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    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook

    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook (May 22, 2013)

    Alabama

    The Crimson Tide prepares for the NCAA East Regional, to be held in Greensboro, N.C. The regional runs from Thursday, May 23 to Saturday, May 25 and is the qualifying point for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Diondre Batson's SEC title in the 100 meters capped off a strong showing from The University of Alabama's track and field team in the final day of the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Missouri's Audrey J. Walton Stadium. The Alabama men finished sixth with 52 points, the highest finish by the Crimson Tide men since 2006. The women placed 12th, with 20 points. Batson captured the SEC crown with a time of 10.12, beating out a stacked field that included a 2012 Olympian and five of the top 12 100-meter sprinters of 2013.  Batson's time of 10.12 ranks as the fourth fastest time in Crimson Tide history and is the fastest time that an Alabama athlete has run at the SEC Outdoor Championships.

    Arkansas

    Men - The No. 4 Razorback men will send 27 total qualifiers-25 individual and two relays-to the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary which will be held May 23-25 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. Arkansas enters the weekend with individual qualifiers Tarik Batchelor (long jump, triple jump), Neil Braddy (400m), Kemoy Campbell (5,000m), Caleb Cross (400mH), Brede Ellingsen (high jump), David Flynn (3,000m SC), Akheem Gauntlett (400m), Dwayne Golbek (high jump), Solomon Haile (10,000m), Raymond Higgs (long jump), Andrew Irwin (pole vault), Stanley Kebenei (3,000m SC), Noah Kittelson (high jump), Anton Kokorin (400m), Jarrion Lawson (long jump), Anthony Lieghio (800m), Anthony May (high jump, triple jump), Leoman Momoh (800m), Marek Niit (400m), Patrick Rono (800m), Tomas Squella (800m), Ryan Thomas (800m) and Jeff Woods (javelin). The Razorbacks will also have their 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay teams in action. The top 12 in each event from each preliminary event qualify for the national meet, and coupled with the top 12 from the East Preliminary, the top 24 will advance to the NCAA Championships which will take place June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. Along with its prelim entries, Arkansas will have Kevin Lazas and Nathanael Franks competing in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships. Chris Bucknam was named the SEC Coach of the Year while Franks was voted the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year when year-end league honors were announced last week. Women - The No. 8 Razorback women collected 22 total entries-21 individual and one relay-for the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary. The qualifying event for the national meet will be contested May 23-25 in Austin, Texas. Individually, Arkansas will be represented by Makeba Alcide (100mH, high jump), Martine Borge (800m), Stephanie Brown (1,500m), Kaitlin Flattmann (5,000m), Gwendolyn Flowers (400mH), Regina George (400m), Kirsten Hesseltine (high jump), Grace Heymsfield (3,000m SC), Paige Johnston (1,500m), Jessica Kamilos (3,000m SC), Ivanique Kemp (100mH), Shannon Klenke (3,000m SC), Sparkle McKnight (400mH), Tamara Myers (triple jump), Danielle Nowell (pole vault), Diane Robison (5,000m), Semehar Tesfaye (5,000m, 10,000m), Chrishuna Williams (400m) and Keri Wood (1,500m). The Razorbacks' 4x400-meter relay will also compete at this weekend's meet in Texas.  The top 12 in each event from each preliminary event qualify for the national meet, and coupled with the top 12 from the East Preliminary, the top 24 will advance to the NCAA Championships which will take place June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. In addition to its prelim qualifiers, Arkansas will have Alcide competing in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships. Alcide was named the SEC Field Athlete of the Year last week when year-end league honors were announced.

    Auburn

    Auburn enters the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, North Carolina with 19 entries vying for spots in Eugene, Oregon in two weeks … The Tigers boast a pair of SEC champions in Marcus Popenfoose (shot put) and DJ Smith (high jump) … That duo along with Valentina Muzaric and Jessie Johnson earned All-SEC mentions … Both Johnson and Daina Levy were also named to the All-Freshman team … Popenfoose’s win gives Auburn three-straight shot put titles and eight overall since 2003 … The Auburn men have now won individual titles in 14 of the last 15 seasons … The Tigers have won 67 SEC titles (36 men, 31 women) during Ralph Spry’s 16 years as Auburn head coach.

