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    Saturday Track And Field Report

    Texas A&M Wins Triangular

    COLLEGE STATION - A feisty battle for points among three tradition-rich track and field schools entertained a crowd of 1,487 at the Texas A&M Triangular on Saturday afternoon inside Gilliam Indoor Stadium.
    After winning four dual meets over the past four seasons, the Texas A&M men remained undefeated in adding a triangular title to that collection. The Aggies, No. 2 in Track & Field News dual meet rankings, reached a total of 128.5 points and were safely ahead of No. 1 Arkansas (99) and No. 8 LSU (82.5).
    Texas A&M women, also No. 2 in dual meet rankings, nearly tied for the team win, but came up short by four points as No. 1 LSU claimed the victory with 107.5 points. The Aggies were second with 103.5 points and Arkansas finished third with 103.
    "From the first event of the day our team has to understand those two or three points that are scored early in the meet all add up," said Texas A&M coach Pat Henry. "Everybody has to have a great day on the same day to win a track meet like this.
    "Our guys really lined up and got after it and our girls got after it as well. The women got beat by a really good team today by just a few points. At the SEC conference meet we'll get to see these two teams again. This gives our team a taste of what is in front of them, who they need to beat and how to prepare for us to be successful at the SEC Championship."
    In addition to claiming maximum points in the 400 and 4 x 400 relay for the Aggies, sophomore Deon Lendore sped to a world-leading 45.91, the third fastest time ever indoors at A&M, to capture the 400 meter victory over a 46.98 from LSU's Caleb Williams.
    "In my mind I really wanted to go 45 in my first meet," stated Lendore, who split 45.4 running second leg of the 4 x 400 last weekend. "Even before the race I told myself I needed to try my best to run 45 today. Before I walked out to the track coach told me to do what I said I was going to do. After I finished the race and saw it was 45 I was pretty happy.
    "My fastest split last year was 46.0 at the NCAA. So, after I split 45 low last weekend I started thinking I could do the same in the open 400 if I try my best. I at least wanted to get the meet record, which I did."
    Lendore broke the meet record of 46.03 set by A&M's Demetrius Pinder in 2010 and only trails Pinder (45.33) and Tabarie Henry (45.81) on the Aggie all-time list. Behind Lendore were teammates Aldrich Bailey, Jr. (47.28) and Carlyle Roudette (47.38) in third and fourth place.
    To cap the A&M team victory, Lendore anchored the 4 x 400 relay to a 3:07.21 victory with a 45.9 split, to edge LSU's 3:07.74.
    Henry Lelei also enjoyed a double win as he clocked 4:10.95 in the mile and then anchored the Aggie distance medley relay to a narrow victory over Arkansas, 10:00.21 to 10:00.75. Teammate C.J. Brown placed second in the mile with a 4:12.27 and ran the opening 1200m leg in the distance medley relay.
    "Lelei is a great competitor and a team guy," said Henry. "He's an SEC champion already in cross country and knows what it takes to be really good. When Lelei lines up we know we're going to have a fine effort out of him."
    For the third consecutive meet Casey Strong improved his school record in winning the weight throw. This time he bettered his previous best in five of the six rounds. His final toss of 65-0.75 (19.83) set the current school record, at least for this week, over his previous best of 63-10.5 (19.47). Strong also added a third place effort in the shot put.
    "I feel really blessed and happy with the performances I've had this indoor season," said Strong. "I'm staying healthy and keep improving. I'm really blessed to be on the Texas A&M track team. We have some of the best people in the nation and they push me to excel."
    Strong topped his school record of 63-10.5 (19.47) in the weight with improvements of 64-3 (19.58), twice in rounds two and three, had a 63-11 (19.48) in the fourth stanza and hit 64-4 (19.61) in round five. Teammate Ben Skrla also improved his career best to 56-3 (17.14) in placing fourth and moves to No. 7 on the A&M all-time list.
    "I'm really perfecting my technique and getting it down the best I can," noted Strong. "I'm not there yet, and I know I have more in me. To keep improving every weekend is a good sign. My goal coming into this season was 65 feet, so I'm really proud of myself to reach that goal. I take pride in the fact that I can set a school record each time I compete."

