South Carolina Wins on Final Day of VT Invite
BLACKSBURG, Va. – In her 2014 debut, senior Jeannelle Scheper outclassed the field and cleared a NCAA-leading height of 6’ 2” 3/4 (1.90m) in the women’s high jump to claim one of two Gamecock wins on the final day of competition at the Virginia Tech Invitational. The women’s 4x400-meter relay ran the second-fastest time in the NCAA based on times entering the weekend for the second win of the day.
In total, South Carolina brings home four wins after junior Erika Rucker won the 300-meter dash and freshman Natasha Dicks took the top spot in the triple jump last night. The meet was a strong start for the women’s team who was ranked No. 11 in the USTFCCCA’s preseason rankings earlier this week.
After passing the first four bars, Scheper entered the competition at 5’7” and promptly recorded six-straight first-attempt clearances. Having wrapped up the competition with her second clearance, Scheper continued to raise the bar. With the bar set at 6’4” ¾ (1.95m), the St. Lucia native looked to set a new school and personal record, but could not get over on three tries.
The height of 6’2” ¾ eclipses Kent State’s Dior Delophont NCAA-leading mark of 6’ ½ (1.84m) entering the weekend. Scheper raised her own school record last season to 6’3” ¼ (1.91m)
The women’s 4x400-meter relay blasted the field for the second win of the day, turning in the second-fastest time in the NCAA based on times entering the weekend. The quartet of freshman Precious Holmes, Rucker, freshman Briana Haith and redshirt freshman Maris Bellamy led the entire way, clocking in at 3:39.95. The second Gamecock squad finished in fifth place with a time of 3:53.40.
On the men’s side, the group of sophomore Jermaine Collier, juniors Eric Winfrey and Chris Walker along with senior Chris Royster posted the second-fastest collegiate time of the meet and finished third overall with a time of 3:11.51. The time is the eighth fastest in the country this season. A second South Carolina relay grabbed fourth place with a time of 3:16.87.
Junior Petra Olsen cleared a season-best height of 13-07.25 (4.15m) for a second-place finish in the seeded pole vault division. The mark ties her with a handful of other athletes for third on the Division I qualifying list.
Rucker added a second-place finish to her weekend, running a 24.15 in the 200-meter dash. It was her first collegiate race at the distance.
In the women’s 400-meter dash, Bellamy and Holmes captured top-five finishes. The Gamecocks went 4-5 in the event, with Bellamy at 55.88 and Holmes at 55.96.
After a fourth-place finish in the 60-meter dash with a time that matched his lifetime best last night, Royster captured fifth place in the 200-meter dash this afternoon with a 21.70.
Redshirt junior Kaysee Sullivan added another Gamecock top-five finish as her mark of 44’5” 1/4 (13.54m) got her fifth place in the shot put.
Sophomore Alexis Murphy tried her hand at the long jump for the first time in the Garnet and Black, and brings home a fourth-place finish with her leap of 18’3” ¼ (5.57m).
Both South Carolina distance medley relay teams also tallied a top-five finish. Redshirt junior Drew Ricci, redshirt sophomore Juan Stenner, freshman Greg Lowing and redshirt freshman Eric Goings posted a time of 10:36.34 for fourth place in the men’s race. The women’s quartet of sophomore Anna Todd, freshman Mary Reiser, sophomore Ashley Miller and freshman Martha McCoy finished in fifth place with a time of 12:28.40.
Up next, the Gamecocks host their second home meet of the season on Wed., Jan. 22. Action begins with the long jump at 2 p.m. at the USC Indoor Complex. Running kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with the 55-meter hurdle semifinals.
Prezel Hardy, Jr. breaks A&M school record in 60 meters on way to claiming sprint double at Team Invitational
COLLEGE STATION – A school record in the 60 meters by senior Prezel Hardy, Jr. highlighted the Texas A&M 10-Team Invitational on Saturday as the Aggies swept the team titles in front of 2,072 fans at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. Texas A&M recorded 14 victories on the day and broke meet records in half of those wins.
With 209.5 points the A&M men topped the field by a wide margin as Baylor finished second with 91.5 points. Texas-Arlington (73) placed third and they were followed by TCU (51), UT-San Antonio (50), Texas State (42), Abilene Christian (30), Louisiana Tech (30) and Rice (25).
A closer contest on the women’s side had Texas A&M totaling 167 points better Baylor’s 120. SMU placed third with 65 points while Louisiana Tech scored 60 for fourth. The remainder of the field included UT-San Antonio (47), Texas State (42), TCU (37), Rice (34), Texas-Arlington (30) and Abilene Christian (9).
The Aggie sprinting prowess was on display with a set of six fast victories in the 60, 200 and 400 meters. While Hardy swept the 60 and 200 with meet record times of 6.56 and 20.70, Carlyle Roudette claimed the 400 in a personal best of 46.48.
In the women’s sprints Kamaria Brown blistered a 22.96 to better a meet record held by Jessica Beard (23.06) while Olivia Ekpone won the 60 in a PR of 7.33 and Janeil Bellille clocked a 54.48 for the 400 win.
