon Hickey’s 46.98.

For the third consecutive race Efrain Hernandez lowered his indoor best in the 800m, placing third in 1:49.66 to remain at No. 9 on the Aggie all-time list. Donavan Brazier won the race in 1:47.17 with Hector Hernandez in second at 1:49.58. A trio of Aggies, placing 5-6-7, included Gaines Kinsey (1:51.31), Blake Chiuminetta (1:52.67) and Ian Cazares (1:53.49).

Hannah Campbell clocked 4:55.57 to win the women’s mile, which moved her to No. 12 on the Texas A&M all-time list. In the 3,000m Haley Deakins led the field in 9:50.87, which is No. 14 on the school’s all-time list.

A time of 4:02.22 won the men’s mile for Leo Manzano as Texas A&M’s tandem of Alex Riba (4:06.18) and Austin Wells (4:08.62) finished second and third with season best times. Christian Farris (8:17.82) and Brandt Preston (8:25.61) placed second and third behind an 8:13.97 win by Troy Taylor in the 3,000m race.

Amber Ivy led the Aggie crew in the women’s sprints as she finished third in the 60m (7.38) and fourth in the 200m (23.50) among a field that included post collegians. Stephanie Kalu won the 60m in 7.29 over Phyllis Francis (7.32). Then Francis won the 200m in 23.15 ahead of Aggie alums Kamaria Brown (23.26) and Jessica Beard (23.48).

Elijah Morrow was just a tick off his indoor best, winning the 200m in 21.09 while Jace Comick finished first the 60m in 6.87 and placed third in the 200m at 21.51. Aggie alum Gerald Phiri won the Olympic development 60m in 6.72 seconds, edging out the 6.73 for Cordero Gray and a 6.78 by Bryce Robinson.

Audie Wyatt captured the men’s pole vault at 17-3.5 (5.27) while Will Williams claimed the long jump with a 25-3.5 (7.71) effort. Allex Austin cleared 7-1.5 (2.17) to win the high jump as Aggie Garrett Cragin finished second at 6-10.25 (2.09). Lindon Victor finished fourth with a clearance of 6-6.75 (2.00).

Victories in the throwing events included Jeff Bartlett (56-6.75) in the shot put and Austin Cook (66-1) in the weight throw. Shaina Burns topped the women’s shot put with a toss of 44-2.5 (13.47).

Chinyere Njoku (8.52) and Lauren Lawless (8.74) finished 1-2 in the 60m hurdles for the Aggies. Lawless also ran on the winning 4x400 (3:49.83) with Jarra Owens, Brittany Parker and Nadia Pakes.

The men’s 4x400 relay had a 1-2 finish for the Aggies as the B group ran 3:14.85 and the C group followed in 3:15.97. The first unit for Texas A&M had a false start.