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    SEC Track & Field - Saturday Update

    PAINE BREAKS SCHOOL RECORD IN WOMEN’S POLE VAULT

    Blacksburg, Va. – University of Alabama senior Alexis Paine set a school record in the women's pole vault at Saturday afternoon at the Virginia Tech Qualifier in Blacksburg, Va., improving her chances for qualifying for next week's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

    Paine, from Mobile, Ala., broke the school record in the event for the third time this season by clearing 13 feet, 11 inches (4.24 meters) on her second attempt at that height. The clearance not only marked an improvement of 2 1/2 inches over her previous personal-best and school record of 13-8 1/2, but also hallmarked a gutsy performance by her.

    "Alexis is vaulting with tremendous confidence and it is showing each week,” said UA head coach Dan Waters. “This likely gets her in the meet. The way she is performing now, anything is possible. Really proud of her and the job our pole vault coach, Brad Smith, has done."

    Paine came to the meet needing to clear that height to realistically qualify for the NCAA meet so she passed on the first five heights contested in the event. She then cleared the height on her second try. It ended up being her only clearance of the day as she later missed on three attempts at 14-1 3/4 (4.31 meters). By then Paine had done what she had set out to do on the day.

    Paine finished third in the event behind Heather Hamilton, who was competing unattached, and cleared 14-1 3/4, and South Carolina's Petra Olsen, who joined Paine in clearing 13-11 but was ahead of her in the standings due to fewer missed attempts over the course of the competition. The standings were not the point on Saturday, though, as Paine's new qualifying mark was the goal heading in.
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    Florida Track & Field’s Sean Obinwa Wins Alex Wilson 800 Title to Improve NCAA Standing

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Junior Sean Obinwa (Tampa, Fla.) built upon his impressive performance last weekend at the SEC Indoor Championships to capture another 800-meter title Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational.

    Obinwa ran the second-fastest 800 meters of his career, finishing in a new season’s best of 1:47.90. The three-time All-American currently sits in 10th with a few Last Chance meets finishing up Saturday and Sunday.

    “Sean continues to get better and has set himself up well for the NCAA meet next week,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said.

    Two Gators also turned in season’s bests on Saturday, including Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia), who finished third in the women’s mile in 4:37.58, and freshman Najee Glass (Woodbridge, N.J.), who finished just outside the all-time top-10 at Florida in the 400 with his fourth-place time of 46.51.

    Glass and fellow freshman Arman Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) will be in the mix for Florida’s men’s 4x400-meter relay squad, and Strausa should be in the lineup for the Gator women’s distance medley relay. Those teams sit in 2nd and 12th heading into the last chance weekend. The Gator men’s 4x4 owns three of the top-10 times in the country in the event.

    “Good efforts by everyone this weekend,” Holloway commented. “Our focus now turns to getting everyone ready to compete next week in Fayetteville.”

    The University of Florida track & field teams descend upon Fayetteville for the 2013 NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships at Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas, March 8-9. The No. 2 Gator men are the three-time defending NCAA Indoor Champions and the No. 10 Florida women turned in a top-10 finish a year ago.
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    Keith Hayes Sets New Kentucky 60H Record

    BLACKSBURG, Va. and SOUTH BEND, Ind. and AMES, Iowa – For the second straight day with a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships on the line a Kentucky track and field program record fell.

    Last night it was the women’s distance medley relay team at Notre Dame’s Loftus Sports Center, today Keith Hayes ran the fastest 60-meter hurdles time in school history while competing at Virginia Tech’s Rector Field House.

    After starting the day with a time just .01 seconds off his personal-best performance in the preliminary heat, Hayes crossed the finish line in 7.73 during the semifinal heat.

    Hayes then won the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier Meet 60H final with a time of 7.79.

    The previous school 60H record of 7.74 was held by two-time Olympian Mikel Thomas, set in 2009.

    “Our student-athletes are growing in confidence, and they have started to realize their potential,” head coach Edrick Floreal said. “I couldn’t be happier with how far we have come.”

    Hayes’ top time would rank in a tie for No. 9 nationally this season, inside the top 16 threshold necessary for a NCAA Championships berth as of Saturday morning without all of the day’s results available.

    Saturday was the final day of competition for athletes to post times/marks, which would qualify them for NCAAs March 8-9 in Fayetteville, Ark.

    Over at Notre Dame Matt Hillenbrand, who ran a personal best time last weekend en route to the SEC mile championship, lowered his all-time best yet again with a time of 4:00.23 to take fifth.

