Jacob Wooten soars over 18-3 to break Aggie pole vault record

Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.<br /><br />Photo by Beth Hall
Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.<br /><br />Photo by Beth Hall(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 9:41 PM CST
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Aggie junior Jacob Wooten cruised over 18 feet, 3 inches (5.56) on his first attempt and swiped the Texas A&M school record from senior teammate Audie Wyatt to win the event at the Razorback Invitational on Friday evening.

“I knew that one was a school record and once I cleared it I let out a shout before I hit the mat,” stated Wooten, who cleared an indoor best of 18-1 ¼ (5.52) last weekend. “I’m really happy where I am in the season compared to last season. I told myself today to stay calm once I made bars and to see how far I could go.”

In the heptathlon, Texas A&M freshman Tyra Gittens produced a national record for Trinidad & Tobago with her score of 4,009 points to finish third in the competition. The tally for Gittens ranks as the No. 3 performer and No. 9 performance on the Aggie all-time list.

On the track, the Aggie men’s distance medley relay produced a collegiate-leading time of 9:39.78 to defeat Florida (9:40.05), Florida State (9:51.97) and Kansas State (9:56.39). The foursome of Taylor Clayton (3:00.03 1,200m), Richard Rose (46.19 400m), Ian Cazares (1:51.11 800m) and Alex Riba (4:02.45 1,600m) recorded the seventh fastest time on the Texas A&M all-time list.

Wyatt, who held the indoor school record with an 18-2 ½ (5.55) when he was a silver medalist at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, placed second in the competition with a clearance of 17-11 (5.46) after missing his three attempts at 18-3.

“We got a lot of good things done today,” noted Wyatt. “I got on my biggest pole and blew through it. I’m looking forward to getting some new poles and clearing some higher heights. Jacob and I were both feeding off each other’s energy.”

Wooten and Wyatt both entered the competition at 17-7 (5.36) and made it over on first attempts. They were the only two vaulters left in the competition at that stage with Peyton Weissmann of Mississippi finishing third at 15-7 ¼ (4.76).

“It’s was a great meet today, even though I had a little bit of a rough start,” said Wooten, who won his fourth consecutive meet this indoor season. “Once I got going, Audie and I pushed each other and I started feeling a lot better about where were I was going.”

Wyatt cleared 17-11 on his first try while Wooten needed two attempts. Wooten, though, was the first to attempt 18-3 and his clearance produced a roar from the Aggies teammates in the crowd celebrating his school record achievement. Wooten passed at 18-4 ¾ (5.61) and had three tries at 18-6 ¾ (5.66). The current collegiate leader is South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen at 18-6 ½ (5.65).

“It was a bit nerve-racking when Audie attempted 18-3, since I just knew he would clear it as well. He’s just not the type of guy to let that lay. The only reason he didn’t make 18-3 was because his poles got too small.”

In her pentathlon debut a score of 4,009 points had Gittens finishing behind Taliyah Brooks of Arkansas (4,395) and Georgia’s Louisa Grauvogel (4,253). Aggie teammates Shaina Burns (3,910) and Lajarvia Brown (3,813) finished in fifth and sixth place. Burns fell shy of her 4,005 best from the 2017 SEC meet while Brown moved to No. 7 on the Aggie all-time list in her pentathlon debut.

Gittens performance bettered the previous national record of Trinidad & Tobago, which was a 3,958 tally by Marsha Mark-Baird on an oversized track in 2004 and the 3,830 score on a banked 200m track by Charisse Bacchus in 2005.

Opening with an 8.57 in the 60m hurdles for 1,002 points, Gittens cleared 5-8 ¾ for 916 points in the high jump. A toss of 40-5 (682) in the shot put and 19-4 (816) in the long jump produced a total of 3,416 points through four events. Gittens ran 2:38.29 in the 800m for 593 to complete her pentathlon.

As the No. 3 performer on the Aggie all-time list, Gittens only trails Annie Kunz (4,363) and Jena Hemann (4,193).

Through the first day of the heptathlon, Texas A&M’s Nathan Hite is currently in fourth place with a first day score of 3,061 points. Hite ran 7.14 in the 60m (833 pts), long jumped 22-6 ¼ (781), led the shot put with a 46-2 (733) and high jumped 6-2 ¾ (714). The second day events include the 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1,000m.

Georgia’s Karl Saluri (3,268) leads the heptathlon and is followed by Gabe Moore of Arkansas (3,263) and Johannes Erm of Georgia (3,139).

When Riba received the baton for the anchor leg of the distance medley relay, the Aggies trailed Florida by a second and a half (5:35.52 to 5:37.33). Riba made a steady progression into the deficit, making up ground on each lap against Florida’s anchor Jack Guyton, who has an indoor mile best of 4:02.37.

With half a lap remaining in the race, Riba passed Guyton and moved ahead by a stride to claim the victory.

Friday’s evening races wrapped up with the 200m. In the men’s field Elijah Morrow ran his first race of the season, clocking 21.16 to tie for fourth place overall with LSU’s Akanni Hislop. Kansas State’s Terrell Smith, the overall leader at 20.90, ran in the same section with Morrow.

The women’s 200m produced a new collegiate leader for 2018 as Georgia’s Lynna Irby bettered the field with a 22.96 while Payton Chadwick of Arkansas won another section in 22.99. Texas A&M’s Danyel White, who held the collegiate lead with a 23.10 from last weekend, placed sixth overall in 23.37 as runner-up to USC’s Deanna Hill (23.21) in her section.

Among other field events contested on Friday, Will Williams went 25-8 (7.82) for fourth in the long jump, Alison Ondrusek placed fourth in the weight throw (63-11 ½), Austin Cook finished fifth in the men’s weight throw (63-6) and Sara Kathryn Stevens placed eighth in the pole vault (12-11).