TEMPE, Ariz. — Among the nine victories claimed by Texas A&M track and field during the Arizona State Invitational on Saturday, a special moment for Demetrius Pinder was achieved when he defeated Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner in a race over 200 meters.
Aggie wins were also claimed by the women’s 4 x 100 relay, Tyler Lee (high jump), Tyron Stewart (long jump), Prezel Hardy, Jr. (100), Wayne Davis II (110 hurdles), Michael Preble (800), Jessica Beard (200), and the men’s 4 x 400 relay.
With the men’s 200-meter race occurring late in the schedule, when temperatures dropped into the low 60s, Pinder and Wariner were in the same section of the 200. Pinder, in one lane to the right of Wariner, had an edge through the curve and maintained it to the finish.
While the winning time of 20.73 was a bit off the 20.54 Pinder posted a week ago, the scalp he claimed was a bit more important this weekend. Wariner ran 21.05 as that heat faced a headwind of -1.2.
Another heat, running with a 0.2 tailwind had Tabarie Henry running 21.13 as runner-up to Deun White’s 20.89, which placed second overall. Wariner ended up third while Henry finished fourth overall.
Pinder capped his night with a 44.8 carry as the rallied from third place to pass Baylor and another Aggie 4 x 400 relay team for first-place honors with a time of 3:04.92.
The first three legs of the winning A&M crew included Tran Howell, Bryan Miller, and Carlyle Roudette. They bettered the meet record of 3:05.70 set by USC in 2000.
Michael Preble anchored the other Aggie relay, which placed third in 3:05.56, while Marcus Boyd anchored the Baylor runner-up effort of 3:05.49. The second A&M relay included Joey Roberts, Henry and Oscar Ramirez.
As Boyd challenged Preble for the lead they both veered to the outside of lane one near the 200-meter mark. Pinder took advantage and slid by both runners on the inside and held his advantage to the finish line.
Lee earned the Aggies first victory of the day when he set a career best in the high jump by clearing 7-0 ½ (2.15). With a pair of misses at 6-10 ¾ (2.10), Lee was instructed by A&M assistant coach Jim VanHootegem to pass his remaining attempt and save it for the next height.
Since Lee was trailing two other jumpers left in the field on misses, the gamble paid off when he sailed over the seven-foot barrier for the first time in his life. Once the other jumpers missed three times at the 7-0 ½, Lee moved the bar to 7-1 ¾ (2.18).
Even though he was unable to navigate the next height, Lee was more than pleased with winning the competition in the manner it played out.
“That put me in a pressure situation,” Lee stated. “It surprised me when Coach V told me to do that. He knows I can clear 6-10, so I guess it was a leap of faith for him and me. I’ve been trying to get 7 feet for three years now. Finally.
“It felt amazing since it was something I’ve worked so hard at the past few years to get.”
Preble and Roberts engaged in an entertaining back-and-forth race in the 800. They became the second and third fastest performers on the Aggie all-time outdoor list as Preble won the race in 1:48.12 with Roberts the runner-up in 1:48.17. Ramirez placed seventh in 1:50.71 while A&M also had section winners in Sam Mutschler (1:51.95) and Ethan Doherty (1:55.43).
The first women’s victory on the track was put together by the Aggie 4 x 100 relay unit of LaKeidra Stewart, Chandrell Stephens, Dominique Duncan and Ashley Collier. Facing a challenge from Baylor, TCU and Arizona State in the early stages, A&M received a boost from Duncan’s experience and the tenacity of freshman Collier on the final two legs to produce a winning time of 43.91.
Baylor, who held a slight lead on the final exchange, finished second in 44.21 with TCU third at 44.49 while Arizona State clocked 44.76 for fourth.
A second Aggie relay squad posted a 46.99 section winner to place fifth overall. The crew included Katy Eudaly, Ibukun Mayungbe, Natasha Ruddock and Lisa Steinkamp.
A personal best by Wayne Davis II followed as he won the 110 hurdles in 13.89 seconds. With less than half a dozen races at the college height of the hurdles, Davis enjoyed his winning time and feels the time will drop some more as he gains experience through races.
“Seeing 13.89 on the scoreboard was nice, it’s an improvement from last week and the first time I’ve been under 14 seconds at this hurdle height,” noted Davis. “I’m really happy to get under 14 seconds.
“I know I’m in really good shape, so the key is putting everything together. Now I’ll look forward to the rest of the season and seeing how much I can improve.”
Prezel Hardy, Jr and Gerald Phiri finished first and third in the 100 with times of 10.33 and 10.39 (0.7 wind). In the women’s 100 Duncan (11.56) and Collier (11.64) placed third and fourth.
Beard cruised to a 23.70 victory in the women’s 200, with a -0.4 headwind, while Collier ran 23.86 as runner-up. Stephens won another section in 24.68 to place fourth overall.
Tyron Stewart won the long jump with a mark of 24-5 (7.45) as Julian Reid placed fifth with a 23-7 ¼ (7.19) effort. Stewart set the meet record of 25-8 (7.82) in winning last year’s title.
In the women’s 800 Erica Parker lowered her time to 2:08.62 for third place and the No. 4 spot on the A&M all-time list. From the three sections run in the event, 12 of the top 13 places went to runners from the Big 12, representing A&M, Baylor and Kansas State.
The Aggies also had Aliese Hyde (2:12.51, 7th), Taylor Buckner (2:15.84, 9th), Tiffany Singleton (2:16.67, 10th), and Hillary Hagan (2:17.86, 11th) in the race.
Mayungbe improved her 400 time to 53.78 to finish fourth in the 400 and move to No. 7 on the A&M all-time list. TCU’s Jessica Young won the race in a meet record 52.27.
Also posting a time that takes over the No. 7 position on the Aggie all-time list in the 1,500 was Natasha Rogers with a 4:31.93 for sixth place. Jill Hydrick moved to No. 9 on the all-time discus list with a 158-3 toss to place fourth.
Alyson Daily set a career best of 148-11 for third place in the javelin. Andrea Sutherland’s season debut over 400 hurdles resulted in a 58.72 for third place. Stephen Curry contested his first steeplechase and placed third with a 9:22.81 clocking. Jon Gomez improved to 204-4 for fourth place in the men’s javelin.
Will Barry won his section of the 1,500 in a personal best of 3:53.32 to finish fifth overall. Barry led a crew of Aggies in his section of the race as MacLean O’Donnell (3:55.34), Kevin Burnett (3:57.14) and Wes Caceras (3:58.53) followed to place 2-4-5 in the section.
Finishing second in the women’s 4 x 400 relay was an A&M squad of Sutherland, Mayungbe, Stewart and Daphne Fitzpatrick who ran 3:38.23 to Baylor’s winning time of 3:36.83.
The men’s 4 x 100 relay led the field to the final exchange, but a dropped baton didn’t allow the Aggies to finish. The relay crew included Howell, Phiri, Hardy and Roudette. Arizona State and TCU joined A&M in not finishing the race. Baylor won in 39.79.
Ruddock was unable to finish the 100 hurdles after she pushed down a hurdle and then collided with TCU’s Larissa Matthews. Aggie Donique’ Flemings placed third with a 13.82 while Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds won in 13.17.