Freshman Sprinter Takes World Lead
"I knew in the back of my mind from where he [James] was in the first two meets, I knew he would challenge for the world lead," Alabama Coach Harvey Glance said. "Kirani is a hard-working, very coachable young man. For this race, I told him he just needed to get to the post and get position and then he just pulled away towards the end of the race. "Its great to have a guy like Ray in the 60 meters and now a guy in the 400 meters that have put nation-leading times on the board."
James, in his first indoor 400-meter open race, blazed his way around the oval to claim the individual title with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 45.79. The freshman was hardly pushed, as the second place finisher was almost a full second behind at 46.43. James' time leads the nation by .02 seconds, leads the SEC by .69 seconds and set a new standard for Alabama 400m runners, breaking a 10-year school record of 46.46 held by Cori Loving – also set in South Bend.
"It feels good, but this race was just to see where I'm at," James said. "It's not for me to make any statements or anything like that. It was just to see what I need to improve on to get better."
Fellow freshman Fabian Norgrove placed 10th in the 400m dash with a season-best time of 48.15.
James returned at the end of the day to lead off the 4x400m relay team, which included Norgrove, Aaron Stockstell and Matt Watson as well. The relay team members combined to run a provisional qualifying time of 3:09.27 as they placed second in the race. The time ranks as the seventh-fastest time in school history and second-fastest in the SEC.
In the 60m dash, senior Ray Jadusingh notched his third consecutive NCAA provisional qualifying mark as he won the 60m dash individual title with a time of 6.71.
Junior transfer Joel Rop set a new career-best in the mile run with a time of 4:07.51 on his way to a fourth place finish. Rop's time is the fourth-fastest time in the SEC this season.
Fellow junior transfers Fred Samoei and Julius Bor competed in the Meyo Mile posting times of 4:08.12 and 4:13.63 to finish eighth and 12th, respectively.
Earning his second provisional mark of the year, sophomore Tyler Campbell placed fifth in the high jump with a leap of 7-0 1/4 to tie his season-best.
Stockstell posted a new season-best 800m time by almost three full seconds. His time of 1:50.07 placed him seventh overall and is the fastest-time to date in the SEC.
Brandon Spradley also sprinted his way to a new season-best time of 22.04 in the 200m dash.
On Friday, Shaun Gaiser leaped his way to a new season-best mark in the long jump by over one foot. Gaiser's mark of 23-11 3/4 was good enough for eighth.
"The greatest thing is that, as a team, we had a pretty good meet," head coach Harvey Glance said. "We had five NCAA marks, and of course Kirani's world-leading time. This is the meet I had talked about coming in here and doing good things; challenging records and NCAA marks."
The Tide will send split squads to the Husky Invitational in Seattle, Wash. and the Texas A&M Challenge in College Station, Texas on Feb. 12-13.
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