Alabama Track & Field Heads To SEC Meet

This week the University of Alabama track & field team travels to Starkville for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Action is slated to begin Thursday and run through Saturday, and will feature each of the SEC’s 14 men’s teams and 13 women’s teams.

Alabama will travel 55 athletes (26 women, 29 men) to the SEC Championships and has entered competitors in 35 individual events. The Tide will also have four relays, including the men’s and women’s 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay.

The Crimson Tide has three athletes that rank in the SEC’s top 10 performances for 2015 in three events. Alabama athletes also have the SEC’s best times or marks this season in three events. Two seniors, Remona Burchell and Alex Amankwah, hold the No. 1 spot in the 100 meters and 800 meters, respectively. Both athletes have held the top ranking since the Florida Relays in early April, when Burchell ran 11.04 in the 100-meter dash and Amankwah ran 1:45.91 in the 800 meters.

The two seniors are joined by sophomore Quanesha Burks, whose leap of 21 feet, nine inches (posted at the John Jacobs Invitational on April 18) leads the SEC. With the jump, Burks claimed the school record in the event and currently holds a total of six of the Tide’s all-time top 10 performances. The sophomore is slated to compete in the SEC long jump competition at 2 p.m. CT on Friday.

Burchell, who won the 60-meter dash at the SEC Indoor Championships, will vie for her first outdoor SEC win in the 100-meter dash. The senior finished as the runner-up in the event at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships before going on to win the NCAA title at the end of the outdoor season. The preliminary race is set for Friday at 6:10 p.m. The finals are slated for Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

After winning the 2014 NCAA and USATF discus national championships, sophomore Hayden Reed will attempt to win his first SEC title in the event. The sophomore was the runner-up at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships with a personal-best toss of 209-1. In 2015, Reed has thrown a season-best mark of 199-2 (60.70m), which ranks third in the SEC behind LSU senior Rodney Brown and Tennessee senior Tavis Bailey.

Alabama junior Katelyn Greenleaf will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the second time this season after beating her own school record in the event earlier this season. The junior’s previous record was set at last year’s SEC meet when she clocked a time of 10:22.02 to finish fifth overall. At this year’s Florida Relays, Greenleaf shattered her previous personal best, running 10:14.91 and etching her name on Alabama’s all-time top 10 performance list for the fourth time in her career.

Head Coach Dan Waters on the SEC Outdoor Championships

“This meet is one that we have been preparing for all season long. Every practice, every meet is a step towards the SEC meet. Our athletes’ training culminates in this competition, and I believe they are ready. We have a number of athletes who are in a position to record impressive performances and that’s what this meet is all about. Competing in the SEC is tough. There’s a lot of great competition, but this meet has a way of bringing out incredible performances. I expect a lot of success this weekend.”

Alabama In the Outdoor Team Rankings

• The Alabama men’s track & field team ranked No. 12 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Team Computer Rankings for the sixth week of the season released May 11.

• The Tide women stood pat at 16th, the highest ranking ever attained by an Alabama women’s team in the survey.

Burchell, Reed Represent Alabama on Watch Lists for The Bowerman

• Alabama’s two returning NCAA individual champions from 2014, senior sprinter Remona Burchell and sophomore thrower Hayden Reed, were both among an elite group of collegiate athletes listed among the preseason favorites for consideration for the 2015 Bowerman Trophy, collegiate track and field’s highest honor.

• Burchell, the reigning indoor 60-meter and outdoor 100-meter NCAA champion is among 10 members of the award’s Watch List for the month of May, released last week.

• Reed, the 2014 NCAA and USATF men’s discus champion, received votes but ranked just outside the top 10 on the Preseason Watch List for The Bowerman.

TIDE ATHLETES COMPETING THIS WEEKEND

TRACK EVENTS

Short Sprints

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100 Meters

Junior Cameron Hudson has become a force for the Tide in his first year at the Capstone, running the 100 meters, 200 meters and competing in the long jump. Hudson, who will compete in the 100-meter preliminary race on Friday at 5:55 p.m., has set personal bests in both the 100 meters (10.34) and the 200 meters (20.78) during the 2015 outdoor season. His 100-meter time is the ninth-fastest in the SEC for 2015. Hudson has also made numerous appearances on the Tide’s 4x100-meter relays team, running both the second and third leg in various meets. He will be the Tide’s lone representative in the 100 meters.