    Keffri Neal ran a PR 800-meter time of 1:49.69, and Morganne Phillips also posted a personal best 400-meter time of 54.37.

    In all, every competitor from Kentucky at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., this weekend posted a PR or school-record time.

    Brad Szypka likely wrapped up his breakout indoor season at the Iowa State Qualifier Meet as he was unable to better his PR shot put of 18.83m/61'9.5", which ranked one inch short of a presumed NCAA berth before the Saturday meets.
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    Henry Lelei shatters A&M school record to earn NCAA Indoor berth

    SOUTH BEND, Indiana – Aggie senior Henry Lelei won the 3,000-meter race at the Alex Wilson Invitational hosted by Notre Dame with a school record effort of 7:47.91, which is the second fastest collegiate time of the season.

    Lelei, who was the high point scorer at the SEC Indoor Championships last weekend, needed to improve his time during the last weekend of qualifying in order to earn a berth to the NCAA Indoor Championships. The top 16 marks in each event plus the top 12 relay teams advance to the national meet, held March 8-9 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

    In addition to breaking his own school record of 7:55.80 set earlier this season, Lelei toppled the meet and track records at Notre Dame in winning the race by four and a half seconds. William Mulherin of Virginia Tech finished second to Lelei with a 7:52.54 while Penn State’s Sam Masters placed third with a 7:59.80.

    Lelei moves to the second position on the 2013 collegiate list, trailing only a 7:42.79 run by Arizona’s Lawi Lalang. His 7:47.91 clocking is the fourth fastest ever recorded by a collegian on an oversized track and the fifth fastest performance.

    In the 4 x 400 relay the Aggie women knocked nearly a couple of seconds of their season best time in winning the event with a 3:33.57. The A&M foursome included Janeil Bellille, Ibukun Mayungbe, Olivia Ekpone and Kamaria Brown. The Aggies are currently fifth on the 2013 collegiate list.

    A&M won their section of the 4 x 400 over Texas Tech (3:33.72), Notre Dame (3:34.67), Baylor (3:35.27) and Clemson (3:35.55) while also bettering the 3:33.71 Kansas ran in another section.

    James Bonn recorded a career best of 1:50.01 in the 800 meters to place fifth in his section. Teammate Hector Hernandez ran 1:50.16 for seventh in another section. Overall they placed 17th and 18th among a field of 52 entrants. Bonn moves to No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list.

    In Baton Rouge on Friday the Aggies registered three winning efforts, but none of those victories included improved marks.

    Michael Bryan (6.84) and Jennifer Madu (7.43) each won their respective 60 meter races while Chase Wolfle claimed the pole vault with a clearance of 17-1.5 (5.22). Wolfle, who has a personal best of 17-5, passed at 17-5.75 (5.33) and took three attempts at 17-9.75 (5.43). A clearance would have placed Wolfle 14th on the current collegiate list.

    Brea Garrett improved her shot put best to 52-2.75 (15.92) in placing third. She is now No. 2 on the Aggie all-time list with the No. 8 performance. In the weight throw Garrett also finished third with a mark of 62-9.5 (19.14). Casey Strong placed second in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 63-6 (19.35).
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    Razick Sets 3K School Record at VT Final Qualifier Olsen sets pole vault personal best

    South Carolina track and field sent athletes to the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame and the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier on “Last Chance Weekend”.

    SOUTH BEND, IND. – A squad of Gamecock men competed at the Alex Wilson Invitational.  Senior Robert Razick set a new school record and personal best in the men’s 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:16.00.  It is the second school record in as many meets as he set the men’s mile school record at the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships.

    Junior Chris Royster qualified for the finals of the 60-meter dash after a time of 6.89 in the prelims.  In the finals, Royster also took second, running a season-best 6.81.  Junior Clayton Gravesande finished 12th in the men’s 400-meter dash, running a 47.72. In the 60-meter hurdles, freshman Jermaine Collier ran an 8.29, just missing out on a ticket to the event finals.

    The men ran their fastest time of the season in the 4x400-meter dash. Gravesande, senior Andre Carter, Royster and sophomore Eric Winfrey ran a 3:10.79.

    BLACKSBURG, Va. – At the VT Final Qualifier set a new personal best in the pole vault with a clearance of 13-11.00 (4.24m). Olsen finished second in the seeded pole vault section and the mark ranks 11th in Division I this season.

