WACO — A 30-year-old school record collapsed Saturday in central Texas.
Jenna Brazal broke Tarleton’s 800m outdoor record at the Baylor Invitational at 2:12.86.
She surpassed Linda Garcia’s previous program record of 2:13.41, a mark that had stood atop the Tarleton Outdoor School record books since 1992.
In the process, Brazeal named herself the tallest 800m runner Tarleton had seen. She now holds both the indoor and outdoor 800m program records.
Brazeal took the No. 1 spot on Tarleton’s All-Time Top 10 Indoor list as a 2020 rookie. She then broke her own school record at the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 19 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, placing fourth in 2:12.65 – officially the fastest time in school history.
The junior’s banner performance took place in front of a small core of family and friends. Brazeal arrived in the cowboy capital in 2019 from Little River, Texas.
And Tarleton’s previous school record rocked from the get-go.
Brazeal kept pace in a fast heat throughout the first lap. Baylor’s Aaliyah Miller, who ranks eighth among all NCAA Division I athletes, won the race in 2:06.07. But Brazeal entered the bell tower in fourth place.
She then threw a kick that reflected her push to second-team All-WAC accolades in the Land of Enchantment six weeks prior. Brazeal sped up with 150 yards to go, then shifted into high gear to place second overall and firmly cement her legacy as one of the best to ever don the purple and white for Tarleton Athletics.
Brazeal’s race was the culmination of a superb performance for Tarleton in Waco.
Make no mistake, the Texans have lived up to their preseason as potentially the most talented team in program history.
Tarleton won six medals – including five in field events – against a meat field that included the No. 2/11 Baylor Bears, Oklahoma State, regional rivals Incarnate Word and University of Texas Arlington and Conference opponents USA Louisiana Tech and North Texas.
The Texans placed 24 athletes in the top 10 in individual events. A total of 30 athletes broke season and/or lifetime personal bests.
A monumental day for the program’s stature in the NCAA’s South Central region ended with a bang.
Kevin Baez – the greatest cross-country runner in school history – capped Tarleton’s two-day stay at Baylor with Tarleton’s first individual victory of 2022. He won the 3,000m in convincing fashion in 8:34.76.
But long before Brazeal and Baez kicked off their competition, preparations for a special afternoon began on the court.
Ultimately, an epic showdown on the high jump apron foreshadowed what was to come.
Rylee Hennig placed second after clearing 5’7.75″. She tied first place first and forced a play-off with Alysaa Miller of the Lady Bears. Hennig and Miller battled for several attempts before Miller, who ranks 51st nationally, ahead of Hennig by just a quarter-inch.
Hennig, a freshman from Aquilla, Texas, earned her second straight outdoor medal with the result. She now ranks third in the WAC, 11th in the NCAA South Central Region and 54th among all D1 athletes.
Gentrye Muden joined Hennig in reminding casual observers why Tarleton probably has the best high jump double in the WAC. Munden, the defending WAC Outdoor champion, cleared 5′ 5.75″ to break a season personal best and place third.
As Hennig and Munden put on a show adjacent to the infield, Alain Palmer officially began his defense of the WAC long jump crown in emphatic fashion. The eldest and Tarleton Indoor School record holder jumped 24′ 7″ to place second and win a silver medal.
Ultimately, however, the distinction of being the first athlete to medal at the competition belonged to Elise Smith. The junior, who is also a member of the Tarleton volleyball team, threw the spear 141 ‘0″ to finish second and claim second place on the Tarleton Outdoor Top 10 list. Smith, of Napoleonville, Louisiana, now ranks sixth among its conference peers.
The fifth and final medal of the day belonged to Jamariyan Howlett in the high jump. Howlett, a freshman, cleared 6′ 5″ to finish tied for second. His personal best for the season of 6′ 7.5″ is tied for 16th in the South Central region and the 95th nationally.
Howlett led a strong showing for Tarleton at the event. Palmer and second Max Newell are tied for fourth at 6’3.25. They both set personal bests for the season.
Personal bests and top-10 finishes continued to trickle in javelin and discus.
