LADY VOL DMR SCORES RUNNER-UP FINISH AT TEXAS A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Day one of the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge got underway on Friday night at Gilliam Indoor Stadium with the men’s and women’s distance medley relays.
The Big Orange is joining forces with meet host Texas A&M to represent the SEC; Texas Tech and TCU are competing for the Big 12 and Arizona State and USC will carry to banner for the Pac-12 at the tri-conference dual.
The Lady Vols came away with a runner-up finish in the DMR, as the quartet crossed the line in 11 minutes, 34.95 seconds. UT was just over a second behind race winner Texas A&M. The Aggie women, who are ranked fourth in the nation, posted their second-fastest time in school history with a mark of 11:33.93.
Freshman Alexis Panisse got the race started for the Lady Vols, giving the team a lead at the first exchange. Upperclassmen Martinique Octave and Kianna Ruff held the advantage through the 400 and 800-meter legs, but Texas A&M’s Sophie Blake ran a great final 1,600m to pass Lady Vol Hannah Davidson and earn the 10-point win for A&M.
Tennessee, which has won four NCAA titles and eight SEC crowns in the DMR under Director of Track & Field/Cross Country J.J. Clark, posted the sixth-fastest time in the nation coming into the weekend on Friday night. UT has won six-consecutive SEC titles in the event.
The Lady Vols earned eight points for the runner-up mark, while Texas A&M added 10 for the SEC. Texas Tech finished third in the race and picked up six points for the Big 12.
Despite posting its top time in the event this season, the Vols placed third in a loaded distance medley relay race on Friday night. Texas Tech, which entered the night with the top time in the country this season, bested its nation-leading mark by nearly 10 seconds. The Red Raiders, who were anchored by 2012 NCAA Cross Country champion Kennedy Kithuka, won the event in 9:41.55.
The Aggies entered the meet with the fourth-fastest time in the nation and finished in second place with a mark of 9:58.15.
Damiere Byrd Wins 60-Meter Dash with New PR to Lead Gamecocks South Carolina collects four wins on first day of Hokie Invite
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Sophomore Damiere Byrd won the 60-meter dash on Friday night with a new personal best 6.66 to highlight four Gamecock wins in the first day of the Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Va. In addition to Byrd, junior Clayton Gravesande won the men’s 300-meter and redshirt junior Dorian Johnson won the men’s triple jump. Senior Kierre Beckles won the women’s 60-meter hurdles for the No. 20 South Carolina women's squad.
Byrd ran a 6.70 in the qualifying heats, which at the time tied his personal best, but the mark didn't stand long. His 6.66 in the finals ranks him fourth all-time in South Carolina history and is the fourth fastest time run in the country this season. The two-sport athlete, who already ranked first amongst football players in the 400-meter with his time of 47.91 from last week, is now the fastest football player in the 60-meters this season.
“It felt good especially because it was my first meet back as far as running the 60-meters. I was excited to get out there and run. In the prelims, I went out and ran a 6.70, which tied my PR coming out of high school. I figured I would be able to run faster going into the finals and I ended up doing it,” said Byrd of his record-setting night.
Byrd led a 1-2 punch in the 60-meters, with sophomore Kendall Kee finished in second with a PR of his own at 6.72 to rank him 10th in the country. Junior Chris Royster gave the Gamecocks their third athlete in the top five with his 6.87 time to rank to finish in fifth place.
On the women’s side, freshman Alexis Murphy improved upon her 60-meter dash time, finishing third with a season best time of 7.53. Freshman Gabrielle Gray qualified for the finals as well, posting a 7.65 to finish seventh. Murphy’s previous best this season was a 7.70 while Gray’s was a 7.81.
The Gamecocks had a solid outing in the 300-meters as well. Gravesande collected his second win in as many weekends, running a 33.62 to carry the section. Sophomore Eric Winfrey was second with a time of 34.37. Gravesande’s time is fourth in the country in the event and Winfrey’s ranks 15th. Gravesande is already in the top-five in the nation in the 400-meters.