Hardy, feeling sick the whole day, sped to a U.S. leading 6.56 victory in the 60 meters to take down the Aggie school record of 6.59 that Gerald Phiri ran on four different occasions from 2009 to 2011. Hardy, who held a previous best of 6.61 from 2011, bypassed a total of six performances by Phiri on the A&M all-time list including the meet record of 6.63 set in 2010.
Later in the meet, Hardy returned to run a personal indoor best of 20.70 over 200 meters, leading an Aggie 1-2-3 sweep of the event. Hardy moved to No. 5 on the A&M all-time list, improving his previous best of 20.78 from last year’s meet. He also broke a second meet record held by Phiri, who ran 20.87 in 2010.
In the women’s 60 Ekpone and Aaliyah Brown (7.42) went 1-2 while K. Brown led an Aggie 1-2-3 sweep in the 200 with Ashton Purvis (23.57) and Ekpone (23.82). Bellille and Ibukun Mayungbe (55.18) combined for a 1-3 finish in the 400. A&M’s depth in the 200 also claimed non-scoring places 5-6-7-9 with Jennifer Madu (23.98), India Daniels (24.15), A. Brown (24.30) and Shamier Little (24.34).
Included in the men’s sweep of the 200 were Aldrich Bailey, Jr. (20.89) and Michael Bryan (20.97). Shavez Hart ran 6.73 for third in the 60 with Bryan (6.83) placing sixth.
The Aggies capped of the meet with a pair of world-leading times in the 4x400 relay as the women set a meet record of 3:37.16 and the men broke the meet record with a 3:05.68.
Running on the women’s 4x400 unit were Ekpone (54.58), Mayungbe (54.50),Brown (53.19) and Bellille (54.90). They bettered the meet record of 3:40.51 set by A&M in 2012 with Baylor placing second in 3:42.82.
The men’s foursome included Hart (47.24), Bailey (45.98), Deon Lendore (45.87) and Roudette(46.61). They broke the previous meet record of 3:06.25 set in 2013 by the Aggies. Finishing behind A&M was TCU in 3:06.89 and Baylor with a 3:08.99.
Outside of the sprints, LaQue Moen-Davis had a stellar day in the triple jump as she produced six outstanding marks, half of which measured over 44 feet. She broke the meet record of 43-10 (13.36) in the process of challenging the school record mark of 44-4.25 (13.52) held by Yasmine Regis from 2009.
Moen-Davis won the meet and broke the previous meet record with her first attempt of 43-10.75 (13.38). She then improved in round two with a personal best of 44-3.25 (13.49), the No. 2 mark on the Aggie all-time list and just half an inch away from the school record.
The remainder of the series for Moen-Davis included a 44-0 (13.41), 44-0.75 (13.43), 42-7 (12.98) and 43-2.5 (13.17).
Jennifer Madu clipped Baylor’s Brianna Richardson in the final round of the long jump as her effort of 19-4.25 (5.90) moved her past Richardson’s first round leap of 19-1.5 (5.83). In the fifth round of six, Madu came up a quarter of an inch from tying Richardson with a mark of 19-1.25 (5.82).
Casey Strong broke his meet record in the weight throw with a winning toss of 64-11.5 (19.80) while Ben Skrla set a personal best of 61-4.75 (18.71) for third place. Frosh Austin Cook (57-10.5) finished fifth. Strong’s mark is the fourth best performance among the 10 marks he holds on the Aggie all-time list while Skrla moves to No. 2 on the A&M all-time list with the No. 11 performance.
Devion Harris won the high jump with a 6-10.25 (2.09) clearance. Having made the height on his first attempt gave Harris the victory over Roland Sales of UT-Arlington, who needed two attempts at the same height. Both jumpers passed at 6-11.5 (2.12) and missed three attempts at 7-0.5 (2.15).
In the triple jump a 1-2 finish for A&M had Olibanji Asekun winning the event with a 49-6 ½ (15.10) as Jeffrey Prothro hit 48-0.75 (14.65) for second place. A time of 1:51.93 secured the win for Hector Hernandez in the 800 meters with Nick Rollo claiming fourth with a 1:53.62.
Other runner-up performances by the Aggies included Isaac Spencer (4:14.39) in the mile and Aliese Hyde (2:11.81) in the 800. Brea Garrett finished second in the weight throw (63-6) and added a third-place effort in the shot put (50-6).
Ryan Miller (8:23.08) and Austin Wells (8:27.80) finished second and third in the 3,000 meters while Karis Jochen ran 9:52.38 for third in the women’s 3,000.
Kenneth Minkah ran 8.03 in the prelims of the 60m hurdles to move to No. 9 on the Aggie all-time list and placed third in the final with an 8.07. Clifton Harlin cleared 15-5.75 for third in the pole vault while a clearance of 6-8.75 in the high jump earned third place for Sam McSwain.
Brittany Wooten cleared a personal best in the pole vault, getting over 12-10.75 (3.93) on her third try to place fourth. The clearance for Wooten moves her to No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list. Wooten also had three attempts at 13-2.5 (4.03), which was the winning height for McKenzie Johnson of Rice as well as runner-up Annie Rhodes of Baylor.