All three of Tarleton’s male javelin throwers placed in the top 10. Ben Presley ranked fifth and moved up to sixth on the WAC outdoor performance list after throwing 172’4. Jacob Bower completed the effort with a 10th place finish behind a throw of 136’5″.
The action then moved to the sandpits, where Nakia Dunn and Jaden Room flashed their respective pairs of All-Conference credentials. Hall finished sixth in the men’s competition with a leap of 47’3.5 and cemented his hold on the No. 2 spot on the WAC outdoor performance list. Dunn, on a day when nothing came easy, jumped 39′ 0.25″ and secured eighth place.
Once Dunn and Hall finished their jumps, the competition moved to the track, where the Tarleton women’s 4x100m relay showed off their All-WAC potential.
The Texas quartet of Hanna Dudley, Breonna Campbell, summer croxton and Nyla Barlow improved his season personal best by a second and a half to fifth in 46.13.
The short hurdles were then generous for Tarleton. Three athletes who ran achieved personal bests.
Khloe Turnbull shaved three tenths of a second off his personal best in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.59. She has now posted a personal best in the event in three consecutive meetings.
Sullivan Sander finished seventh and notched a lifetime personal best of 14.81. Brady Sisneroz followed suit with a lifetime best of 15.27 seconds.
Sisneroz’s day was not over, however, as he led Tarleton’s team effort in the 400m hurdles with a lifetime personal best of 54.41 to place fourth and claim fourth place in the WAC.
The competition then moved to the 400m, where Tarleton faced a collection of the biggest names in the country.
In the women’s race, Jordan Anglin was Tarleton’s top finisher, as she finished 13th behind a season personal best of 56.76. Alessa King (57.81), Brenna Lee (58.99) and Macie Evans (59.18) followed suit to give Tarleton its second consecutive meeting with four 400m runners to post times under 60 seconds.
Brandon McKissick continued his trajectory to another set of All-WAC credentials on the men’s side. He clocked 48.26 seconds to finish eighth and reaffirm his status as number 3 in the WAC.
Tarleton went on to demonstrate that he has a trio of All-WAC title contenders in the 100m.
Justin Raines clocked the fifth fastest time in school history (10.46) and won his heat to move up to second place in the WAC. Hanna Dudley and Breonna Campbell teamed up to tie and surpass their lifetime personal bests with times of 11.91 and 11.96. The tandem ranks eighth and tenth respectively in the WAC.
Kevin Calvani and Angel Gomez teamed up to make sure Brazeal wasn’t the only 800m runner to hit a milestone. The subclass duo both achieved personal bests. Calvani finished 10th in 1:56.04 while Gomez, who made his outdoor college debut, crossed the finish line in 1:58.80.
The 200m proved to be the busiest event of the afternoon for Tarleton, as the Texans were represented by 12 athletes.
Barlow clocked the fastest women’s time in 24.46. Anglin (24.67), Croxton (24.84), King (25.89), Trinity Washington (25.66), Evans (26.00) and Lee (26.56) then all broke personal bests.
Raines led the way for the men with a time of 21.36 seconds. He continues to place second in the WAC in the event. McKissick (21.70), Ethan Hood (21.94), Sanders (22.44) and Bailey Smokek (22.91) then followed suit with personal bests.
Discus throwing took center stage on the indoor court as the running events progressed.
Tarleton notched three top-10 finishes and three personal bests in women’s competition. Elena Reagon finished fourth overall with a season best throw of 142’6″. Bonnie Clifton then lifted the 124′ 10″ disc to record a lifetime personal best and place eighth. Hailey Daniels-White followed by a 10th place at 115′ 0″. Audrey Lillard 13th place with a lifetime personal best of 113’2′”.
The personal best streak continued for the men for Ethan Braton and Bower. They each finished with season bests of 149’1″ and 136’5″ to rank ninth and 12th respectively.
Decathlete Isaac Hutchings cleared 14′ 1.25″ in the pole vault for the second consecutive encounter.
The competition ended with the 3000m. Aimee Landers-Wilbur and Vianney Sanchez placed 12th and 13th with times of 11:04.49 and 11:17.71.