FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Texas A&M women produced 70 points to finish as the runner-up team in the SEC Indoor Championships while the Aggie men placed fifth with 72 points.
Five gold medal efforts were achieved by Texas A&M as they swept the 800m titles with Jazmine Fray and Devin Dixon and won both 4x400 relays while Tahar Triki captured the triple jump as he improved his school record to 56 feet, 2 inches.
Arkansas women totaled 151 points for the team victory. Finishing behind the Aggies 70 points were Alabama (67), Florida (61), LSU (58), Kentucky (51) and Georgia (49). Florida men won the team title with 103 points over Arkansas (88), LSU (78), Alabama (73), Texas A&M (72), Tennessee (50) and Georgia (45).
“We had some really good efforts this weekend,” stated Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Some of those efforts are one’s you don’t see, but they all add up. Most people will see the winners or medalists, but not everybody sees the fifth and sixth place finishes. Those kinds of efforts put us where we are.
“On the men’s side we did a few things I’m extremely pleased with and we had some people score that we weren’t sure what was going to happen. Tahar winning the triple jump at 56 feet was a big effort. The mile relay was good and Devin did a great job winning in the 800m.”
Triki claimed his third collegiate title in the triple jump after sweeping the SEC and NCAA titles during the outdoor season last year. His winning leap came in the first round as he dominated the field with a 56-2 (17.12). Runner-up to Triki was a 53-4 ¼ (16.26) mark by Clayton Brown of Florida while Laquan Nairn of Arkansas finished third at 52-7 ¼ (16.03).
“Today was a great day for me,” noted Triki. “I wanted to get something big with my first jump. That way the others would have to chase that mark to beat me. Winning the SEC title is special for me. This conference is good competition for me and my team.
“This is a good runway for the jumps. To jump 56 feet today didn’t surprise me. I know I’m capable of being a 57 or 58 foot triple jumper. This is a new experience for me and I’m still figuring some things out.”
The mark improved Triki’s collegiate lead for the 2019 season as well as his A&M record and Algerian national record of 55-9 ¼ (17.00) that he set in Clemson a couple of weeks ago.
Triki’s mark equals the third best winning performance in the SEC Indoor and places him among some very elite company. Erick Walder of Arkansas won with a 56-2 in 1994, LSU’s Walter Davis went 56-2 ½ in 2002 and Christian Taylor established the current meet record with a 56-11 ½ in 2011.
Dixon won his fourth consecutive 800m title in SEC finals, including indoor and outdoor, with a time of 1:47.47. He became the first person to win a pair of indoor conference titles at 800m since Alabama’s Peter Etoot in 2003-04. Etoot added a third indoor title in 2006.
Runner-up in the race with a 1:47.86 was Marco Arop of Mississippi State while Aggie Carlton Orange claimed the bronze medal with a 1:48.76.
The race had to be restarted after Dixon was knocked down a couple of strides into the race. He led the field on the restart through 400m with splits of 25.02 and 26.95 (51.96). Arop decided to make an early move on the field and came through 600m at 1:18.81 with Dixon at 1:19.75 and Orange at 1:19.78.
As the leading three runners reached the homestretch of the final lap, Dixon closed on Arop and passed him with ease for the victory. Dixon’s final 200m was covered in 27.72 while Arop went 29.05.
“It was unexpected,” Dixon said of being knocked down. “I didn’t let it get the best of me. I tried to keep my composure and set my mind to run a good 800m.
“When Arop started passing us I realized he went out a little too early. I didn’t want to let the distance between us get too far, so I stayed within range of him to catch him near the finish. Four consecutive titles is not enough, I still want more.”
Fray won her second SEC Indoor title in the 800m with a winning time of 2:05.42. She also won in 2017 and was a silver medalist in 2018. Leading the field throughout the race, Fray recorded splits of 28.20, 31.91 (1:00.11), 32.41 (1:32.52) and 32.90.
The field was close behind her and Fray had challenges by LSU’s Ersula Farrow and Georgia’s Amber Tanner coming off the final curve. Farrow, who closed with a 31.82 on the final lap, finished second in 2:05.51 while Tanner, with a 31.78 on the last lap, was third in 2:05.59. The next three finishers in the race all posted times of 2:06.