Hillary Montgomery set a personal best in the mile, placing fourth with a 4:53.37 that places her No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list as the No. 8 performer.
Dezerea Bryant Shatters Two School Records in UK Debut
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dezerea Bryant’s heavily-anticipated UK debut did not disappoint as she shattered school-records in both the 60 and 200 meters during Saturday’s Kentucky Invitational.
Taking the Nutter Field House track for the first time, Bryant smashed former Olympic Bronze Medalist Passion Richardson’s 18-year-old 60m record (7.34) with a nation-leading and personal-best tying time of 7.19 seconds. Bryant began the day by running 7.21 in the preliminary heat.
Bryant upped the excitement less than two hours later by once again smashing a school-record and posting the nation’s No. 2 performance, this time crossing the 200-meter finish line in 23.04.
Bryant’s time bettered the previous UK record, which had been held by Michelle Brown since 1997.
“I think Dez is clearly the performer of the day,” head coach Edrick Floréal said. ”Shattering two school records and posting two national leaders is special. A close second is Keni (Harrison) coming out there in her very first race, breaking school records and being No. 1 in the nation.
“When you think about the whole country right now, we have two girls who have the best performance in the country. That’s pretty unique for the direction we’re heading in.”
Indeed Bryant was not the only Wildcat to rewrite the school’s record book on Saturday. Fellow transfer Kendra Harrison posted the nation’s fastest 60-meter hurdles time (8.19) in the preliminary heats, breaking teammate Kayla Parker’s school record, 8.24, a mark which stood for barely more than one month.
Harrison also won the 400m with a time of 54.49, which ranks No. 8 nationally.
“I think we’re getting better,” head coach Edrick Floréal said. “I think the ultimate goal is always to get better. I still feel like we left a lot on the table. That’s always the difficulty, how do you evaluate how much better you could have gotten?
“I just think we have a much better team than even what people could see today. We have a lot of pieces that still need to fall into place. We’re going to handle that this week as we get ready for next week’s McCravy Memorial Meet.”
In all, Kentucky won eight of 30 events, five for the sixth-ranked women’s team and three on the men’s side.
Keffri Neal continued a hot start to the season, winning his second race from two starts with a mile personal-best time of 4:04.04. He also won the Hoosier Open 1,000m on Dec. 14, 2013.
Bradley Szypka also sustained his strong early-season form by winning the shot put with a top mark of 18.78m/61' 7.5" for his second victory in as many meets this campaign.
UK finished the meet having won three of the four relays on the program as the Wildcat women’s team was able to showcase its tremendous 4x400m relay depth. UK won both the men’s and women’s distance medleys on Friday.
On Saturday, UK fielded two relay squads, which went 1-2.
The lineup of Alisha Adair, Sha’Keela Saunders, Morganne Phillips and Harrison won in 3:42.68. Johna’ Whitaker, Leah Nugent, Bryant and Angelica Whaley posted a time of 3:44.51.
Hiruni Wijayaratne and Charles Moushey both posted runner-up finishes.
Wijayaratne ran a mile time of 5:03.25. Moushey cleared a personal-best pole vault height of 5m/16”4.75” in an impressive freshman home debut.
The Kentucky Invitational served as just a tasty appetizer to the indoor track and field action in store for Lexington. UK will host the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet next weekend.
Of the 15 teams scheduled to compete, seven are ranked inside the national top-25 (both men’s and women’s) including No. 3 Oregon men, No. 4 Oregon women, No. 2 Florida men, No. 3 Florida women, No. 7 Arkansas women and No. 24 Alabama women in addition to the No. 6 UK women’s team.
Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio State, Baylor, Miami (FL) and Illinois are other marquee names scheduled to traveled to Lexington, Ky.
The McCravy will take place Jan. 24-25.
Bulldog Track & Field Gets Nation’s Attention In Season Opener
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Georgia’s track and field teams posted a series of the nation’s top marks to highlight the season-opening Auburn Indoor Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday.
Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton was encouraged with his teams’ first action, but is hoping their development continues next weekend.
“This was an O.K. start to the season because we had several encouraging results, but not the big ones I was hoping for,” said Norton. “We had a young group who found how challenging collegiate indoor track and field can be and will be. Having said that, we survived the ‘baptism.’”
Freshman Leontia Kallenou surged into the No. 2 spot on this year’s national list and No. 3 in the school record books by being the top collegiate finisher in the high jump. Kallenou cleared 6 feet, 2 inches on her first attempt, which is the top mark for Georgia since Levern Spencer set the school record at 6-2.75 in 2008.
On Saturday, Spencer competed unattached and was the overall winner with a height of 6-3.25, which is fourth on this year’s world’s list. Kallenou redshirted the 2013 indoor season before taking fourth at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships in the high jump.
“Kallenou was spectacular in the high jump and we got a nice showing from the veterans in (Megan) Malasarte and (Carly) Hamilton and I thought the men’s sprints group did a good job,” Norton said. “It was encouraging to see (Morgann) Leleux and Maicel Uibo get their seasons underway. Starting the season O.K. is O.K. as long as we follow up next week with a much better week.”