Sophomore Christal Green’s 14th ranked time of 39.07 in the 300-meters led South Carolina to a 2-3-4 finish on the women’s side. Sophomore Tamera Harris (39.55) and junior Vashti Bandy (40.01) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Freshman Anna Todd ran a season best in the mile run at 5:02.18 to finish fourth, giving the Gamecocks another top-five finish. Redshirt senior Robert Razick finished fifth in the men’s mile run at 4:22.30.
Freshman Dondre Echols continued his solid freshman campaign, running a 7.95 in the 60-meter hurdles final to place third. His classmate Jermaine Collier also advanced to the finals and placed fifth, turning in an 8.17.
The All-American Beckles picked up her first 60-meter hurdle win of the season, running an 8.28 in the finals. Beckles’ 8.27 from last weekend ranks her 12th in the nation in the event. Sophomore Chalese Davis ran a new personal record of 8.52, finishing third in the finals. Freshman Tyler Brockington ran a season best of 8.79 in the finals to grab seventh place.
Redshirt junior Dorian Johnson claimed a win in the triple jump with a mark of 49’1 ¾ (14.98m). Redshirt sophomore James Adams placed fourth, recording a new personal record of 46’8 (14.22m).
In the final event of the day, senior Breanna Radford improved upon her personal best in the weight throw with a mark of 57’2 (17.42m). Radford, who moved into the ninth spot in the South Carolina record book, is closing in on Nicole Kendrick’s eighth-place mark in school history at 58’10. Redshirt sophomore Kaysee Sullivan also set a new personal record, improving her mark by nearly five feet. Sullivan’s 53’2 ¾ (16.22m) placed ninth in the competition.
Redshirt sophomore Andrew Seay placed sixth in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 55’5 ½ (16.90m).
Aggie women claim distance medley relay victory, just miss school record
COLLEGE STATION – In the open evening of the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge, featuring a conference challenge between the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12, the Aggie women came within four seconds of breaking the school record in the distance medley relay.
Running with a foursome of Ashley Chamberlain, LaKeidra Stewart, Aliese Hyde and Sophie Blake, the A&M crew posted a winning time of 11:33.93 to finish ahead of SEC partner Tennessee, who placed second with a time of 11:34.95. Texas Tech ran 12:097.69 for third.
The A&M men finished second in the distance medley relay to Texas Tech, 9:41.55 to 9:58.15, as the Red Raiders had NCAA cross country champion Kennedy Kithuka anchor in 4:01.25, with Tennessee in third with a 10:07.09.
Another women’s distance final had the Aggies enjoying a 1-2 finish with Gabby Salazar winning in 17:27.37 while Tara Upshaw placed second in 17:42.07.
Action in the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge continues Saturday with finals starting at 2 p.m. The meet is being scored between the three conferences with the Aggies and Tennessee representing the SEC, TCU and Texas Tech are the Big 12 combo while Arizona State and USC represent the Pac-12.
The time for the Aggie women is the second fastest in school history, trailing the A&M record of 11:29.89 set in 2012. It’s also the fifth fastest time recorded this collegiate season heading into this weekend’s action.
“I wasn’t really expecting a time like that going into the race, because it’s still early in the season,” said Blake. “When I got the stick I felt that Aliese handed it to me in a really good position. I just spent the entire leg trying to reel her in. That led me to a really fast time and when I saw the clock I was surprised, but really happy.”
Chamberlain opened the Aggie effort with a 3:38.09 split on the first leg of 1200m and was followed by a 54.01 split from Stewart on the 400m leg. Tennessee held a 4:30.59 to 4:32.10 edge going into the third leg.
“I was confident going into the race and just tried to listen to coach,” said Chamberlain. “I could hear my teammates cheering for me and the race went well.”
Stewart noted: “It was very humbling, and I’m just honored to get the opportunity and step on the track to represent Texas A&M. Knowing I just had one race tonight, I went out there to give it my all.”
Hyde, who was part of the school record effort a year ago, ran the 800m leg in 2:11.44 while Tennessee countered with a 2:09.06 from Kianna Ruff. Going into the final leg the Volunteers held the advantage, 6:39.65 to 6:43.54.
“LaKeidra made up a lot of ground in the 400 leg,” said Hyde. “It helped having Coach Francique each lap telling me what I needed to do. It was a really nice, smooth race.”