200 Meters

Junior Ahmed Ali has made huge improvements since joining the Tide in the fall of 2014 from South Plains (Texas) Community College. Ali has competed in the 100 meters and 200 meters throughout the 2015 outdoor season and has raced as the third leg of the 4x100-meter relay in three meets this season. He ran a personal-best time of 20.46 in the 200 meters at the John Jacobs Invitational on April 18, a mark that currently ranks third on the 2015 SEC top times list and seventh in the NCAA this year. Ali is slated to compete in the 200 meters along with junior Tadashi Pinder and senior Nick Efkamp on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

WOMEN

100 Meters

Alabama has two athletes entered in the women’s 100-meter dash. Senior Remona Burchell, the reigning NCAA champion in the event, enters the SEC meet with the fastest time in the SEC for the 100 meters. Burchell ran 11.04 in her first and only appearance in the event this season. In 2014, Burchell began the outdoor championship season with runner-up finish in the 100 meters. She went on to break the Alabama record in the event, running 11.03 at the NCAA East Region Preliminary, then dominated her competition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, winning the event in 11.25. Earlier in 2015, Burchell won her first SEC championship when she won the 60-meter dash during the indoor season while simultaneously claiming the fastest time in collegiate history. Senior Sarah Thomas will join Burchell in the 100-meter dash. The two will compete in the event’s preliminary races at 6:10 p.m. on Friday.

200 Meters

Senior Dominique Kimpel and sophomore Brianna Sims are slated to compete in the 200-meter dash. Kimpel has a personal best in the event of 23.28 and a 2015 season best of 23.35. Sims set a personal best in the event in 2015, running 24.54 at the LSU Invitational on May 2. The two will compete in the prelims of the 200-meter dash at 7:25 p.m. on Thursday.

Long Sprints

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400 Meters

Alabama junior Stephen Gayle will be the Tide’s lone representative in the men’s 400 meters at the SEC Outdoor Championships. Gayle has competed in this event three times in the 2015 season, recording a personal best of 45.77 at the LSU Invitational on May 2, the seventh-fastest time in the SEC and ninth-fastest in the NCAA in 2015. Gayle has also been an integral part of the Tide’s 4x400-meter relay squadron this year, assisting the Tide in posting its fastest time in 2015 (3:05.66). Gayle is slated to compete in the 400-meter preliminary race on Friday at 5:15 p.m.

800 Meters

Senior standout Alex Amankwah and sophomore Jacopo Lahbi are slated to compete in the 800 meters at the SEC meet. Amankwah has carved out a place among the top 800-meter runners in the collegiate ranks in 2015, running this year’s third-fastest time (1:45.91) twice. That time leads the SEC in 2015 and is third on Alabama’s all-time performance list. Amankwah finished fifth in the event at this year’s SEC Indoor Championships before earning a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Lahbi also competed in the 800 meters at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing 16th. His season best for this outdoor season is 1:48.12 recorded at the LSU Invitational on May 2. Lahbi has a personal best in the event of 1:47.52. The two Tide athletes will be joined by junior Andrew Harris in the 800-meter race at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

WOMEN

400 Meters

Two sophomores, Alex Gholston and Nicole Sassaman, will represent the Tide in the 400 meters. Gholston has competed in the 400 meters four times this season and has been an integral part of the Tide’s 4x400-meter relay squad. Throughout the season, Gholston has improved her times in each meet. She has a personal and season best in the event of 52.64 set at the LSU Invitational on May 2, the eighth-best in the SEC in 2015. Sassaman has a personal and season best of 56.38 in the event and has also appeared on Alabama’s 4x400-meter relay unit, including the relay team that set the Tide’s season best of 3:37.10.

