NCAA Indoor Day 1 — Tyra Gittens Claims Pentathlon CR

Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens highlighted Day 1 of the NCAA Indoor with her Collegiate Record 4746 in the pentathlon. (ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE)

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS, March 11 — Though she said she tried not to think about Kendell Williams’ Collegiate Record in the pentathlon, as Tyra Gittens worked through the 5-eventer today at the NCAA Indoor it was hard for anyone watching not to ponder the record’s fate. Once she finished, the Texas A&M junior — who still has the open high jump and long jump ahead of her in the meet — had plenty of record to contemplate.

With a 4746 final tally, she had added 43 points to the 5-year-old CR, set by Georgia’s Williams in ’16.

PRs in the 60H (8.27) and high jump (6-4/1.93) set up the Trinidadian native nicely as she took the lead from Duke’s Erin Marsh after the second event, and a 45-5¾ (13.86) shot heave on her first attempt put her solidly in record chase mode though she kept that out of mind.

“I honestly didn’t pay attention to the scoreboard all day,” said the 22-year-old Aggie, who prepped at Nashville’s Ensworth School. “Anytime they said it, I closed my ears because I came in today saying that I’m only competing against myself. I need to beat myself today.”

Coming into the day, Gittens stood at No. 3 on the all-time collegiate list off her 4612 tallied at Texas Tech in January but had a recent demi-demon to confront in the long jump, the event that undid her at the SEC. Trouble hitting the board in the pent horizontal left her 6th at Conference though she later won the loop’s open HJ and LJ, the latter with a 21-8¾ (6.62) PR.

“I just knew what I wanted to do with myself and it turned out well,” said Gittens, who placed 7th in the ’18 NCAA pent as a frosh — her only previous appearance in the meet.

“Oh my goodness. I was just telling my coach after Texas Tech I was on too much of a high after my [6-3¼/1.91 high jump PR] and I couldn’t get myself together for the rest of the events. But today I got excited, I applauded myself, but then I put it in the back and I was like, ‘Shot put.’ It’s not until now that it’s all hitting me that I cleared 1.93 today. And, oh my gosh. It gives me a lot of confidence.

“I know I can trust myself fatigued. So I’m not worried about tomorrow. I’m excited to compete with amazing girls tomorrow” in both her open jumps.

On her first attempt in the long jump here, Gittens chopped on her penultimate stride to hit the board and cut sand at 20-7¼ (6.28), 4 inches back of the 20-11¼ (6.38) Arkansas’s G’Auna Edwards had opened with.

“Of course I wanted to take advantage of this amazing day that I set up for myself and so I wasn’t going to settle for 6.28,” Gittens said. “Yeah, it would’ve made it a lot easier to jump further just going based off your first jump, but I wasn’t thinking about the 800, I wasn’t thinking about the Collegiate Record. I was thinking about long jump. I was thinking about, ‘What do I need to do to better my 6.28?”

Her second leap looked smoother at the board but was not as long as her first. On her last attempt Gittens found the distance she needed: a heptathlon =PR 21-7¼ (6.58).

While no one will say the 800 is her forte, all Gittens needed in the last event was something around her 2:29.95 best, run outdoors in ’18, to clinch the record. She circled the first two laps in 70.09, 12th in the 16-woman field, and trooped home 15th with a new event best 2:28.22. And the CR.

Georgia’s Anna Hall, the USATF Junior champ as a Colorado prep in ’19, finished her first NCAA Indoor multi in 2nd (4401) ahead of Duke senior Erin Marsh (4344).

“I am so proud,” Gittens said. “I think the 800 was definitely the thing that I’m most proud of because of how much of a mental block and just mental funk it is for me. And, even though it wasn’t an amazing time, I broke out of that mental blockage and it was definitely needed today. I came into the meet saying, ‘However, anything else goes, I don’t care because the 800 is one thing that I know I need to work on. And I was so happy. I could cry that it turned out the way it did and I stuck to it. I stuck to the plan.”

Before the meet Gittens revealed a whimsically optimistic step she took to push through the pandemic blahs of 2020: “I got a tattoo and it says, ‘A Smile Can Save a Life.’ It’s something that I live by, but I don’t like needles, I don’t like pain and I was scared because it’s on you for the rest of your life. But I took a chance.

“No, I’m OK with commitment. I just don’t know why, I don’t know: something about tattoos. Just like you can’t scrub it off in the shower. It made me nervous. So I got one and I’m very happy with it. And it kept me motivated and kept my confidence moving.”