Trailing Tennessee by four seconds going into the final leg, which covers 1600m, Blake made steady progress on the Volunteer’s Hannah Davidson. With a couple of laps remaining, Blake was in a couple of strides of Davidson and passed her with a lap remaining.
“When I got the stick I was more confident than I’ve been in past relay races,” noted Blake. “I knew if I could run low 4:50s on my leg I could probably chase her down, or compete with anyone. The last 600 definitely hurt, and I was a little hesitant to pass her going into the last lap.
“As soon as I made that move, though, I could hear the crowd get so loud. I hadn’t heard that during the entire race, so it really pumped me up and gave me an extra boost of energy.”
Blake split 4:50.38 to secure the victory by a second over Tennessee, with Davidson clocking 4:55.30 on the anchor leg.
Hyde added: “It was so exciting watching Sophie on the anchor leg. She kept getting a little closer each lap. In the last 50 meters the Tennessee runner started speeding up and we started yelling ‘go, Sophie, go’. The officials had to tell us not to get any closer. It was a lot of fun to get the win and run that fast.”
Running for the Aggie men’s distance medley relay were James Bonn (3:01.39), Bralon Taplin (46.48), Nick Rollo (1:54.85) and Colin Slattery (4:15.42). This served as the debut race for Taplin, who joined the Aggies this month.
Rollo managed to pull even with Texas Tech’s Nick Rivera during the third leg of the race, which covers 800m. With a lap remaining, though, Rivera pulled away from Rollo and gave Kithuka a two and a half second lead over the Aggies.
CRIMSON TIDE ATHLETES WIN 4 EVENTS ON 1ST DAY OF INDIANA RELAYS
Bloomington, Ind. – Alabama athletes won four events on Friday in the first day of indoor track and field competition at the Indiana Relays at Bloomington, Ind., winning the women’s triple jump, women’s mile, men’s weight throw and men’s 200 meters.
"We had a good day today - very encouraging,” said Alabama head coach Dan Waters. “The kids continue to develop, so it's good to see them getting rewarded for it. They've been making good changes and learning each week. As coaches, that's what we look for.
“So far this has been a great meet for us at this point of the season. This is definitely something we can build from and we need to keep it up and go out ready to battle tomorrow."
In the women’s triple jump, junior Chloe Hetherton (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) made her first jump of the day her best as she soared 39 feet, 8 ¾ inches (12.11 meters) to beat 21 competitors. She followed with a solid series of solid efforts before passing on her final attempt. Hetherton and sophomore teammate Merilyn Uudmae (Talinn, Estonia) took the top two spots in the event with Uudmae posting a best of 39-1 3/4 (11.93m).
Freshman Meropi Panagiotou (Nicosia, Cyprus) took the open mile in a time of 4:55.39 to beat out Eastern Illinois’ Erika Ramos (4:55.90) and a field of 42 other runners.
In the men’s 200 meters, freshman James Harrington (Cedar Falls, Iowa) won in a time of 21.62 seconds, edging Calvin Edwards of Eastern Illinois (21.83). Alabama junior Diondre Batson (Sacramento, Calif.) competed in the Invitational 200 and finished fifth in 21.69 with junior Akeem Haynes (Calgary, Alberta) taking seventh in 21.92 and senior Dushane Farrier (Toronto, Ontario) eighth at 22.06.
After fouling on his first two attempts, Tide sophomore Charond Richardson (Blakely, Ga.) put together a solid series of throws on the way to a career-best effort of 59 feet, 4 inches (18.08 meters) in picking up his first collegiate victory in his sophomore season. Richardson bettered Purdue’s Jakob Engel and Coy Blair in taking the victory over a field of 25 competitors.
Alabama also had a strong showing in the prelims of the 60-meter dash where Batson posted the second-fastest qualifying time to Saturday’s semi-finals with a 6.79. Batson led a quartet of Alabama qualifiers as Haynes had the seventh-fastest time in 6.89 with Harrington posting the ninth-fastest qualifier at 6.91 and Farrier making the 11th spot in 6.96.
Junior Ken Taylor (Spartanburg, S.C.) continued a strong indoor season with a second-place finish in the Invitational 600 meters. Taylor broke the tape in 1:18.27, just behind Kevin Glastetter of Loyola (Ill.) in 1:17.94.
