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    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook

    SEC Track and Field Weekly Notebook (February 5, 2014)


    The Crimson Tide moved up seven spots to No. 10 in the men's team rankings released Tuesday, Feb. 4, by the USTFCCCA, the largest improvement of any team that was previously ranked as the Tide moves up from No. 17 in the survey ... the Tide men maintained their No. 3 spot in this week's South Region rankings while the Alabama women held firm at No. 4 in the South Region team survey ... at last weekend's Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Ind., Alabama track athletes won eight events, set 15 personal bests and broke one school record ... senior sprinter Diondre Batson won the men’s 60 meters a personal-best time of 6.61, which ranks third in school history ... each of Batson’s three 60-meter runs in Bloomington landed on Alabama’s all-time top 10 ... to win the women’s 60 final junior Ramona Burchell ran a PR of 7.33, fourth-fastest in UA history ... junior Charodd Richardson set a school record in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 21.22 meters (69 feet, 7.5 inches) ... redshirt freshman Kyle Felpel became the first Alabama shot putter since 1980 to throw over 60 feet when his best effort landed at 18.46m (60 feet, 6.5 inches) ... senior Alexis Paine won a jump-off to earn a victory in women’s pole vault with a mark of 4.15 meters (13 feet, 7.25 inches) ... sophomore Justin Fondren won the high jump with a personal record of 2.18m (7 feet, 1.75 inches) ...  freshman Jeremiah Green (15.92m/52 feet, 2.75 inches) won the men's triple jump ... Ken Taylor clocked a 1:18.56 to take first place in the invitational 600 meters ... Anna Rawles was second in the women's pole vault with a PR of 3.85 (12-7.50), while Autumn Conn tied for third with a PR of 3.75 meters (12-3.50) ... while the Crimson Tide takes this weekend off as a team, women's pole vaulters Alexis Paine and Lakan Taylor will be competing at the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., this Saturday while the Tide will field distance medley relay foursomes in both the men's and women's divisions at the New Balance Armory Collegiate Invitational on Friday-Saturday in New York City.


    Men -  The No. 1 ranked Razorbacks won the Razorback Team Invitational with 153.5 points, defeating six of the top-ranked teams in the country. Defending NCAA heptathlon champion, Kevin Lazas, is currently leading the NCAA following a nation-leading score of 5,923 in the heptathlon. The 4x400 relay team finished in dramatic fashion, with a time of 3:05.02, the fourth best time in Arkansas history and second-best time in the NCAA this year. Following the heptathlon, the Razorback’s second event title of the day went to Anthony May with a personal-best triple jump mark of 52-8.75, currently ranking fifth in the nation this season. The Razorbacks earned a 1-2-3 finish in the event, with Clive Pullen's second-place mark of 52-.75 ranking in the nation's top-10 this season. Raymond Higgs set a personal best with a third-place finish at 50-6.75 that ranks sixth in the SEC. Women - No. 7  Arkansas defeated six of the top-ranked teams in the nation, with a late comeback to take the lead over No. 3 ranked Texas A&M. Trailing the Aggies heading into the mile, the Arkansas distance team picked up the pace and helped regain the No. 1 spot. Grace Heymsfield’s mile performance took down the previous school record set at the 2012 SEC Championships and pushed the Razorbacks past Texas A&M. Heymsfield earned a first-place finish with a time of 4:34.22, good for a new University of Arkansas record and second-best time in the nation. Dominique Scott set the pace and was close behind with a second-finish in 4:36.11, a personal record for the junior. Arkansas gained a 8.5 point lead over the Aggies, a lead that was never relinquished. The Razorbacks won the invitational with 151 points, just five points ahead of Texas A&M.


