The meet started with the 4x1's and a pair of upsets. The women started it off with LSU passing as they always seem to do with something on the line. They came to the anchor leg with Kymberlyn Duncan right there with Texas A&M and it was a wrap as she ran away from Ashley Collier for a big 42.64 to 42.93 win! Setting the stage for the rest of the meet.
Passing was even more critical on the men's side as both Florida St and Florida has miscues. Florida St nearly went out of the zone as Makusha tried to get the stick to Maurice Mitchell. The baton even went airborne for a moment but the pass was completed. Florida was not as fortunate as Terrell Wilks was unable to complete the pass to Jeff Demps. Florida was out, and Florida St and Texas A&M battled down the stretch - Florida St winning 38.77 to 38.91 and vaulting to the top of the leaderboard at that point as Florida came away with no points. A big boost to the Seminoles and a blow to the Gators.
In the very next event we saw history made. On Friday Ngoni Makusha became the 4th athlete to pull off the 100/LJ double. In the women's 1500, 5000 winner Sheila Reid (Villanova) had the potential to do what I originally thought Jordan Hasay (OR) would do - become the first to win the difficult 1500/5000 double. The pace went very slow through the first half mile, playing into the hands of the kickers - specifically Sheila Reid. Hasay took the lead down the final backstretch in an attempt to stretch the field, but Reid cut through the pack heading into the final turn and never looked back as she opened up in the final straight. And 4:14.57 later she was a double gold medalist.
The 1500's may have taken a turn for the strategic, but the track heated up substantially in the 200's as Kimberlyn Duncan (LSU) continued her strong running and blew the field away on the turn to enter the straight with a lead she would never relinquish. Jeneba Tarmoh (Texas A&M) gave strong chase and even made up some ground, but Duncan crossed the line in front 22.24 to 22.34 - taking over the world lead, and(along with Semoy Hacket's 6th place) giving LSU the team lead over Texas A&M. With their efforts Duncan and Tarmoh move into the national picture and become contenders for Daegu spots at the Trials in Eugene. In the NCAA title hunt LSU was out of scoring opportunities while A&M had the 4x4 coming up.
The men's deuce was equally as hot as Maurice Mitchell(Fl St) repeated Duncan's strategy of blazing the turn, coming into the stretch with a huge lead over the field - on his way to a 19.99w victory. Teammate Brandon Byram finished in 4th to give the Seminoles 15 big points to vault to 54 points in the team title hunt. At the same time Florida was going one-two in the triple jump (Christian Taylor 58' 3.75w", Will Claye 57' 9"w, ) and scoring 18 points to move to 50 points. But like LSU, the Seminoles were without a team in the 4x4 while Florida did. Ironically speed based Florida St's final scoring opportunity would come in the 5000 meters. But Ciaran O'Lionaird was unable to finish the race so the Seminoles would have to watch as Florida (50 pts) and Texas A&M (45 pts) would both enter the long relay with the potential to overtake them.
Prior to the 4x4's however, was the men's 110 hurdles, which ended up as sort of the poster child for what happened to so many favorites in this meet. Entering the meet Omo Osaghe (Texas Tech) was a very strong favorite. But Osaghe battered hurdles from the start and did not finish the race! Leaving a spirited battle among eventual winner Barrett Nugent (LSU, 13.28) who ran the cleanest set of hurdles on the day to win what ended up being a very close and deep race. Following closely were defending champion Andrew Riley (Illinois, 13.33), Brendan Ames (USC, 13.34), Jeffrey Julmis (KS St, 13.38), and Keiron Stewart (Tx, 13.38).
Then following the 5000's the Lady Aggies entered the 4x4 needing a top five finish to take the title away from LSU. They did so in emphatic fashion as Jessica Beard was some 15 plus meters down in third place and ran A&M (3:26.31) to the victory over Auburn(3:26.46) and Oregon (3:28.18), as Oregon also leapt over LSU into the runner up position - Texas A&M 49 pts, Oregon 45 pts, and LSU 43.5 pts..
Next up the Gators and Aggies took to the track in pursuit of the Seminoles. And once again it was the Aggies going wire to wire with Tabarie Henry running fiercely down the home straight and holding off a challenge from Ryker Hilton and LSU. Florida was never able to mount a challenge and after the Florida schools battled for the title all day, it was Texas A&M going home with another trophy Texas A&M 55 pts, Florida St 54 pts, Florida 53 pts!
Two more trophy's for the Texas A&M Aggies who just seem to find ways to get it done.