Capping the SEC Championships with the 4x400 relay, the Aggie women improved their world-leading time to 3:29.15 and were just shy of the meet record of 3:29.06 set by LSU in 2005. The close finish had South Carolina second in 3:29.56, followed by Florida (3:29.57) and Arkansas (3:29.69).
The A&M foursome included Julia Madubuike (52.77), Tierra Robinson-Jones (52.08), Jaevin Reed (52.39), and Syaira Richardson (51.91). They produced the No. 2 time on A&M all-time list, trailing only the school record of 3:28.36 set in 2017, in winning the Aggies first indoor 4x400 title since joining the SEC.
The Aggie men, meanwhile, claimed is sixth 4x400 relay victory over the past seven years in the SEC with a winning time of 3:03.61. LSU finished second in 3:04.69 while Arkansas was third in 3:05.71. Florida opted not to run while South Carolina false started.
The A&M foursome included Bryce Deadmon (46.24), Kyree Johnson (46.00), Ilolo Izu (46.77) and Devin Dixon (44.60). The split by Devin, who ran a world all-time best split of 44.24 at Clemson two weeks ago, ranks as the 12th fastest split on an indoor 4x400.
In addition to their relay duties, Richardson and Deadmon also secured medals in the open 400m.
Richardson improved her career best to 52.09 as she challenged Georgia’s Lynna Irby for the title. Irby won the race in 52.02 while Florida’s Sharrika Barnett was third with a 52.51. Producing her own career best in fourth place was Aggie freshman Robinson-Jones with a 52.52. On the A&M all-time list Richardson is now the No. 4 performer while Robinson-Jones is No. 5.
Deadmon ran 46.55 to earn a bronze medal in the men’s race as he finished behind Quincy Hall of South Carolina (45.69) and Florida’s Benjamin Vedel (46.11). Izu ran 47.07 to place sixth.
Nathan Hite completed the heptathlon with a career best score of 5,680 points to claim his third bronze medal in SEC multi-event competition over the past two seasons. Georgia’s Johannes Erm won the event with 5,996 points with Gabe Moore of Arkansas runner-up with a 5,908 tally.
Hite, who is the No. 2 performer with the No. 5 performance on the Aggie all-time list, started the second day with an 8.40 in the 60m hurdles for 884 points. A clearance of 15-2 ¾ (4.64) picked up 802 points in the pole vault while a 2:42.59 in the 1,000m added 845 points for his final total.
Following her fourth place performance in the 5,000m on Friday evening, Kelsie Warren also scored in the 3,000m by placing fifth with a career best time of 9:35.53, which is the No. 9 performer on the A&M all-time list.
Another school record was established by Gabe Oladipo in the weight throw as his 68-10 (20.98) heave placed fifth. Improving his career best of 64-8 ½ (19.72) on each of his four throws today, Oladipo generated a series that included marks of 67-4 ¾ (20.54) PR, 67-10 ¼ (20.68) PR, foul, foul, 65-11 ¾ (20.11), and 68-10 (20.98). The previous A&M record was 67-11 ½ (20.71) set in 2017 by Austin Cook.
A 4:48.68 for Hannah Campbell had her posting another career best as she placed sixth in the mile while moves to No. 4 performer with the No. 4 performance on Aggie all-time list. Jon Bishop clocked 8:10.94 to place ninth in the 3,000m, moving to No. 12 on the Aggie all-time list.
Diamond Spaulding ran 23.47 to place third in the second section of 200m and finished sixth overall while Brenessa Thompson was eighth with a 23.56.
Aggies LaJarvia Brown and Kirby Matocha both cleared 5-7 3/4 (1.72) in the high jump to finish in a six-way tie for sixth place as they each earned a point in team scoring. An indoor best of 43-8 (13.31) by Ciynamon Stevenson placed her seventh in the triple jump and moved her to the No. 4 performer on the Aggie all-time list. Kennedy Smith finished eighth in the final of the 60m hurdles with an 8.40.
CJ Stevenson finished 12th in the triple jump with a mark of 46-10 ¾ (14.29) while Augusta Thomason placed in a tie for 13th in the pole vault with a clearance of 12-5 ¼ (3.79).