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    SEC Track & Field Report - 3/1

    Lady Bulldog DMR Team Sets School Record, Closer To NCAAs

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Georgia's distance medley relay team made the best out of its trip to Notre Dame as broke into the nation's top 10 with its finish.

    The Lady Bulldog foursome of Stella Christoforou, Tynia Gaither, Megan Malasarte and Carly Hamilton combined to set a school record with a time of 11:03.27 for fifth place at the Alex Wilson Invitational on Friday night.  This time gave them one of the country's top 10 times.  The top 16 nationwide earn a trip to next weekend's NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

    "This was an amazing night where each of our girls did their job," said Bulldog distance coach Patrick Cunniff.  "We competed against the best and earned a shot to NCAAs.  We are all excited to see what we can get done next week." 

    Razorbacks post season bests at Final Qualifier

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In its final competition ahead of the national meet, the No. 4 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team added two names to NCAA qualifying consideration at the Arkansas Final Qualifier with Martine Borge at 800 meters and Ivanique Kemp in the 60-meter hurdles. Kemp and Sandi Morris in the pole vault picked up event wins during Friday meet at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

    “We saw some timely performances from Martine and Ivy tonight,” head coach Lance Harter said. “We also got a nice PR performance from Sandi in the pole vault which should give her a lot of confidence for next week. Those are three key individuals that can help us next week.”

    Borge entered the weekend with a season-best time of 2:07.62 but took more than two seconds off that time with Friday’s showing. The Razorback senior established a new personal best, crossing the finish line in a time 2:05.29. Borge was ranked outside the national top 50 in the event but is now tied for 10th place at 800 meters, based on time entering Friday’s competition. She posted a then-PR of 2:05.41 at last year’s Final Qualifier meet.

    Like she did at last year’s last-chance meet, Ivanique Kemp improved on her season-best in the 60-meter hurdles. She opened the day with a time of 8.21 in the preliminary round to shave two hundredths of a second off her previous season best. In the final, Kemp lowered that time even further with a first-place run of 8.18. Based on times entering the weekend, Kemp is now tied for ninth in the nation.    

    Morris improved upon her personal best and national standing in the pole vault with Friday’s showing. The Razorback transfer had a final clearance of 4.43m/14-6.25, eclipsing her previous best of 14-1.75 which she set earlier this season at the Texas A&M Triangular. Morris entered the day ranked sixth nationally but with her latest showing, she moves into a tie for third on this season’s NCAA performance list.

    Overall, the Razorbacks finished Friday’s last-chance meet with six personal-best performance including the efforts by Borge, Kemp and Morris. Arkansas also racked up lifetime-best results from Gwendolyn Flowers at 200 meters (23.74), Phyllis George at 400 meters (56.55) and Paige Johnston (2:08.42) and Caitlin Noonan (2:11.69) at 800 meters.

    While in the past automatic and provisional qualifying marks were used to select the field for the NCAA Championships, all guidelines have been removed this season. Just the top-16 performers in individual events and the top 12 eligible relay teams will advance.

    Momoh runs NCAA leader at Final Qualifier

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 1 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team racked up a collection of potential NCAA qualifiers Friday between action at the Arkansas Final Qualifier and Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. In a breakout performance at 800 meters, senior Leoman Momoh ran an NCAA-leading time of 1:46.07 to pace the Razorbacks’ last-effort qualifying opportunities.

    Entering the day with a season-best time of 1:50.21, Momoh knocked more than four seconds off that to put his name atop the NCAA Division I Indoor Qualifying List at 800 meters. He wasn’t ranked within the nation’s top 50 before Friday’s performance. Freshman teammate Tomas Squella was right behind him in second place with a personal-best time of 1:46.76, the No. 3 time in the NCAA this season. With Friday’s race, Momoh and Squella became the No. 2 and 3 performers in school history, respectively.

    Marek Niit put himself into position to qualify for the NCAA Championships with his performance at 400 meters. He entered the weekend with a season-best time of 47.21 but knocked nearly a second off that with his latest mark of 46.35 to finish second overall in Friday’s race. Teammate Akheem Gauntlett set a personal best of 46.14 to win the event, improving his position within the national top 10.

    Gauntlett and Niit were back on the track for the 200 meters and posted a pair of top-10 national performances. With Friday’s win, Gauntlett lowered his season-best time from 20.84 to 20.73 to move into fourth place on the season’s NCAA performance list. Niit finished second with his showing of 20.76 which elevated the Razorback senior to No. 6 among sprinters this year. His previous season-best time of 20.12 came last weekend at the SEC Championships.

    “We had a really good night of performance here and at Notre Dame,” assistant coach Doug Case said. “Dealing with some injuries and sickness throughout the season, we were a bit behind so we knew these kinds of results were coming. With the NCAA meet next weekend, it’s definitely the right time of the season for these big performances.”

    At the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., the Razorbacks’ distance-medley relay team of Patrick Rono, Travis Southard, Anthony Lieghio and Kemoy Campbell combined for a season-best time of 9:30.22 to finish in eighth place overall. The top-14 DMR times in the NCAA emerged from Friday’s race at Notre Dame. Arkansas entered the meet with a time of 9:35.50, which at the time was good for fifth in the country.

