The second day of the Texas A&M track and field team’s quest for a historic three-peat was delayed by hail and lightning at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championship in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday. After competition resumed at Drake Stadium, the Aggies had a difficult time keeping the team’s goal of having everyone perform well on the same day.
Emalie Humphreys scored her first points in the NCAA Championships after taking fifth place in the women’s javelin. After her throw of 164-10 and scoring A&M’s first four points of the meet, Humphreys said she was ecstatic to help the team in its heated pursuit of a third-straight title.
“I’m glad I was able to score for the team since I know it’s going to be tight this year,” Humphreys said. “The fact that I was able to put points on the board really, really makes me happy.”
Humphreys had her best throw on her first throw and followed it with 151-2 and 162-0 in her next two throws. Humphreys’ success is long overdue after placing 16th her freshman year, 18th as a sophomore and 19th last year. Humphreys said her performance was fueled by her excitement for a chance at redemption.
“This is something I’ve wanted for four years,” Humphreys said. “Last year I came up short and this time I busted my best throw on my first attempt. I’m so blessed to be on the team that I’m on. This is something I’ve wanted and I’ve worked hard for. To accomplish it in my senior year, I’m over the moon.”
Senior jumper Julian Reid placed sixth and scored sixth points in his last long jump competition as an Aggie. Reid jumped 26-0.75 in the sixth round while also qualifying for the triple jump final with teammates Melvin Echard and Tyron Stewart.
Daphne Fitzpatrick gave the Aggies a spark by finishing the first day of the women’s heptathlon in fifth with 3,371 points. Her day consisted of a 14.22 in the 100 hurdles, clearing 5-7.75 in the high jump and throwing 38-8.75 in the shot put before finishing in 24.89 in the 200 meters.
Fitzpatrick will be tested to the finish as Kansas State’s Ryann Krais leads the women’s heptathlon with 3,585 points followed by Texas Relays champion Chelsea Carrier of West Virginia with 3,551 points.
The Aggie women also had a qualifier in the 200 as Jeneba Tarmoh won her heat in 23.00 seconds. The qualifying performance follows Tarmoh’s false start in the 100 after being a favorite to win the event. She finished the final heat of the 200 ahead of USC’s Jessica Davis (23.06) while fellow-Aggie Dominique Duncan placed fifth in the same race, failing to make the final. LSU’s Kimberlynn Duncan posted a collegiate leading time of 22.39 to lead all qualifiers.
Tran Howell qualified for the men’s 200 after taking third in the first heat in 20.63. LSU’s Horatio Williams won the heat in 20.44 with Arkansas’ LaShawn Butler following with a 20.54.
The men’s 110 hurdles had a highly competitive first heat but A&M’s Wayne Davis II advanced to the final with a fourth-place time of 13.54. Texas Tech’s Omo Osaghae finished first in the heat with a qualifying time of 13.32 seconds. The Big 12 will be well-represented as Keiron Stewart of Texas and Jeffery Julmis of Kansas State also advanced.
On the other side of the Aggies’ successful day was a pair of miscues in the women’s 100 hurdles. Senior hurdlers Gabby Mayo and Natasha Ruddock both took spill in their respective heats and did not advance to the finals.
As the A&M women’s 4 x 400 relay team prepared to take the track for the final heat of the day, a streak of lightning flashed across the sky and the clouds growled with thunder. The last heat of the women’s relay will resume with the A&M’s chase for the title on Friday.