In the pole vault, Morgann Leleux opened her third year by winning with a meet record mark of 13-11.25 on her first try. This is the best effort in the SEC this year and is tied for No. 3 on the national list.
Junior Carly Hamilton picked up where she left off last indoor season by taking second in the 3000-meter run. Her time of 9:21.88 was just one second off her school record set in 2013 and not only leads the SEC, but is also No. 6 on the national list.
On the men’s side, sophomore Brendan Hoban was third in the 3000 with a personal-best time of 8:31.70.
Primarily an 800 runner, senior Megan Malasarte trained in the mile at the Auburn Invitational and was second with a time of 4:47.80. Malasarte’s time is the eighth-best in school history, giving the Lady Bulldogs’ four of the all-time top-10 marks in the last two years.
Freshman heptathlete Kendell Williams made her Lady Bulldog debut and quickly earned a spot in the school record books. Williams was second in the 60 hurdle prelims with the fourth-best time in UGA history (8.39) and the fastest since 2007. The Marietta native finished third in the finals with an 8.40.
Later in the high jump, Williams tied fellow Georgia freshman Tatiana Gusin for ninth place with a clearance of 5-7.75.
Other multi-event team members also opened their season in Birmingham. A First Team All-American both indoors and outdoors in 2013, sophomore Maicel Uibo posted a personal best in the shot put by nearly two feet. He reached 46-6.75 on his third attempt after two fouls to take 15th. In the pole vault, Uibo tied for fifth on a third attempt clearance of 16-0.75.
Senior Lucie Ondraschkova was the fourth collegiate finisher (fifth overall) in the long jump with a mark of 19-3.25 after passing on her final three jumps. Also an indoor and outdoor scorer at the 2013 NCAA Championships, Ondraschkova clocked an 8.87 in the 60 hurdle prelims before taking eighth in the finals.
Junior Quintunya Chapman started her multi career by opening with a long jump mark of 17-5.25 to take 14th and running a 9.40 for 11th in the 60 hurdle prelims.
Another first was sophomore jumper Chanice Porter running in her first event on the track. Porter was fourth in the 60 after finishing in 7.60. The 2013 SEC indoor long jump champion finished ninth in the long jump with a mark of 18-5 and passed on her last three tries.
Also on the track, redshirt freshman Rashan Brown took fourth in the 200 with the seventh-best time in school history (24.10).
In the final event of the day, three freshmen, Reggie Glover, Ayrian Evans and Derrick White, joined sophomore Maurice Freeman to take fourth in the 4x400 relay. The foursome recorded a 3:12.31 to trim nearly four seconds off of Georgia’s top time at the meet last year.
Georgia will go in a pair of directions for its next meets. Some team members will travel to the site of this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., for the Cherry and Silver Collegiate Invitational. Others will go to Nashville, Tenn., to compete in the Commodores’ brand new indoor facility for the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational.
MSU Has Record-Setting Performance At Auburn Indoor Invitational
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Returning to the CrossPlex on Saturday after showcasing impressive competition the previous weekend, Mississippi State indoor track and field captured seven Top 10 finishes at the Auburn Indoor Invitational, highlighted by a broken meet record.
Junior Ebony Brinker had a leap of 41-05.25 in the triple jump to set the Auburn Indoor Invitational record (previously 40-09.75). Her near personal-best (41-06.25) jump ranks third on MSU’s all-time performance list, and placed her ahead of athletes from Southeastern Conference teams Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
“I didn’t jump how I wanted to last meet, and I felt like I let my team down,” Brinker said. “When you trust yourself and your training, amazing things happen. Every chance to compete is a blessing, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds.”
Rochelle Farquharson also dominated in the field with a long jump of 19-10.25 for a fourth-place finish in a field of 22 lady jumpers.
On the track, sprinters Ste’yce McNeil and Scottie Hearn saw top performances. After clocking a 8.71 to win her heat in the 60-meter hurdles prelims, McNeil advanced to the event finals, where she finished fourth by improving her time to 8.64. Meanwhile, Hearn clocked a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.68.
Distance veteran Juan Sanchez (1:53.22) and newcomer Damian Roszko (1:53.53) secured ninth and 11th-place times in the 800-meter run. The pair of Bulldogs displayed strong showings in a group of 33 runners.
Additionally, the women’s 4x400-meter relay team garnered another Top 10 finish, placing eighth. The quartet comprised of Ocian Archer, Peli Alzola, Euricka Hardy and Kaelin Kersh clocked a 3:53.72 in the event.
"I think we are getting stronger and stronger," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "More importantly, people are starting to get in their groove and get the rust off."
After returning to Starkville, the Maroon and White will begin preparation for the Vanderbilt Invitational slated for Jan. 24-25 in Nashville.
Hakansson's School Record Headlines Crimson Tide at Auburn Invitational
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sophomore Elias Hakansson broke his own school record in the men’s weight throw and more than 10 University of Alabama athletes set personal bests as the Crimson Tide track & field team officially started its 2014 indoor season Saturday at the Auburn Invitational at the Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala.
