Three Aggie victories highlight first day of Texas A&M Invitational

By  | 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- A trio of Aggie victories highlighted Friday’s portion of the Texas A&M Invitational among eight field events contested at E.B. Cushing Stadium. Tyra Gittens claimed the long jump, Maddy Stulce won the women’s javelin and Sam Hardin bettered the field in the men’s javelin.

Through four field events for the women the Aggies scored 48 points, which places them ahead of Houston (31), UTSA (20), Arizona State (18) and Sam Houston (14.5). The A&M men, through four field events, have scored 42 points to lead Houston (26), Sam Houston (20), UTSA (14) and Rice (12).

Action in the Texas A&M Invitational continues on Saturday with field events starting at 3 p.m. while running events begin at 5:30 following an Aggie ring presentation at 5:15 p.m.

Gittens won the long jump with a leap of 20-9 (6.32) in the fifth round. She trailed the leading mark of 20-7 ¼ (6.28w) set by Houston’s Samiyah Samuels in the opening stanza. Gittens came within a quarter inch of the leading mark with a 20-7 (6.27) in the fourth round and then moved into the lead on her next attempt.

“After the first three jumps I was warm and excited,” noted Gittens. “In the final three rounds I was ready to bring it. I’m happy to start off my season in the long jump like this, which is better than I thought I would do today.”

Aggie teammates LaJarvia Brown and Virginia Kerley produced their career best marks in placing third and fourth. Brown had a windy 20-5 (6.22) in the final round, but also registered a wind-legal career best of 20-3 (6.17). Kerley improved upon her high school best of 19-7 ½ with a career best jump of 19-10 ¾ (6.06) in the third round and then had a barely windy best of 20-2 ¼ (6.15) in the fifth stanza. Taryn Milton finished eighth with a windy 19-3 ½ (5.88).

“I definitely feed off my teammates,” added Gittens. “It’s good when you are performing well, but it’s even better when your teammates are doing good also.”

Maddy Stulce won the javelin on her first round throw of 166-9 (50.84), and then improved to 173-2 (52.78) in the final round to secure a second consecutive victory at Cushing Stadium. Runner-up to Stulce was a 165-6 (50.44) by UTEP’s Roosa Yloenen.

Celine Markert placed third in the javelin as she had another improvement in an event she just started this outdoor season. Coming into the meet with a best of 154-9 (47.18) from The Reveille last week, Markert bettered it in round three with a 158-4 (48.26) toss. Then she produced another five-foot improvement with a throw of 163-9 (49.91).

Aggies also placed fourth and fifth in the javelin with Jenna Ellis (146-5) and Natalie Scheifele (141-3).

Hardin led a 1-2-4 A&M finish in the men’s javelin as his opening throw of 236-10 (72.20) locked up his second victory at Cushing Stadium. Nick Mirabelli followed with a 220-6 (67.21) from the second round while William Petersson finished fourth with a mark of 204-2 (62.23). Rice’s Dane Stolsig placed third at 204-8 (62.39).

A runner-up finish in the high jump by Mason Farley produced a clearance of 6-10 ¼ (2.09), which was just a quarter of an inch off his career best. Three attempts at 6-11 ½ (2.12) followed, but Farley and winner Elijah Hughes of Arizona State missed all three attempts. Alstian Walker made it over 6-8 ¼ (2.04) to place fourth while Jake Lamberth (6-6 ¼) and Mason Corbin (6-4 ¼) were eighth and ninth.

Robin Nool, who will compete in the pole vault on Saturday, had a windy 23-8 (7.21) to finish fourth in the men’s long jump.

Markert started the afternoon off with a throw of 167-11 (51.19) to place seventh in the women’s hammer. KJ Grimes placed ninth in the men’s hammer with a career best throw of 173-11 (53.03) as he remained in the No. 7 position on the A&M all-time list. Hunter Madore placed 14th with a toss of 150-10 (45.98).