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    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook

    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook (March 28, 2013)


    Lightning and heavy rain cancelled most of the action Saturday night at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays, but the inclement weather failed to dampen the mood of hundreds of Alabama track and field alumni that enjoyed a weekend of fellowship culminating in the formal rededication of the Sam Bailey Track Stadium. Freshman Elias Hakansson shattered a school record in the men's hammer throw.That victory was one of three individual event wins and two relay victories for the Crimson Tide on Friday. Hakansson obliterated a 15-year-old record in the hammer, eclipsing the previous school mark of 195 feet, 4 inches set by Derrick Jones in 1998. He did so on his first attempt in a series of five attempts in which all three of his legal throws exceeded Jones' mark. Hakansson finished the day with a best of 210-0 (64.01 meters) and ended the day owning the three best throws in UA history. His first effort traveled 209-5 (63.83m) and his other legal attempt traveled 203-10 (62.14m).


    Men - Arkansas began its outdoor campaign as the No. 2 team in the country in the USTFCCCA preseason poll. At the season-opening Texas State Elite meet, the Razorbacks collected four event wins including an NCAA-best effort by Andrew Irwin in the pole vault. He had a final clearance of 5.60m/18-4.5 to secure the win. Next weekend, Arkansas is split between its home Spring Invitational at John McDonnell Field and the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Women - Arkansas was the No. 12 team in the USTFCCCA preseason poll. The Razorbacks opened their outdoor season with seven event wins at the Texas State Elite in San Marcos, Texas. The team was led by a pair of NCAA-leading performances by Regina George at 800 meters (2:03.79) and Sparkle McKnight in the 400-meter hurdles (56.62). Arkansas returns to action next weekend with the team split between its home Spring Invitational at John McDonnell Field, Texas Relays in Austin and Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.


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


    Sophomore Kyle Strawn captured the first hammer throw title of his career with a new personal best of 62.20m/204-1. Strawn bested his previous PB from his freshman year at UC-Santa Barbara by exactly 20 feet. Strawn is now second all-time in the event at Florida. Junior Shelby Hayes raced to the first individual victory of her track career in the women’s 1,500 meters, running to a 4:23.67 finish just ahead of teammate Mandy Perkins, who came in second in 4:25.15. Junior Stephanie Strasser also turned in a top-five finish with her fifth-place time of 4:31.22. Freshman Jimmy Clark clinched a victory in his first outdoor campaign with a 3:48.12 finish in the men’s 1,500 meters. Clark was one of four Gators to finish in the top 10 in the event. Two Gators captured event titles on the second day of the UCF Invitational, as sophomore Michael Burris and senior Leonardo Seymore took home titles on a rainy Saturday at the UCF Track and Soccer Complex. Burris picked up a victory in the men’s 400 meters in a new personal best of 47.89. Teammate Jovon Toppin turned in a runner-up finish with his time of 47.98. In the 100 meters, senior All-American and NCAA 4x4 Champion Seymore won the event in 10.56 to capture the first outdoor individual victory of his career. Sophomore Gissell Warner leapt to a new personal best of 12.09m/39-8 in the women’s triple jump, finishing third in the event. Next up for the Orange and Blue is the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by State Farm. The four-day meet begins Wednesday, March 27 at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The Gators will also compete next weekend at the North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. and the distance corps will travel to Palo Alto, Calif. for the Stanford Invitational.


    Men - The Bulldogs competed in an abbreviated version of the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa over the weekend.  Strong storms stalled the meet on Saturday night, which is when most of the events of the meet were scheduled.  Georgia managed a 6-7-8 finish in the 1500-meter run after freshman Zane Coburn was the top finisher from the SEC with a 3:53.87.  Sophomore Charles Grethen (3:54.20) and freshman Zack Sims (3:54.47) were seventh and eighth across the finish line.  In the throws, junior Burke McCarty posted the top SEC finish in the discus after watching his third throw travel 171 feet, 11 inches.  Freshman Pierce Vincent also took fourth in the 100.  The Bulldogs return to action at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta on March 29-30. Women - Like the Georgia men, the Lady Bulldogs competed at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala., over the weekend until strong storms in the area cancelled the meet.  Junior Elizabeth Tepe managed a personal best in the hammer throw before the thunder and lightning arrived to take second.  Tepe worked up to a sixth and final throw of 194 feet, 4 inches, which improved her No. 5 spot in the school record books and moved her to 17th on the national performance list (third in the SEC).  Senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier matched her season best in the high jump of 5-8.75 to grab the top collegiate finish (second overall).  On the track, fellow senior Leslie Boozer clocked a personal-best 4:34.60 in the 1500-meter run to take third in the 37-woman field.  Freshman Briana Vaughn, sophomore Tynia Gaither, freshman Shaunae Miller and freshman Myasia Jacobs also combined to cross the 4x100 relay finish line in 45.99 for second place.  Georgia returns to competition in Atlanta on March 29-30 for the Yellow Jacket Invitational.


