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    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook

    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook (March 20, 2013)


    Alabama plays host to the Alabama Relays this Friday and Saturday in Tuscaloosa.


    Men - The Razorback men collected 25 All-Americans based on their efforts at the NCAA meet, including a nation-leading 17 first-team performers. Arkansas also swept the top coaching honors as Chris Bucknam and Travis Geopfert were named USTFCCCA National Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year, respectively. The outdoor season begins this Saturday with the Texas State Quad meet in San Marcos, Texas. Women - With their efforts at the NCAA indoor meet, the Razorback women earned 15 All-America accolades last week. Five athletes were two-time recipients. Arkansas is set to open its outdoor season Saturday with the Texas State Quad in San Marcos, Texas.


    Auburn opens its 2013 outdoor season at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays March 28-30.


    Men - The Florida track & field team finished the 2013 indoor season at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The Gator men turned in a runner-up finish with 59 points. Marquis Dendy and Eddie Lovett, both on the Bowerman Trophy Watch List, captured individual titles during the two-day meet. Dendy set an NCAA Championship meet record and Florida program record with his leap of 8.28m/27-2 to take the men’s long jump title and his mark puts him at sixth-best in the history of the NCAA. Dendy leads the NCAA and the U.S. in the event in 2013 and is third in the world this year. Lovett won the NCAA title in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with his time of 7.50, setting a new NCAA Championship meet record and a new UF record in the process. Lovett is now the third-fastest performer in the history of the NCAA. The Florida men’s 4x400-meter relay finished second overall with a season’s best 3:03.71, the second-best time in NCAA Championship meet history and the second-best at Florida. The time, set by freshman Najee Glass, sophomore Hugh Graham, Jr., freshman Arman Hall and sophomore Dedric Dukes is third-fastest in collegiate history. Senior Omar Craddock turned in a runner-up finish in the men’s triple jump, leaping to a new personal best of 16.80m/55-1.50, keeping himself at third all-time at Florida. Dendy jumped to a fourth-place result in the event, registering a 16.20m/53-1.75 mark after his record-breaking day Friday. Dendy finished with 15 points scored over the course of the two-day meet. Also scoring for the Gator men was junior Sean Obinwa, who came in fourth in the men’s 800 meters with second-fastest indoor 800 of his career in 1:47.81. Obinwa was the only finalist who also made the 800 final in 2012. Senior David Triassi, competing in his first NCAA Indoor Championships, finished eighth overall with his mark of 20.68m/67-10.25. Triassi earned All-America honors for the first time in his career after winning the SEC Indoor title just a few weeks ago. Dukes competed in his first NCAA Indoor Championships, adding to his performance as the anchor on the men’s 4x4 by advancing to the finals of the men’s 200 meters with a preliminary time of 20.89. Dukes then raced in the fastest final of the night, taking third in his section and fifth overall with a time of 20.70, tying his personal best. Overall, 10 Gators earned 14 All-America honors. Florida was the only program to produce multiple two-time first-team honorees with three –Dendy, Glass and Dukes. Next up for the Gators is the start of the 2013 outdoor season. UF begins the outdoor season this weekend with athletes competing at the UCF Invitational in Orlando and the FSU Relays in Tallahassee. The Florida men are ranked No. 3 in the USTFCCCA preseason poll. Women - The Gator women scored all of their 17 points on the final day of the NCAA Indoor Championships, using three top-five finishes, two seasonal bests and a personal best during the day to finish 13th in the team competition. Sophomore Ciarra Brewer soared to a new personal best in the women’s triple jump with her leap of 13.69m/44-11, good for bronze-medalist honors and putting her at second all-time in Gator history. Agata Strausa finished third in the women’s mile with a season’s best of 4:36.91, the second-fastest time of her career. Strausa was one of the final entries into the event after racing at the Alex Wilson Invitational during Last Chance Weekend. The Florida women’s 4x400-meter relay, consisting of junior Ebony Eutsey, freshman Destinee Gause, freshman Robin Reynolds and senior Lanie Whittaker, finished fourth overall with a season’s best of 3:31.54, the second-fastest time in program history. Overall, nine Gators earned 10 All-American honors, as Eutsey was the only two-time All-American of the meet for the Orange and Blue. Next up for the Gators is the start of the 2013 outdoor season. UF begins the outdoor season this weekend with athletes competing at the UCF Invitational in Orlando and the FSU Relays in Tallahassee. The Florida women are ranked No. 7 in the USTFCCCA preseason poll.