    Bama Wins Four at Auburn Invite

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - University of Alabama athletes won four individual events on Saturday at the Auburn Invitational Indoor Track Meet at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Krystle Schade won the women's high jump, Justin Fondren won the men's high jump, Elias Hakansson won the men's weight throw and Ken Taylor took a victory in the men's 800 meters as the Crimson Tide took a step forward in its second indoor meet of the season.
    "We showed some life today and I was pleased with our competitiveness," said Alabama head coach Dan Waters. "I think we really took a step forward. Krystle has started out well in the high jump and is competing at a level that we expect, but it was very encouraging to see three athletes in their first season with us - Elias, Ken and Justin - really step up with victories today."
    In the women's high jump, Schade outlasted South Carolina's Jeannelle Scheper. Both athletes cleared six feet, two inches (1.88 meters) but Schade won the competition due to fewer overall missed jumps over the course of the event. Fondren, a freshman, won the men's high jump in a jump off with a clearance of 6-10 1/4 (2.09m), breaking a tie with three other athletes - Samford's Tyler Kemp, Georgia Tech's Mykhail Chambers and Georgia's Maurice Freeman. Hakansson won the men's weight throw with a winning distance of 63 feet, 10 1/2 inches (19.47 meters). Taylor won for the second straight Saturday in the men's 800, this time edging Samford's Nathan Hendershot. Taylor won the event in a time of 1:51.67 to outlast Hendershot's 1:51.78.
    In the women's high jump, Schade bided her time in the early going as Scheper started the event with a clearance at 5-3 3/4 (1.62m) but Schade chose to pass on the first two heights before making a clearance on her first attempt at 5-7 3/4 (1.72m).
    Scheper missed her first attempt at 5-7 3/4 before clearing on her second jump. Schade cleared the next three heights on her first attempt and did not have a miss in the competition until missing her first two attempts at 6-2 (1.88m) and clearing on the third try. Meanwhile, Scheper missed at 5-9 3/4 (1.77m), cleared 5-11 1/2 (5.82m) on her first try and missed on her first two attempts at 6-0 3/4 (1.85m) before clearing the height on her third and final attempt. Like Schade, Scheper only cleared 6-2 on her third attempt. Both jumpers failed on all three attempts at 6-3 1/4 (1.91m). Schade won by virtue of having only five missed heights in the event compared to Scheper's nine misses overall.
    Fondren, a freshman, won the men's high jump in a jump off with a clearance of 6-10 1/4 (2.09m), breaking a tie with three other athletes - Samford's Tyler Kemp, Georgia Tech's Mykhail Chambers and Georgia's Maurice Freeman.
    Hakansson won the men's weight throw in his second meet as a member of the Crimson Tide. The freshman from Sweden had the three best throws of the meet and his winning distance of 63 feet, 10 1/2 inches (19.47 meters) came on his sixth and final attempt. But Hakansson was the leader from the start of the completition as his opener of 62-5 (19.03m) was also better than any other competitor could produce. Hakansson outdistanced Syi Georgewill of Southern Mississippi, who was second with a toss of 61-9 3/4 (18.84m).
    "Elias works hard and is very diligent and that showed today because he came in and executed in the clutch," said Doug Reynolds, Alabama's assistant track coach who oversees the throws for the Crimson Tide. "He built into that final throw today. Technically, it's just been a matter of him getting comfortable with the event as it's not something he has done very much in Europe over the years."
    For the second consecutive Saturday, Ken Taylor took home a victory in the men's 800 meters, this time edging Samford's Nathan Hendershot. Taylor won the event in a time of 1:51.67 to outlast Hendershot's 1:51.78.
    The Tide took two of the top three places in the women's 800 meters. Freshman Kimberley Ficenec and junior Yanique Malcolm finished second and third, respectively, behind event winner Georgia Peel of Florida State who posted a winning time of 2:08.11. Ficenec was second in 2:09.11 while Malcolm, a transfer competing in her first meet for Alabama, was third in 2:10.24.
    Alabama had a strong showing in the men's triple jump as Crimson Tide athletes finished in three of the top five places led by Kamal Fuller's 50-4 1/2 (15.35m) effort. Fuller's distance was a clutch performance as it came on his sixth and final attempt and improved his showing from what would have been a seventh-place finish. Jonathan Reid placed third for Alabama at 50-1 1/4 (15.27m) with Imani Brown finishing fifth at 48-5 1/4 (14.76m). Mississippi's Ricky Robertson won the event at 52-8 1/4 (16.06m), posting that effort on his first attempt of the day.
    In the men's mile, freshman Robbie Farnham-Rose placed third in a time of 4:11.63. Georgia Tech's Shawn Roberts won the event in 4:07.42 with Clemson's Ty McCormick second in 4:08.66. Junior transfer Matt Airola of Alabama was sixth in his debut with the Crimson Tide in a time of 4:14.25.