    Auburn track and field distance runners Ty McCormack, Niklas Buhner and Kane Grimster competed in the Camel City Elite Races as part of the Hilton Garden Invitational over the weekend at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. McCormack led the way for the Tigers, posting the nation’s sixth-fastest 3000m time and fastest time in the SEC this season. McCormack finished first among collegiate runners, and third overall with a converted time of 7:56.07, besting his previous PR by 17 seconds. Niklas Buhner placed eighth with a converted time of 8:08.43, a new personal best. In the mile run, Kane Grimster finished ninth at a converted time of 4:06.95. As of February 2, Auburn holds three of the six fastest times in the SEC in the men’s mile and two of the top five in the women’s 5000m. Buhner holds the conference’s top time in the mile with a time of 4:02.20, Ty McCormack’s time of 4:03.89 ranks fourth in the SEC, while Kane Grimster is sixth at 4:05.95. Taylor Duncan has the third fastest time in the SEC at 17:15.10, followed by Kristen Sheehan, who is in fifth, at 17:25.28. The Tigers return to action February 7-8 at the Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb.


    Florida junior jumper Ciarra Brewer and a pair of Gator freshmen in hurdler Skylar Ross-Ransom and sprinter Nick Uruburu picked up SEC Athlete of the Week accolades Tuesday, wrapping up a strong week of competition for the No. 2 Gator men and No. 3 Florida women following the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville. Tabbed the USTFCCCA Division I National Meet of the Week, the Gators finished third on both the men’s (90 pts) and women’s sides (84 pts) following competition at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The invite featured a number of top-25 teams, as Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and Tulsa all competed Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Brewer, Ross-Ransom & Uruburu all turned in stellar performances at the meet – Brewer with the nation’s best triple jump mark this season (13.55m/44-5.5), Ross-Ransom with a PR in the 60mH and the third-fastest performance in school history (8.28) and Uruburu with two PRs in the 200m (21.53) & 400m (47.16), while also collaborating with Najee Glass, Hugh Graham, Jr. and Arman Hall for the fastest time in the world in the men’s 4x4 relay thus far this season (3:04.46). Florida walked away from the Razorback Invitational with eight total event victories, including three Friday and five Saturday. The Orange and Blue hold the top marks in the country in the men’s 4x4 (3:04.46), the men’s long jump (Marquis Dendy, 7.87m/25-10) and women’s triple jump (Brewer, 13.55m/44-5.5). In the SEC, the Gators reign in the all three aforementioned events, in addition to the men’s 800m (Ryan Schnulle, 1:48.05), women’s 3000m (Cory McGee, 9:18.26), men’s 60mH (Eddie Lovett, 7.70) and Florida’s women’s DMR (11:00.16). Florida will next head north to the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet at Rector Fieldhouse Feb. 7-8.


    The fifth-ranked Lady Bulldogs and the 21st-ranked Georgia men trained through the weekend.  Heading into their third weekend of meets, UGA has six team members ranked in the top-10 nationally in their respective events, including true freshman Kendell Williams holding on to the No. 1 spot in the pentathlon with 4,302 points.  They return to the road to compete at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet in Blacksburg, Va., on February 7-8.


