Texas A&M sweeps NCAA outdoor titles
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas A&M swept the men's and women's titles at the NCAA outdoor championships Saturday, becoming the first school to post dual three-peat champions.
The men needed to win the 1,600-meter relay for their third straight crown, and anchor Tabarie Henry held off LSU's Riker Hylton to clinch the victory in 3 minutes, 0.62 seconds.
The Aggies finished with 55 points, one ahead of Florida State and two ahead of Florida.
The Texas A&M women clinched their third straight national team title by winning the 1,600-meter relay as well. Anchor Jessica Beard ran a meet-record split of 49:14 seconds to give the Aggies the crown over Oregon with 49 points.
The Ducks missed their first outdoor team title in 26 years, finishing four points behind Texas A&M. LSU was third with 43.5.
Though the Aggies ended up on top, things looky quite shaky early.
Texas A&M's quest for a fifth straight title in the women's 400 relay ended when Dominique Duncan lost her balance passing the baton to anchor Ashley Collier. That gave the edge to LSU, and Kimberlyn Duncan's strong final 100 gave the Tigers the win in 42.64.
The Aggies were second at 42.93, though they more than made up for that in the 1,600 relay.
"It was always in the back of our mind. It feels really good to break the streak on my way out," LSU senior Kenyanna Wilson said of snapping A&M's 400 relay winning streak.
The Texas A&M men's 400 team suffered the same fate, as 100-meter and long-jump champion Ngonidzashe Makusha helped give the Seminoles a nine-point cushion in the team race.
"I'm loving it. It's been a good weekend," said Makusha, who scored 22.5 points for the Seminoles. But they didn't make the 1,600 relay finals, which came back to haunt them.
Florida, which won the 400 relay a year ago, botched an exchange and failed to finish a race it was expected to score in. But a pair of Gators made up for that in the long jump.
Christian Taylor won the event with a leap of 58-4¾, which would have shattered the meet record of 57-7¾ had it not been wind-aided. Still, it ranked as the best all-conditions jump in collegiate history.
Teammate Will Claye was second at 57-9¾, giving the Gators 18 points from one event.
Florida needed a strong finish in the 1,600 relay, though. The Gators finished sixth, and their shot at their first outdoor title fell short for the third year in a row.
Florida was second to the Aggies in 2009 and 2010.
LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan won the women's 200 in a world-leading 22.24 seconds, just ahead of Texas A&M's Jeneba Tarmoh (22.34). Florida State's Maurice Mitchell took the men's 200 in a wind-aided 19.99.
Villanova's Sheila Reid became the first woman to win the 1,500 and 5,000 at the same NCAA meet, using a late burst to take Saturday's 1,500 in 4:14.57.