WACO – Enjoying a sun-splashed day at the Michael Johnson Invitational hosted by Baylor, the Aggies produced big marks Saturday. The highlight was an outdoor school record in the pole vault for Jacob Wooten as he cleared 18 feet, 8 ¾ inches while Ciynamon Stevenson triple jumped over 45 feet twice.
“We actually saw the sun today during a meet and as a result we had some really good things happen today,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “We didn’t plan to do a lot of things today, and if we could go back and do it again I might plan it differently and be ready to run on such a great evening we had over here. Our people did a really good job.”
Wooten, who holds the indoor school record at 18-9 ½ (5.73), sported an outdoor best of 18-2 ½ (5.55) coming into this meet. After missing action the past few weeks due to an injury, Wooten challenged Baylor freshman KC Lightfoot throughout the competition.
“Jumping with KC was a real pleasure, that kid always brings it on the runway,” said Wooten. “I knew I would have someone to keep pushing me up there. The school record fell into my jump plan. I wanted to come in with an easy bar and then make some attempts at 19 feet if I could. I accomplished that goal.”
Both vaulters made each height on the same attempt from their starting height of 17-5 (5.31) through 18-8 ¾ (5.71). After clearing 17-5 on first attempt both passed the next bar and needed two attempts at 18-1 (5.51). A first attempt clearance followed at 18-4 ¾ (5.61) as Wooten set an outdoor personal best.
Then Wooten and Lightfoot passed 18-6 ¾ (5.66) and each sailed over 18-8 ¾ (5.71) on first attempts. The effort by Wooten broke the Texas A&M outdoor record of 18-8 ¼ (5.70) set by Audie Wyatt in April of 2017. Lightfoot’s clearance was a career best, bettering his indoor height of 18-7 ½ (5.68) and outdoor best of 18-5 ¼ (5.62).
“He was putting on the pressure with the first attempt clearances,” noted Wooten. “When he cleared 18-8 ¾ on first attempt I didn’t really know if I could match that. It lined up well on that jump, thank goodness.”
Wooten opted to pass at 18-10 ¾ (5.76) while Lightfoot missed three attempts. Then Wooten challenged 19-0 ¾ (5.81), bailing out on the first pair of attempts and then knocking the bar off on his final attempt.
“I knew if I was going to jump another bar I wanted it to be 19 feet,” explained Wooten. “On the jump to break the school record I was able to keep my run under control and execute. It’s great to have both school records, and I’m hoping to raise it a bit more to give these other guys something to shoot for in the coming years.”
The result left Wooten and Lightfoot tied for first place while A&M’s Carl Johansson tied for fourth place in clearing 17-5 (5.31).
Stevenson produced two huge jumps to claim the triple jump, sailing past 45 feet twice. Both efforts were wind-aided as she bettered a field that included Baylor’s Alex Maddock, who was runner-up with a windy 44-2 ½ (13.47w), and former Red Raider Viershanie Latham, third with a windy 43-9 ¼ (13.34w).
In the fourth round Stevenson bounded out to 45-6 ½ (13.88) [wind 2.3] and then went further in round five with leap of 45-9 ¾ (13.96) [wind 3.0]. Stevenson’s wind-legal best is 43-6 (13.26) set last May and her previous windy best measured 43-8 (13.31) in winning last weekend at the Texas A&M Invitational.
“It’s really amazing, I’ve been working for this for three years,” stated Stevenson on her double achievement. “It’s something my dad has been telling me since I was a freshman in high school. He tells me every time just go out there and do it on the first one. The first attempt felt really good, so I thought today is the day. Jumping 45 twice was so emotional. I almost cried, but I held it in until we were done.”
Stevenson’s windy 45-9 ¾ ranks No. 6 on the 2019 world list under all conditions and moves her to No. 10 all-time on the all conditions U.S. collegiate list. Stevenson also claims the best Aggie mark all-time, under all conditions, bettering the A&M school record of 45-5 ¼ (13.85) set by Yasmine Regis in 2008 at the Big 12 Championships.