“We had some good performances today, particularly in the field events, but today was simply about finding out exactly where we are from a competitive standpoint and seeing who was ready to go,” said Crimson Tide head coach Dan Waters. “Overall, it was a pretty good day for us but we’ve got plenty of work to do to reach our goals for this season.”
Alabama had performances that ranged from solid to excellent in all disciplines on Saturday as the team showed its renewed versatility. Here’s an event-by-event breakdown of Saturday’s Alabama competitors:
60 meters: Senior sprinter Alex Sanders was off to an excellent start in his heat of Section A of the 60 meters before he pulled up due to hamstring issues. Multi-Eventer Ryan Glosson also ran the 60, running in Section B, and ran a 7.143 in his Alabama debut. Also in Section B of the 60, Tide volunteer assistant coach Mookie Salaam placed third in the final in 6.63.
200 meters: Diondre Batson ran in the third section of a 12-section final, but he did not finish the race as he pulled up due to an apparent injury about 50 meters after the start as he entered the back straightaway. Alabama’s two finishers in the event were junior transfer Nick Efkamp, who was 12th at 21.79 and senior Akeem Haynes who placed 17th (22.09).
400 meters: Sophomore Quincy Smith shaved a full second off his PR in the heats, winning heat two in 47.75 to better his old best time of 48.75 on the way to a third-place finish overall among college runners. Sophomore Dwight Davis was second in heat three in 48.69 with freshman Bryan Arthur third in the same heat at 48.87. Freshman Walter Parks III ran 51.43 in his heat. Volunteer assistant coach Tabarie Henry (U.S. Virgin Islands) ran unattached and posted a 47.29 in the heats; the second-fastest time overall on the day just behind Middle Tennessee State senior Emmanuel Tugumisirize's meet record of 47.05.
800 meters: Alabama’s Jacopo Lahbi (Treviso, Italy) arrived in Tuscaloosa just over a week ago, but the Italian freshman looked good in his debut, a fourth-place finish in the men’s 800 in a time of 1:51.69. That mark was one of four that bettered the meet record of 1:52.29 led by Eliud Rutto of Middle Tennessee State’s winning time of 1:50.19, and it was slightly off the all-time Crimson Tide indoor top 10 in the 800. Lahbi won heat two of the three-heat final. Other Alabama competitors were newcomer Alex Amankwah, who was an impressive seventh in his collegiate debut (1:53.08) and sophomore Andrew Harris (8th, 1:53.20) and sophomore Alex Jenkins (18th, 1:55.79).
Mile: Junior Matt Airola dueled with Auburn's Niklas Buhner in the men's mile with Buhner edging Airola at the tape by .04. Buhner's winning time was 4:02.20 while Airola broke the tape in 4:02.24. Airola's time was an improvement of 12.24 over his previous PR (4:14.25 set at this meet in 2013). Both times broke the facility record by almost three seconds. Sophomore Parker Deuel was fifth (4:07.31. Other Alabama finishers were freshman Payton Ballard (22nd, 4:21.94) and freshman Jeff Edmondson (26th, 4:23.81).
60 meters: Senior Sarah Thomas ran a personal best of 7.62 in in Section A of the prelims to place fourth in her heat. Freshman Quanesha Burks also ran 7.62 in the Section B heats, placing sixth in that section in her Alabama debut. In the Section A final, Thomas blazed another PR of 7.52 to finish second behind former collegiate star Muna Lee, who was running unattached. Burks placed sixth (7.58) in the Section B final.
60-meter hurdles: Sophomore Lacey Dent third in her heat of the women's 60-meter hurdles (8.82) and the seventh-fastest qualifier to the final. Freshman Passion Gamble (8.90) was fourth in her heat and did not advance to the final. In the final, Dent was seventh at 8.67.
200 meters: Senior Sarah Thomas led four Crimson Tide sprinters by finishing 11th in a field of 40 sprinters in the women’s 200 meters in a time of 24.79 seconds. Other Alabama finishers were freshman Remona Burchell (14th, 24.87), freshman Brianna Sims (27th, 25.62) and senior Dacia Mays (39th, 27.18).
400 meters: Senior Yanique Malcolm was the leading collegiate finisher in the women's 400, placing fourth overall behind three unattached runners in 55.32. Freshman Alex Gholston was next, placing seventh in 56.66. Senior Shani Chandler was ninth (57.63) with freshman Nicole Sassaman 20th (59.61).
800 meters: Senior Aubrielle Wright was the lone Alabama competitor in the women’s 800, finishing 14th overall in 2:16.19 after placing seventh in the second of three heats.
Mile: A field of 39 runners competed in two heats of the women's mile. While Florida State's Georgia Peel won the event in 4:45.02 to set a new meet record, Alabama sophomore Kimberley Ficenec (fifth, 4:52.07) and sophomore Susie Kemper (sixth, 4:52.50) crushed their previous PRs in the event, Ficenec bettering hers by 4.65 seconds and Kemper chopping 8.02 off her prior best. Sophomore Katelyn Greenleaf specializes in longer distances, but posted a 5:02.30 to place 16th while freshman Anna Leinheiser was 27th (5:10.60) in her Crimson Tide debut.
