Tide Track Star SEC Runner Of Year

University of Alabama sophomore All-American Kirani James has been named the Southeastern Conference Men's Runner of the Year, the league office announced Tuesday as part of its 2001 outdoor track and field honors.

Alabama sophomore Kirani James won the 400m at the SEC Outdoor Championships to complete in the season sweep in the event after winning the event during the indoor season and earning the SEC's Indoor Runner of the Year honor as well.

His outdoor title came in a school-record time of 44.86, the second fastest 400m in the nation this season and the third fastest in the world. Later in the afternoon he ran the second leg of the 4x400m relay and turned in a split of 44.71 to help the Crimson Tide earn a second-place finish in the event. Earlier in the season he clocked the seventh fastest 200m time in the nation this season with a 20.48 finish at the UTEP Invitational.

In addition to his Runner of the Year accolades, his first-place finish merited first team All-SEC honors. Joining him on the All-SEC teams were his three teammates on the 4x400m relay team, Dwayne Extol, Fred Samoei and Bobby Onyeukwu, who earned second-team honors. Extol was also named to the SEC All-Freshman team as the top freshman finisher in the 400m hurdles.

The women's team had two competitors earn All-SEC honors. Meghan Austin and Kaylon Eppinger both earned second-team honors in the javelin and heptathlon, respectively.

Both the men's and women's teams will be in action this weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Bloomington, Ind., to compete for the opportunity for a spot in the NCAA Championships.

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