    Men - The Bulldogs posted six top collegiate finishes and four victories to kick off their outdoor season at the Georgia Relays in Athens over the weekend.  Junior transfer Johnathan Smith produced one of the most spectacular moments in UGA's opener after winning the 100-meter dash with a national leading time of 10.20.  This time shot the three-time Division III All-American to fourth in the Bulldog record books with the fastest time since the school record of 10.01 was set by Bode Osagiobare in 1994.  True freshman Ashinia Miller launched the nation's second-longest shot put toss this year at 62 feet, 6 inches to be the top collegiate finisher in the event.  Miller, who only finished behind 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and former Bulldog All-American Reese Hoffa in the competition, moved to fifth on the school's all-time top-10 list.  While junior Burke McCarty won the discus with the country's ninth-longest effort this season (180-10), Miller also managed a second-place finish in this event with a throw of 178-4.  Sophomore Charles Grethen competed on Georgia's Spec Towns Track for the first time in the 1500 and captured a victory with a 3:55.75.  Another true freshman, Maurice Freeman, soared over a personal-best height of 6-10.75 to earn runner-up honors in the high jump.  The Bulldogs return to action at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 22-23. Women - The Lady Bulldogs highlighted their first outdoor meet of 2013 by winning six events and grabbing seven top collegiate finishes.  In one of her first meets back since suffering a detached retina in January, sophomore Morgann Leleux opened the year by winning the pole vault with a mark of 14 feet, 1 1/4 inches, which ties for the national lead.  Leleux was the 2012 SEC outdoor champion and runner-up at both the NCAA meets last year.  On the track, freshman Briana Vaughn tied for the fourth-best 100-meter dash time (11.37) in school history to win the event during her first outdoor meet as a Lady Bulldog.  This is the second-fastest finish in the nation this year while Vaughn's teammate, Myasia Jacobs, took fourth in the event with an 11.59.  Junior Elizabeth Tepe, a 25-year-old Marine veteran, won the hammer throw with the fifth-best toss (191-5) in school history and the country's ninth-best throw this year.  Tepe was the junior college national record holder during her two seasons at Saddleback Junior College.  Another newcomer, freshman Leontia Kallenou, cleared 5-10.75 on her first try in the high jump to be the top collegiate finisher (second overall) behind former Lady Bulldog and two-time Olympian Levern Spencer.  This gives Kallenou the 10th-best mark in Georgia history and ranks her fourth on the national list.  The Lady Bulldogs also went 1-2-3 in the 5000 as Nicole DiMercurio (17:07.32), Leslie Boozer (17:20.44) and Morgan VanGorder (17:25.84) finished to lead the 40-woman field.  In addition, Rashan Brown, Quintunya Chapman, Torrenzia Lyles and Taylor Hollingsworth won the 4x400 relay after finishing their laps in 3:46.55.  Georgia returns to action at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 22-23.