(March 11)

1. *Tyra Gittens’ (TxAM-Tri) 4746 CR (old CR 4703 Kendell Williams [Ga] ’16)

(8.27, 6-4/1.93, 45-5¾/13.86, 21-7¼/6.58, 2:28.22)

2. **Anna Hall (Ga) 4401 (8.43, 6-1½/1.87, 37-5¼/11.41, 18-9/5.71, 2:13.19)

3. Erin Marsh (Duke) 4344 PR

(8.13, 5-7¾/1.72, 39-2½/11.95, 19-8¼/6.00, 2:17.53)

4. ***Jadin O’Brien (NDm) 4296 PR

(8.51, 5-6½/1.69, 41-5¾/12.64, 19-4/5.89, 2:13.13)

5. *Sterling Lester (Fl) 4213 PR

(8.44, 5-6½/1.69, 39-¼/11.89, 18-7¾/5.68, 2:12.13)

6. **Annika Williams (Ky) 4173 PR

(8.64, 5-11¼/1.81, 38-2¾/11.65, 19-1¼/5.82, 2:24.59)

7. ***Kristīne Blaževiča’ (Tx-Lat) 4162

(8.59, 5-6½/1.69, 39-6/12.04, 19-4/5.89, 2:18.59)

8. *G’Auna Edwards (Ar) 4148 PR

(8.38, 5-7¾/1.72, 34-¾/10.38, 20-11¼/6.38, 2:29.24)

9. **Mathilde Rey’ (Or-Swi) 4126

(8.97, 5-8¾/1.75, 39-¼/11.89, 19-1½/5.83, 2:18.63)

10. *Allison Gerads (Mn) 4063

(8.91, 5-6½/1.69, 42-11/13.08, 19-6/5.94, 2:27.20)

11. Shayla Broughton (MsSt) 4061

(8.37, 5-6½/1.69, 37-6½/11.44, 19-3¼/5.87, 2:26.37)

12. **Anna Bush’ (WF-Aus) 3984

(8.78, 5-6½/1.69, 36-9½/11.21, 19-½/5.80, 2:22.65)

13. *Alix Still’ (Va-GB) 3904

(8.62, 5-5¼/1.66, 32-2¼/9.81, 19-½/5.80, 2:21.70)

14. Halley Folsom (BYU) 3899

(8.94, 5-5¼/1.66, 38-1¼/11.61, 16-8½/5.09, 2:10.86)

15. **Jordan Hirsbrunner (Wi) 3777 (9.02, 5-4¼/1.63, 39-11¼/12.17, 17-4¾/5.30, 2:22.90)

16. Nicola Ader’ (Nv-Ger) 3089

(8.77, nh, 36-5/11.10, 18-11¾/5.78, 2:25.95).

Men’s Weight: Thomas Mardal (Florida)

The 80-foot club has a new member, as Florida’s Thomas Mardal added 11¾ inches to his PR with an opening-round heave of 80-3 (24.46). That moved the Norwegian senior from No. 5 on the all-time collegiate list to No. 3.

The yearly list leader at 79-3¼ (24.16) coming in, the favored Mardal was drawn as No. 14 in the order, so it took a while for him to finally step into the circle, but when he did, it was all over as nobody would come within 2ft of him all day. Well, nobody but himself, that is, as he confirmed his 80-foot status in the second round with an 80-1 (24.41) whirl. He wrapped his day with three fouls and a pass.

Placers 2-3-4 did their best in chasing the leader, each notching a PR. Israel Oloyede of Arizona was in the runner-up spot the whole way, finishing off with the two longest throws of his life, 78-¾ (23.79) & 77-4½ (23.58).

Manning Plater of Illinois closed with the three longest throws of his career, topped by his 74-7 (22.73). He was in 3rd from round 3 onwards. And Trevor Otterdahl of North Dakota State moved from 5th to 4th at the last gasp, reaching 73-5¼ (22.38). /Roy Conrad/


(March 11)

1. Thomas Mardal’ (Fl-Nor) 80-3 (24.46) PR (CL) (3, =9 C)

(80-3, 80-1, f, f, f, p) (24.46, 24.41, f, f, f, p);

2. *Israel Oloyede (Az) 78-¾ (23.79) PR (10, x AmC)

(73-2¾, 73-7½, f, 75-0, 78-¾, 77-4½) (22.32, 22.44, f, 22.86, 23.79, 23.58);