    Originally scheduled to be run with a preliminary round, the 60-meter hurdles turned into a one-section final with Cross running to victory in a time of 7.76. The time is not an improvement on his season-best mark of 7.65. Entering the weekend, the Razorback senior was tied for third in the nation on the season performance list for the event.

    The team finished the night with six event wins. In addition to the efforts from Gauntlett, Momoh and Cross, Arkansas had first-place finishes from David Flynn at 3,000 meters and Andrew Irwin in the pole vault. Irwin enters the NCAA Championships as the defending national champion.

    In the shot put, Devin Randal established a personal best on his first attempt of the competition. The redshirt freshman finished the day with a final mark of 17.10m/56-1.25, surpassing his previous best of 55-7.5. Friday’s performance moves Randal into 10th place on the Arkansas all-time performance list in the event. He is the first Razorback to crack the program’s top 10 since the 2002 season.

    While in the past automatic and provisional qualifying marks were used to select the field for the NCAA Championships, all guidelines have been removed this season. Just the top-16 performers in individual events and the top 12 eligible relay teams will advance.


    Baton Rouge, La. – Alabama freshman Elias Hakansson broke the school record in the weight throw on Friday night at the LSU Indoor Invitational in Baton Rouge, La. The Halmstad, Sweden, native won the event by more than four feet with a best effort of 67 feet, 6 1/2 inches (20.28 meters).

    Hakansson's winning throw bettered his previous school record by exactly nine inches, a toss of 66-9 1/4 that he made back on February 9 in Lincoln, Neb., at the Mark Colligan Memorial.

    "Elias had a fantastic series with all of his legal throws over 20 meters," said UA assistant coach Doug Reynolds, who oversees the Crimson Tide throwers. "It sets him up well for the outdoor hammer throw. He has really shown his potential this indoor season. It will be a close call as to whether or not he gets in (to the NCAA meet), but I am extremely pleased with how he is progressing. And that's our goal, to be consistently improving. I couldn't be prouder of him."

    Florida Track & Field’s Parrish and Izewski Close Indoor Season at Alex Wilson Invitational

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Gators Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) and Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) closed the 2013 indoor season with solid performances in the men’s 5,000 meters Friday at the Alex Wilson Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame.

    Parrish turned in a top-five finish with his time of 14:03.07, just shy of his season’s best in the event. Izewski claimed an eighth-place finish with his time of 14:15.05.

    “Tonight held solid efforts for both Mark and Josh,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “I’m excited to see how they perform outdoors after a very successful indoor season.”

    The top 16 individuals nationally in each event and top 12 relays will advance to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 8-9, held at Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas.

    The meet serves as an NCAA-sanctioned last chance meet as participants look to earn an invitation into the NCAA Indoor Championship (March 8-9) by being one of the best in the nation in their respective event.

    Senior Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.) will get things started for the Gators on Saturday in the 400. Whittaker is a four-time All-American and was a First Team All-American last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 400 meters. Gator rookies Najee Glass (Woodbridge, N.J.) and Arman Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) will each look to improve their times in the quartermile as well, as Hall is ranked just outside the cut mark at 18th (46.61). Glass has only raced once in the 400 meters, finishing just outside qualifying for the finals of the event at SEC Indoors last weekend in 47.18.

    Sean Obinwa (Tampa, Fla.), the SEC Indoor champion in the men’s 800 meters, will look to improve on his season’s best of 1:48.40, a time that won him his first individual SEC title last weekend and ranks 11th in the NCAA this year. Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) is hoping to improve on her mile, as she currently sits in 21st (4:38.03) heading into the last chance weekend. Strausa is a two-time All-American and was part of the Gators’

    Kentucky T&F Women’s DMR Shatters School Record

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. – With a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships on the line, the Kentucky women’s distance medley relay team shattered the school record and positioned itself to qualify for next week’s National Championships on Friday.

    The Wildcat relay team’s time of 11:00.55 smashed the previous school record by more than 17 seconds. That performance ranks sixth in the nation as of Friday evening, inside the top 12 required for a spot at the NCAA Championships to be held March 1-2 in Fayetteville, Ark..

    “I can’t be prouder of these young women,” head coach Edrick Floreal said. “They exemplify the courage we want our team to display.”

    For the first time this season Cally Macumber, Morganne Phillips, Allison Peare and Chelsea Oswald made up Kentucky’s DMR squad as they looked to book a trip to the Randal Tyson Track Center, site of 2013 NCAA Indoors.

    Macumber -- a recent All-SEC selection at 3,000 meters after winning the conference race last weekend – led off, and she was ahead at the first exchange running an opening 1,200-meter leg of 3:20.09.

    Morganne Phillips took the baton from Macumber for the 400M leg, and she increased the lead, before handing off to Allison Peare for the penultimate leg over 800M.

    Three teams were neck and neck at the final exchange with Chelsea Oswald handling the final 1,600 meters for Kentucky.

    Oswald set the pace for the majority of the leg, before giving way to the anchors from Michigan and Notre Dame, but the veteran cross country All-American would not waver in the slightest.

    With a berth at Nationals in sight she would battle every last meter, and secure a huge school record time.

    That time would qualify Kentucky for next week’s NCAA Championships with only a few “last chance” meets in the nation running DMRs this weekend.

    Friday’s DMR inside the Loftus Sport Center produced five teams with NCAA qualifying performances, including the national leader.