ARLINGTON – Two of Tarleton track and field’s all-time greats strengthened their grips atop the program record books on Thursday.
Oscar Rodriguez and Jenna Brazeal bested their respective school records in the hammer throw and 800m at the UTA Invitational in Tarleton’s final regular season meet of 2022.
Rodriguez surpassed his previous mark by three inches. The Del Rio native and reigning WAC discus champion heaved the hammer 175′ 1″ on his final throw of the afternoon.
He likely would have added more separation between his mark and others on the Texans’ all-time outdoor top-10 list had the event been staged under more favorable guidelines. Athletes were given four throws and finals were not held. Rodriguez and other competitors were forced to wait more than five hours upon arriving at the facility before throwing.
Brazeal flashed similar grit in her record-setting run. She clocked a lifetime personal record of 2:12.13 to win the event despite missing the Texans’ most recent meet – the SFA Invite on Apr. 15 – due to injury and battling strong headwinds on the straightaway of the Maverick Stadium track.
Rodriguez also claimed the discus crown with a toss of 164′ 1″.
The third-and-final individual first place finish of the evening belonged to freshman Reid Vincent. He leapt 24′ 2.25″ to notch a lifetime personal record and catapult himself to the No. 7 spot on the Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Performance List. The showing marked the first event victory of his collegiate career.
The Texans claimed 20 medals against a five-team field that included host UTA, future WAC rival Incarnate Word, Arkansas-Little Rock, Fort Scott CC and a smattering of athletes from the likes of Abilene Christian, North Texas and East Central. Tarleton also won the women’s 4x400m relay and finished second in the men’s iteration of the race.
Of Tarleton’s top-three individual finishes, 13 came in the field.
Elena Reagan joined Rodriguez in completing the discus and hammer throw two-step with medals in each event. She finished second in the discus at 143′ 0″ and nearly made school history of her own in the hammer throw. Reagan, a graduate student, notched a lifetime personal record of 158′ 11″ on her final throw and moved within 13 inches of breaking Tarleton’s all-time mark.
Four other athletes medaled in throws.
Sophomore Ben Presley slung the spear 164′ 5″ to take the silver in the javelin despite not throwing until after the sun had set.
Two-sport athlete Elise Smith notched her fifth consecutive top-two finish in the javelin by placing second behind a toss of 136′ 1″.
Kora Pennartz finished one spot back of Smith at 104′ 9″.
Rounding out the showing from Tarleton’s throwers was Ethan Bratton, who registered a lifetime personal best of 155′ 9″ in the discus to place third.
Tarleton then carried the momentum over to the high jump apron, where it placed four athletes in the top-three.
Rylee Hennig and Gentrye Munden teamed up to finish second and third in the women’s competition with respective leaps of 5′ 6.5″ and 5′ 4.5″. On the men’s side, Jamariyan Howlett, Alan Palmer and Maxon Newell all cleared 6′ 4.75″. Howlett finished second and Palmer took third based on misses.
The meet then transitioned to the track, where more medals and a number of notable personal records rolled in.
Before open races commenced, Tarleton’s primary women’s 4x100m relay team of Hanna Dudley, Breonna Campbell, Summer Croxton and Nyla Barlow kicked off the twilight portion of the meet in style. The quartet obtained a season personal record of 45.92 and nabbed fourth place.
Tarleton’s women’s distance crew enjoyed one of its best collective efforts of the spring in the 1,500m. Aimee-Landers Wilburn finished third in 5:07.45. Fellow newcomers Sage Lancaster and Vianney Sanchez each notched personal records to place fourth and eighth. Lancaster clocked in at 5:08.20 and Sanchez completed the race in 5:12.66. Maria Diaz-Fernandez then gave Tarleton four athletes in the top-10 after she placed 10th in 5:14.25. Jordan Jones earned a 16-second personal record of 5:21.76 to finish 11th.
Kevin Baez followed up by placing third in a competitive 32-man 1,500m field in 3:55.92.
In the short hurdles, freshman Khloe Turnbull shaved two-tenths of a second off her personal best to finish fourth in 14:34. She moved to fifth in school history with the performance.
After hurdles were removed from the track, Jordan Anglin continued her pursuit of All-WAC accolades in the 400m. She notched her fourth consecutive personal record of the season and crossed the finish line second in 55.50. Anglin’s time ranks sixth in the WAC and has her within three-tenths of a second of surpassing Tarleton’s outdoor school record of 55.19, which was set by Ashley Johnson in 2017.
Alessa King and Macie Evans finished sixth and seventh behind times of 57.34 and 58.45.
In the men’s 400m, Zachary Martinez took an important step toward contending for his third consecutive set of All-Conference accolades. He was Tarleton’s top finisher in the event, as he finished eighth and notched a season personal record of 48.77. Bailey Smotek raced in the subsequent heat and matched his lifetime best of 49.29 and finish 13th overall.
The Texans’ collective showing in sprints unquestionably was highlighted by Campbell’s races. She tied for the fastest 100m time Tarleton has registered this season at 11.91 and took eighth place. Campbell later achieved her second personal record of the meet after she finished fifth in the 200m in 24.48. The freshman jumped to third in school history in the outdoor 200m and moved to fifth on Tarleton’s all-time outdoor top-10 list in the 100m.
Barlow and Dudley were not far back of Campbell in the 200m, as they finished sixth and ninth with times of 24.66 and 24.69.
Both the women’s 100m and 200m featured a handful of season and/or lifetime personal records.
Nakia Dunn (12.51) and Reagan Gallagher (12.57) each achieved season bests in the 100m while Danielle Thomas posted a career-best 200m split of 25.74. Kailson Brinson attained lifetime bests in both events with times of 12.55 and 25.91.
Brandon McKissick and Mikel Stone comprised one-half of Tarleton’s men’s 4x100m relay and each obtained personal records in the 200m. McKissick ran a lifetime best 21.48 while Stone surpassed his season personal record with a time of 21.75.
Brazeal’s run was not the only high point of the 800m. Johnnie Wilkinson concluded her three-year career in Purple and White by notching a collegiate personal record of 2:24.81 to place ninth. Freshman Kailey Sykora joined her in the top-10 in 2:26.69. Fellow first-year athlete Jacklynn Wenzel finished 13th with a lifetime personal record of 2:29.41. Kevin Calvani and Angel Gomez took sixth and seventh place, respectively, in the men’s race in 1:56.96 and 1:57.41.
The Texans cleaned up nicely in the 400m hurdles. Three athletes medaled.
Rese Schoonover and Karleigh Hill placed second and third behind personal records of 1:04.24 and 1:04.63. Joey Ortiz-Martinez then posted his second straight sub-55-second split at 54.88 to place third.
Anglin and Barlow teamed up with 400m specialists King and Evans to win the women’s 4x400m relay in 3:53.32.
Tarleton closed out the evening with a second-place finish in the men’s 4x400m relay at 3:18.07. Tarleton trotted out a foursome featuring McKissick, Smotek, Martinez and Brady Sisneroz for the second straight meet.
Among other highlights in the field, Audrey Lillard and Bonnie Clifton capped their 2022 campaigns with personal records in throws. Lillard notched a nine-foot improvement in the hammer throw (125′ 0″) and finished 10th. Clifton threw the shot put 38′ 9.75″ and nabbed sixth place. Dunn was fifth in the triple jump behind a leap of 37′ 11.25″ and was the Texans’ top performer in the long jump at 17′ 10.25″.