    Arkansas Wins Five at Texas A&M Triangular

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In its second meet of the year, and first on the road, the No. 1 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team collected five event wins, four personal-best efforts and a meet record Saturday afternoon at the Texas A&M Triangular. The Razorbacks were paced by winning efforts from Tarik Batchelor, Caleb Cross, Kevin Lazas, Tomas Squella and Cale Wallace.
    Saturday’s meet at the Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas, was a scored meet featuring the top-ranked Razorbacks, No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 10 LSU. Arkansas finished the meet in second place with 99 points in the team standings. The host Aggies won the meet with 128.5 points and LSU was third with 82.5 points.
    Cross picked up the Razorbacks’ first win of the day with his win in the 60-meter hurdles. Running in the first of two sections, the Newport, Ark., native crossed the finish line in 7.89. The result marked Cross’ second win in as many weeks. He won the 60 meters last weekend at the season-opening dual meet with Texas. Cross was also the team’s top performer at 60 meters Saturday.
    At 800 meters, Squella pulled away for a victory in a time of 1:49.81. He was the only sub-1:50 performer in Saturday’s competition. He was followed by Ryan Thomas in fourth place and Drew Butler in sixth. The win was Squella’s second of the season after last weekend’s victory at 1,000 meters during the Arkansas-Texas Dual.
    The Razorbacks posted a 1-2 performance at 3,000 meters and were led in the event by Wallace, the reigning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week. He crossed the finish line in 8:21.27, just ahead of teammate Cameron Efurd who followed in second place with a personal-best time of 8:22.41. Based on times entering the weekend, Wallace’s time at 3,000 meters ranks second in the SEC.
    In his first indoor competition since the 2011 season, Tarik Batchelor made his season debut with a victory in the triple jump. He had a day’s best mark of 15.65m/51-4.25, nearly two feet past the spot of the second-place finisher. He was joined in the event’s top three by teammate Anthony May II who finished third in the triple jump with a 14.82m/48-7.5 effort.
    The final field competition of the day ended with Lazas breaking the Texas A&M dual-meet record and establishing a personal-best clearance of 5.27m/17-3.5 on his final attempt of the meet. Last week at the Arkansas-Texas Dual, Lazas equaled his then-previous best of 5.20m/17-0.75. 
    Other personal-best results came from Devin Randall in the shot put (16.42m/53-10.5) and weight throw (16.92m/55-6.25). He was the event runner-up in the shot put to go along with second-place performances from May in the long jump, Raymond Higgs in the high jump and the Razorbacks’ distance-medley relay team of Nathanael Franks, Stanley Kebenei, Andrew Pisechko and Patrick Rono.
    The Texas A&M Triangular was scored on a 7-5-4-3-2-1 scale with the top two individuals per team scoring points. In the relays, the points were based on a 7-5-4 scale and only one team per school could score.
    With Saturday’s meet in the books, Arkansas returns to action next weekend as the host of the Razorback Team Invitational in Fayetteville. The two-day meet will be contested Jan. 25-26 at the Randal Tyson Track Center and is scheduled to feature seven teams ranked in the USTFCCCA preseason projections poll.
    For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team's sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.  

    Georgia Bodes Well in Birmingham

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Georgia's track and field teams posted a pair of the country's leading marks during the season-opening Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday.
    UGA won three events during its first meet of the indoor season and the victories came from two sophomores and a freshman.
    "I'm glad we have gotten through the first one and we got through with some bright spots," said head coach Wayne Norton, who had 25 team members on the trip who had never competed indoors for the Bulldogs.  "We have lots of new people and some of them got off to great starts.  We also had some people who haven't had the chance to compete much for us do really well today."