    The UK track and field teams will hit the road for the first time in 2014 with the Wildcats traveling to the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet. Men - The UK men’s team has had two major standout performers for UK thus far. Brad Szypka is undefeated in three meets this season. He won the McCravy shot put title with a personal best throw 19.43 meters / 63 feet 9 inches, which ranks ninth nationally, and should be good enough to qualify him for the NCAA Championships (Top 16 national mark at the end of the year.) Szypka finished in fourth-place in SEC shot put in 2013, and missed NCAA Indoor Championships by about an inch (17th best in nation) and then was similarly close to the shot put final outdoors (still was named a second-team All-America). Matt Hillenbrand won the 3,000 meters at the McCravy, his first time breaking eight minutes. He defended his meet title, dominating a great field which included three-time All-American Parker Stinson (Oregon), posting a time which ranks No. 2 in the SEC and 12th nationally. Keffri Neal has also been solid in 2014. He won his first two races of 2014, and then ran a PR in the McCravy 800 meters with a personal best time: 1:49.0. Women - The Wildcats checked in at No. 8 in the most recent USTFCCCA national poll, down two spots from the previous week after not competing this past weekend. UK had a woman selected as SEC Women’s Runner of the Week after each of the two meets the Wildcats have competed in this year. Kendra Harrison picked up the honor last week after posting a time that (after last weekend) was tied for the world lead (7.96) in the women's 60-meter hurdles, and she anchored the (then) world-leading 4x400-meter relay time (3:33.35). Impressively all the action came against stellar fields – the 60h included last year's national-runner up in the event, Tiffani McReynolds, as well as four of the top seven hurdlers in the nation at the time. Her 60H time was just .01 shy of the all-time collegiate top-10. Harrison and UK's win in the 4x400-meter relay came against defending NCAA Champion Oregon, a team which returned three of four legs from its 2013 indoor championship lineup. Dezerea Bryant picked up the honor two weeks ago: (Jan 21), and she continues to hold the nation’s fastest 60-meter time (7.19 seconds) and ranks No. 2 in the nation in the 200 meters (23.04), both of which are school records. She tied a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist (Tiana Bartoletta – USA 4x100m relay) to win the McCravy 60m and then was part of UK’s 4x400m relay winning team. Bryant made one of the most memorable debuts in Kentucky track and field history last Saturday at the Kentucky Invitational, breaking two school records: one in nation-leading time and another as the No. 2 performance in the country this season. 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. She then obliterated another UK record by crossing the 200-meter finish line in 23.04, posting the nation’s No. 2 performance in the process. Bryant’s 200m time bettered the previous UK record of 23.34, which had been held by Michelle Brown since 1997.


    Men - Five Tigers took home event titles during Saturday’s action at the New Mexico Team Invitational while leading the squad to a runner-up team finish in the event held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Junior Julian Parker was perhaps the team’s top performer on the afternoon as he broke 1:50 in the 800 meters for the first time in his collegiate career with a lifetime personal best of 1 minutes, 49.92 seconds to win the event with the No. 23-ranked performance in the NCAA rankings this season. Sophomore Fitzroy Dunkley also set a personal record in winning the men’s triple jump title as he opened with an indoor PR of 50 feet, 5 ½ inches on his very first attempt to take the top spot in the final standings. Other Tigers taking home event titles during Saturday’s competition include freshmen Tremayne Acy in the 200 meters with a time of 21.08 seconds and Blair Henderson in the 600 meters with a winning run of 1:18.75, as well as their 4x400-meter relay team with a seasonal-best time of 3:08.29. Winning the relay for the Tigers were sophomore Darrell Bush, junior Quincy Downing, sophomore Cyril Grayson and junior Vernon Norwood. The Tigers racked up 103 points in 16 events scored during the competition to finish behind only the 138.5 points scored by Nebraska with the final men’s team standings. Notre Dame followed in third place with 69 points, followed by TCU in fourth place with 66 points and New Mexico in fifth place with 61 points. The Tigers return to action this weekend with a return trip to College Station, Texas, to compete at the Aggie Invitational being held Friday and Saturday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. Women - Senior Jasmin Stowers certainly powered the No. 8-ranked Lady Tigers to the women’s team title at the New Mexico Team Invitational while becoming one of the world’s top performers this season in the 60-meter hurdles in the event held Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Stowers raced to back-to-back seasonal bests of 8.15 seconds in the qualifying round and 8.01 in the final to emerge as the NCAA’s No. 2-ranked sprint hurdler for the 2014 season. The reigning NCAA Indoor bronze medalist and three-time defending SEC Indoor Champion trails only the national-leading 7.96 by Kentucky’s Kendra Harrison on the NCAA and SEC lists this season, while she is also the No. 2-ranked American and No. 6-ranked sprint hurdler worldwide with her victory. Stowers broke her previous personal best of 8.03 set as a sophomore in 2012 and was just two one-hundredths off of LSU’s school record of 7.99 set by Joyce Bates during the 2000 season. Fellow senior Lynnika Pitts also posted one of the nation’s top performances this season in the triple jump as she won the event title with a seasonal-best mark of 42 feet, 9 inches on her third attempt of the competition. Pitts is finding her All-American form from a year ago as she is now the NCAA’s No. 6-ranked triple jumper on the women’s side through three weeks of the 2014 indoor season. Other event winners on Saturday include senior Nikita Tracey in the 600 meters with a run of 1 minute, 30.32 seconds and freshmen Rushell Harvey in the 60 meters with a personal best of 7.48 and Jada Martin in the 200 meters with a winning time of 23.97. They helped the Lady Tigers cruise to victory in the women’s team race with 151 points as they finished ahead of the 121 points scored by runner-up Nebraska. Rounding out the top five of the women’s team standings were New Mexico (87.5) in third place, Notre Dame (75.5) in fourth place and Arizona State (66) in fifth place. The Lady Tigers return to action this weekend with a return trip to College Station, Texas, to compete at the Aggie Invitational being held Friday and Saturday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