    Freshman Alexis Murphy advanced through the prelims and the semifinals in the 60-meter dash to run a collegiate-best 7.44 in the event to finish third overall.  Murphy was also the top Gamecock in the women’s 200-meter dash running a 24.37.

    In the women’s mile run, freshmen Anna Todd and Lisa Zimmer moved into the South Carolina top 10, running 4:56.27 (5th) and 4:58.45 (6th), respectively.

    For the men, senior Jarrod Hutchen put up a mark of 25-00.00 (7.62m) in the long jump to finish second.  His mark of 25-06.00 ranks 10th in Division I in the men’s long jump this season.

    Junior Chris Maxwell ran the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash on Saturday.  Maxwell placed second in the 200 meters with a time of 21.90 while taking eighth in the 400 meters.

    Freshman Dondre Echols advanced to the finals in the 60-meter hurdles, running his fastest time of the day in the semifinals at 7.98.  He was disqualified in the finals.
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    Lieghio fourth at 800 meters in South Bend

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In its final competition date prior to hosting the national meet, the top-ranked University of Arkansas got a fourth-place finish at 800 meters from Anthony Lieghio Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. It was the second day of racing at Notre Dame for the Razorback senior who helped Arkansas’ distance-medley relay post an NCAA-qualifying time Friday evening.

    Running in the sixth of seven heats Saturday, Lieghio finished third in his heat and fourth overall with a time of 1:48.88. The performance is his second-fastest time of the season. Lieghio entered the weekend with a season-best time of 1:48.56 and currently sits at No. 17 on the NCAA performance list. Teammate Andrew Pisechko clocked the second-fastest time of his freshman campaign, 1:50.76, to finish 24th overall in the event.

    On Friday, Lieghio teamed with Kemoy Campbell, Patrick Rono and Travis Southard in the distance-medley relay for a season-best time of 9:30.22 to finish in eighth place overall. With the top-14 DMR times in the NCAA emerging from the race, the Razorbacks are currently ranked eighth in the country. The time for the Razorback foursome also represents the No. 7 performance on the program’s all-time list.

    Saturday’s competition also featured Nathanael Franks at 400 meters and Solomon Haile at 3,000 meters. Franks, a multi-event specialist, crossed the finish line in 48.63 for a 27th-place result, while Haile finished ninth in his event with a time of 8:05.93. He will finish the year with a season-best 3K time of 8:01.17 from his run at the Husky Classic in Seattle.

    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. Accepted entries for the national meet are scheduled to be released Monday evening.
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    HADFIELD BOOSTS NCAA ODDS WITH SCHOOL RECORD VAULT

    BLACKSBURG, Va. – On the final weekend of competition before next week’s NCAA Track & Field Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., junior Lady Vol pole vaulter Linda Hadfield put herself in prime position to qualify for nationals with a school record vault at Virginia Tech’s last chance NCAA qualifier on Saturday.

    Hadfield, who entered the day ranked 23rd in the nation in the event, needed to reach the top 16 nationally in order to have a shot at qualifying. Earlier in the season, the junior recorded an indoor school record with a mark of 13-5.75 (4.11m) to place second at Rector Field House. She entered the same facility this afternoon and one-upped that performance, surpassing both 13-7 (4.14m) and 13-11 (4.24m) to double PR and improve on her own UT record.

    Placing fourth in a loaded field at the event, Hadfield is currently tied for 11th in the country and would be heading to her first indoor NCAA Championships if the mark holds through the weekend. With the vault, the Yorkville, N.Y., native currently possesses the four best women’s indoor vaults in Tennessee history.

    A pair of Vol vaulters were also in action at Rector Field House on Saturday, as neither junior Chase Brannon nor his classmate Tyler Porter hit the marks they were looking for, but placed third and seventh, respectively. Brannon entered the competition with a season-best mark of 17-8.5 (5.40m), which currently ranks 21st in the country. He finished third with a vault of 17-6.25 (5.34m).

    At Notre Dame’s Alex Wilson Invitational, the Lady Vols had two 800-meter runners competing in senior Nijgia Snapp and junior Kianna Ruff. Ruff entered the weekend a PR of 2:07.48 set earlier this season and improved on that mark, finishing in seventh in 2 minutes, 6.84 seconds. That time places her 32nd in the country. Snapp was unable to improve her time in South Bend, Ind., and it appears her season-best mark of 2:05.97 – which earned her a third-place finish at last week’s SEC Championships – will end up just outside the top 16. With more results to come in, it currently ranks 17th in the country.