3,000 meters: Sophomore Meropi Panagiotou placed fourth in the women’s 3,000 in 9:40.52. Freshman Allison Gregg was 17th in 10:17.40.
Weight Throw: Sophomore Elias Hakansson broke the Alabama indoor record and the Auburn Invite meet record in the weight throw with a throw of 20.67 meters (67 feet, 9.75 inches) to take the victory, exceeding his previous Tide record by three inches. Junior Charodd Richardson completed a 1-2 Crimson Tide sweep as he shattered his previous personal best with a throw of 19.17m (64-4) while placing second behind Hakansson. The mark exceeded Richardson's prior PR (59-8.25) by almost five feet. “I thought both Elias and Charodd did an excellent job today of staying locked in and executing,” said Tide throws Coach Doug Reynolds. “We’re always happy with PR’s and school records, but this entire group of throwers has a lot more in them. What this shows is that our base level is higher than it’s been, which is what we want at the start of the season.”
Shot Put: Four redshirt freshmen competed for Alabama – Hayden Reed, Kyle Felpel, Nathan Karr and Joe Williams. All four had solid outings with Reed (fourth, 16.97 meters/55-8.25) and Felpel (16.92m/55-6.25) leading the way. Karr was 11th (15.25m/50-0.50) while Williams placed 12th (15.24m/50-0).
High Jump: Sophomore Justin Fondren tied for third overall but was the first collegiate finisher in the men’s high jump via a clearance of 2.09 meters (6 feet, 10.25 inches). Fondren cleared heights of 1.99, 2.04 and 2.09 without a miss before three misses at 2.14 ended his day.
Long Jump: Senior veteran Kamal Fuller opened his 2014 season with a second-place showing in the long jump with a final mark of 7.37m/24-2.25 while Josh McCullan was third (7.16m/23-6) with the second-best mark of his Alabama career.
Triple Jump: Freshman Jeremiah Green made a huge impact in his collegiate debut, breaking the facility record and meet record with a winning leap of 16.01 meters (52-6.5), the fifth-longest in Alabama history. Sophomore Imani Brown was third at 15.00m (49-2.5), just slightly off his PR. Green's winning mark came on his third jump. He fouled on his first attempt, went 15.61 on his second try, and then uncorked the winner on this third jump. After a foul, he had a leap of 15.77 before fouling on his sixth attempt.
Pole Vault: Alabama's lone competitor, Jonny Stiegler, no-heighted.
Weight Throw: Junior Nia Barnes started Saturday's action for Alabama with the second-best throw of her career (18.44m/60-6) to take third in women's weight throw. "Nia did a great job of sticking to the process and being consistent," said Tide throws coach Doug Reynolds. Junior transfer Candicea Bernard, from Golden Springs, Jamaica, was fifth (15.76/51-8.50) in her Alabama debut.
Shot Put: Junior Candicea Bernard took fourth in the women’s shot put with a best throw of 14.58 meters (47 feet, 10 inches) to close her first meet with the Crimson Tide.
Long Jump: Sophomore Callie Ives hoped to go 6.10 meters/20 feet in her 2014 debut, but had to settle for a sixth-place finish with a mark of 5.80m/19-0.5. Ives' first attempt was her legal best. She fouled twice after going 5.80 in opener, then had jumps of 5.59 and 5.46 before passing on her sixth attempt. At least one of Ives' fouls likely exceeded 6.10/20 feet.
Pole Vault: Senior Alexis Paine cleared took second place in the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 4.15 meters (13-7.25), good for fifth on the all-time UA indoor list. Georgia’s Leleux Morgann won the event with a clearance of 4.25 (13-11.25). Paine cleared the opening height of 4.05 meters on her second try before clearing 4.15 on her first attempt, but she could not clear 4.25 and exited at that point. Freshman Lakan Taylor was third at 4.05 (13-3.50) with sophomore Anna Rawles 12th at 3.70 (12-1.50).
LSU Track & Field Teams Come Out Firing in Season Opening Auburn Invitational
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The LSU Track & Field teams came out firing in their opener of the 2014 indoor season on Saturday as the Tigers and Lady Tigers combined to win five event titles and record 11 indoor personal-best performances as part of a strong 12-team field competing at the Auburn Indoor Invitational at the Birmingham Crossplex.
Senior Denise Hinton opened up by winning the women’s weight throw crown in the first event of the day, while fellow senior Jasmin Stowers also took home the title in the first final on the track with a blistering run in the women’s 60-meter hurdles. The teams also closed out the meet by winning three of the four relays to cap another successful season opener.
Two of LSU’s relays even set new meet records at the Auburn Indoor Invitational with the women’s distance medley relay and men’s 4x400-meter relay opening with impressive performances.
“It was a typical season opener for us in many ways, but I thought we did some really good things as a team for our first time out,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “One of the things we like to see from each of our athletes in a season opener is how they compare to their first meet last year. We saw a lot of improvement in that regard across the board here today.”