    Men - Kentucky opened the 2013 outdoor season with five event titles at the USF Bulls Invitational. 2012 discus First Team All-American Andrew Evans led the way for the Wildcats as he finished in the top three each of the three events he competed in, with two personal best performances and an event victory. Evans ranks in the SEC top-two in all three of those events. He won the discus with a personal-record mark of 59.27M/194’05”. That mark ranks No. 2 in the nation. He took second in the hammer throw with a PR 56.94M/186’10”, giving him the No. 2 hammer throw in the SEC. Evans also claimed third in the shot put with a throw of 16.39M/53’09.25”, a mark which ranks No. 2 in the SEC. Keffri Neal won the 1,500 meters with a personal-record time, which is third-best in the SEC, of 3:51.60. Raymond Dykstra showed off his 2012 All-America credentials in the javelin with a meet-winning performance of 67.84m/222’07”, which ranks No. 3 in the SEC and tenth nationally. Keith Hayes built off the momentum he accumulated over the last few weeks of his All-America indoor season winning his first 110-meter hurdles race of the season with the SEC’s No. 2 time of 14.02. The men’s 4x100-meter relay squad posted the conference’s No. 2 time in a winning performance. Women - The Kentucky women’s track and field teams started the outdoor season with a pair of event titles to headline the Wildcats’ opening meet, the USF Bulls Invitational. Kayla Parker won the 100-meter hurdles with a PR 13.51 performance, a time which ranks No. 5 nationally and second in the SEC. The women’s 4x100-meter relay team of Tamyah Pipkin, Morganne Phillips, Julie Nunn and Keilah Tyson posted the nation’s No. 5 time last weekend winning in 44.95. Hiruni Wijayaratne enjoyed a strong start to the outdoor season as she finished second in the 800 meters and third in the 1,500 meters. Her 800m time of 2:17.43 was more than a 12-second personal best, after she missed a PR in the 1,500 meters by just .28 seconds with a time of 4:37.81. Her 1,500 meters time ranks No. 3 in the nation, and her 800M time is the SEC’s fifth-fastest. Morganne Phillips finished second in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 23.74, which ranks No. 5 in the SEC, and No. 13 in the nation. Rebecca Famurewa’s hammer throw of 53.14M/174’04” is third-best in the SEC in the outdoor season’s early going.

    Men - Sophomore Rodney Brown kicked off the 2013 outdoor season by smashing his personal best in the discus while taking the title at the Louisiana Classics meet as the early-season NCAA leader in the event held Saturday afternoon at the Ragin’ Cajuns Track Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Brown threw a series-best of 197 feet, 1 inch on his fourth throw of the competition to break his previous PR of 190-8 that was also set at the Louisiana Classics in a runner-up finish in his collegiate debut during the 2012 outdoor season. A native of Chappell Hill, Texas, Brown has already proven himself as an All-America candidate as the No. 1-ranked performer in the men’s discus by nearly three feet following the first weekend of the season as he leads the No. 2-ranked performance of 194-5 by Kentucky junior Andrew Evans. Brown is also the No. 3-ranked discus thrower in the history of the LSU men’s program as he climbs three spots on the school’s all-time performance list following Saturday’s victory. Senior Daniel Obioha followed Brown in fourth place with a season-opening throw of 161-4, while sophomore Jeremy Tuttle trailed in fifth place with a personal-best throw of 153-3 in the discus. Tuttle opened the outdoor season with two personal bests as he also finished runner-up in the men’s hammer throw with a career-best of 193-6. Freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and junior Shermund Allsop set the pace on the track as Mitchell-Blake ran a wind-aided time of 10.40 seconds for second place and Allsop sprinted to a wind-aided time of 10.48 for third place in the final of the 100-meter dash on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers return to action this weekend as they play host to the LSU Relays on Friday and Saturday at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium in Baton Rouge. Women - Leading the way for the Lady Tigers in Saturday’s outdoor season opener at the Louisiana Classics meet were sophomores Tori Bliss and Doren Welch as each took home a victory in their respective throwing event with performances that rank among the Top 10 of the school rankings following the first weekend of the 2013 campaign. Welch wasted no time in writing her name in the school record books after unleashing a throw of 153 feet, 2 inches on her very first javelin throw of the competition to clinch the victory in the women's. The sophomore transfer from LSU-Eunice became the No. 8-ranked javelin thrower in school history as she took the title over Nicholls State's Jaimee Springer (147-7). Lady Tiger freshman Kelsey Carlsen followed Welch in fourth place in the javelin final after throwing 140-2 in the fourth round of her collegiate debut at the Louisiana Classics. Bliss added a victory of her own in the women’s discus with a personal-best throw of 157-2 as the No. 10-ranked thrower in program history while eclipsing her previous PR of 149-6 set last season by more than seven feet. Also winning event titles for the Lady Tigers on Saturday afternoon were junior Toshika Sylvester in the 100-meter dash with a season-opening wind-aided run of 11.58 seconds and freshman Andria Aguilar in the 800-meter run with an outdoor personal best of 2 minutes, 13.18 seconds. The Lady Tigers  return to action this weekend as they play host to the LSU Relays on Friday and Saturday at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium in Baton Rouge.