    Men -  Kentucky opened the 2013 outdoor season with five event titles at the USF Bulls Invitational two weeks ago. 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-10 in all three of those events. He won the discus with a personal-record mark of 59.27M/194’05”. He took second in the hammer throw with a PR 56.94M/186’10”. Evans also claimed third in the shot put with a throw of 16.39M/53’09.25. Keffri Neal won the 1,500 meters with a personal-record time of 3:1.60. 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. 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 a time of 14.02. 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 two weeks ago. Kayla Parker won the 100-meter hurdles with a PR 13.51 performance. The women’s 4x100-meter relay team of Tamyah Pipkin, Morganne Phillips, Julie Nunn and Keilah Tyson won 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. Morganne Phillips finished second in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 23.74.

    Following a historic performance at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays a year ago, the LSU Track & Field teams will return to Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas this week as the Longhorns play host to the 86th edition of one of the celebrated events of the outdoor season.

    Ole Miss

    Men - The Rebel throwers highlighted No. 11 Ole Miss’ outdoor season-opening performance at the Conference Challenge in Starkville over the weekend.  Ole Miss teamed up with Mississippi State and Tennessee to help the SEC win the men’s challenge against teams from the Big Ten and Western Athletic conferences at the Carl Maddox Track Facility. The SEC men out-scored the challengers 287-264. In his first college outdoor meet, freshman Onyi Afoaku entered the school record books at No. 2 in the discus, No. 4 in the shot put and No. 6 in the hammer throw. He was runner-up in the discus at 177-8.25, placed sixth in the shot at 52-6.5 and seventh in the hammer at 147-11.75. He ranks eighth in the SEC and 32nd nationally in the discus. He is No. 2 among SEC freshmen and No. 3 among the nation’s freshmen in the discus. Junior Benjamin Lapane heaved a personal-best hammer throw of 159-4.75 to move up to fourth in the school record books. Lapane also placed runner-up in the javelin with a mark of 216-5, which is just five inches shy of his personal best that ranks him third-best in school history. He ranks 26th in the nation in the javelin. Ole Miss returns to action this coming Saturday at the prestigious Texas Relays in Austin. Women - The distance runners paced the way for the Ole Miss women in their outdoor season-opening performance at the Conference Challenge in Starkville over the weekend. Ole Miss teamed up with Mississippi State and Tennessee to help the SEC win the women’s challenge against teams from the Big Ten, Missouri Valley and Western Athletic conferences at the Carl Maddox Track Facility. The SEC women out-scored the challengers 360-217. Victories by junior Kayleigh Skinner in the 3,000 meters and sophomore Haley Cutright in the 3,000-meter steeplechase were among the highlights. Skinner’s time of 9:51.04 in the 3,000 was a personal best and moved her up to No. 2 in the school record books. Cutright was the lead runner in a dominating steeple for Ole Miss, which had four of the top six finishers in the race. She ran a 10:32.96 in the first time she has ever competed in the event to rank her second-best in school history, while senior Anne Threlkeld’s time of 10:48.10 ranks her fourth in school history. After the weekend, Cutright comes in at No. 4 nationally and Threlkeld is No. 16 in the country. Senior Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen finished runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:00.63 that ranks her 29th nationally. Sophomore Shari Russell leaped to a personal-best 19-11.75 to place fourth on Saturday and ranks 10th nationally in the long jump. Ole Miss returns to action this coming Saturday at the prestigious Texas Relays in Austin.

    Mississippi State

    Despite rainy weather at the Carl Maddox Track Facility, the Mississippi State track and field team was not affected in its pursuit to finish on top, as the Southeastern Conference captured both men’s and women’s wins on Saturday at the Conference Challenge. Working along side SEC foes Tennessee and Ole Miss, MSU donned six first-place finishes to help give the conference 360 points for the women and 287 for the men. The challengers, comprised of Illinois, Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Missouri State, claimed 217 on the women’s side, while the men earned 264 on the day. Highlighted by strong field performances and leadership from distance veterans, the Maroon and White squads were vital in aiding the SEC to victories. Allison Storey threw for 40.53 meters in the javelin to win the event and grab 10 points for the conference. Ebony Brinker also won her field event, after posting 38-09.00 in the triple jump, while Alyssa Hall finished second in the high jump, clearing 5-05.00. Both MSU 4x400-meter relay teams surpassed their competition with ease, as the women clocked 3:42.51, and the men posted a time of 3:08.68 to finish first.  Meanwhile, Marcus Jackson, who was runner-up in the high jump at 2013 NCAA Indoors, kicked off his outdoor season by clearing 7-02.50 in the event and earning another first-place finish for the Bulldogs. Also excelling in field action was Jason Harper, who won the triple jump with a leap of 49-05.00. With help from Cornelia Griesche (10:47.39) and Adrianna Poole (11.08.19) in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, the pair collected 10 points, finishing second and fifth, respectively. Distance runners Juan Sanchez (3:52.41) and Patrick Monaghan (3:54.44) crossed the line at the front of the pack in the men’s 1500-meter run, as Sanchez finished second and Monaghan followed in third to add 14 points to the SEC total. Also boasting top performances include Daundre Barnaby, who ran the 200-meter dash in 21.50 seconds to finish second, and Nathan Arnett whose time of 14.17 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles landed him in second as well. Next on the schedule for MSU is a trip to Austin for the Texas Relays on March 27-30.


