EUGENE, Ore. — The North Carolina A&T outdoor men’s track and field team opened the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with mixed results and an unfortunate occurrence Wednesday night at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
The Aggies sent seven men to Friday night events, with both relay teams qualifying for their respective finals to seek event national championships. Thanks to senior Brandon Hicklin, the Aggies scored points on Wednesday and added another first-team All-American honor to the A&T track and field ledger.
A disqualification also took away one of the most historic sprints in A&T history.
Junior Randolph Ross Jr., an Olympic gold medalist and the defending 400-meter champion, had an incredible 400m race against the University of Florida’s Champion Allison during the second heat. Allison held off Ross Jr.’s charge over the final 70 meters to run a 44.29.
Ross Jr., who ran the fastest U.S. time this year two weeks ago (44.23), finished in 44.43 to set up what should be an entertaining Friday night final that starts at 10:02 p.m., eastern standard time.
Ross Jr. is also headed to the 4×400-meter relay final again in an attempt to defend another national championship. Freshman Reheem Hayles, sophomore Shemar Chambers and senior Akeem Lindo qualified on Wednesday with a time of 3:02.74.
The Aggies finished second in their heat to Texas A&M (3:02.49). Ross Jr. is the only member of the team who was a part of last season’s 4×400 national championship team. The 4×400 final will take place at 11:21 p.m. EST on Friday.
Sophomore Javonte’ Harding will compete twice on Friday instead of three times. Harding and Ross Jr. helped the 4×100 team reach the final with a time of 38.98. Seniors Malcolm Croom-McFadden and Tavarius Wright will join Harding and Ross Jr. at 9:02 p.m. EST Friday.
Harding automatically qualified for the 100m final by finishing second in his heat at 10.23. The NCAA scheduled the 100m final for 9:52 p.m. EST Friday. There will not, however, be a Harding sighting in the 200m. Despite running a personal-best 19.98 for the fastest-qualifying time on the day, officials disqualified Harding for a lane violation. Unfortunately, that means Harding will not be able to double as both the 200m indoor national champion and the 200m outdoor national champion.
Hicklin will repeat as a first-team All-American. A year after finishing fourth nationally in the men’s long jump, Hicklin placed fifth on Wednesday, with his best jump measured at 25-feet, 9 1/2-inches. Hicklin becomes the 10th different Aggie to earn multiple first-team All-American honors under A&T director of track and field Duane Ross.
Courtesy: North Carolina A&T Athletics