Szalek takes gold in high jump, UTSA finishes with six medals at Aggie Invitational


Triston Simpson

UTSA has picked up seven gold medals for the season so far.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

Fresh off an opening week meet in Houston that saw them capture three gold medals, UTSA track & field was back in action this past weekend at the Aggie Invitational in College Station. Squaring off against the likes of Texas A&M, Baylor, Houston, Texas Christian University, Houston and Utah, UTSA struggled against the high level of competition. 

Despite this, the ‘Runners had a number of bright spots over the course of the competition. Senior Grant Szalek took UTSA’s lone gold medal of the meet with a victory in the men’s high jump. Szalek found himself in a duel against three Texas A&M athletes, emerging victorious. In the deciding jump, Szalek cleared his first attempt at 2.11m to take the lead. Carter Bajoit from the Aggies cleared 2.11m on his second attempt, and the other two Texas A&M athletes failed to clear the bar at this height. Szalek and Bajoit failed to clear the next bar at 2.14m, but Szalek would be given the victory for clearing the previous bar in less attempts than Bajoit. Szalek’s winning jump of 2.11 was a new personal best for Conference USA’s defending silver medalist in the event. 

Elsewhere at the meet, freshman Christie Le Roux earned a medal in his first career event for UTSA by winning the bronze in the men’s long jump. Le Roux’s jump of 7.06m narrowly missed out on the silver to Texas A&M’s Lagarious McQuirter’s jump of 7.07m, but was enough to just hold off Texas A&M’s CJ Stevenson’s 7.01m effort. In the women’s long jump, UTSA sophomore Ingeborg Gruenwald followed up her victory in last week’s season opening meet with a bronze medal effort. Gruenwald took home the bronze following a jump that measured 5.88m.  

UTSA saw one of their best overall performances in the men’s shot put. Sophomores Jorge Ayala and Paul Bouey would finish second and third in the discipline behind Houston’s Triston Gibbons’ winning throw of 18.58m. Ayala took the silver with a throw of 16.54m, a new personal best. Bouey secured the bronze with a throw of 15.89m, just edging out Houston’s Mustafa Fall. 

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, UTSA junior Bashiru Abdullahi came away with the silver, clocking a final time of 7.93 seconds. Abdullahi led for much of the race, but was passed by Texas A&M’s Connor Schulman coming over the final hurdle and was edged at the line by just .06 seconds. UTSA freshman Gabriel Green and sophomore Joel McFarlane finished the event fourth and fifth, missing out on the bronze by just .03 and .07 seconds respectively.

Outside of the performance by UTSA athletes, the Aggie Invitational also saw a number of NCAA records challenged and even broken. Texas A&M freshman Athing Mu broke the collegiate record for the women’s 600 meters clocking a time of 1:25.80, breaking a record intact for almost 40 years. In addition to Mu’s record-breaking performance, the Aggie invitational also saw Texas A&M senior Bryce Deadmon set the fourth fastest men’s 300 meters time in collegiate history at 32.73.

With the Aggie Invitational in their rearview mirror, UTSA will now turn their attention to preparing for the second H-Town Speedcity Series event of the season. The event will take place over two days, on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 in Houston.