DENTON – For a team striving to be the indisputable best its school has ever seen, the numbers surely will tell a tale.
The sentiment was on full display on Saturday at the North Texas Classic.
Six event victories, 19 medals and 46 athletes who attained season or lifetime personal records in at least one event.
That was Tarleton’s haul from its second trip to Denton in as many seasons.
It was an auspicious omen as the Texans enter the stretch run of the 2022 campaign.
Just two regular season meets remain on the docket following Saturday’s single-day affair before the team jets to Seattle for the Western Athletic Conference Championships on May 12-14.
Saturday, though, afforded Tarleton the chance to continue its progression across all event groups and flex its muscles versus a small nucleus of regional opponents.
Present and soon-to-be WAC rivals Abilene Christian and University of Texas Arlington were in attendance alongside host UNT and Oklahoma Baptist.
The Texans wasted little time establishing themselves within the inner circles of the meet and NCAA South Central Region.
Four of their event victories occurred before the clock struck noon CT.
A clean sweep in the javelin began the day in earnest.
Ben Presley and Elise Smith claimed the crowns in their respective competitions to get the day started in earnest. Presley let loose a heave of 177′ 5″ – a lifetime personal record and the No. 6 mark in the WAC – to secure the win. Smith registered her third consecutive personal record behind a throw of 148′ 6″. She is now within nine feet of breaking Tarleton’s school record and ranks second in school history and fifth in the WAC.
It only took one leap for Alan Palmer to achieve his eighth D1 gold medal in the long jump. The senior, and Tarleton’s indoor school record-holder, leapt 23′ 6″ on his first-and-only attempt to secure the win.
Rylee Hennig then continued her ascension toward becoming the greatest high jumper to don Purple and White. She cleared 5′ 8.75″ to cruise to the first gold medal of her college career. Hennig, a freshman from Aquilla, Texas, continues to lead the WAC in the event, ranks eighth in the South Central Region and 42nd among all D1 athletes.
The final pair of individual first place finishes belonged to Tarleton’s women’s distance crew.
Jenna Brazeal put on a show for the second straight week. Just seven days removed from becoming Tarleton’s all-time school record-holder in the 800m, Brazeal nabbed first place in the 1,500m with a personal best time of 4:39.37.
The race strategy exhibited by Brazeal was again impeccable. She patiently tailed two girls through the first 1,100m, then started her kick as soon she began the bell lap. Brazeal posted a 70-second split in her final 400m of the race.
The result signified the fifth straight medal for Brazeal in 2022 and 14th as a Texan.
Aimee Landers-Wilburn won the 5,000m in 19:45.84.
But perhaps the most significant race of the afternoon belonged to Justin Raines. The freshman placed second in the 100m with a time of 10.23 seconds. He now leads the WAC in the event, ranks eighth in the South Central Region and 20th in the nation. Raines also moved to third in school history with the performance.
Raines was not the only athlete to put himself within striking distance of assuming a top spot on Tarleton’s outdoor school record book. Kevin Baez finished fourth in the 5,000m in 14:36.20 and came within two seconds of breaking the Texans’ outdoor school record. His time signified a 44-second personal record and moved him to 14th in the South Central Region.
The Texans collected a trio of medals in the mid-distance races.
Hanna Dudley and Nyla Barlow teamed up to place second and third, respectively, in the 400m with times of 57.05 and 57.23. Both athletes ran the open 400m for the first time this season. Dudley entered the top-10 of the WAC Outdoor Performance List with the result.
Bailey Smotek followed suit by picking up the silver medal in the 800m in 1:56.32.
Top-three finishes were particularly prevalent in the field.
Aneudy Pimentel joined Presley atop the results sheet in the men’s javelin, placing second behind a lifetime best throw of 165′ 5″. Kora Pennartz then gave Tarleton its fourth medal of the morning in the javelin, as she slung the spear 117′ 5″ to claim the bronze in the women’s competition.
Elena Reagan finished second in the hammer throw behind a personal record of 154′ 7″, putting herself within five feet of breaking Tarleton’s school record in the process.
Hennig’s leap was the apex of a dominant display on the high jump apron. Five of the six athletes who competed in the event brought home medals. Gentrye Munden and Kylee Willis cleared 5′ 5″ to tie for second in the women’s competition. Willis achieved a two-inch personal record while Munden earned the ninth medal of her collegiate career. On the men’s side, Jamariyan Howlett and Maxon Newell finished second and third with respective leaps of 6′ 4.75″ and 6′ 2.75″.