Hinton got the ball rolling with an impressive performance in the very first event of the day as she scored her 11th career women’s weight throw title with a season-opening mark of 65 feet, 8 ¼ inches.
After opening with a mark of 59-10 ½ on her first attempt, Hinton took control of the competition with back-to-back marks of 65-7 ¾ in the second round and 65-8 ¼ in the third round to solidify her spot at the top of the event standings heading into the final. Hinton finished more than four feet clear of senior teammate Karen Henning as the Lady Tiger swept the top two spots in the weight throw.
The reigning SEC Indoor weight throw champion is off to a fast start in defense of her conference crown as she improved upon her season-opening performance from a year ago by more than one foot as she opened up her junior season in 2013 with a winning mark of 64-8 at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener also held at the Birmingham Crossplex.
Henning finished just five inches shy of her personal best as she opened her senior season with a series-best throw of 61-5 to claim the silver medal as runner-up to Hinton’s winning 65-8 ¼.
While Hinton took home the title in the first event of the day, Stowers cruised to an easy victory in the first championship final on the track in the “B” section of the women’s 60-meter hurdles while establishing herself as an early-season national championship contender in the event.
It proved to be a routine afternoon of competition for the reigning SEC Indoor champion and NCAA Indoor bronze medalist as Stowers hurdled to the fastest qualifying time of the day at 8.37 seconds in the preliminary round before racing to an early-season NCAA leader of 8.16 in the final to claim the Auburn Indoor Invitational title by nearly three tenths of a second over the rest of the field.
Auburn’s Ebony Morrison followed in second place with a run of 8.44 in the final, while LSU’s Chanice Chase took third place after running back-to-back personal bests of 8.65 in the qualifying round and 8.45 in the final.
Stowers, who has won each of the last three SEC Indoor titles in the women’s 60-meter hurdles while also earning All-America honors in the event in each of the last two seasons, is already well ahead of her pace from a year ago when she opened the 2013 campaign by running a top time of 8.38 in a runner-up finish on the same track at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers were also impressive in winning three of the four relays with victories in the women’s distance medley relay and both the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relays.
Redshirt freshmen Chaiss Matthews (1,200 meters) and Morgan Schuetz (400 meters) teamed with true freshman Danielle Avery (800 meters) and sophomore Andria Aguilar (mile) to claim the women’s DMR by more than 10 seconds with a meet record 11 minutes, 58.73 seconds. The Auburn Tigers trailed in second place with a time of 12:09.04.
Both Aguilar and Schuetz even set indoor personal bests in their individual events during Saturday’s competition as Aguilar raced to the finish line in a time of 4:56.83 for 10th place in the women’s mile and Schuetz ran a time of 2:11.33 for second place in the women’s 800 meters. Aguilar became one of the 10 fastest milers in Lady Tiger history as her PR ranks No. 10 on LSU’s all-time performance list in the event.
The Lady Tigers made it a clean sweep of relay titles at this year’s Auburn Indoor Invitational as they opened the season with a run of 3:44.37 in the 4x400 relay to outpace Clemson in second place at 3:46.29.
A youthful pack of Lady Tigers opened the season in the 4x400-meter relay as freshman Bealoved Brown, senior Nikita Tracey, freshman Jada Martin and Chase recorded the fastest time in this year’s competition.
It was Martin’s second race of the event as she was also the top collegian in the women’s 200-meter dash after clocking a season-opening 24.03 in her collegiate debut with the Lady Tigers. The freshman from Lithonia, Ga., took third place overall behind post-collegians Lanece Clarke (23.86) and Monica Hargrove (23.96) while finishing just six one hundredths shy of her indoor PR of 23.97.
The Tigers put the exclamation point onto the end of the meet with the easy victory in the men’s 4x400-meter relay as the team of sophomore Darrell Bush, junior Quincy Downing, sophomore Cyril Grayson and junior Vernon Norwood set a new Auburn Indoor Invitational meet record of 3:09.17. Middle Tennessee State followed more than one second behind in second place at 3:10.55.
“We had a number of athletes who really got after it today and competed very well to open the season,” Shaver said. “We feel like this is a good starting point for both our teams. We know where we are in many ways after today, and that’s really going to help us improve when we go to College Station for our next competition.”
Freshman Nataliyah Friar led a host of Tigers and Lady Tigers setting new personal bests during Saturday’s season opener as she eclipsed the 20-foot mark in the long jump for the first time in her athletics career.
After posting a top jump of 19-2 ½ on her second attempt to earn a spot in the final with fifth place in the qualifying round, Friar soared into second place overall with a lifetime best of 20-2 ¼ on her fifth attempt for an impressive collegiate debut with the Lady Tigers. She actually finished as the top collegian while finishing behind only the winning mark of 21-2 ½ by professional long jumper Bianca Stuart.