    Sophomore Nick Vena took over the national lead in the shot put with a sixth and final throw of 61 feet, 4 ¼ inches.  Vena won his first meet with the Bulldogs after transferring to UGA from Virginia, where he won ACC outdoor titles in both the shot and discus last year.  His mark is the seventh-best effort in school history and the best in the last six indoor seasons at Georgia.
    "It was nice for Vena to win in his first outing with us," Norton said.  "I think he is ready to do big things for Georgia in the future."
    Vena's teammate, junior Caleb Whitener, opened with the longest throw of his indoor career (59-4.25) to finish third in the competition.  Whitener, who was a 2012 Second Team All-American outdoors in the event, fouled on his final five tries.  Whitener's fair mark put him No. 3 on the national list behind Vena and second-place finisher Isaiah Simmons of Miami.
    Fellow sophomore Morgann Leleux also moved into the nation's No. 1 spot in the women's pole vault.  The New Iberia, La., native managed a meet-record mark of 13-11.25 to win the event after she finished second at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets in 2012.  Leleux reached 14-5.25, which is second in the school record books, at indoor Nationals last year.
    "I thought Morgann really took care of business in a workman-like way," said Norton.  "She didn't start jumping until two and a half hours into the competition and than soared over the first bar so I thought she did great considering the circumstances."
    In the first attempt of her collegiate career, freshman Chanice Porter traveled 20-4.25 to win the long jump over 33 competitors.  Porter shot to sixth on the school's all-time top-10 list and quickly took over the No. 3 spot on the NCAA performance list.
    "For Chanice to step right in and win her first collegiate meet was great to see and I think it was only a glimpse at some of the things to come from her," said Norton.
    Sophomore heptathlete Garrett Scantling picked up a person-best mark in his first pole vault competition of the year.  Scantling, who advanced to this past summer's World Junior Championships, cleared 16-0.75 to take fifth.  The Jacksonville, Fla., native had never hit the 15-foot mark indoors or outdoors during his Bulldog career before Saturday.
    Also in the pole vault, freshman Maicel Uibo, who competes in the multi-events as well, matched his career best of 15-7 to finish ninth.
    Junior Elizabeth Tepe made her Lady Bulldog debut in the weight throw and wasted no time taking over the ninth place in the school record books.  Tepe, who was in the Marines from 2006 to 2010 before competing at Saddleback Junior College, had a top mark of 50-3.50 to take 10th.
    Another newcomer, freshman Maurice Freeman, competed for the first time in the high jump and finished fourth in a jump-off.  Freeman, who made his final two clearances on his third and final attempts, went over the bar at 6-10.25.  This mark tops Freeman's best effort at Oglethorpe High School by a quarter of an inch.
    "Not only was this Maurice's first indoor meet, but it was also probably the first time he had ever been to an indoor competition," Norton said.  "I thought it was a big plus getting a performance like this to start.  If he keeps improving throughout the year, he might work himself into being an SEC scorer."
    On the track, sophomore Drew Branch, freshman Ayrian Evans, freshman Jamario Calhoun and junior Eric Mills clocked a 3:16.09 for sixth place in the 4x400-meter relay.
    The Lady Bulldogs went fourth-fifth-sixth in the 3000.  Junior Nicole DiMercurio clocked a time of 9:46.81 to take fourth while junior Bret McDaniel was fifth (9:48.58).  Junior Stella Christoforou rounded out the trio with a sixth-place finish (9:49.70).
    "All three of our girls in the 3000 had (personal bests) after settling into the race and then finishing strong," Norton said.  "All three of them usually concentrate on different events so these performances showed they are all on the right track to having successful seasons.  They had the opportunity to represent the Georgia distance crew at this meet and did a fine job of it."
    On the men's side, Zack Sims finished fifth in the 3000 (8:32.77) and Steven Spevacek was seventh (8:40.39).
    Sarah Perry, who redshirted her first indoor season, clocked a 4:59.40 in the mile for eighth place.
    Georgia returns to action at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Jan. 25-26.  This is the first of three trips that the Bulldogs have scheduled to Arkansas since the SEC Indoor Championships and the NCAA Indoor Championships will also be run on the Randal Tyson Track.