Robertson’s New High Jump Record Highlights ASU Invitational
JONESBORO, Ark. – Ricky Robertson tied for the best high jump in the NCAA this indoor season and Ole Miss athletes posted five total victories at the ASU Invitational on Friday.
“I thought we accomplished the goals we set out for this weekend,” head coach Brian O’Neal said. “The difference between winning and losing is attitude and effort. I thought we had great attitude and effort and competed at a high level today.”
Robertson, a senior from Hernando, Miss., added to an already spectacular start to the indoor season with his effort in the high jump at the ASU Convocation Center. His indoor personal-best clearance of 7-6 ties for the best mark in the NCAA this year and breaks his own school record of 7-5.75 that he set at the 2011 Arkansas State Invitational.
Robertson now has the rare distinction of leading or being tied for the NCAA lead in both the high jump and the triple jump. He produced the nation’s top mark of 52-8.25 in the triple at last week’s Auburn Invitational en route to SEC Field Athlete of the Week honors. He also ranks 25th nationally in the long jump.
“Ricky is having a special, special year,” O’Neal said. “Now that we’re moving from a training phase into a more competitive phase of the season, it’s exciting to see the direction that he’s heading.”
Ole Miss swept the men’s and women’s 400 meter races in Jonesboro, as junior Montez Griffin won the men’s race in 48.75 and senior Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen captured the women’s title with a time of 57.32.
The men’s freshman throwers continue to dent the Rebel record books with their early-career performances. Onyi Afoaku moved into fourth place all-time in the weight throw with a mark of 56-3.25, passing rookie teammate Kevin Conway’s season best of 55-9.75 from Jan. 11.
Freshman Asia Cooper was back to her winning ways on Friday with a victory in the 55 meters. Her winning time of 7.01 ranks her sixth-best in school history. It was the third victory in four collegiate meets for the Jackson, Miss., native.
Sophomore Taryn Hartfield clocked a time of 7.88 in the 55-meter hurdles to move into second place on the all-time Ole Miss chart and finish in third place.
Junior Tia Leake won the 800 meters with a time of 2:14.69, while senior Jasmine Williams was runner-up in the 200 meters (25.04) and senior Jazmin Miller was runner-up in the weigh throw (59-9.5).
“This meet was great for a lot of different people,” O’Neal said. “Taryn was really strong in the hurdles. It was good to see Asia back in the win column, and I’m excited to see what she does in the month of February as we prepare for the SEC Championships. I believe we are beginning to round into form. I can’t wait to get back to training on Monday and get better for next weekend as we take the team to Notre Dame to compete against a lot of highly ranked teams.”
Bulldog Track & Field Flourishes At Razorback Invitational
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. --- Georgia’s track and field teams notched four victories, set a school record and picked up two national-leading marks during day one of two at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday.
Sophomore Morgann Leleux flirted with the collegiate record while taking over the national lead in the pole vault while freshman Chanice Porter soared to the country’s longest jump of the year on her opening attempt. Those results teamed with sophomore Hilenn James shattering the school shot put record highlighted Friday’s action for Georgia.
UGA returns to action on Saturday with the men’s weight throw beginning at noon ET.
“We had a lot of performances today that kind of put us on the map for the year,” said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. “Our better people did what we expect them to do and what we need them to do in order for us to have success in the postseason. If it’s possible to have an outstanding meet in January, I would say this was it for us.”
Leleux blasted her way to the top of the national ranks with a personal-best performance in the pole vault. Leleux went over the bar at 14 feet, 9 inches on her second attempt, coming within a half an inch of the school record. This mark shot past her previous career best of 14-5.25 set while taking second at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
Leleux made three tries at setting a new national collegiate record, but was unable to clear the bar at 14-11.75.
“Morgann finally got 14-9, something she tried so hard to get all year long last year,” said Norton. “Now I think this will give her a chance to relax a little and keep going beyond that mark.”
In her first attempt of the year, James shattered a 13-year-old school record in the shot put with an effort of 55-1.50. James’ toss bettered Rhonda Hackett’s mark of 54-1 that had stood No. 1 on Georgia’s all-time list since 2000.
“Hilenn’s throw is another example of some of these performances that are popping up for us early in the indoor season that usually don’t happen for us until the outdoor season, which is a great sign,” Norton said.