    Mizzou opened their outdoor season at home last weekend, as they hosted the Missouri Relays at the Audrey J. Walton Stadium.  It was successful weekend for the Tigers, starting with thirteen new PRs including a new meet record Friday afternoon.  Highlighting day one of the competition was the distance crew, as juniors Chris Spudic and Hayden Legg both ran to wins in the 3k steeplechase and 5k run, respectively.  Spudic raced to a new meet record of 9:13.46 to take the third spot in current SEC rankings, and Legg finished in 14:20.05 to take the top spot in the current rankings.  Sophomore Brian Duncan also took the win with a huge PR in the hammer throw, marking in at 62.55m (205-2) to take over the no. 2 spot in the conference.  Day two was highlighted by seniors Blake Irwin and Cortni Ervin, and sophomores Kearsten Peoples and Katrine Haarklau.  Irwin moved up from his usual 800m specialty to finish first in the 1500m in 3:51.81, good for fifth in conference rankings.  Ervin's and People's winning marks in the shot put and discus, respectively, place them both at no. 3 in the conference, and Haarklau's top throw in the javelin has her at no. 4.  The Tigers will be back on the track next weekend, as they make the trek back down to Arkansas for the Razorback Spring Invitational on Saturday.

    South Carolina

    Over the weekend, South Carolina hosted the Weems Baskin Invitational in Columbia, S.C., and collected 16 wins over the two-day competition.  Freshman Olivia Hassler and sophomore Megan Wall posted wins in the women’s javelin and pole vault to open the meet on Friday.  In her first collegiate competition, Hassler recorded the third best javelin mark in Gamecock history at 139-1 (42.39m). On Saturday, the Gamecocks won 14. Junior Chris Royster was tops in the 100-meter dash for the second weekend in a row and also crossed the line first in the 200-meter dash to sweep the short sprints.  The women combined to win both relay events as well.  Senior Kierre Beckles, who ran the collegiate leader at 13.14 last weekend, won the 100-meter hurdles for the second weekend in a row. Another Gamecock picking up wins in back-to-back weekends was senior Breanna Radford as she bested the field in the women’s shot put. After sweeping the horizontal jumps last weekend in Miami, senior Ceci Kryst collected her second triple jump win in as many weeks. And a fifth Gamecock to win in consecutive weekends was sophomore Erika Rucker.  Rucker, who recorded the second-best time in the East region at the Hurricane Invitational, won her second 800-meter run of the season. The South Carolina 1-2 punch of freshmen hurdlers Jermaine Coller and Dondre Echols grabbed the first two spots in the 110-meter hurdles and the men’s 4x100-meter relay won as well. Other Gamecocks picking up wins were sophomores Christal Green (400-meter dash), Meredith Mill (1,500-meter run), and Tamera Harris (400-meter hurdles) along with graduate Chelsea France (2,600-meter steeplechase). This weekend, South Carolina will travel to the Raleigh Relays at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.