    Ole Miss

    Ole Miss returns to action on Feb. 7-8 at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City. The Armory is one of the world's top indoor track & field facilities, hosting such major events as the Millrose Games and the New Balance Games. The National Track & Field Hall of Fame is also located there.

    Mississippi State

    Mississippi State travels to New York, N.Y., for the New Balance Invitational slated for Feb. 7-8.


    The Tigers will be back this weekend with the majority of the team staying home for the Missouri Invitational, and a contingent of 11 men and women traveling out east for the New Balance Invitational.  Among those on the roster in New York City are current Missouri School Record holders Kearsten Peoples, Chelsie Stevens, and Markesh Woodson.

    South Carolina

    The majority of the Gamecocks traveled to the Hilton Garden Invitational at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. over the weekend…the lone exception was Sarah Graham who put up an impressive performance in herfirst pentathlon of 2014 at Penn State’s PSU National...Graham set new lifetime bests in three events and took second place with 3,823 points, a new PR and the fifth-best total in school history…at the Hilton Garden Invitational, the Gamecocks competed against teams from across the Eastern seaboard and won five events…junior Kendall Kee remained undefeated in the 60-meter dash, earning his second win in as many weekends…Kee has posted the top time in each round of the event he has run in this season…in the finals, Kee narrowly bested teammate Eric Winfrey to give the Gamecocks a 1-2 finish…Winfrey set a new PR with the performance at 6.73, the 10th fastest time in school history… sophomore Dondre Echols advanced through the rounds of the 60-meter hurdles and collected his first win of the season...Echols’ time of 7.87 in the finals is a season best…Echols ranks 18th in the country in the event…sophomore Tyler Brockington posted a win in the seeded 200-meter dash (24.49)…the women’s 4x400-meter relay of junior Ahtyana Johnson, freshman Precious Holmes, junior Tamera Harris and freshman Leveshia McClain bested the field with a time of3:45.23…a second South Carolina squad took third in the 4x4 relay…earlier in the meet, Holmes won the 400-meter dash for the second-straight weekend…Holmes bested the field of 90 athletes with a time of 55.57 for the win…freshman Briana Haith finished behind Holmes in third…Ahtyana Johnson continued her strong start to 2014, grabbing second-place in the 60-meter dash with a time (7.45) just off her best-ever time (7.44)…sophomore Alexis Murphy posted a second-place finish in the women’s long jump…Murphy recorded her second-best leap of the season (5.82m//19-01.25)…freshman Alexandre Asselin was strong in his heptathlon debut in the Garnet and Black…Asselin won six of seven events and posted a collegiate or personal best in five events…Asselin ultimately finished third after not registering a point in the pole vault…next up, South Carolina sends a full contingent to the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City.