Following up a performance that earned her the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week award, Porter won her second consecutive meet in the long jump with a season-best mark of 21-0.50, which moves her to No. 1 on the national performance list. Porter’s first jump is the fourth best in school history and the longest for the Lady Bulldogs since Hyleas Fountain broke the school record in 2004.
“This was an outstanding performance by Chanice, but not surprising,” said Norton. “We are expecting her to be a threat at the SEC and national levels.”
Senior Lucie Ondraschkova scored the most points in her Lady Bulldog career (4,072) thanks in part of three career-best marks to take second in the pentathlon.
The Czech Republic native improved her No. 3 spot in the school record books with the third-highest score in the nation this year. Ondraschkova is returning to indoor action after suffering a season-ending elbow injury during the 2012 opener.
“Lucie was another person (Friday) who showed what type of potential she has this season and it’s exciting to see her back out there competing,” said Norton.
To conclude her five events, Ondraschkova earned runner-up honors in the 800-meter run after finishing her laps in a personal-best 2:16.66 (869 points). This topped her 2:17.84 clocked at the 2011 SEC Championships.
In the long jump, Ondraschkova made the middle of her three attempts the best of her career to grab another second-place finish. She recorded a mark of 19-6.75 inches to top 10 competitors and add on 837 more points to her total.
Ondraschkova opened the competition by winning the second heat and taking fourth overall in the 60 hurdles. She clocked a personal-best time of 8.88 (935), besting her 8.91 set at the 2011 NCAA meet.
During the pentathlon high jump, Ondraschkova cleared five heights to reach her best mark since the national meet two years ago. She went over the bar at 5-7.25 on her second attempt for third place to add 867 points to her total.
Battling in his second meet for the Bulldogs after transferring from Virginia, sophomore Nick Vena tallied the longest shot put throw of his career to take second. Vena, who won last week’s Auburn Invitational, launched his second attempt 62-6.75 to move to No. 4 on Georgia’s all-time list with the longest throw since 2007.
His junior teammate Caleb Whitener posted a nine-inch personal best of 59-11.25 to take third in the competition.
“(Vena) went out last week and had a good performance and then responded with an even better outing at this meet,” said Norton. “I think he and Caleb are establishing themselves as a powerful duo in the shot that can score points at any level.”
Senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier returned to start her final campaign and finished third in the high jump. Atkinson-Grier had a clearance on her third attempt at 5-11.25 to open nearly two inches higher than she did in 2012.
“I thought this was a great start for Saniel since she is coming off an illness and this was her first meet of the year,” said Norton. “Normally, her height would be near the top of the national list this early on. But there are already some people going over 6-2. Saniel will be fine and will be at the top of the list with those competitors soon.”
Carly Hamilton, Shaunae Miller, Stella Christoforou and Kristie Krueger combined to leave the Randal Tyson Track with the school’s sixth-fastest distance medley relay time (11:39.68) in history. The quartet earned second-place honors at the meet.
The men’s distance medley team, which consisted of Daniel Grass, Corey Ashbourne, Kisean Smith and Matt Cleaver, finished sixth with a time of 10:01.44. This finish is the 10th best in school history.
The Lady Bulldogs managed a 1st- and 3rd-place finish in the 5000. Senior Leslie Boozer picked up a three-second win after crossing the finish line in 17:10.02. Fellow senior Morgan VanGorder was third in the race with the fastest time of her career (17:16.04).
In the men’s 5000, sophomore Luke Baker started his season by winning with a time of 14:42.18 while freshmen Steven Spevacek and Brendan Hoban went sixth and seventh.
Sophomore Garrett Scantling completed the first day of the heptathlon in second place with a day one personal-best score of 3,222 points. He is 102 points ahead of the pace when he scored the fourth-most points (5,481) in school history at last year’s conference meet.
“(Scantling’s) performance should carry over into Saturday’s competition so we are excited to see what he and the two freshmen can do,” said Norton
Scantling had three of the best performances of his career to highlight the opening day of the Razorback Invitational. In the first event, he sped to the fastest time of his career (7.10) in the 60 for third place and 847 early points. This mark trimmed .03 seconds off of his 7.13 that was set at last year’s Razorback meet.