    Kentucky Rounds Out Invite

    Full Results Here. 

    LSU Takes Team Title at TAMU Triangular

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior Kimberlyn Duncan and sophomore Aaron Ernest were dominant in their sweep of 200-meter titles and the Lady Tigers took home the women's team title with their efforts at the Texas A&M Triangular held Saturday afternoon at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
    The Lady Tigers scored a dramatic come-from-behind victory with a late surge as they vaulted from third place and into the lead over the final two events to capture the women's team title with 107.5 points in the competition ahead of Texas A&M (103.5) in second place and Arkansas (103) in third place.
    This marks the second year in a row in which the Lady Tigers have taken a scored competition in College Station as they defeated the Aggies in a dual meet by a score of 82.5-76.5 during the 2012 season.
    The Aggies defended their home track in winning the men's crown with 128.5 points, followed by Arkansas in second place with 99 points and LSU in third place with 82.5 points.
    The Tigers and Lady Tigers combined for seven event titles in Saturday's triangular as Duncan and Ernest were joined on the winner's podium by senior Charlene Lipsey (mile), juniors Keri Emanuel (triple jump) and Denise Hinton (weight throw) and sophomores Tori Bliss and Rodney Brown in the shot put.
    "I am very proud of our athletes in the way they competed today against two very good teams in Arkansas and Texas A&M," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "Our women should be recognized especially for the way they fought to the very end to win the team title. It just shows the quality of the teams in this field that so few points separated the three teams. We are happy to win it on that side."
    Duncan opened the defense of her NCAA Indoor 200-meter title with an NCAA-leading performance this weekend as she sprinted to the finish line in 23.15 seconds in her season opener.
    Duncan lined up in lane No. 4 for the first 200-meter heat on the inside of Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M in lane No. 5 and Regina George of Arkansas in lane No. 6. Duncan got out fast and took control of the race by pulling even with Brown on the backstretch. She pulled ahead around the final curve and held that advantage over the NCAA Indoor bronze medalist while taking the title in 23.15. Brown took second with her 23.21, while Texas A&M's Ashton Purvis took third place with her heat win in 23.34.
    It was Duncan's 19th-straight 200-meter victory against collegiate competition between the indoor and the outdoor seasons dating back to her sophomore season indoors in 2010.
    Ernest followed with an impressive 200-meter win of his own while taking down the reigning SEC Men's Runner of the Week on his home track in the form of Aggie All-American Prezel Hardy, Jr.
    Unlike Duncan, Ernest could not see his competition while lining up on the outside in lane No. 6. He fired out of the blocks and held the stagger on Hardy racing down the backstretch before surging ahead coming off the final turn and crossing the finish line with an indoor personal record of 20.79. Hardy, Jr. posted a time of 21.05 for second place with Aggie teammate Michael Bryan running 21.18 for third place while winning the third heat.
    Ernest has now set an indoor PR in the 200-meter dash for the second-straight week after opening the year with a 20.80 clocking for the victory at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener in Birmingham last weekend. He still trails the SEC-leading 20.78 run by Hardy, Jr. in his opener a week ago.
    Ernest's victory in the 200 meters followed his first personal-best performance of the day when he earned fourth-place in his first 60-meter race of the season with a PR of 6.82.
    "Our athletes really took advantage of a good week of practice with some outstanding performances in the meet today," Shaver said. "It was a lot of fun watching Kim and Aaron compete to win those 200s, but we saw some great performances throughout the day today to highlight a great meet."
    Lipsey got the Lady Tigers off to a fast start with a comfortable victory in the mile as she slashed nearly a full second off of her personal best with a winning run of 4 minutes, 44.20 seconds.
    Lipsey got off to a fast start and led from the front for the first six laps of the race before she fell back into third place behind Razorbacks Grace Heymsfield and Dominique Scott with just two laps remaining. That is when she surged back to the front on the bell lap and held off the Arkansas runners for a narrow victory in 4:44.20. Heymsfield followed in second place at 4:44.54 with Scott taking third place at 4:44.78.
    Lipsey entered the NCAA rankings in the No. 5 spot nationally following her first mile race of 2013 and strengthened her hold on the No. 6 spot on LSU's all-time list in the event.
    The Tigers and Lady Tigers added four wins in the field events on Saturday, including a sweep of shot put titles with clinching marks of 54 feet, 9 ¼ by Brown and 51-7 by Bliss. Brown added a personal record of 61-5 ½ for second place in the weight throw as he moved to No. 9 on LSU's all-time list.
    Hinton also raised her seasonal best to 65-1 ¼ to take the women's weight throw crown by more than five feet over a season's best of 59-10 ½ by Lady Tiger junior Karen Henning in the final event standings.
    But it was Emanuel that led the Lady Tigers comeback with her triple jump victory late in the competition as she moved from second place to first place with a winning mark of 40-9 ½ on her final jump.
    Texas A&M freshman Jennifer Madu took an early lead with an opening mark of 40-9 ½ on her first jump of the competition and held a slim advantage over Emanuel and LSU's Lynnika Pitts heading into the last round of jumps. While Pitts was unable to improve her second-round mark of 40-6, Emanuel matched the mark of 40-9 ½ by Madu and was awarded the victory with the best second jump of 40-6.
    The Lady Tigers scored 11 points in the event to seven points for the Aggies to take a 102.5-99.5 lead into the final event of the day in the 4x400-meter relay. That's where the Lady Tigers clinched the team crown with a seasonal-best performance for a final margin of 107.5-103.5 over the Aggies.
    While running with a team of senior Siedda Herbert, Lipsey, freshman Montenae Roye-Speight and junior Natoya Goule, the Lady Tigers ran a seasonal-best of 3:37.15 for the second-fastest time in the county for the indoor season behind the 3:36.03 by Arkansas for the event crown.
    The Tigers followed with a seasonal-best and second-place finish of their own in the 4x400-meter relay as freshman Cyril Grayson, sophomore Quincy Downing, senior Caleb Williams and freshman Darrell Bush teamed to run the NCAA's fourth-fastest time of 2013 at 3:07.74. After posting a national-leading 3:06.25 in its opener a week ago, Texas A&M won the men's relay on Saturday with a run of 3:07.21.
    Both Bush and Grayson ran new indoor PRs in the 400 meters earlier in the competition as Bush recorded a 47.66 for sixth place and Grayson clocked a 47.89 for seventh place in the event final.
    Among the Tigers also setting indoor PRs on Saturday were senior Damar Forbes with a time of 6.82 with his effort in the 60 meters, junior Shermund Allsop with his time of 21.63 in the 200 meters and freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake with a pair of times of 6.93 in the 60 meters and 21.42 in the 200 meters.
    Other Lady Tigers recording indoor personal bests during the meet were junior Nikita Tracey with her run of 55.80 in the 400 meters, sophomore Kaitlyn Moreau at 8.94 in the 60-meter hurdles and 17-5 ¼ in the long jump and freshmen Chanice Chase at 8.77 in the 60 hurdles, Aliyah Davis at 25.17 in the 200 meters and Shanice Hall with a clearance of 5-8 in the high jump to highlight the action.
    "We're a better team on both sides today than we were just a week ago," Shaver said. "We are looking for continued improvement from both of our teams week in and week out. We have another great opportunity to do just that a week from when we go to Fayetteville for the first time."
    LSU Track & Field continues the 2013 indoor season next weekend with its first of four trips to Arkansas as the Tigers and Lady Tigers will compete as part of an NCAA caliber field at this year's Razorback Invitational being held Jan. 25-26 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. They then make a trip to New York City on the weekend of Feb. 1-2 for the Armory Collegiate Invitational.

