STANFORD – Four victories highlighted the first day of the Stanford Invitational for No. 1 ranked Texas A&M as well as some impressive performances during the distance carnival portion of the meet.

The Aggies swept the 400 hurdle titles with Shamier Little and Gregory Coleman while Shavez Hart claimed the 100 meters. In the field events A&M titles were attained by Chase Wolfle in the pole vault and Latario Collie in the long jump while Ioannis Kyriazis finished as the top collegian in the javelin.  

Successfully defending her title in the 400 hurdles with a season debut of 56.42 seconds Little broke the Stanford Invitational meet record of 56.48 set in 2006 by Shauna Smith of Sheffield TC. Little claimed last year’s race in 57.58 before lowering her time to an A&M school record of 55.07 when she claimed the NCAA championship in June.

Sparkle McKnight of Arkansas, who won the Texas Relays title last week in 56.70, provided a challenge for Little as they traded the lead over the last couple of hurdles. When approaching the final hurdle, Little held an edge as McKnight crashed to the track.

As Little won her section by nearly three full seconds, Sonali Merrill finished second at 59.37 with Ohio State’s Alexis Franklin third with a 59.49. McKnight finished fourth in 60.22. A&M’s Ebony Crear placed third in the second section of the 400 hurdles with a 1:00.15, placing 10th overall.

“It was a good race, and I enjoyed the push from Sparkle,” noted Little. “It was a good opener, and it was my best ever opening time. This time tells me a lot, in the past I’ve opened with 59 seconds or slower. To open with a 56 I’m definitely ready for the rest of the season.

“In the big races I know it’s going to come down to the last few hurdles. Because I’m not the best starter I know other people are going to be with me at the last hurdle and it’s going to be a close race. Having that push between Sparkle and I over the last two hurdles really helps me prepare for when the meets get more serious. There may be two or three more people with me in a tight race.”

A 50.54 by Coleman in the men’s 400 hurdles completed the Aggie sweep in the event as he defeated Jordin Andrade of Boise State (50.56) in a close finish. A&M’s Aikan Graham won the next section of the 400 hurdles in 52.75 and placed sixth overall.

Hart led the 100 field and pulled away in the final stages for a 10.23 victory (0.8 wind), just off the meet record of 10.18 set by Ja’Warren Hooker of Washington in 2000. Teammate Elijah Morrow finished ninth in 10.74. Prelims in the 100 meters had Hart running a windy 10.22 (2.3 wind) to lead the crew of nine advancing to the final. Morrow won his heat in 10.63 (0.4 wind) and qualified eighth overall.

Collie added to his Texas Relays triple jump victory from last week with a long jump win in the Invitational division. Collie produced a windy 25-9 ½ (7.86) to claim the event by three-quarters of an inch over Ted Hooper (25-8 ¾).

A pair of career best throws were achieved in the Invitational javelin by Kyrazis, who placed second with a 247-7 (75.47), and Devin Bogert, who finished third at 246-3 (75.07). The winner was Nike’s Riley Dolezal, the 2013 U.S. Champion and 2014 U.S. runner-up, with a throw of 255-5 (77.87).

The marks by Kyriazis and Bogert bettered the previous meet record of 245-3 (74.76) set by Oregon’s Cyrus Hostetler in 2009. Kyriazis also moves to No. 3 on the A&M all-time list, behind Sam Humphreys (272-9) and Nery Kennedy (251-8) while moving two inches ahead of Ty Sevin (247-5). Bogert improves his previous best of 239-6 in taking over the No. 5 position.

Cameron Villarreal knocked nearly 20 seconds off his previous best in the 5,000 meters as he clocked 13:57.91 for 12th place in the fast section at Stanford. That mark moves Villarreal to equal No. 4 on the A&M all-time list and No. 7 performance with Kevin Burnett (2011). Villarreal posted a time of 14:16.79 in placing fourth at the SEC Championships last season.

The select crew of Aggie distance runners in front of Villarreal on the all-time list includes Henry Lelei (13:45.30, 2013), Arturo Barrios (13:46.37, 1985) and Tommy Bonn (13:56.54, 2003).

A competitive 3,000-meter steeplechase had Isaac Spencer placing eighth in a time of 8:50.74, improving his time from last season in this meet by three seconds when he finished ninth. Tabor Stevens of Adams State won the race in 8:32.50 ahead of Zac Seddon of Florida State (8:36.55) and Matt Cleaver (8:39.46).

Runner-up performance by Brea Garrett in the Invitational shot put had her posting a mark of 50-9 ½ (15.48) to finish behind Lena Giger of Stanford, who won with a 51-2 ¼ (15.60) mark, while Notre Dame’s Emily Morris placed third at 50-6 ¼ (15.40).

Maggie Malone also placed second for the Aggies in the Invitational javelin with a toss of 160-11 (49.05), to finish behind the 164-0 (50.00) from Sierra Rosenau of North Dakota State. Kendall Munoz threw 151-9 (46.26) to place sixth.

In the high jump Sam McSwain placed second in the Invitational section with a 6-11 (2.11) clearance as China’s Guowei Zhang won at 7-7 ¾ (2.33). Finishing third, also at 6-11, was Ken LeGassey of Arkansas. Competing in the collegiate division Garrett Cragin placed second at 6-7 (2.01) behind a 6-9 (2.06) from Alex Campbell of Arkansas.

Alison Ondrusek threw the hammer 185-7 (56.57) for third place in the Invitational division while Garrett finished 10th with a 166-6 (50.74). A leap of 23-7 ½ (7.20) placed Jeffrey Prothro third in the collegiate long jump. Jennifer Madu finished fourth in the women’s Invitational long jump with a mark of 19-8 (5.99).

Kara Erickson registered a fourth place finish in the collegiate high jump, getting over 5-5 ¾ (1.67) on her third attempt that matched the same mark for second and third place. A discus toss of 178-5 (54.39) placed Dalton Rowan fifth in the Invitational division as Ben Skrla finished eighth with a 171-5 (52.26). The collegiate division of the discus had Jeff Bartlett throwing 162-10 (49.64) to place eighth.

In the earlier sections of the 1,500 meters A&M’s Nathan Ricketts placed third with a 3:52.64 behind a pair of Notre Dame runners, Jacob Dumford (3:49.69) and Christopher Marco (3:51.57), while Aggie teammate Ian Cazares placed fifth in 3:53.69. In another section Alex Riba finished seventh with a time of 3:53.17. Racing in the early section of the women’s 1,500 Laura Craig placed 13th in 4:41.82.

Three Aggie heptathletes ran in the 100 hurdles with Ashtin Zamzow leading the crew with a 14.27 to place fourth in her section and 15th overall among a field of 30 entrants. Hemann clocked 14.44 and Shaina Burns ran 16.18. Zamzow also long jumped 16-8 ¾ (5.10) while Hemann cleared 5-5 ¾ (1.67) in the high jump and Burns cleared 5-3 ¾ (1.62). Decathlete Daniel Martin posted a 15.09 in the 110 hurdles and long jumped 20-9 ¼ (6.33).


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