    Florida

    Florida has been awarded 48 qualifiers (22 men, 26 women) for the upcoming NCAA East Preliminary Round, hosted by North Carolina A&T State University. The Gator men are the defending NCAA Outdoor Champions and have placed in the top three at the last four NCAA Outdoor Championships, while the Florida women recorded a third-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Seven Gators enter the East Preliminary Round as the top seed in the region, including both of Florida’s 4x400-meter relays. Individually, Ciarra Brewer in the women’s triple jump, Omar Craddock in the men’s triple jump, Cory McGee in the 1,500 meters, Ugonna Ndu in the 400-meter hurdles and Marija Vucenovic in the javelin all lead the East in their respective events. Craddock also leads the NCAA in the men’s triple jump and is the defending NCAA Outdoor Champion in the event. Five Gators qualified for multiple individual events, including Darshay Davis in the women’s 100 and 200 meters, Marquis Dendy in the men’s long and triple jumps, Lorraine Graham in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump, Ndu in the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles and Agata Strausa in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters. Three members of Florida’s NCAA Champion 4x400-meter relay return to the NCAA field, including Dedric Dukes, Hugh Graham, Jr. and Leonardo Seymore.

    Georgia

    Men - The Bulldogs are gunning to score at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the 16th consecutive year as they aim to break into the top 20 for the eighth time in that span.  First, Georgia has to qualify as many student-athletes as possible to complement sophomore Garrett Scantling and freshman Maicel Uibo, who have already punched their ticket in the decathlon.  Eleven individuals and both the 4x100-meter and 4x400 relay teams have qualified for the NCAA East Regionals in Greensboro, N.C., on May 23-25.  Junior Johnathan Smith (100, 200), sophomore Charles Grethen, senior Daniel Grass, freshman Kisean Smith (800), sophomore Drew Branch (400 hurdles), freshman Maurice Freeman (high jump), junior Caleb Whitener, sophomore Nick Vena, freshman Ashinia Miller, senior Petr Novotny (shot put) and Burke McCarty (discus) are all scheduled to travel to the North Carolina A&T track and attempt to finish in the top 12 spots. Women - The Lady Bulldogs have scored at every NCAA Outdoor Championships but one since 1995, posting seven top-10 finishes during that span.  While senior Lucie Ondraschkova (heptathlon) has already qualified for the finals of the NCAA Championships, 14 other individuals and the 4x100-meter relay team will be making the trip to Greensboro, N.C., for the NCAA East Regional.  The meet begins on May 23 and runs through May 25.  Freshman Briana Vaughn, sophomore Tynia Gaither (100), freshman Shaunae Miller (400), Gaither (200), junior Megan Malasarte (800), sophomore Carly Hamilton (1500), senior Leslie Boozer (steeplechase), senior Morgan VanGorder (10,000), senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier, freshman Leontia Kallenou (high jump), sophomore Morgann Leleux (pole vault), freshman Chanice Porter (long jump), junior Hilenn James (shot put), junior Elizabeth Tepe (hammer throw) and freshman Freya Jones (javelin) are all aiming to finish in the top 12 in their respective events to earn an invite to Eugene, Ore.  Leleux, who was runner-up in the pole vault both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets in 2012, Atkinson-Grier and Malasarte all scored at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships.

    Kentucky

    The Kentucky track and field team will send 27 entries (14 men and 13 women) to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. The UK women’s team qualified 10 competitors in 11 events for a total of 13 entries at the meet. Ten Kentucky men will make the trip to Greensboro as UK will have 14 entries in nine events. Wildcat qualifiers into multiple events include Tamyah Pipkin (100m and 200m), Chelsea Oswald (5K and 10K), Keith Hayes (110H and 400H), Adam Kahleifeh (1,500m and 5,000m) and Isiah Kent (shot put and discus throw). The UK women’s 4x100-meter relay team also qualified for Regionals. The Kentucky men’s team will send three top-10 seeds to East Qualifiers. Andrew Evans, a 2012 All-American, is the No. 3 seed in the discus throw (60.12m/197' 3"). Raymond Dykstra, who is also a returning All-American, ranks sixth in the javelin throw (71.68m/235' 2"), while Keith Hayes – a four time All-American – ranks seventh in the 110-meter hurdles. Chelsea Oswald, the 2013 Southeastern Conference 5,000 and 10,000 meters champion, qualified in each of those events as the Nos. 6 and 8 seeds in those events respectively.  Freshman Rebecca Famurewa is the No. 2 qualifier in the discus throw (57.09m/187' 4"), while Morganne Phillips is the No. 8 qualifier at 400m (52.66). Oswald was named SEC Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year last week. She was also a First Team All-SEC selection. Andrew Evans, Raymond Dykstra and Matt Hillenbrand picked up Second Team All-SEC accolades, while MacKay Wilson was a Freshman All-SEC selection. Fourteen Wildcats, seven men and seven women, qualified for NCAA East Prelims in 2012.
     