3. Manning Plater (Il) 74-7 (22.73) PR

(69-½, 69-0, 72-8½, 73-9½ PR, 74-7, 73-9½) (21.04, 21.03, 22.16, 22.49, 22.73, 22.49);

4. Trevor Otterdahl (NDSt) 73-5¼ (22.38) PR

(69-8¼, f, 71-2¾, 71-10¾, f, 73-5¼) (21.24, f, 21.71, 21.91, f, 22.38);

5. *Bobby Colantonio (Al) 73-¾ (22.27)

(f, 71-8, 69-9, 72-¾, f, 73-¾) (f, 21.84, 21.26, 21.96, f, 22.27);

6. Alex Talley (NDSt) 73-0 (22.25);

7. *Kaleb Siekmeier (Mn) 72-10¾ (22.22) PR;

8. Jake Wickey (Kent) 71-8¾ (21.86);

9. Jon Nerdal’ (LSU-Nor) 71-2 (21.69);

10. ***Jayden White (Wa) 69-6¼ (21.19);

11. Taige Bryant (EnMi) 69-4 (21.13);

12. Gabriel Oladipo (TxT) 69-3¼ (21.11);

13. Jake Norris’ (LSU-GB) 67-10¼ (20.68);

14. **Nick Hicks (Rice) 67-8 (20.62);

15. ***Ruben Banks’ (Ar-GB) 64-10½ (19.77);

16. Newlyn Stephenson (EnMi) 63-4¾ (19.32).

Women’s Weight: Makenli Forrest (Louisville)

In a rare circumstance, Makenli Forrest had both the first and last throws of the competition. The ’19 runner-up, Forrest was slow to get going here, fouling her first try and reaching only 71-3¼ (21.72) on her second, moving the Louisville senior into 5th. Leading the way, meanwhile, was Notre Dame senior Rachel Tanczos at 73-7¼ (22.43).

Forrest moved to the front in leading off the third round with a PR 75-½ (22.87). Tanczos fouled her third but bounced back with a near-PR 76-3 (23.24) that equaled the yearly collegiate lead held by Jasmine Mitchell of Mississippi.

Now in 2nd, Forrest fouled twice, so came up as the last thrower of the competition needing to improve by almost a foot and a half. And she did, her 76-3¾ giving her three-quarters of an inch over Tanczos.

“I felt really good about it today,” said the winner. “In the ACC Championship, it was scary, because I only had one mark and I could have been edged out of it at any time, but coach and I put in a lot of hard work over the last two weeks to get ready for this to make sure I had a good series so I wouldn’t be as nervous going into the finals.” /Roy Conrad/


(March 11)

1. Makenli Forrest (Louis) 76-3¾ (23.26) PR (CL) (=9, x AmC)

(f, 71-3¼, 75-½ PR, f, f, 76-3¾) (f, 21.72, 22.87, f, f, 23.26);

2. Rachel Tanczos (NDm) 76-3 (23.24);

(f, 73-7¼, f, 76-3 [=CL], 73-8, f) (f, 22.43, f, 23.24, 22.45, f);

3. Shey Taiwo (Ms) 75-3¼ (22.94) PR

(f, f, 71-8¾, f, 74-1½, 75-3¼) (f, f, 21.86, f, 22.59, 22.94);

4. **Jasmine Mitchell (Ms) 75-1¼ (22.89);

(f, 73-4, f, 63-3¼, 73-11½, 75-1¼) (f, 22.35, f, 19.28, 22.54, 22.89);

5. *Madi Malone (Aub) 72-8½ (22.16);

(70-3½, 72-1½, 70-6¼, 72-8½, 71-0, 72-4½) (21.42, 21.98, 21.49, 22.16, 21.64, 22.06);

6. *Camryn Rogers’ (Cal-Can) 72-5¼ (22.08) PR;

7. *Shauniece O’Neal (SnIl) 71-5¼ (21.77);

8. *Rebecca Mammel (MiSt) 71-2 (21.69);

9. ***Monique Hardy (LSU) 70-6½ (21.50);

10. Quiara Wheeler (CMi) 69-3¼ (21.11);

11. Halee Hudson (Louis) 69-¾ (21.05);

12. Debbie Ajagbe (Mia) 66-10½ (20.38);

13. *Tess Keyzers (Mn) 66-9¾ (20.36);

14. Seasons Usual (TxT) 66-5¾ (20.26);

15. *Amy Herrington’ (NDSt-GB) 66-2¼ (20.17);…

3f—*DeeNia McMiller (Mem).

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