Lendore records world-leading time in 400 meter for second-ranked Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- A feisty battle for points entertained a crowd of 1,487 at the Texas A&M Triangular on Saturday afternoon inside Gilliam Indoor Stadium.
After winning four dual meets during the past four seasons, the No. 2 Texas A&M men remained undefeated in adding a triangular title to that collection. The Aggies reached a total of 128.5 points and were safely ahead of No. 1 Arkansas (99) and No. 8 LSU (82.5).
Texas A&M women, also second-ranked in dual meet rankings, nearly tied for the team win, but came up short by four points as No. 1 LSU claimed the victory with 107.5 points. The Aggies were second with 103.5 points and Arkansas finished third with 103.
"From the first event of the day our team has to understand those two or three points that are scored early in the meet all add up," Texas A&M coach Pat Henry said. "Everybody has to have a great day on the same day to win a track meet like this.
"Our guys really lined up and got after it and our girls got after it as well. The women got beat by a really good team [Saturday] by just a few points. At the SEC conference meet we'll get to see these two teams again. This gives our team a taste of what is in front of them, who they need to beat and how to prepare for us to be successful at the SEC Championship."
In addition to claiming maximum points in the 400 and 4x400 relay for the Aggies, sophomore Deon Lendore sped to a world-leading 45.91, the third-fastest time indoors at A&M, to capture the 400 meter victory against a 46.98 from LSU's Caleb Williams.
"In my mind I really wanted to go 45 in my first meet," said Lendore, who split 45.4 running the second leg of the 4x400 last weekend. "Even before the race I told myself I needed to try my best to run 45 today. Before I walked out to the track coach told me to do what I said I was going to do. After I finished the race and saw it was 45 I was pretty happy.
"My fastest split last year was 46.0 at the NCAA. So, after I split 45 low last weekend I started thinking I could do the same in the open 400 if I try my best. I at least wanted to get the meet record, which I did."
Lendore broke the meet record of 46.03 set by A&M's Demetrius Pinder in 2010 and only trails Pinder (45.33) and Tabarie Henry (45.81) on the Aggie all-time list. Behind Lendore were teammates Aldrich Bailey, Jr. (47.28) and Carlyle Roudette (47.38) in third and fourth place.
To cap the A&M team victory, Lendore anchored the 4x400 relay to a 3:07.21 victory with a 45.9 split, to edge LSU's 3:07.74.
Henry Lelei also enjoyed a double win as he clocked 4:10.95 in the mile and then anchored the Aggie distance medley relay to a narrow victory against Arkansas, 10:00.21 to 10:00.75. Teammate C.J. Brown placed second in the mile with a 4:12.27 and ran the opening 1200m leg in the distance medley relay.
"Lelei is a great competitor and a team guy," said Henry. "He's an SEC champion already in cross country and knows what it takes to be really good. When Lelei lines up we know we're going to have a fine effort out of him."
For the third consecutive meet Casey Strong improved his school record in winning the weight throw. This time he bettered his previous best in five of the six rounds. His final toss of 65-0.75 (19.83) set a school record, beating his previous best of 63-10.5 (19.47). Strong also added a third-place effort in the shot put.
"I feel really blessed and happy with the performances I've had this indoor season," Strong said. "I'm staying healthy and keep improving. I'm really blessed to be on the Texas A&M track team. We have some of the best people in the nation and they push me to excel."
Strong topped his school record of 63-10.5 (19.47) in the weight with improvements of 64-3 (19.58), twice in rounds two and three, had a 63-11 (19.48) in the fourth stanza and hit 64-4 (19.61) in round five. Teammate Ben Skrla also improved his career best to 56-3 (17.14) in placing fourth and moved to No. 7 on the A&M all-time list.
"I'm really perfecting my technique and getting it down the best I can," Strong said. "I'm not there yet, and I know I have more in me. To keep improving every weekend is a good sign. My goal coming into this season was 65 feet, so I'm really proud of myself to reach that goal. I take pride in the fact that I can set a school record each time I compete."
Texas A&M totaled 11 victories in the meet, eight for the men and three for the women.
Other victories for the Aggie men included Prezel Hardy Jr. (60), Devion Harris (high jump), and Jonathan Turner (long jump).
Hardy Jr. won the men's 60 in 6.73 against LSU's Rynell Parson (6.76) with A&M teammate Michael Bryan in third at 6.77 as Tiger Aaron Ernest finished fourth in 6.82. In the 200, though, it was Ernest improving his PR to 20.79, breaking the meet record of 20.80, and defeating Hardy's 21.05. Bryan finished third again with a 21.18.