    LSU

    Men - The Tigers head to Greensboro, N.C., with 21 entries into the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds beginning Thursday at Irwin Belk Track at North Carolina A&T University. The Top 12 finishers in each of the 20 open and relay events at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds will advance to the national semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held June 5-8 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The Tigers feature the defending NCAA champion 4x100-meter relay team, which was just won the SEC Outdoor title with a seasonal-best of 38.98 seconds for the NCAA’s No. 3-ranked performance in 2013. Also leading the Tigers into the NCAA Championships are returning All-Americans in senior Damar Forbes (long jump) and sophomore Aaron Ernest (100 meters, 200 meters). Forbes was crowned the SEC long jump champion for the first time in his collegiate career on May 11 with a career-best wind-aided mark of 27 feet, 4 ½ inches to soar to the No. 1 spot in the NCAA rankings for 2013. Ernest captured All-America honors in the 100 meters and 200 meters as an NCAA finalist during his freshman season and ranks among the national leaders once again with seasonal best times of 10.04w in the 100 meters and 20.78 in the 200 meters this spring. Sophomore Rodney Brown is also an All-America contender in the men’s discus throw as he owns the NCAA’s No. 3-ranked performance this season with a career-best of 206-3. Women - No team in the NCAA has more entries in the NCAA Preliminary Rounds than the Lady Tigers as they will take their 30 entries to Greensboro, N.C., this weekend for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds beginning Thursday at Irwin Belk Track at North Carolina A&T University. The Top 12 finishers in each of the 20 open and relay events at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds will advance to the national semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held June 5-8 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Senior Kimberlyn Duncan is set to open up the defense of her NCAA Outdoor 200-meter championship as she is the two-time defending champion in the event with national titles as a sophomore in 2011 and as a junior in 2012. Duncan is a strong favorite to win her third-straight NCAA Outdoor crown in the 200 meters as the NCAA leader in the event this season with a seasonal-best time of 22.35 seconds set in the SEC final on May 12. The 2013 SEC Women’s Outdoor Runner of the Year and reigning Bowerman Award winner has an opportunity to become the first sprinter in NCAA history – male or female – to win three-straight NCAA Outdoor titles in the 200-meter dash in a career. Duncan is also the NCAA’s No. 3-ranked 100-meter sprinter this season with a top wind-aided time of 11.06. Other Lady Tigers who rank among the NCAA’s Top 5 in their respective events are junior Natoya Goule as the national leader in the 800 meters with a best of 2:00.76, senior Charlene Lipsey as the No. 3-ranked 800-meter runner at 2:03.13 and junior Jasmin Stowers as the No. 5-ranked 100-meter hurdler with a top wind-aided time of 12.88 in 2013.

    Ole Miss

    Men - Twelve members of the No. 13 nationally ranked Ole Miss men’s team have qualified in 11 different events for the NCAA East Preliminary Round that will take place Thursday-Saturday in Greensboro, N.C., hosted by North Carolina A&T State University. The road to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will first pass through the East and West (Austin, Texas) preliminary rounds. The top 12 finishers in each event at the preliminary sites will advance to the NCAA finals site in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8. Headlining the Rebel qualifiers is Isiah Young, who recently won the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy at the league outdoor meet and was voted SEC Men’s Runner of the Year by the league coaches. The two-time SEC 200 meter champion from Junction City, Kan., ranks No. 1 in the nation in the 200 meters (20.20) and No. 2 in the 100 (10.05). Sophomore Sam Kendricks is the top-ranked pole vaulter in the nation with a school-record mark of 19-0.75 set at the Texas Relays. The Oxford, Miss., native placed runner-up in the pole vault at the SEC Championships in Columbia, Mo. Other qualifiers for the NCAA East Preliminary are Robert Semien in the 110m hurdles (14.10), the 4x100m relay team (39.69), the 4x400m relay team (3:08.25), Malcolm Davis in the long jump (24-5), Morris Kersh in the triple jump (51-9), Onyi Afoaku in the shot put (56-10.75) and discus (179-3), Hunter Harrison in the discus (170-0) and Benjamin Lapane in the javelin (219-1).Women - Ten Ole Miss women have qualified in eight different events for the NCAA East Preliminary Round that will take place Thursday-Saturday in Greensboro, N.C., hosted by North Carolina A&T State University. The road to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will first pass through the East and West (Austin, Texas) preliminary rounds. The top 12 finishers in each event at the preliminary sites will advance to the NCAA finals site in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8. They are Asia Cooper in the 100m (11.62), Kayleigh Skinner in the 10,000m (34:59.20), Taryn Hartfield in the 100m hurdles (13.53), Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen in the 400m hurdles (59.76), Haley Cutright in the 3000m steeplechase (10:21.60), the 4x100m relay team (45.27), Allegra Wells in the long jump (20-5), Shari Russell in the long jump (19-11.75) and Marci Morman in the triple jump (41-8.5). In addition, junior Mary Ashton Nall has qualified for the NCAA Championships in Eugene as the No. 23 national seed in the heptathlon. A native of Auburn, Ala., she earned fourth place in the heptathlon at the recent SEC Championships.
     
