COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M women’s 4x400m relay team stunned the track & field world by clocking 3:26.27 to break the all-time collegiate record as the Aggies wrapped up the Tyson Invitational on Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
The Aggie foursome of Jania Martin, Syaira Richardson, Charokee Young and Athing Mu combined to stop the clock at 3:26.27, breaking the four-year-old collegiate record of 3:27.03 previously set by USC’s Cameron Pettigrew, Amalie Luel, Deanna Hill and Kendall Ellis.
Martin came out the blocks hot, clocking 53.04 in the first 400m. Richardson, running second leg, split 51.86 before handing the baton to Young. Trailing Florida, Young blew past the Gators with a 51.12 split before Athing Mu ran a 50.27 400m as the Aggies made history.
The time not only set a collegiate record, but is a world-leading mark and is the ninth-best performance in world history and set a Randal Tyson Track Center facility record. The quartet became the No. 4 relay team in world history.
“This week in training we had talked about getting it together and trying to run well this week,” said head coach Pat Henry. “We haven't put any pressure on running a time yet and we didn't put much pressure on running a time today. I just wanted them to get the absolute best out of themselves today, take a chance and put it on the line. Remember, there are three other people and everything you do affects those other three people. You've got to be a great teammate to be on a great relay and we got four young ladies right now that are running extremely well. That's a big time performance by those ladies.”
Along with the 4x400m coming away victorious, Tyra Gittens also claimed an event title. She won the high jump with a clearance of 1.88m/6-2. It was the second highest jump in Aggie history, only behind her own school record of 1.91m/6-3.25. Lamara Distin finished third with a jump of 1.82m/5-11.5, which is No. 5 on the Texas A&M performer list.
Mason Corbin cleared 2.08m/6-9.75 to finish second in the men’s high jump, a half inch short of his personal best.
A day after claiming victory in the long jump, Deborah Acquah placed second in the triple jump with a mark of 13.58m/44-6.75.
Other notables on the track include Jon Bishop and Allon Clay, each recording a top-five finish in their respective events. Clay clocked a personal best 1:48.45 to place fifth in the 800m. His time makes him the fastest freshman in the NCAA this season and is ranked No. 7 on the Aggie all-time performer list. Bishop recorded a personal best mile time of 4:01.97, which makes him the fifth best performer in school history.
The Maroon & White have the week off before heading back to Fayetteville to begin championships season with the SEC Indoor Championships on Feb. 25-27.
Head Coach Pat Henry
On the women’s jump squad:
“We know that Tyra [Gittens] is going to compete and she is tough every time she gets out there. Lamara [Distin] has been sitting for us all season but she finally got to do some jumping today and she cleared 5-11.5. We stopped her at that height because we just wanted her to get a competition, she’ll be ready to jump at conference. Deborah has been trying some new things but she had another good day and she is consistent. You never know though, she can jump 46-feet anytime because she is one of those athletes.”
On Allon Clay:
“Allon [Clay] ran a personal best indoors and he hasn't ran indoors that many times before. I saw a lot out of him today and he is the highest ranked freshman in the country right now. Allon was in a good race and it made him get the best out of himself. He did a good job today. Him and Brandon [Miller] are doing a good job, they've both ran 1:48 this season.”
On Devon Achane’s debut:
“It was the first time for him to step on a college track and compete. I wasn't disappointed, you can't be completely ready to go as a 200m guy in as less of time he's been with us. The race he was in just happened to be the fastest race in the world this year. He lost his balance twice and if you lose your balance at all then you're out of these races.”
On Jon Bishop:
“Jon [Bishop] in the mile was one of the best in Aggie history. He has gotten better the last two weeks. He's looking really good right now and has gained a lot of confidence in himself.”