    Tennessee track and field had weekend off as it prepares to venture to College Station for the Aggie Invitational taking place February 7-8.

    Texas A&M

    The Aggies finished second in team scoring in both men’s and women’s competitions at the Razorback Invitational. The A&M women scored 146 points, coming up just shy of the 151 by Arkansas with Florida placing third at 84, followed by Florida State (83.5), Oklahoma State (55), Oklahoma (40.5), Texas (38), and Tulsa (30). The Arkansas men produced 155.5 points with A&M runner-up at 116.5 and Florida third with 92, followed by Oklahoma State (73), Oklahoma (58.5), and Florida State (56.5). The Aggies will host a two-day meet, the Texas A&M Aggie Invitational, on February 7-8 and includes Arizona State, Baylor, Houston, LSU, TCU, Tennessee, UCLA and UTEP. Men - Deon Lendore lowered his world-leading time in the 400 to 45.47 as he bettered a talented field that included Florida’s Arman Hall (45.63). Lendore also recorded a split of 44.57 as the anchor leg on a 3:05.06 4x400 relay the Aggies ran in third place. It’s the fourth fastest split ever indoors among collegians and professionals. Aldrich Bailey, Jr. finished fourth in the 400 with a 46.25 while Josh Hernandez produced a personal best of 1:49.15 to place fourth in the 800 and moved to No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list. Casey Strong led a 16-point effort by A&M in the weight throw as his 64-3 (19.58) placed second and Austin Cook set another PR with a 59-0 ¼ (17.99) for fourth place. Olabanji Asekun finished fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 49-109 (15.19). Women - Kamaria Brown cruised to a 52.71 victory in her first 400 of the indoor season, topping a field that included Florida’s Ebony Eutsey (53.56). Brown also produced a 51.69 relay carry on the Aggies world leading 3:31.07 4x400 win over Florida (3:31.52) and Arkansas (3:35.46). Brown ran the second leg and moved A&M from fourth to first. Olivia Ekponé, who anchored the 4x400 in 52.06, claimed another 60 meter victory as she produced a career best time of 7.28 and led a 30-point performance by the Aggies in the event with a 1-2-3-4-8 finish. Jennifer Madu and Aaliyah Brown were both timed in 7.34 with Ashley Collier posting a 7.37. Third-place efforts were turned in by Shamier Little in the 60 hurdles (8.47) and LaQue Moen-Davis (42-3 ½ / 12.89) in a competitive triple jump. An Aggie trio in the Invitational 3,000 meters set personal best times in placing 3-4-9 with Hillary Montgomery (9:28.90), Grace Fletcher (9:29.75) and Amanda Jenkins (9:48.64). Aggie frosh Karis Jochen clocked 9:47.27 for third place in the college 3,000 race.


    For the first time in nearly a month, the Commodores didn't compete in a meet this week, and instead used this time to prepare for their upcoming trip to New York. The Commodores are headed to the Big Apple on Feb. 7-8 to compete in the New Balance Armory College Invitational. This is the second consecutive season the Vanderbilt athletes have visited New York to participate in the event. … This weekend's "open date" marked the first time since early January that the Commodores didn't compete. They hosted the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational last weekend after visiting Birmingham for each of the previous two weekends -- first, for the UAB Invitational on Jan. 10-11 and then for the Auburn Indoor Invitational on Jan. 18. … At last weekend's meet, sophomore Jennifer Cannon earned a fourth-place finish in the high jump on Friday (at 1.74m) and following that up with a third-place finish in the 60-hurdles (8.56) on Saturday. Cannon finished 18th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.26. … Although the Commodores weren't in action, the Vanderbilt program hosted the Vanderbilt High School Indoor Invitational on Saturday. The meet included roughly 550 entrants, with representatives from eight different states, including 20-plus individuals who are ranked in the top 25 nationally.