800 Meters

Junior Kimberley Ficenec will be the lone Tide athlete in the women’s 800 meters. Ficenec has made vast improvements in the event in 2015 as she has sprinted to personal records both indoors and outdoors this year. During the indoor season, Ficenec finished sixth in the event at the SEC Championships. In the outdoor season, Ficenec has run sub-2:06 twice, setting a personal best of 2:05.84 at the LSU Invitational on May 2, the seventh-best time in the SEC.

Middle Distance

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1,500 Meters

Tide sophomore Robbie Farnham-Rose is slated to compete in the 1,500-meter preliminary race on Friday at 3:45 p.m. Rose has a personal best in the event of 3:44.72 set earlier this year at the Border Clash, currently No. 9 on the 2015 SEC top times list. Farnham-Rose had a stellar indoor season this year in his second season with the Tide, as he crept close to the 4-minute barrier in the indoor mile, running a personal best 4:01.34. Farnham-Rose posted a time of 4:03.87 in the finals of the mile at the SEC Indoor Championships to finish third in the event. He was also a member of the record-setting distance medley relay quartet that claimed the school record in the event with a time of 9:29.93 at Notre Dame in February. He will be joined by sophomore Payton Ballard in the 1,500-meter preliminary. Ballard set a personal best in the event at the LSU Invitational, running 3:52.73.

WOMEN

1,500 Meters

Alabama junior Meropi Panagiotou and freshman Veronica Lyle are slated to compete in the 1,500-meter race. Panagiotou ran 4:26.36 in the event at the LSU Invitational to set her season best. Her personal record in the event is 4:23.28. Lyle also ran her season and personal best at the LSU Invitational (4:27.23). The two will race at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Distance

WOMEN

10,000 Meters

Sophomore Allison Gregg will race in her second 10,000 meters at the SEC Championships. In her first appearance in the event at the Mt. SAC Relays, Gregg ran a personal best of 35:42.56, which ranks 10th on the Alabama all-time performance list. Freshman Alison Ringle will also compete in her second 10,000 meters of the 2015 season. Ringle set a personal best the Mt. SAC Relays, running 36:07.69. The Alabama duo is slated to compete in the event at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Steeplechase

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Juniors Parker Deuel and Eric Sivill are slated to compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday at 6:25 p.m. Deuel has made two appearances in the event in 2015, posting his fastest time of the season (9:05.77) at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 16. Deuel finished eighth in the event at last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships to add a point to the Tide’s team total. His personal best in the event is 9:02.00 recorded at the 2014 Mt. SAC Relays. Sivill posted a personal best in the event at the John Jacobs Invitational on April 18, running 9:18.83. He ran in the steeplechase at last year’s Outdoor SEC Championships, recording a time of 9:34.37.

WOMEN

Juniors Katelyn Greenleaf and Rebecca Stover and sophomore Hannah Waggoner are slated to compete in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the SEC meet. Greenleaf recorded the fifth-fastest time for the SEC this year at the Florida Relays, running a personal best and school record of 10:14.91. Stover’s fastest time of the season was also posted at the Florida Relays when she crossed the finish line in a personal-best time of 10:29.67. Her time is ranked as the eighth-fastest time in the SEC in 2015. Waggoner ran a personal best 10:53.55 at the Florida Relays. The three are set to toe the line at 6:45 p.m. Friday.

Hurdles

WOMEN

Redshirt sophomore Vanessa Clerveaux is slated to compete in the 100-meter hurdles prelims on Friday at 4:40 p.m. Clerveaux has finished in the top three in the event at four meets this season. Most recently, Clerveaux won the 100-meter hurdles at the LSU Invitational on May 2, running 13.77. Her 2015 season best in the event is 13.46, only .05 off of her personal best of 13.41. Freshman Kaitlin Walker is entered in the 400-meter hurdles. Walker ran a personal best in the event at the LSU Invitational on May 2, crossing the finish line in a time of 1:00.87. The 400-meter hurdle preliminaries are slated to begin at 7:55 p.m. on Thursday with the finals scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Saturday.