    Ole Miss

    Men - Ole Miss will open its 2013 outdoor season this weekend at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge in Starkville, Miss. Headlining a strong group of returning athletes is 2012 Olympian Isiah Young. The senior from Junction City, Kan., was the SEC 200 meter champion last year and ran the 200 for Team USA at the London Olympics. He broke the Ole Miss records in the 100 and 200 last year. This will be his first action of 2013 because his indoor eligibility was exhausted in 2012. The Rebels will also have 2013 Indoor All-Americans Ricky Robertson (high jump, triple jump) and Sam Kendricks (pole vault) leading the way this outdoor season. The Ole Miss men placed sixth at last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge and 38th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Women - Ole Miss will open its 2013 outdoor season this weekend at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge in Starkville, Miss. Headlining the Rebel women is freshman Asia Cooper, who earned first team Indoor All-America honors in the 60 meters earlier this month. Other top athletes for the women include last year’s SEC heptathlon runner-up and Outdoor All-American Fabia McDonald, triple jumper Marci Morman (third in SEC last year), pole vaulter Neal Tisher (third in SEC last year) and distance runner Katie Breathitt (fifth in SEC 3000m steeplechase last year). The Ole Miss women placed seventh at last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge.

    Mississippi State

    After finishing the indoor season with top accolades, Mississippi State track and field team will open the outdoor season as it hosts the third annual Big Ten-SEC Challenge.  Teams competing with the Bulldogs include conference foes Ole Miss and Tennessee, as well as Illinois, Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Missouri State. Erica Bougard seeks to continue her team leadership during the outdoor campaign, as she led the Lady Bulldogs to a Top 20 team finish while capturing an individual national title at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The only woman to represent MSU at nationals, Bougard entered the meet ranked fourth nationally in the pentathlon and second in the SEC. Her total of 4,399 points at the championships is the best in school history. On the men’s side, freshman Brandon McBride is likely to make a strong impact for MSU, reaching NCAAs in the 800-meter run in just his first year in maroon and white. Jason Harper and Tavaris Tate are also Bulldogs to watch. Action will begin in Starkville at the Carl Maddox Track on Friday at 4 p.m. as the meet kicks off with the men’s and women’s hammer. Competition will continue on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. and is expected to wrap up around 5:15 p.m.  


    The University of Missouri will kick off the outdoor season at home this weekend with the Missouri Relays.  The Tigers return to the track after a ninth-place finish for the women and eighth-place finish for the men at their first SEC Championships in February.  The Tigers rounded out their history-making season with a trip back to Fayetteville, AR, for the NCAA Indoor Championships, where seniors Laura Roxberg and Malcolm Pennix saw action in the mile and long jump, respectively, sophomore Kearsten Peoples placed ninth in the shot put, and freshman Markesh Woodson earned fifth in the 60m dash.  Events for the Missouri Relays, which will boast both collegiate and high school competition, will kick off Friday at 11:30 a.m. and continue through Saturday.