Scantling returned to post a personal-best mark in the long jump (23 feet) on his opening attempt for 816 points. He finished third in the event behind a pair of Razorbacks.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native’s third career-best effort came as he took third in the shot put. Scantling watched his third attempt travel 43-11.25 for 691 points. All three of his throws in the series would have been the best of his collegiate career.
He wrapped up the fourth of seven events by taking second in the high jump (6-9.50, 868 points).
A duo of Bulldog true freshmen ended the first day in third and fifth place. Maicel Uibo won the high jump to wrap up competition and scored 3,176 points, which is 46 points behind Scantling. Devon Williams scored 2,946 points and is currently in fifth.
A native of Polva, Estonia, Uibo reached the top high jump mark of his life (6-11.75) to end Friday with 925 points. He also bolted to second place in the shot put after he pushed his opening throw 44-2.75 (697). Only leader Kevin Lazas (Arkansas) had a better toss after reaching 48-6.25.
Williams recorded the best long jump mark of his life to take fourth in the event. The Marietta native bounced back from an opening foul to travel 22-11.75 on his second attempt for 814 points.
A combined seven Georgia sprinters advanced to the semifinal round of the 60. On the women’s side, freshman Myasia Jacobs opened her career by finishing with the 10th-best time in school history (7.51) to take seventh. Sophomore Tynia Gaither was ninth in the prelims after finishing in 7.52.
The next two Georgia women to qualify were freshmen Briana Vaughn and Shaunae Miller, who were both wearing their red and black uniforms for the first time. Vaughn was 10th (7.54) while Miller was 14th (7.59).
Sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley returned to the track on Friday after spending the fall as one of the Bulldog receivers. Scott-Wesley tied the third-fastest time in school history of 6.75 to win his heat and have the No. 4 time in the prelims.
“Justin is not always going to run a super fast time, but he proves how good he is by consistently beating really good people, like he did today,” said Norton.
Johnathan Smith (6.85) and Pierce Vincent (6.96) also advanced to the semis with their finishes.
Gator Track & Field Starts Strong on Opening Day of Razorback Invitational
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Florida track & field teams got off to an incredibly strong start on Friday at the Razorback Invitational, as both teams are in the top five in the standings of the scored meet.
The No. 7 Florida women sit in third behind Georgia and Texas and were led by outstanding performances from newcomers and veterans alike.
Freshman Kyra Jefferson (Detroit, Mich.) torched the track on Friday night, claiming the first title of her young career with a lifetime best of 23.48 in the women's 200 meters. Her time ranks sixth all-time in Florida program history and eighth in the NCAA this year, first among freshmen.
"I'm very, very pleased with Kyra's run today," Holloway said. "We certainly saw a performance like this coming. She was patient and set up the race well."
Junior Lorraine Graham (Springdale, Md.) competed in her first collegiate indoor pentathlon, finishing third with 3,927 points. Her point total is third all-time in Florida history behind school-record holder and teammate Brittany Harrell (McComb, Miss.), who scored 4,050 last season, and Dorchelle Webster, who held the UF record for exactly 22 years with her 3,999 points in 1990.
"Lorraine had a great day," Holloway commented. "The 800 didn't go the way we wanted but I think for her first pentathlon, to get the third-best score in program history shows the future she has in this event."
The Florida women's distance medley relay, comprised of Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia), Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.), Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.), won Friday night's DMR with a time of 11:15.07. The SEC-leading time goes down as the seventh-best time in Florida program history and is the fourth-fastest in the NCAA this season.
"I was pleased with our women's DMR today. It was kind of hard to be out there by themselves after the first lap but I was proud of their composure and ability to stay focused while running their own race."
The No. 3 Gator men are tied for fifth after the first day of competition, as the depth of the Florida roster shone through on Friday.
One of the many highlights for the Gators was thrower Luka Mustafic (Rakitje, Croatia), who scored in the men's shot put with a season's-best throw of 17.26m/56-7.50. Junior pole vaulter Max Lang (Tallahassee, Fla.) also contributed to the scoring for the Orange and Blue, turning in a season's-best mark of 4.91m/16-1.25.