    Rebels Break Records at Auburn

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Ole Miss athletes broke one school record and set two meet records during the Auburn Indoor Invitational at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday. 
    "It's important for us to remember that we're still in the month of January and still in a training phase," Ole Miss head coach Brian O'Neal said. "We're five weeks away from the SEC Championships, so what I'm looking for is to challenge ourselves to compete at a high level and to represent the Rebel Nation well. We had some pockets of success today. Our distance runners competed in their first track meet of the year, and it was good to have our complete team there with the sprints, jumps, hurdles and throws." 
    For the No. 23-ranked Rebel men, competing against the likes of No. 11 Auburn, No. 16 Florida State and No. 20 Mississippi State, it was again senior Ricky Robertson and sophomore Sam Kendricks putting on a record-breaking show for the fans. 
    Robertson did not compete in his signature event, the high jump, but all he did instead was win the triple jump with a meet-record leap of 52-8.25 that is the best jump in the NCAA so far this year. A personal best for the six-time All-American from Hernando, Miss., the mark ranks him third in school history in the event. 
    "Ricky was Ricky today," O'Neal said. "On his first attempt he becomes the NCAA leader and No. 3 all-time at Ole Miss. He continues to show that he's a well-rounded, high-level athlete that is capable of producing points for this team in all three jumps." 
    Kendricks broke the meet record in the pole vault, clearing 17-8.5 before missing on three attempts at what would have been a school-record 18-4.5. The Oxford, Miss., native broke his own school record last weekend with a vault of 18-1.75, tied for the best by an American this indoor season. 
    "Again it's indicative of the way our jumps group at Ole Miss is performing at an extremely high level," O'Neal said. "Sam pushed his record to 3-0. Instead of just going for a meet record or school record, he's beginning to think of himself as a contender for the national championship. He was competing at the bar that would have established him as the national leader and came up just a little short." 
    Montez Griffin, a junior from Batesville, Miss., also had a quality outing for the Rebel men. Griffin placed seventh in the 400 meters (48.20) and led the 4x400 meter relay team to a fourth-place result (3:15.71). 
    The Rebel distance runners competed in their first indoor meet of the season, and the women showed up in a huge way against nationally ranked teams in No. 1 Clemson, No. 11 UCF, No. 17 Georgia and No. 24 Auburn. 
    Sophomore Haley Cutright was victorious in the 1-mile run with a school-record time of 4:50.47. The previous school record of 4:50.71 had been held by Rachel Ellison since the 2004 SEC Championships. Cutright, who hails from Roanoke, Va., also placed eighth in the 3,000 meters with a personal-best time of 9:53.06 that ranks her fourth-best in school history. 
    Senior Anne Threlkeld, a native of Oxford, Miss., was sixth in the 1-mile with a time of 4:58.02 that ranks her fourth-best in school history and finished seventh in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:52.98 that ranks her third-best in the school record books. 
    The women's distance medley relay team made up of Tia Leake, Monica Williams, Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen and Margaret Harkness placed second with a time of 11:57.48 that ranks the unit second-best in school history. 
    "I was really impressed with Haley Cutright," O'Neal said. "For her to produce a school record the first time she touched the track, she arrived today as one of our new stars. I was excited to see that for her. Anne had a nice opener, as well, with two PRs. And I was proud of our women's DMR. To challenge the school record with all those young ladies running their second races of the day I thought was a gutsy performance." 
    In the sprints, it was freshman Asia Cooper continuing her assault on the Rebel record books for the third meet in a row. The Jackson, Miss., product crossed the finish line fifth in the 60-meter finals with a season-best time of 7.44 that ranks her tied for fifth in school history. It also ranks her 22nd nationally this season. 
    "That was Asia's first time being in this facility with the nation's elite in the short sprints, and she showed she was one of the ones to beat. She didn't have the start that she and I were anticipating, but I've been really proud of her consistency all season. She has a big future wearing the Red and Blue." 
    Long jump was a solid event for the Rebels, with Marci Morman placing fourth at 19-2 and volleyball player Allegra Wells getting fifth at 19-1.25 in her first meet of the season. 
    Senior Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen, who entered the meet ranked top 30 in the nation in the 800 meters, raced to a fourth-place finish on Saturday in 2:11.28, a season best. 
    After winning the weight throw competition at her first two meets of the year, senior Jazmin Miller placed third on Saturday and surpassed 60 feet again with a mark of 60-8.5. Her season-best throw of 62-8.75 ranks her 28th nationally. 
    Ole Miss will return to action this upcoming Friday at the A-State Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark.

    Mississippi State Turns in Record Performance at Auburn

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- Returning to the CrossPlex on Saturday after showcasing impressive competition the previous weekend, Mississippi State indoor track and field captured nine Top 10 finishes at the Auburn Indoor Invitational, highlighted by numerous field victories and a broken meet record.
    Leading the way for the Lady Bulldogs were returning veterans Rochelle Farquharson (5.81m, 7th) and Alyssa Hall (1.67m, 7th), who posted top scores in the long jump and high jump, respectively.
    MSU continued to shine with top speeds from Brandon McBride (47.37) and Tavaris Tate (21.16). McBride seized a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash and Tate took a second-place spot in the 200-meter dash.
    Another pair of Top 10 field victories from Megan Walker (3.70m) and Jason Harper (14.53m) in the pole vault and triple jump, respectively, then added to the Maroon and White's collection of convincing performances.
    Additionally, distance runner Emma Neigel (5:03.08) used her veteran experience in the mile run to capture another top finish for Coach Steve Dudley's team.
    Later in the day, both the men and women proved their talents in the 4000-meter distance medley. The Lady Bulldogs, including Chloe Phillips, Brittany Covington, Emma Neigel and Katie Huston posted a time of 11:56.01 seconds to improve upon the Auburn Indoor Invitational record of 12:14.75 seconds. In similar fashion, the MSU men, which included Patrick and Andrew Monaghan, Tavaris Tate and Brandon McBride, broke the meet record in the event by capturing a first-place finish with a time of 9:57.68 seconds.
    "I think we are getting stronger and stronger," McBride said. "More importantly, people are starting to get in their groove and get the rust off."
    After a two-week break from competition, MSU returns to action on Feb. 1. The athletes will split meets as some travel to South Bend, Ind., for the Meyo Invite and others set out for success at the New Balance Invitational in New York.