    Mississippi State

    Mississippi State will be competing in 14 events at the East Preliminary in Greensboro, N.C. At the SECs, the men had four Top 5 finishes. Jason Harper came in third in the triple jump (52-02.75), while Marcus Jackson also finished third in the high jump (7-00.50). In addition, Scottie Hearns placed fourth in the 400m hurdles at 50.56, while the 4x400-meter relay team collected a fourth-place finish at 3:05.59. On the women’s side, the Bulldogs finished three events in sixth place, while Erica Bougard finished second in the heptathlon with a school-record 3,555 points. At the indoor championships, Bougard won the title in the pentathlon with a school record 4,399 points. In the 400-meter dash, All-American Jody-Ann Muir was clocked at 53.83. In the triple jump, Ebony Brinker had a leap of 41-09.75. The 4x400 team also placed sixth at 3:30.06.

    Missouri

    Mizzou is down in Austin, TX, this week for the NCAA West Preliminary Round.  The 21 Tiger athletes will start events Thursday afternoon with senior Malcolm Pennix ranked well to repeat his NCAA Championship appearance in the long jump.  Also ranked well heading into the competition is freshman Markesh Woodson, who finished third in the SEC Championships for the 100m dash and was fifth in the NCAA Indoor Championships for the 60m dash.  Senior Laura Roxberg and sophomore Kearsten Peoples are ranked second in the 1500m and shot put, respectively, coming off successful SEC Championships a couple of weeks ago.  Other athletes to watch will be senior Blake Irwin in the 800m, senior Dan Quigley in the 5000m, sophomore Macauley Garton in the javelin, senior Max Storms in the 10,000m, sophomore Brian Duncan in the hammer, senior Laura Roxberg in the 1500m, sophomore Kearsten Peoples in the shot put and discus, sophomore Katrine Haarklau in the javelin and pole vault, and sophomore Jill Rushin in the shot put.

    South Carolina

    After securing 20 entries into the 2013 NCAA East Preliminaries, the Gamecocks travel to Greensboro, N.C., looking to book trips to the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. Of the 14 individuals competing this weekend, eight are returning preliminary qualifiers: junior Chris Royster (100m and 200m), Jarrod Hutchen (long jump), Dorian Johnson (triple jump), Erika Rucker (400m), Kierre Beckles (100mH), Jeannelle Scheper (high jump), Petra Olsen (pole vault) and Breanna Radford (shot put). First timers include sophomores Kayla Lampe (10,000m) and Tamera Harris (400mH) along with freshmen Kendall Kee (100m), Dondre Echols (110mH), Jermaine Collier (110mH and 400mH) and Tyler Brockington (400mH). Recent All-SEC honorees Beckles and Scheper enter with the highest seeds. Scheper tops the high jumpers with a clearance of 6’2” (1.88m) with Beckles standing in sixth place with a season-best 10.09 in the 110-meter hurdles. SEC All-Freshman Team honoree Collier will run in both hurdle events after posting a career-weekend at the SEC Championships. South Carolina will also race their men’s and women’s 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays this weekend.