    South Carolina

    In their first meet of the outdoor season, the Gamecocks collected 11 wins at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami, Fla.  Taking a week off from her specialty 400-meter dash, sophomore Erika Rucker won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:07.27 to set a new personal record.  The time is the third best in school history and is the fastest time in the country. Also running a collegiate-leading time was senior Kierre Beckles.  Beckles won the 100-meter hurdles after clocking in at 13.14.  Senior Jarrod Hutchen is the third Gamecock who sits atop the collegiate ranks.  Hutchen won the men’s long jump with a leap of 25-05 ¼ (7.75m). Senior Ceci Kryst posted two wins in the horizontal jumps over the weekend.  Kryst picked up the long jump win with a mark of 18-10 ½ (5.75m) and the triple jump win with a mark of 38-06 ¾ (11.75m). Junior Chris Royster ran a 10.53 in the 100-meter dash to win, while sophomore Eric Winfrey took third at 10.64. Royster and Winfrey pulled double duty on Saturday, running in the 200-meter dash as well.  Royster placed second at 21.29 and Winfrey finished third at 21.34. Senior Breanna Radford, who finished second in the hammer throw on Friday, picked up her first win of the outdoor season in the women’s shot put on Saturday.  Radford’s throw of 53-07.00 (16.33m) is a new outdoor personal best and is the third best throw in Gamecock history. It is also the second-best throw of the collegiate outdoor season. The Gamecocks started and ended their Saturday with a relay win in Miami.  In the first running event of the day, the women’s 4x100-meter relay, South Carolina finished 1-2.  The team of sophomore Christal Green, freshmen Alexis Murphy and Tyler Brockington and junior Vashti Bandy ran a 45.81 to take the win.  It is the third fastest time of the young season.  The second Gamecock team finished just on their heels to take second at 45.85. After taking second in the 4x100-meter relay, the Gamecock men won the 4x400-meter race.  Senior Chris Maxwell, freshman Jermaine Collier, sophomore Chris Walker and junior Chris Royster ran 3:13.83 to pick up the win. Redshirt freshman Jemekia Wilson started the week off with a win in the women’s javelin with a throw of 111-11 (34.11m).  The Gamecocks return to Columbia to host the Weems Baskin Invitational on Friday and Saturday.


    The University of Tennessee track & field team will open its 2013 outdoor slate this weekend at the annual SEC/Big 10 Challenge in Starkville, Miss. The Lady Vols and Vols will join forces with Mississippi State and Ole Miss to represent the SEC, while Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin will carry the flag of the Big 10. The Big Orange capped the 2013 indoor season by earning three USTFCCCA All-America honors. The Vols’ Jake Blankenship, the SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year, led the way with a first team honor after placing fourth at the NCAA Championships in the men’s pole vault. Now a four-time All-American, senior middle distance runner Nijgia Snapp was awarded second team honors for her performance in the women’s 800m at the NCAA indoor meet. Fellow Lady Vol Linda Hadfield concluded the honors for UT with honorable mention acclaim for her performance in the women’s pole vault at nationals.  Last season, the Lady Vols rebounded from a 48th-place finish in the indoor season to a tie for ninth place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. It was the Lady Vols best NCAA Outdoor outcome since 2005, generating 21 total points. The Vols also earned points at the outdoor meet, as the men’s 4x100m relay squad earned first-team All-America acclaim. Tennessee returns outdoor All-Americans Chase Brannon (pole vault), Arnez Hardnick (4x100mR), Jamol James (4x100mR), Reggie Juin (4x100mR), Jarael Nelvis (4x100mR) and Matthew Hoty (shot put). The Lady Vols welcome back Linda Hadfield (pole vault), Kia Jackson (4x100mR), Martinique Octave (4x100mR, 4x400mR), Kianna Ruff (4x400mR) and Nijgia Snapp (4x400mR). Next week, the Big Orange will take part in the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by State Farm, as well as sending small contingents to the Stanford Relays and Raleigh Relays.