    Gamecocks Win Five in Birmingham

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The South Carolina track and field team posted 13 top-five finishes including five wins against stiff competition at the Auburn Invitational at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday. Junior Jeannelle Scheper highlighted the day by setting a new school record by two inches in the high jump.
    The South Carolina day started with their first top-five finish of the meet in the weight throw with redshirt sophomore Andrew Seay. Seay finished third with a new personal best of 57'10 ¼ (17.63m). This is the second week in a row that Seay has set a new top mark. Fellow redshirt freshman Walker Selby finished 10th in the field, with a throw of 50'7 ¼ (15.42m).
    In the 60-meter dash, Kendall Kee recorded a time of 6.77 in the prelims to qualify him for the eight-man finals. In the finals, Kee ran another 6.77 to finish in seventh place. No women qualified for the 60-meter finals. Freshman Alexis Murphy and junior Vashti Bandy were the top finishers for the Gamecocks. Murphy crossed the line at 7.70 to finish 20th and Bandy was right behind, taking 21st place at 7.75.
    South Carolina got their first win of the day in the men's long jump. Senior Jarrod Hutchen started off his season with a jump of 24'9 (7.54m) to win the section. Hutchen's jump ranks ninth in the country. On the women's side, senior Ceci Kryst recorded the best finish, recording a jump of 17'8 ¾ (5.40m) to take 20th.
    Senior Breanna Radford captured her second win of the season in the women's shot put with a throw of 51'11 (15.82m).
    In the 60-meter hurdles, the Gamecocks qualified two on the women's side in senior Kierre Beckles and sophomore Chalese Davis. Beckles ran an 8.33 in the prelims to finish second in the opening rounds. Davis recorded an 8.69. Freshman Tyler Brockington made a solid showing in her first large meet as a Gamecock, finishing 11th in he field with a 8.86. In the finals, Beckles ran an 8.27 to give the All-American third overall and to put her in a tie for ninth nationally. Davis finished sixth with an 8.67.
    For the men's 60-meter hurdles, freshmen Dondre Echols (8.08) and Jermaine Collier (8.15) both qualified for the eight man final along with former Gamecock Johnny Dutch (7.84) who was competing unattached at the event. Collier finished seventh running an 8.19 and Echols took eighth place with an 8.26.
    Senior Robert Razick added another top-five finish for South Carolina as he placed fifth in the men's mile run with a time of 4:12.76, just off his personal best of 4:12.08. Freshmen Anna Todd and Lisa Zimmer competed in the mile run, finishing 20th and 21st, with times of 5:04.25 and 5:04.42, respectively.
    South Carolina was victorious in the men's and women's 400-meters. IAAF World Junior bronze medalist Erika Rucker ran 54.96 to take the win. Rucker's time ranks her 19th in the country, just outside of the top-16 who qualify for NCAA Indoor Championships after her first run of the season. Senior Nadonnia Rodriques was solid as well, finishing fourth at 55.16. Senior Clayton Gravesande recorded a meet record as he took the win. Gravesande's 47.26 bested the previous Auburn Invite record by .10 seconds. The time also ranks him fourth nationally. Sophomore Damiere Byrd finished fifth at 47.91 and senior Andre Carter was the third Gamecock in the top-10 with a 48.49.
    One week after being named St. Lucia's Female Junior Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year, junior Jeannelle Scheper set a new PR, school record, facility record and meet record with her clearance of 6'2 (1.88m). Scheper and junior Krystle Schade from Alabama both cleared 6'2, but Schade got the win as she recorded fewer misses in the event, leaving Scheper in second place.
    Freshman Austin Eckenroth had another solid outing, clearing 16'0 ¾ (4.90m) for the second week in a row to take third in the men's pole vault. Junior Petra Olsen took second in the women's pole vault with 13'7 ¼ (4.15m). Olsen's mark ties her for fifth best in the country currently and moves her to second on the indoor South Carolina record book.
    In the 200-meter dash, Chris Royster was the top-finisher for the Gamecocks with a 21.72 to take 11th. South Carolina also got an 11th place finish on the women's side, with the freshman Murphy running a 24.72. Kierre Beckles wasn't far behind taking 13th with a time of 24.79.
    The quartet of Zimmer, Lauren Ellis, Kaleigh Higgins and Todd ran 12:15.65 in the women's distance medley relay, finishing fifth. On the men's side, the team of Hilton, Maxwell, Novak and Razick placed seventh with a time of 10:29.73.
    In the 4x400-meter relay on the women, the foursome of Rucker, Rodriques, Brockington and Allen ran a time of 3:43.20 to finish third. A team of Green, Harriss, Delaney, and Bandy finished seventh, running a time of 3:49.58. The men's squad capped the day with a win. Gravesande, Byrd, Carter and Collier ran a 3:11.93 to capture the victory. The team of Walker, Sanders, Echols and Winfrey took seventh with a 3:18.96.
    The Gamecocks return to Columbia to host a mid-week meet on Wed., Jan. 23 at the USC Indoor Complex. The events are schedule to start at 4 p.m.