Friar, a product of Holt High School in Wentzville, Mo., posted a previous all conditions personal best with a wind-aided 19-9 ½ outdoors as a high school junior in 2012 before smashing that mark in her first college meet with the Lady Tigers at the Auburn Indoor Invitational. She also signed with the Lady Tigers with an indoor PR of 40-4 and a lifetime PR of 40-9 ¾ in the triple jump.
Sophomore Aliyah Davis set an indoor personal record of her own in the women’s 200-meter dash during Saturday’s competition as she clocked 24.90 for 15th place in the event.
Freshman standout Blair Henderson was among six Tigers setting new indoor personal bests in his season opener as he slashed nearly two seconds off of his previous indoor best in the men’s 800 meters by clocking an impressive 1:50.82 for second place in his collegiate debut to trail only Middle Tennessee State’s Eliud Rutto (1:50.19) across the finish line. Henderson smashed his previous indoor PR of 1:52.22 that he set on the same track at the Birmingham Crossplex as a high school senior a year ago while competing for St. Louis High School in Lake Charles, La.
Other Tigers setting indoor bests during Saturday’s action were senior Shermund Allsop (21.60) in the 200 meters, juniors Philip Primeaux (8:28.87) and Bryan Mutell (8:59.25) in the 3,000 meters and sophomores David Collins (57-3) in the weight throw and Joshua Lamers (7.91) in the 60-meter hurdles.
With their 2014 season opener now in the books, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will head back on the road next weekend with a trip to College Station, Texas, to compete at the Texas A&M Triangular being held Jan. 25 at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. The Lady Tigers are the defending Texas A&M Triangular champion on the women’s side, while the Tigers took third place in the event a year ago.
Rebel Track & Field Soars At Auburn Invitational
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sam Kendricks set another meet record and freshman Jalen Miller showed off his impressive sprinting chops to lead the Ole Miss track & field team at the highly competitive Auburn Invitational on Saturday.
With the 16th-ranked Ole Miss men squaring off against five other ranked teams in addition to other SEC and ACC schools and a few professional athletes, Kendricks once again stole the show in the pole vault. The junior from Oxford, Miss., set his third meet record in as many tries this season, this time clearing 18-0.5 to defeat the next closest vaulter by nearly a foot and a half. He cleared every bar on the first attempt up to 18-0.5, then had two unsuccessful tries at 18-5.25 to break his own school and facility record before retiring for the day.
Miller was equally impressive in his efforts at 60 and 200 meters on Saturday. Running in just the third indoor meet of his career, he set personal bests of 6.67 in the 60 and 21.45 in the 200, which will both rank highly in the NCAA after all the weekend performances are recorded. He finished first among collegians in the 60 and second in the 200. The Tunica, Miss., native now ranks fifth in school history in the 60 and eighth in the 200.
“I thought this weekend we continued some of the momentum from last weekend,” Rebel head coach Brian O’Neal said. “We had some new stars step up for us. I am really proud of Jalen. Pretty much everyone in front of him in our school record books was an NCAA champion or NCAA runner-up.
“I definitely like the progression our team is taking. I think each week our young men and young women are toeing the line and giving their all. As coaches, we’re looking for them to continue that development into next weekend when we compete at Vanderbilt.”
In total, Ole Miss athletes produced one event title, two runners-up, one meet record and numerous personal bests on Saturday.
Senior Phillip Young, a three-time All-American in the triple jump at Florida State before transferring to Oxford, recorded an indoor personal best of 52-2.5 to place second at the meet. That mark also ranks him top five in the NCAA this year and fifth-best in school history.
Sophomore Onyi Afoaku produced indoor personal bests in both the weight throw (62-10.75) and shot put (55-5.5) on Saturday. He ranks third in school history in both events and among the NCAA leaders in the weight throw.
Freshman Robert Domanic made his indoor collegiate debut with a strong mile time of 4:07.20 that immediately ranks him fifth-best in school history and among the NCAA leaders this year.
Senior Ricky Robertson, who only has outdoor eligibility left, competed unattached on Saturday and won the men’s high jump with a fantastic season debut of 7-4.25, tying his own meet record that he set in 2012.
For the Rebel women, senior Jhorden Hunter posted a solid 7.52, just .02 off her season best in the 60 meters, to place first among collegians on Saturday. She also led the Rebels in the 200 with a time of 24.65 to finish eighth overall.
Ole Miss women that recorded personal bests on Saturday included Amy McCrory, Saga Barzowski and Scarlett Fox in the mile, and Lyndsey Acree and Callie Watson in the pole vault.
On Thursday, All-American multi-eventers Fabia McDonald and Mary Ashton Nall competed in their first pentathlon of the season at the Birmingham CrossPlex. McDonald’s runner-up score of 3.989 ranks her No. 2 in the NCAA this year, while Nall’s 3,503 places her among the nation’s top 20, as well.
Ole Miss track & field alum Isiah Young, who still trains in Oxford, was also at the meet in Birmingham, gearing up for his world-class professional indoor season. The Nike-sponsored sprinter ran the 60 meters in a time of 6.68 in one of his first tune-ups of the year.
The Rebels return to action on Friday and Saturday at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. It will be the first time this indoor season that O’Neal’s team will travel somewhere other than Birmingham.