FIELD EVENTS

Horizontal Jumps

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Long Jump

Alabama junior Cameron Hudson is entered in the men’s long jump, his second event of the meet. Before transferring to Alabama from East Carolina, Hudson won the 2014 Conference USA long jump championship with a personal-record leap of 25 feet, eight inches. He also placed 16th at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2015, Hudson leads the Tide with a season-best of 24-9 3/4. Junior Josh McCullan is also slated to compete. McCullan finished the 2014 season with an 18th-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after setting a personal best of 24-9 3/4 to finish seventh in the event at the SEC Championships. His 2015 season best is 24-3 3/4. Both juniors will compete in the finals scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday.

Triple Jump

Tide sophomore Jeremiah Green is slated to compete in the men’s triple jump finals on Saturday at 1 p.m. Green finished third at the 2015 SEC Indoor Championships and was ninth at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Green jumped an outdoor personal record in the event earlier this year when he posted a mark of 53-0 at the Florida Relays on April 4, the fifth-best jump in the SEC in 2015. Green currently has the ninth-best mark in the NCAA so far this year.

Vertical Jumps

High Jump

Junior Justin Fondren is slated to compete in the high jump at the SEC meet. Fondren is currently ranked second in the event in the SEC with a season-best jump of 7-1. Fondren has had a decorated career with the Tide. In his freshman year, Fondren was the 2013 USATF Junior Track and Field champion, when he was the runner-up at the SEC Outdoor Championships and finished 13th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2014, Fondren finished tied for third at the SEC Indoor Championships and fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. This year, Fondren finished as the runner-up at the SEC Indoor Championships and cleared an indoor personal best of 7-3. Fondren’s best outdoor clearance is 7-3. The high jump is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.

Pole Vault

Freshman Jake Zalesky will represent the Tide in the men’s pole vault. Zalesky jumped 16-3 1/4 at the LSU Invitational on May 2. He is slated to compete in the event at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

WOMEN

Long Jump

Alabama sophomore Quanesha Burks is currently tied for the No. 1 mark in the women’s long jump in both the SEC and the NCAA in 2015. Burks posted a mark of 21-9 at the John Jacobs Invitational on April 18, breaking a 28-year-old Alabama school record. In her second outdoor season with the Tide, Burks has consistently jumped over six meters, consistently proving to be one of the nation’s top long jumpers. She will be joined in the competition by Tide junior Lacey Dent and freshman Filippa Fotopoulou. Dent posted a season-best leap of 19-8 3/4 at the LSU Invitational, the Tide’s last regular season meet. Her personal best in the event is 19-9 1/2. Fotopoulou, who joined the Alabama team in January, recorded as season-best performance of 19-7 1/2 on May 2. She has a personal best of 20-4 1/2. The three will compete in the event at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Triple Jump

Senior Merilyn Uudmae will be the lone Tide representative in the women’s triple jump. Uudmae has had a stellar 2015 season. During the indoor season, Uudmae earned her first team point at a conference championship, finishing eighth in the triple jump at the SEC Indoor Championships to gain one point for the team total. Uudmae recorded three personal records during the indoor season, ultimately jumping 42-3 1/4. In the outdoor portion of the year, Uudmae has recorded a season best of 41-6 1/2, the eighth-best jump in the SEC in 2015. She is slated to compete at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

High Jump

Junior Katherine White will compete in her first SEC Outdoor Championships, as she is entered in the women’s high jump to be contested on Friday at 4 p.m. White spent four years on the Tide volleyball team before joining the Alabama track team in January. So far in 2015, White has cleared a season best height of 5-8. White has also cleared 5-7 three times since the beginning of the 2015 outdoor season.

Pole Vault

Sophomore Lakan Taylor is set to compete in the women’s pole vault along with junior Anna Rawles and sophomore Britainy Smith. Taylor, who finished sixth in the event at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, has vaulted 14 feet during the outdoor season. That clearance is Taylor’s personal best, as well as the fifth-best in the SEC in 2015. It is also 16th-best in the NCAA this season. Rawles recorded a season-best clearance of 13-1 1/2 at the Florida Relays in early April to match her all-time personal best in the event. Britainy Smith recorded a personal-best of 12-2 3/4 at the LSU Invitational on May 2. The three athletes are slated to compete in the pole vault at 4 p.m. Friday.