"I was proud of Luka and his new season's best today, as well as Max Lang and his response to such a high opening bar to go along with his new approach," Holloway said. "Couldn't be more pleased with those two young men."
Many Gators qualified for Saturday's semifinals, including freshman Shayla Sanders (Pompano Beach, Fla.) who raced to a personal best of 7.41 in the women's 60 meters. Her time ties for seventh-best in Florida history and leads all freshmen in the NCAA this year. Sanders was second only to 2012 Bowerman winner Kimberlyn Duncan from LSU, who finished in 7.40.
"Shayla did a great job today," Holloway noted. "She's started to figure some things out. Freshman have a tendency to overthink things but she knows to turn it on and run her race when the gun goes off."
In the men's 60-meter hurdles, junior Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and freshman Moriel Pitt (West Palm Beach, Fla.) each qualified for semifinals on Saturday, as Lovett turned in the day's fastest time of 7.69 and Pitt finished second in the heat and sixth overall in 8.09. In the women's 60-meter hurdles, all four Gators qualified for Saturday's semifinal round, including senior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) who ran a season's-best time of 8.45.
"I'm also incredibly pleased with Eddie and Moriel and their performances today, as well as our women's hurdlers," Holloway continued. "We've been on our women's hurdlers this week and I think they lived up to their potential today."
NCAA leader, school records for Alcide on day one
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Razorback senior Makeba Alcide became the No. 3 all-time collegiate performer in the pentathlon Friday as the No. 5 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team played host to the Razorback Team Invitational. In the win, Alcide broke the school record and established an NCAA-leading score of 4,464 points in the five-event competition. After day one of the 11-team scored meet, the Razorbacks sit in fourth place with 34 team points.
With her performance Friday, Alcide became the third highest-scoring collegiate athlete in the pentathlon. Her score also represents the sixth-highest collegiate score ever. In her first pentathlon of the season, Alcide collected four lifetime-best performances including a school-record effort of 1.89m/6-2.25 in the high jump. Alcide established a national record for her home country of St. Lucia and replaced the previous school record of 4,141 set by DeeDee Brown in 2002.
"I’ve had my eye on that record since I got (to Arkansas),” Alcide said following her win. “I missed it by just a few points last year so to do it during my first multi of this year is very important to me.
“I don’t think I’ve peaked too soon. I still have a lot of room for improvement. This is just my first (pentathlon) of the year so hopefully it keeps getting better and better. The only thing that actually surprised me today was the high jump. I didn’t know I could go so high so early but it felt good.”
Along the way, Alcide racked up personal bests of 8.45 in the 60-meter hurdles, 1.89m/6-2.25 in the high jump, 5.88m/19-3.5 in the long jump and 2:16.94 at 800 meters. Her effort in the high jump broke the school record of 1.80m/5-11.25 which was set by Jessica Johnson in 2003. She also set the program’s pentathlon-event records with her results in the high jump and 800 meters. Alcide entered the weekend with a previous best pentathlon score of 4,126 points.
Regina George turned in a second-place performance at 200 meters Friday. Running in the last heat of the timed section final, the Razorback senior ran to a season-best time of 23.61 to add eight points to the Razorbacks score. She is scheduled to return to the track Saturday at 400 meters and as a member of the 4x400-meter relay.
The Razorbacks added seven points to their team total when Danielle Nowell tied for second in the pole vault. The Razorback junior had a final clearance of 4.02m/13-2.25 to tie Natasha Masterson of Texas for runner-up honors. Rachel Carpino added five points toward the Razorbacks’ total with a fourth-place finish at 5,000 meters. She held on to her scoring position with a finishing time of 17:17.00. Saturday’s race marked the first career 5,000-meter race for Carpino.
Kirsten Hesseltine wrapped the Razorbacks’ day with a personal-best performance in the high jump. A week removed from establishing a personal best, the Springdale, Ark., posted a new lifetime best by clearing 1.77m/5-9.75 to finish fifth in a field that included the defending NCAA indoor champion. Hesseltine began her competition with three consecutive clearances before taking a third attempt to set a new personal best.
Tyson’s PR Long Jump Highlights McCravy Day One
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Keilah Tyson notched a personal best long jump of 6.14m/20-01.75 to take second in the invitational event at the Rod McCravy Memorial Track and Field Meet inside Nutter Field House on Friday.