    Tennessee

    The University of Tennessee track & field team will send 25 participants in 19 events to this week’s NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C. The Vols landed 15 in the qualifier, while the Lady Vols will send 10 athletes to compete at Irwin Belk Track inside Aggie Stadium at North Carolina A&T University. Men - Leading the Vols into competition this week will be a slew of field athletes including throwers Matthew Hoty and Tavis Bailey and pole vaulters Jake Blankenship and Chase Brannon. Hoty – an All-SEC Second Team honoree this season – enters the meet with the No. 3 shot put mark (62-8.75/19.12m) in the region. Bailey qualified for both the shot put and discus competitions, and stands sixth with a mark of 195-3 (59.51m) in the disc. Blankenship – a SEC All-Freshman Team honoree – owns the third-best vault mark (18-4.75/5.61m) in the East Region, while Brannon’s third-place jump of 17-9 (5.41m) at the SEC meet this season places him fourth entering the competition. The Vol 4x100m relay, which placed seventh at last season’s NCAA Championships, will also be in the field this weekend. It’s made up of Arnez Hardnick, Jamol James, Reggie Juin and Jarael Nelvis. James and Nelvis will also compete in the 100m, while Nelvis’ third event will be the Vol 4x4. Also qualifying were Cameron Brown (hammer), Antonio Carter (4x400mR), Terrance Livingston (400m, 4x400mR), Tyler Porter (pole vault), Kyle Quinn (javelin), Drew Thomas (hammer) and Michael Williams (4x400mR). Women - Leading the 10 Lady Vols into action will be upperclassmen Nijgia Snapp and Kianna Ruff, as well as the SEC All-Freshman Team duo of Felicia Brown and Cassie Wertman. Snapp heads to Greensboro with the No. 7 mark (2:05.00) in the 800m, while Ruff is 15th in the same event with a time of 2:06.08. Brown, a freshman sprinter, stands 10th (23.19) and 12th (53.01) in the 200m and 400m, respectively. On the infield, Wertman will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships in both the shot put and discus. Her PR tosses of 53-2.25 (16.21m) in the shot put and 164-3 (50.08m) in the discus rank 12th and 30th, respectively. Senior Kia Jackson will compete in both the 100m and the long jump, while the Lady Vols will send a pair of pole vaulters in Linda Hadfield and Erin Champion. Also competing at the meet for UT will be Bianca Blair (100mH), Hannah Davidson (5,000m) and Aslynn Halvorson (discus).

    Texas A&M

    Texas A&M enters the NCAA West preliminary rounds in Austin with the men and women each ranked No. 2 nationally by the computer team rankings produced by USTFCCCA while Track & Field News form charts predict the Aggie men to win the NCAA Outdoor title and the A&M women to finish third in a tight battle with Kansas and Oregon. Texas A&M has 58 entries in the meet, split evenly with 29 per gender. Two of the Aggie women entries, Jena Hemann and Annie Kunz, have qualified for the heptathlon during the NCAA Championship weekend in Eugene, Oregon. Men - The Aggie men have 24 athletes among 29 entries in 16 events. Collegiate leaders for A&M include Sam Humphreys in the javelin, Henry Lelei in the 3,000m steeplechase as well as both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Other top five entrants in the West preliminary rounds include Ameer Webb (2nd in 200, 3rd in 100), Deon Lendore (2nd in 400), Wayne Davis II (3rd in 110 hurdles), and Dalton Rowan (4th in discus). Track & Field News predicts Texas A&M will win five events at the NCAA Championships – Steeplechase, 110 hurdles, 4x100, 4x400 and the javelin. Women - A&M women have 21 athletes among 29 entries in 15 events. The Aggie 4x100 relay continues to lead the collegiate ranks. Other top five entrants in the West preliminary round include Kamaria Brown (1st in 200), Shelbi Vaughan (2nd in discus), LaQue Moen-Davis (3rd in triple jump, 5th in long jump), Ashley Collier (3rd in 100), 4x400 relay (3rd), Ashton Purvis (4th in 100), Jennifer Madu (5th in 100), and Donique’ Flemings (5th in 100 hurdles). In addition to the 4x100 relay being favored by Track & Field News at the NCAA Championships their form chart predicts runner-up finishes in the 200, 4x400 and discus for the Aggies.

    Vanderbilt

    Following its best team performance in eight years at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Vanderbilt track and field team will send 11 competitors (12 entries) to the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C. Four Commodores will run in the 1,500 meters. Freshman Sara Barron, sophomore Hannah Jumper, senior Kristen Findley and freshman Lily Williams are set for that field. Findley enters with the top time of the group at 4:17.98. Three Commodores will run in the 10,000 meters. Look for Liz Anderson, Allie Scalf and Grace Orders in that field. Freshman Jennifer Cannon will run in both the 100 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles. The freshman set a school record in the 100 at the SEC Championships, posting a time of 13.51. Cannon will be joined in the 400 meter hurdles field by classmate Faith Washington. Vanderbilt will see two competitors in the high jump who are both making their second appearance at the preliminary round. Brionne Williams, who was second team All-America in the event during the 2013 indoor season, will be joined by classmate Ellie Tidman in the competition. All the athletes will be looking to advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.