Lelei wins 3,000 steeplechase
Dominates race from start to finish, pulls out to 35-meter lead
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas A&M earned eight more NCAA qualifiers from the West preliminary rounds on Friday along with the men's steeplechase.
Henry Lelei won the final of the three heats in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with the fastest time of 8:48.99, leading the field of 16 by as much as 35 meters during the course of the race. Teammate Stephen Curry finished 12th in the same heat with a time of 9:17.64.
Opening the race with a pair of 74-second laps, Lelei went 72 on the third circuit to break away from the field. His lead increased by five to 10 meters on each lap. As Lelei eased back on the final lap his lead was trimmed quite a bit as the race was on for second and third place.
Carl Stones of Tulsa finished second in 8:51.03 while Tomas Cotter of Wichita State placed third in 8:52.44.
Lelei's time of 8:48.99 is the seventh-fastest performance on the Aggie all-time list, topped by his school record of 8:38.90 that claimed the Big-12 title a couple of weeks ago.
Deon Lendore finished second in the men's 400 meters with a 45.28 while Kanika Beckles was runner-up in her heat of the women's 400 with a 52.38. Ibukun Mayungbe finished fifth in the same heat with Beckles and advanced on time with a 53.33, which was the last qualifying position.
Lendore faced a challenge from the inside with Oregon's Mike Berry, who posted the top time of 44.86, as well as the outside with USC's Bryshon Nellum in third with a 45.51.
Beckles had control of her heat on the homestretch, but a late burst by Oregon's Phyllis Francis won the heat in 52.36.
In the 100 meters a trio of Aggies advanced by placing second for automatic spots to the NCAA semifinals. The group included Prezel Hardy, Jr. (10.24), Dominique Duncan (11.28w) and Ashley Collier (11.22w). Michael Bryan, fourth in his heat, advanced to Des Moines on time with a windy 10.29.
Ameer Webb ran 10.43w and finished eighth in the same heat with Bryan. LaKeidra Stewart posted an 11.62w for seventh in her heat of the 100.
Just missing a berth to Des Moines by an inch in the triple jump was Babatunde Omosu, who finished 13th with a wind-aided best of 51-1.75 (15.59). The top 12 advanced to the NCAA Championship meet.
Texas A&M was unable to advance its two 800-meter runners as Oscar Ramirez placed sixth in the first heat with a 1:49.97. Then Michael Preble finished eighth in the second heat with a 1:51.51.
In the 400-meter hurdles Gregory Coleman clocked 51.79 for fifth in his heat to place 18th overall and he was the second fastest freshman in the field.
Texas A&M also enjoyed another successful day advancing 11 athletes from the opening round to the quarterfinals in the 100/110 hurdles and 200 meters. In the 200 the Aggies sent eight sprinters through the quarterfinals, four each for the men and women.
Donique' Flemings led the 100-meter hurdle field with a time of 12.93w (3.5) as she won the sixth and final heat with ease against Arkansas’ Brittany Hyter (13.30) and Houston’s Demeeka Jones (13.33). Flemings was the only hurdler to post a sub 13-second time in moving on to the quarterfinals.
Wayne Davis II and Kenneth Minkah both advanced to the quarterfinals of the 110 hurdles. Davis won his heat in a wind-aided 13.58 (4.6w) against Durell Busby of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (13.71) and Iowa's Ethan Holmes (13.84).
Minkah ran 13.92w (3.0) to place third in the same heat with defending NCAA champion Andrew Riley of Illinois (13.56) and Trevor Brown of Colorado State (13.86).
With all the times in the hurdles wind-aided Davis posted the third best time behind Oregon's Johnathan Cabral (13.48) and Riley. Minkah had the 15th best time.
After a disappointing performance in the 100 quarterfinals Ameer Webb blistered a wind-aided 20.20 to win his heat over a 20.84 by Justin Austin of Iowa. A couple of heats earlier Prezel Hardy, Jr. won his heat in a wind-legal 20.55 over a 20.78 from Stanley Azie of Illinois.
Qualifying on time for the A&M men were Carlyle Roudette (20.99) and Michael Bryan (21.10), who each placed fourth in their respective heats.
For the women heat victories were attained by Dominique Duncan (22.88w) and Ashley Collier (23.24w) while Chandrell Stephens (24.11w) and LaKeidra Stewart (23.93w) both moved on with time qualifiers after finishing fourth in their heats.
In field events Laura Asimakis cleared 12-10.25 (3.92) while Aly Daily made it over 12-4.5 (3.77) to tie for 20th and 36th, respectively, in the pole vault. Chelsea Utley placed 22nd in the high jump with a 5-9.25 (1.76) clearance while Jena Hemann tied for 23rd with a 5-7.25 (1.71) make. In the men's hammer Casey Strong had three fouls.