Tyson’s mark ranks as the No. 6 long jump in the nation this season as of Friday evening.
Three Wildcats produced personal record performances on Friday to set up what will be an action-packed Saturday on the Kentucky campus.
The day two action gets under way at 10 a.m. ET.
The women’s 60-meter hurdles will be one of the morning’s first events featuring a Kentucky headliner as Kayla Parker owns the No. 6 SEC time in the event this season.
Keith Hayes, who has the third fastest SEC 60h time this season, will compete in the men’s event as well.
Kadeem Kushimo, owner of the No. 10 SEC 400m time this season, hits the track in the event just after 2 p.m.
The field action will also feature some top performers as Isiah Kent will attempt to improve on his best shot put mark, which currently ranks No. 4 in the SEC and No. 17 in America.
No. 1 Razorbacks take team lead on day one
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The top-ranked University of Arkansas men’s track and field team scored in four events on day one of the Razorback Team Invitational in Fayetteville. The team collected 10 points from a win in the pole vault from Andrew Irwin and eight points from Akheem Gauntlett’s runner-up effort at 200 meters. In the heptathlon, Kevin Lazas owns the day-one lead with three events to go Saturday.
Irwin won his second event title in as many competitions with his first-place performance in the pole vault. He finished the meet with a final clearance of 5.31m/17-5. Irwin dodged a bullet at his opening height, clearing the bar set at 5.06m/16-7.25 on his third attempt. He corrected himself and cleared the next two heights without a miss. The win earned the Razorbacks 10 points on the team scoreboard.
In the final individual event on the track, Akheem Gauntlett ran to a second-place finish at 200 meters. Running in the ninth heat of the sectioned time final, he crossed the finish line in a time of 20.97. The performance was worth eight points for the Arkansas team total. All four Razorbacks in the field finished inside the top 20 with Anton Kokorin in ninth place, Marek Niit in 15th and Neil Braddy in 20th.
At the end of four events of the heptathlon, junior Kevin Lazas holds the day-one lead with 3,414 points with the help of three personal-best efforts. He will carry a 192-point lead into Saturday’s final three events. Lazas began his day with a personal best of 6.94 at 60 meters and wrapped competition with back-to-back lifetime bests of 14.79m/48-6.25 in the shot put and 2.01m/6-7 in the high jump.
“Overall, it was an unbelievable day,” Lazas said. “Hopefully, I can keep it up tomorrow and put up a big score. Today carries me over with huge momentum and energy into tomorrow. The plan is to excel tomorrow like I did today, starting off with the hurdles and go from there.”
Lazas is the top performer of the three Razorbacks remaining in the field, all of which are in scoring position. Matt Kirbos is currently in fourth place with 3,058 points and Julius Sommer sits in seventh with 2,875 points. Kirbos also established three personal bests Friday, while Sommer posted a pair of PRs. Saturday’s conclusion to the seven-event heptathlon will feature the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000 meters.
The Razorbacks closed their night on the track with a second-place finish in the distance-medley relay. The quartet of Anthony Lieghio, Travis Southard, Tomas Squella and Patrick Rono combined for a time of 9:44.03 which earned the team eight points in the standings. Based on times entering the weekend, Arkansas now owns the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season.
The high jump event provided 17 points for the Razorbacks with Anthony May II and Brede Ellingsen tying for second place and Noah Kittelson finishing sixth overall. With identical series marks throughout the rounds of jumping, May and Ellingsen each finished the competition with a final clearance of 2.14m/7-0.25. In sixth place, Kittelson came away with a clearance of 2.10m/6-10.75 which was worth three points to the Razorbacks’ score.
In the preliminary round of the 60-meter hurdles, Caleb Cross won his heat in a season-best time of 7.76 to secure an automatic spot into the semifinals. The Newport, Ark., native finished as the third overall qualifier. Saturday’s semifinal round will be run at 1:55 p.m. with Cross in the second heat. The final of the hurdle event will also be contested Saturday at 3:20 p.m.
Devin Randall posted his third personal best in as many competitions during Friday’s shot put. He added an inch to his previous best with a throw of 16.45m/53-11.75 in the second round of throws. Randall finished in 12th place overall.