Over in the sand pits, Reid Vincent gave the Texans a one-three finish in the long jump. The freshman leapt 22′ 9.75″ to register a collegiate personal record and take third place. Jaden Hall then notched the Texans eighth-and-final medal in jumps with a third-place finish in the triple jump at 45′ 4.5″.
There were personal records aplenty all afternoon in the discus and hammer throw.
Oscar Rodriguez was Tarleton’s top performer on the men’s side. He finished fourth in the discus (163′ 0″) and fifth in the hammer throw (171′ 4″) and notched season personal records in both events. Rodriguez came within four feet of breaking his own school record in the hammer throw.
Four of the five women’s athletes who competed in the discus notched personal records. Reagan led the way with a fourth-place finish at 143′ 10″. Katina Stephens added 22 feet to her lifetime best with a throw of 130′ 0″ to finish seventh. Hailey Daniels-White placed two spots behind Stephens at 125′ 5″. Audrey Lillard rounded out the showing with a heave of 118′ 1″ to claim 12th place.
Bonnie Clifton concluded Tarleton’s showing in throws by finishing eighth in the hammer throw behind a 14-foot personal record of 139′ 11″.
The afternoon on the track began with the Texans’ anticipated debut of their men’s 4x100m relay team. Raines, Vincent, Ethan Hood and Isaac Hutchings, who filled in for Palmer, teamed up to clock a time of 41.55, which puts them sixth among their conference peers.
The action then transitioned to the 1,500m, where all seven athletes who raced achieved personal records. Denton native Sage Lancaster finished 10th in the women’s race in 5:13.10. Tarleton had three athletes crack the top-10 on the men’s side. Angel Gomez won his heat and finished sixth overall at 4:09.14. Fellow freshman Austin Flores finished one spot and two seconds behind him in 4:11.40. Logan Courtney crossed the finish line ninth in 4:14.04 in his Texan debut.
The Texans continued their progression in the short hurdles. Freshman Konnor Hoerman cut four-tenths of a second off his personal record in the 110m hurdles and finished fifth in 14.77. Sullivan Sanders attained a season personal record of 14.80 and placed sixth.
Two more personal records rolled in in the 400m. Macie Evans shaved a full second off her lifetime best, completing her lap around the track in 57.93 in front of a hometown crowd. She finished sixth while Brenna Lee came in seventh with a career best time of 58.07.
Zachary Martinez checked in with a seventh-place finish for the men in 49.74.
Six athletes surpassed their previous personal bests in the 100m. Sanders and Hutchings, a decathlete, clocked times of 11.02 and 11.14. Four athletes accomplished the feat on the women’s side: Danielle Thomas (12.25), Trinity Washington (12.30), Nakia Dunn (12.53) and Kailson Brinson (12.65).
Brothers Kevin Calvani and Cory Calvani joined Smotek in the top-eight of the 800m. Kevin, a sophomore, finished fourth in 2:00.37. Corly, the elder of the siblings, placed eighth in 2:02.44 while making his Texan debut.
Two newcomers took center stage in the women’s 800m. Kailey Sykora won her heat and took seventh place in 2:28.11. Jacklynn Wenzel kept pace in her collegiate debut, crossing the finish line ninth in 2:29.78.
The tall hurdles then returned to the track. Joey Ortiz-Martinez and Brett Munoz each enjoyed the best races of their respective seasons in the 400m hurdles. Ortiz-Martinez placed fourth behind a season personal record of 55.88 while Munoz nabbed fifth place with his third consecutive lifetime personal record (56.35).
All three men’s athletes who raced in the 200m brought home personal records. Vincent led the way with a time of 21.66, which moved him to eighth on Tarleton’s all-time outdoor top-10 list. Hood and Hoerman completed their sprints in 21.91 and 23.22.
Tarleton closed the show by trotting out a trio of 4x400m relay teams.
The Texans’ women’s team of Evans, Lee, Brazeal and Karleigh Hill finished second in 4:01.54.
Tarleton’s ‘A’ team on the men’s side featuring Hutchings, Sanders, Brady Sisneroz and Jared Beasley took fifth place in 3:31.14. The Texans’ ‘B’ team was comprised of Ortiz-Martinez, Munoz and both Kevin and Cory Calvani and finished seventh in 3:34.09.