    Hadfield Breaks UT Record at VT

    BLACKSBURG, Va. - Highlighted by a school-record effort from junior pole vaulter Linda Hadfield, the University of Tennessee track and field team added six event titles and four runner-up performances on the final day at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Saturday at Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va.
    After picking up one event win and three runner-ups on Friday, the Lady Vols and Vols combined for seven titles and seven second-place finishes at their second meet of the 2013 campaign.
    "We accomplished some really good things today," said Director of Track & Field/Cross Country J.J. Clark. "We've been able to identify where our strengths are as well as the areas we need to focus more on.
    "On Friday, we had a couple noteworthy performances in the 500m. Terrance (Livingston) had the seventh-best time in UT history and Kianna (Ruff) was about ninth all-time - which is relevant because it used to be a NCAA event years ago so we've had a lot of great former athletes run that event."
    Hadfield, a native of Yorkville, N.Y., got the day off to a good start by taking second place in the women's pole vault. After setting a new personal-record last week at the Kentucky Invitational of 12 feet, 7 1/2-inches, Hadfield passed 12-11 3/4 on her second attempt. Just one of three competitors to eclipse that mark, Hadfield cleared 13-5 3/4 (4.11m) on her very next vault to destroy the nearly 10-year old Lady Vol indoor record of 13-2 1/4 (4.02m) set by Christie Elwin on March 2, 2003. Hadfield, whose mark currently ranks sixth in the nation, took second place behind Virginia Tech's Martina Schultze (13-11.75/4.26m).
    Sophomore Erin Champion also recorded a pole vault personal record for the Lady Vols, finishing in third place with a mark of 12-11 3/4.
    "It was great to get a school record from Linda," Clark said. "We all saw it coming so it wasn't a surprise, but good to see she got it done. And also a personal best from Erin so it was a good day in the pole vault."
    In her first meet as a Lady Vol, freshman Cassie Wertman won the women's shot put with a personal-best toss of 50-2 1/2 on just her second attempt, while her teammate Aslynn Halvorson took second in the event.
    The Lady Vol also picked up event wins in the distance medley relay and 5000-meter. UT's Kianna Ruff, Charity Honeycutt, Felicia Brown and newcomer Hannah Davidson ran the DMR in 11 minutes, 31.37 seconds, while freshman Chelsea Blaase won the 5000m in 18:34.05.
    Former Lady Vol great Chanelle Price picked up a win in the women's 800m, while current Lady Vols Amirah Johnson and Patavia Lowery places third and fourth, respectively.
    For the Vols, sophomore Jamol James got things going in the field events with his first career long jump attempt at UT, which concluded in a first place finish. After fouling on his first two attempts, James recorded a leap of 24-2 1/2 (7.38m) to best 20 other competitors and earn the win. James also anchored the Vols' first-place 4x400-meter relay squad, which crossed the line in 3:15.14 to conclude the meet. Terry Benson, Jarael Nelvis and Michael Williams combined for the 4x400mR win.
    "It was Jamol's first attempt at the long jump here so to win is great, said Clark." He's now a potential SEC scorer.
    "We also won a few relays this weekend so that was great to see. The men's 4x400 was a convincing win too. Right now, we're rotating personnel in order to be ready for the championship portion of the season."
    Redshirt freshman Tavis Bailey added a win in the men's shot put with a career-best-tying toss of 57-0 3/4, while a quartet of Vols teamed up to win the distance medley relay. Jordan Chaney, Joe Franklin, Williams and Kyle Walter crossed the line in 10:07.83 to win the DMR.
    After nearly besting the UT freshman pole vault record last week in Lexington, Ky., rookie Jacob Blankenship took second at the Virginia Tech Invitational behind former Vol Robert Rasnick. Blankenship cleared 17-1 1/2 and his teammate Chase Brannon came in third with a mark of 16-9 1/2. Junior Tyler Porter completed the 1-2-3-4 finish for the Vols with a 16-9 1/2 effort.
    Tennessee is back in action next week when it travels to new Southeastern Conference member Texas A&M for the annual Texas A&M Mondo Challenge in College Station, Texas, from Jan. 25-26.