“My first reaction to jumping 45 was thinking it’s finally here,” noted Stevenson. “I want to keep this going on. Today, even in the long jump, I was really attacking the board. It all came together today.”
The series for Stevenson opened with a 43-2 ½ (13.17w), then followed with a 44-0 ½ (13.42w), foul, 45-6 ½ (13.88w), 45-9 ¾ (13.96w), pass.
“We’ve had some pretty good triple jumpers before, but putting together a series like that is impressive,” said Henry. “As a result of her having that kind of series, you look forward to Ciynamon having a good season.”
Tyra Gittens won a long jump title for the second consecutive week, leading an Aggie 1-3-4-8 finish, as she reached a mark of 21-1 ¼ (6.43) twice among her series of six jumps. Both efforts were wind legal at 1.9 and 1.6. The mark ranks equal No. 7 performance on the A&M all-time list, joining another mark that Gittens set in her series at the 2018 SEC Championships.
Deborah Acquah placed third with a 19-10 ¾ (6.06) while Ciynamon Stevenson finished fourth with a windy 19-8 (5.99) and Taryn Milton jumped 19-1 ½ (5.83) for eighth.
Impressive victories for the Aggies also included Jazmine Fray in the 800 with a 2:03.39 along with Devin Dixon setting a stadium record of 1:47.06 after getting an assist from Carlton Orange, who paced the field through 600m.
A strong showing in the women’s 400m had Aggie freshman Tierra Robinson-Jones winning in 52.46 over teammate Jaevin Reed, who was runner-up in 52.48, as Jarra Owens finished sixth in 53.83. Robinson-Jones moved to No. 11 on the A&M all-time list.
In the short sprints the A&M women swept the top six places in the 200m. Brenessa Thompson led the crew with a 23.05 (0.8 wind) and was followed by Danyel White (23.21), Diamond Spaulding (23.21), Amber Ivy (23.62), Syaira Richardson (23.62) and Jania Martin (23.68).
Spaulding won her section of the 100 in 11.52 (1.0 wind) and placed third overall while Ivy ran 11.56 and Martin posted an 11.64.
In the 4x100, the Aggie crew of Gabrielle McDonald, Martin, Ivy and Julia Madubuike cruised to a 43.99 victory over Baylor (44.35) and Texas Tech (44.91).
McDonald had a tremendous day in the hurdles, first posting a windy 13.10 career best to place fourth, and then winning her section of the 400m hurdles in a career best of 59.15 to finish fourth overall. In the open section of the 100m hurdles, Kennedy Smith produced a career best of 13.33 to better the field and move to equal No. 14 on the A&M all-time list.
The men’s 400m hurdles showcased the Aggie talents in that event as Infinite Tucker ran 49.78 as runner-up to 49.75 by Texas Tech’s Norman Grimes. Ilolo Izu finished third in 50.19 while Robert Grant posted a 51.25 in his first hurdle race since June of 2017.
Kyree Johnson won his section of the 400m in 46.72 and placed seventh overall. Jace Comick finished fifth in the 100m with a 10.33 (0.8 wind).
Gabe Oladipo finished fifth in the discus with a mark of 181-5 while Celine Markert won the open discus with a toss of 160-10. Markert also finished seventh in the shot put with a 46-10 ¾.
Making their debut at 1,500m for the Aggies were Abbey Santoro and Julia Black, who finished first and second in the first section of the open division. Santoro pulled away from the final over the final 200m of the race to finish in 4:43.06 while Black clocked 4:45.45 as runner-up.
Noah Jacobs finished third in the 1,500m as he ran 4:00.23. Raymond Gonzales chased down leader Lakelin Conrad of TCU in the homestretch of the men’s open 1,500m to snare the victory in a career best of 4:02.73 with Conrad runner-up at 4:02.77.