    Also competing at Notre Dame, freshman Felicia Brown crossed the tape in a lifetime best 53.57 seconds in the women’s 400m to end the indoor season on a high note.

    Freshman thrower Cassie Wertman, who was competing at Iowa State’s last chance qualifier, also ended the indoor campaign on a high note. Wertman, who place sixth at SECs last week, improved her lifetime best in the shot put for an impressive fifth time this season, eclipsing 16 meters for the first time of her career. On her sixth and final throw of the finals, Wertman recorded a push of 52-feet, 7.25-inches (16.03m) to finish in third place. That mark, while it may not be good enough to qualify for nationals, currently ranks fifth all-time in the UT indoor records.

    Vol thrower Matthew Hoty was also in action in Ames, Iowa, but missed the national mark he was looking for in the shot put. Hoty finishes the indoor season with a top mark of 60-10.75 (18.56m), which currently stands as the 23rd-best in the collegiate ranks in 2013.
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    Bulldogs Give Final Effort Before NCAA Indoors
     
    SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Boasting Top 10 finishes and three personal bests, members of the Mississippi State indoor track and field team will leave Notre Dame’s Alex Wilson Invitational waiting for the green light to NCAA Indoor National Championships on March 7-9 in Fayetteville.  
     
    Without automatic qualifiers this year, the Bulldogs must wait till weekend competition concludes across the country to see if their rankings remain Top 16 in the nation.
     
    “Today was overall very successful,” coach Steve Dudley said. “This meet gave us an extra opportunity for our athletes to showcase their talents and prove that they belong in the elite group that will compete at NCAAs. I’m really proud of the efforts they gave today, and now it’s just a game of wait and see.”
     
    Jason Harper, who currently ranks 12th in the nation, posted a personal-best performance in the triple jump at 15.97m, while Marcus Jackson, ranked 13th, cleared 2.23m in the high jump in hopes of securing his ticket to nationals. Both jumps garnered second-place finishes.
     
    Later in the day, with a time of 46.57 seconds in the 400-meter dash, Brandon McBride set a personal record to add to the team’s accomplishments and prove why he ranks ninth in the nation in the event.
     
    Jody-Ann Muir will return home with a personal-best 400-meter dash time of 53.20 seconds, landing her a second-place spot on MSU’s all-time indoor list.
     
    Selections for NCAA Indoor National Championships will be announced on Monday. In addition to Jackson, Harper and McBride, other likely competitors for the Bulldogs include Erica Bougard, who currently ranks fifth in the nation in the long jump and pentathlon, and D’Angelo Cherry, who ranks eighth in the 60-meter hurdles.
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    Ole Miss’ Morman Gets Big Triple Jump Mark On Saturday

    OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss senior Marci Morman achieved an indoor personal best in the triple jump to highlight the Rebels’ participation in three different “last chance” meets over the weekend.

    Seven Ole Miss athletes competed at three of the many meets around the country in a final attempt to qualify for the March 8-9 NCAA Indoor Championship in Fayetteville, Ark.

    Morman’s leap of 41-6.5 at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier moved her up to third-best in school history and 31st in the nation this year.

    New this indoor season, the NCAA will accept the top 16 ranked athletes in the country in each individual event to the NCAA Championships.
    Allegra Wells also posted a strong mark at Virginia Tech, leaping 20-1.5 in the long jump. It was three inches shy of her season best that currently ranks her 22nd in the country.

    Morris Kersh was runner-up in the men’s triple jump in Blacksburg with a mark of 51-3. His season best of 51-11.75 currently has him 20th in the country.

    At the LSU Invitational on Friday, Jazmin Miller took top prize in the women’s weight throw with a mark of 63-11.75. Her season best of 64-8.75 has her 36th in the country.

    Creighton Serrette and Montez Griffin ran in the men’s 400 meters at the Alex Wilson Invitational hosted by Notre Dame, but were also unable to move up high enough in the national rankings with their results. Serrette clocked a career best with a time of 47.76.

    Three Rebels are already ranked among the top 16 in five different events. This includes senior Ricky Robertson in the men’s high jump (3rd, 7-6), triple jump (8th, 52-8.25) and long jump (15th, 25-2.75), sophomore Sam Kendricks in the men’s pole vault (8th, 18-1.75) and freshman Asia Cooper in the women’s 60 meters (9th, 7.31).
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