CLEMSON, S.C. – A pair of Texas A&M school records were broken by Jacob Wooten in the pole vault and Tahar Triki in the triple jump on the second day of the Tiger Paw Invitational on Saturday while Devin Dixon added another milestone to his list of achievements with the fastest indoor 4x400 split ever in the world.
“Within about 15 minutes, near the end of the meet, all of sudden big things happen,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “It was great to see. I’m proud of our whole team this weekend. To see our mile relay run that fast, to have that kind of pole vault from Jacob and the triple jump by Tahar, they were all special to see. It ended up being a great meet for us.”
Wooten raised the bar on his own Aggie pole vault record by first increasing it by a quarter of an inch to 18-4 ¾ (5.61) and then added nearly two inches with an 18-9 ½ (5.72) clearance on his first attempt. Wooten’s lofty height also bettered the A&M outdoor record of 18-8 ¼ (5.70) set by Audie Wyatt in 2017.
“I’m really happy with how today went,” said Wooten, who ranks fourth among collegians this season. “I definitely had some energy given last year’s school record here. I knew this was a good place to jump and I could jump even higher here.”
In the fifth round of the triple jump, Triki produced an impressive mark of 55-9 ¼ (17.00) that bettered the school record of 54-10 (16.71) set in 2011 by Julian Reid at the NCAA Championships hosted by Texas A&M. It also moved him ahead of Virginia’s Jordan Scott, who held the lead from the opening round with a mark of 55-4 ½ (16.87).
“I’m still practicing, the big meets coming up are SEC and nationals,” noted Triki, who won the 2018 NCAA Outdoor triple jump. “This is a big step for me indoors. This is my first 17 meter jump ever, it’s a great feeling. When I think about it, now I know I can call myself a triple jumper.”
To close out the meet, the Aggie men raced Houston to an epic finish in the 4x400 relay. The Cougars snared the victory in 3:01.51 with a 44.45 anchor leg from Kahmari Montgomery. Texas A&M clocked 3:01.56 with a 44.24 anchor leg by Dixon, which bettered the world’s best split of 44.35 by USC’s Rai Benjamin from the 2018 NCAA final.
Both schools broke the facility record of 3:01.98 set by USC in 2018. Houston moves to No. 4 on the all-time world list while the Aggies have the No. 5 performance as they were just shy of the school record 3:01.39 they set in the 2018 NCAA meet.
Houston’s line-up included Amere Lattin (46.33), Obi Igbokwe (44.93), Jermaine Holt (45.80) and Montgomery while A&M had a crew of Ilolo Izu (46.50), Bryce Deadmon (45.15), Kyree Johnson (45.67) and Dixon.
Wooten set his school record at this venue in 2018 and held the facility record with a mark of 18-4 ½ (5.60). Once his effort over 17-11 (5.46) eliminated the remaining three vaulters, Wooten took aim at record heights. While he needed a pair of attempts over 18-4 ¾ (5.61), Wooten eased over 18-9 ¼ (5.72) on his first try. Then Wooten raised the bar to 19-0 ¼ (5.80), where he had three unsuccessful attempts.
“My technique has been coming through lately with my practice jumps,” noted Wooten. “Before this meet I figured it would be a good idea to see where the opening height was and then get somewhere near the 18-foot bar. Then I would go for the school record, then go to 18-9 and then try to take some shots at 19 feet.
“I think I got a little too excited after clearing 18-9, so I need to work on staying calm a bit more when the bar reaches that high. I think it’s going to come this year at some point.”
Texas A&M also placed third and fifth in the pole vault. Robin Nool cleared 17-5 (5.31) to place third in the pole vault and move to No. 9 on the Aggie all-time list. Logan Freeman was fifth with a 16-5 ¼ (5.01) clearance. In a scored meet that would have picked up 20 points for A&M.
Having already bettered his Algerian national record with a 54-2 ½ (16.52) effort in Lubbock two weeks ago, Triki produced a mark that currently ranks third in the world for 2019 and also bettered the qualifying standard for the 2019 World Outdoor Championships.
“For me to get the standard for the World Championships is a really big thing for my country,” stated Triki. “This is my first indoor season ever, so it feels a little bit different. I’m figuring it out.”
Prior to his big jump in round five, Triki was in second place from a 54-1 ¼ (16.49) effort in round two. His winning mark is the collegiate leader, taking over for the 55-2 (16.81) set by John Warren of Southern Miss in January.
The women’s 4x400 relay produced a world leader for the Aggie women as they clocked 3:29.96, which is No. 5 on the A&M all-time list. The squad included Jarra Owens (53.18), Julia Madubuike (52.26), Jaevin Reed (52.78) and Syaira Richardson (51.74).
Reed moved the Aggies into the lead over South Carolina, who finished second in 3:30.67, while Richardson maintained the edge on the anchor leg. Kentucky (3:33.63) and Miami (3:33.99) were third and fourth.
In the men’s 4x400, Texas A&M’s B crew placed fourth overall with a 3:09.11 with a line-up of Roger Ethridge (47.28), Colby Zamzow (47.88), Carlton Orange (46.68) and DeWitt Thomas (47.27).
Kelsi Warren won the 3,000m race with a career best time of 9:40.79, moving to No. 9 on the A&M all-time list, while teammate Ashley Driscoll placed second in 9:40.79. The field also included Aggies Ashton Hutcherson (9:58.98) and Lizette Chapa (10:12.69), who finished 12th and 14th.
Jon Bishop posted a time of 8:16.18 as runner-up in the men’s race to Ohio State’s Luke Landis (8:11.15). Brandt Preston finished sixth in 8:20.74 while Zephyr Seagraves (8:37.97) placed 10th and Jake Bootz (8:44.11) was 13th.
Speed in the 200 had the Aggie women placing 3-4-6 with the trio of Diamond Spaulding (23.28), Brenessa Thompson (23.28) and Danyel White (23.36). Jace Comick lowered his best indoor 200 to 20.93 in placing fifth in the men’s 200m.
Jean Jenkins placed third overall in the 800m with an indoor best of 2:08.77, moving to No. 7 on the A&M all-time list. Jazmine Fray finished sixth with a 2:09.13.
In the women’s triple jump Ciynamon Stevenson finished third overall and was the second best collegian with a mark of 41-5 ¾ (12.64). Kirby Matocha cleared 5-8 ½ (1.79) to place fourth in the women’s high jump. Mason Farley led the Aggie group in the men’s high jump, finishing sixth with a clearance of 6-8 ¾ (2.05).