    Combing for 11 first-place finishes and 28 personal records, the Vol and Lady Vol track & field teams helped lead the Southeastern Conference to victory in a SEC vs. Challengers format to open the 2013 outdoor campaign at Mississippi State’s Conference Challenge this past weekend in Starkville, Miss. Tennessee joined forces with Ole Miss and Mississippi State to represent the league. The Lady Vols contributed to a dominating 360-217 win for the SEC women, while the Vols helped life the SEC men to a 287-264 win at Carl Maddox Track. The Big Orange is back in action this week at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, as well as the Raleigh Relays. Men - The Vols helped lift the SEC to victory by combining to set two meet and facility records, bring home four event titles as well as three runner-up finishes. Last season’s SEC runner-up in the event, sophomore Tavis Bailey led the Orange and White with a victory in the men’s discus. Bailey posted a lifetime best and broke the meet and facility records with a toss of 195-feet, 3.25-inches (59.91m) to win the event. That mark currently ranks third in the nation and second all-time in the UT record book. Competing in his first collegiate meet, redshirt freshman Kyle Quinn also picked up a meet and facility record with his lifetime best mark in the javelin of 218-3.5 (66.53m). Quinn went on to win the event and earn 10 points for the Vols. Junior Chase Brannon also tied for first place in the men’s pole vault competition. On the track, the Vol 4x100-meter relay, which placed seventh at last season’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, finished first in a time of 40.72 seconds. The quartet was made up of Reggie Juin, Jamol James, Jarael Nelvis and Arnez Hardnick. Women - The Lady Vols combined for seven individual event wins and three runner-up performances at the meet. Leading the charge on the track was senior Kelsey Kane, who took the 1,500-meter title in a lifetime best 4:29.76 and finished third in the 3,000m with a another PR (10:07.19). Sprinters Kia Jackson (11.81) and Felicia Brown (23.76) won the 100m and 200m, respectively, while Jackson also added a personal-best long jump performance. The senior joined the 20-foot club with a leap of 20-0.5 (6.11m) to finish third in the event. In other field events, throwers Jessie Harrison, Cassie Wertman and Aslynn Halvorson swept the hammer, shot put and discus throw titles, respectively. Sophomore Erin Champion also grabbed an event title in the women’s pole vault for the Lady Vols.

    Texas A&M

    The Texas Relays in nearby Austin will be the destination for the Aggies this weekend with competition beginning on Wednesday for the heptathlon and decathlon and running through Saturday. Texas A&M will be well represented in numerous relay events as the Aggies contest 11 total relays, seven for the men and four for the women. Competing at USC’s Trojan Invitational this past week A&M totaled 10 victories including a sweep of all four relay events. Men - Ameer Webb posted three victories on his return to his home state of California as the Aggies competed in the USC Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles. Webb, a native of Tustin, California, swept the 100 and 200 meters with winning times of 10.32 and 20.71. He also ran the lead off leg on the winning 4 x 100 relay as A&M posted a time of 39.47, second fastest among collegians to the 38.76 the Aggies ran the previous week at Arizona State. Isaac Spencer chopped 10-plus seconds off his best time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as he won in 8:51.03 to take over the US and collegiate lead early into the 2013 outdoor season. Deon Lendore returned to action with a 45.0 relay carry on the Aggies victory in the 4x400 at 3:07.36. Ricky Babineaux claimed the 400 in 46.71, an outdoor best for the senior. Ryan Miller won a tactical 5,000m race in 14:54.21. A&M throwers competed in Arlington at the Bobby Lane Invitational and were led by Dalton Rowan’s discus victory with a mark of 179-2 (54.61). Women - Freshman Shelbi Vaughan battled through cold temperatures and rain to break her own A&M record in the discus with a winning mark of 188-8 (57.50) at the Bobby Lane Invitational in Arlington. Vaughan increased her US and collegiate mark from a 185-0 (56.40) mark she set in her first collegiate discus competition the previous week at Arizona State. At the USC Invitational the A&M women swept the relays with winning times of 43.72 and 3:35.92. Kamaria Brown claimed the 100 in 11.39 although a timing malfunction missed registering times from the opening heat that included Ashley Collier and Ashton Purvis. Runner-up performances included Aliese Hyde in the 800 (2:09.36) and LaQue Moen-Davis in the 100 hurdles (13.98).


    The annual Black & Gold meet concluded at the Vanderbilt Track on Saturday, highlighted by several personal records. The first highlight came in the 3,000 meters, which saw all three Commodores run personal bests. Freshman Vanessa Valentine was fifth with a time of 9:57.53. Sophomore Clarie Benjamin was 10th, crossing the line in 10:08.33, while junior Megan Yohe was 14th in 10:12.80. The 1,500 meters saw another personal record from Marika Crowe, who finished in 5:02.04. The 100 meter hurdles saw two more career bests. Jennifer Cannon ran 14.15 and Janetra Gleaves ran 14.17. The duo finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The next Vanderbilt highlights came in the 800 meters, where the Commodores were paced by Sara Barron. The rookie crossed the line in 2:10.54. Hannah Jumper was 16th in the 50-runner field with a mark of 2:14.05. Lily Williams joined them in the top-20, placing 19th in 2:14.41. Cannon and Skyler Carpenter each set a personal best in the 400 meter hurdles. Cannon was second with a time of 1:00.33 and Carpenter was fourth with a mark of 1:01.09. The 2,000 meter steeplechase saw two more personal bests from Amira Joseph and Rebecca Chandler. Joseph was fourth in 6:51.64 and Chandler was fifth in 7:01.55. Next on the schedule for Vanderbilt is the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta, March 29-30.