    Texas A&M

    After opening the outdoor season with a collection of five meet records amid 16 victories and four top collegiate finishes at Arizona State’s Baldy Castillo Invitational, the Aggies will travel to USC for the Trojan Invitational this weekend while a group of throwers compete at the Bobby Lane Invitational hosted by UT-Arlington. Texas A&M will compete against a field at USC that includes BYU, Cal Poly Pomona, Washington, Washington State, and the host Trojans along with women’s teams from Hawaii and Utah. Men - Sam Humphreys broke his own meet record at the Baldy Castillo Invitational as his winning mark of 267-1 (81.40) in the javelin places the Aggie senior at No. 10 on the collegiate all-time list. Humphreys is the current U.S. and collegiate leader while ranking seventh on the 2013 world list. Teammate Devin Bogert finished second in the javelin with a career best mark of 238-5 (72.66). Wayne Davis II broke a 12-year-old meet record of 13.67 in the 110 hurdles with a swift 13.54 while Prezel Hardy, Jr. claimed a sprint double with wins in the 100 (10.40) and 200 (20.81). Hardy also anchored the A&M 4x100 that established a meet record of 38.76 to break a 39.01 set by Tennessee in 2001. The relay foursome also included Ameer Webb, Aldrich Bailey, Jr., and Michael Bryan. A&M’s 4x400 crew of Greg Coleman, Ricky Babineaux, Bailey, Jr. and Bralon Taplin claimed a win in 3:06.44 over Arizona State’s 3:07.12. Coleman also won the 400 hurdles in 51.52 while Devion Harris cleared 6-10 ¾ (2.10) to win the high jump. Isaac Spencer ran 5:55.55 for victory in the 2,000-meter steeplechase while Dalton Rowan was the top collegian in the discus with a 183-8 (55.98) mark. Women - Shelbi Vaughan’s first discus throw as an Aggie measured 185-0 and bettered the A&M school record of 176-10 (53.91) set in 2003. All six of Vaughan’s throws in her series topped the previous Aggie record, with five of the six past 180 feet, as she finished as the top collegian in the meet while establishing U.S. and collegiate leading marks. Ashton Purvis clocked 11.35 to win the 100 meters with a U.S. and collegiate leading time, currently the second fastest wind-legal time in the world for 2013. Purvis also ran a leg of the Aggies winning 4x100 relay that set a world-leading time of 43.31. The relay also included LaKeidra Stewart, Kamaria Brown and Ashley Collier. Brown posted a victory in the 200 with an outdoor world-leading time of 22.85 that had her finishing ahead of Jessica Beard’s 23.02 and teammate Oliva Ekpone’s 23.34 while breaking a 13-year-old meet record. LaQue Moen-Davis won the long jump with a 20-3 mark and finished third in the 100 hurdles with a 13.92. Brea Garrett set an outdoor best of 50-3 ¼ (15.32) to win the shot put. Kendall Munoz led an Aggie crew in the javelin with a mark of 154-0 (46.95). Sophie Blake lowered her career best in the 1,500 to 4:30.22 in finishing as the top collegian and third overall.


    The Vanderbilt track and field team will open the 2013 outdoor season at home. The Commodores will host the Black & Gold Invitational on Friday and Saturday, March 21-22, at the Vanderbilt Track. Vanderbilt is coming off a successful indoor season that saw its first All-American since 2005. Junior high jumper Brionne Williams qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the high jump and placed 14th in the nation, earning Second Team All-America honors. Williams' top jump on the season was a career-best six feet at the Indiana Relays. She became the first track and field All-American at Vanderbilt since Josie Hahn placed sixth in the pentathlon in '05. The Commodores will also host the Vanderbilt Invitational April 19-20 as the outdoor season builds towards the SEC Championships (May 9-12 at Missouri), the NCAA East Preliminary Round (May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C.) and the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.).