Throws

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Hammer

Senior Charodd Richardson will compete in his final SEC Outdoor Championships. Richardson had a breakout season in 2014, winning the weight throw at the SEC Indoor Championships and finishing sixth in the hammer at the outdoor championships. Before last year’s outdoor championship meet, Richardson set a personal record in the hammer throw in five consecutive meets, ultimately throwing 213-6. Richardson season best in 2015 is 205-3, which is the 10th-best throw in the SEC this year.

Discus

Sophomore Hayden Reed will try to capture his first SEC discus championship after winning both the NCAA championship and the USATF championship in the event in 2014. At last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships, Reed threw a personal best 209-1. Reed is ahead of where he was at this time last year, throwing a season-best 199-2 at the John Jacobs Invitational on April 18. Entering last year’s SEC meet, Reed had thrown a best of 187-9. Reed’s toss of 199-2 on May 2 ranks third in the SEC in 2015 and eighth collegiately. Reed, who is also slated to compete in the shot put, will compete in the discus at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Joining Reed is sophomore Joe Williams, who had an impressive showing in the discus at the 2015 Crimson Tide Invitational, throwing a personal best 191-2 to finish as the runner-up in the event. That mark is currently ranked sixth in the SEC this season. Senior Taber Wanstall will also compete in the discus on Saturday.

Shot Put

Three sophomores, Kyle Felpel, Hayden Reed and Nathan Karr, are slated to compete in the men’s shot put on Friday at 4 p.m. In his freshman year, Felpel was the runner-up in the 2014 SEC indoor shot put competition and competed in both the indoor and outdoor NCAA championship meets. Felpel has a 2015 season-best toss of 59-7, which is currently the eighth-best throw in the SEC this year. Reed’s best throw of the season, 58-3 1/4, is currently ninth in the SEC for 2015. Karr set a personal best earlier this season, throwing 53-3 1/2 at the John Jacobs Invitational on April 18.

Javelin

Junior Kevin Shannon will join Felpel in the javelin throw on Thursday at 6 p.m. Felpel currently has the Tide’s longest throw in 2015, posting a personal best of 210-5 at the LSU Invitational on May 2. Shannon’s best mark of the season is 196-1. His personal best in the event is 207-5 recorded in 2014.

WOMEN

Hammer Throw

Two Alabama athletes rank high in the SEC in the women’s hammer throw going into the SEC meet. Senior Nia Barnes currently has the fourth-best toss in the conference for 2015 with a mark of 200-7. Barnes has a long list of accolades in the event, including Honorable Mention All-America honors in the hammer at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships and a third-place finish at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships. Junior Danielle McConnell joins Barnes in the SEC rankings with the fifth-best throw this season. McConnell joined the Tide in the fall of 2014 and has competed only once this year in an Alabama uniform. In her first meet, McConnell threw a personal best 199-1 to win the LSU Invitational on May 2. The two will kick off Tide action at the SEC Championships at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Discus

Freshman Haley Teel will be the lone Tide representative in the women’s discus slated for 5 p.m. Friday. Teel, who will also compete in the shot put, joined the Tide in the fall of 2014 after a high school career in which she was one of the top prep throwers in Texas. She recorded a personal best in the discus of 159-3 at the LSU Invitational on May 2.

Shot Put

Senior Candicea Bernard and Teel are slated to compete in the shot put on Saturday at 4 p.m. Bernard’s season-best throw is 51-10 1/2 at the Crimson Tide Invitational on March 28. She has a personal best of 52-10 1/2 thrown at the 2014 NCAA East Preliminary. Bernard has finished in the top five in the event at five of the Tide’s regular season meets, winning the shot put at the Alabama Relays and finishing as the runner-up in two other competitions. Teel posted a season-best throw of 51-0 at the Border Clash on April 10. Her personal best in the event is 51-6 1/2.

Up Next

The Tide takes a weekend off before traveling to Jacksonville Fla., for the NCAA East Regional on May 28-30.


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