June 12, 2015
EUGENE, Oregon –
Junior sprinter Steven Gayle and sophomore triple jumper Jeremiah Green produced memorable performances for the Crimson Tide on Friday, the final day of competition for Alabama athletes at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. The Crimson Tide men finished the team race with eight points while the women’s team has scored 10 points in the team standings entering Saturday.
Competing in the final of the men’s 400 meters in his NCAA meet debut, Gayle finished a surprising fifth with a time of 46.32 seconds approximately one hour after running the second leg on Alabama’s eighth-place 4×100-meter relay squad. Those performances earned Gayle two First Team All-America honors on the day.
“Steven was impressive today and, really, all week,” Crimson Tide head coach Dan Waters said. “Running from lane one is always extremely difficult because of the tight turns. It’s usually a death knell for finishing well in any race. For him to run as strong as he did today shows what he is capable of. We’re very proud of him. He had a great year, improved throughout the season, and he’s set himself up for an excellent senior season next year.”
“It was a great experience today, but it was rough running in lane one (in the 400) into the wind,” Gayle said. “But I was in it most of the way and I thought I ran a pretty good race. I wasn’t expected to be in the final and no one really had me ranked very high, so I am very happy with how it went for me this week and what it means for my potential
Alabama sophomore Jeremiah Green produced the best triple jump mark under any conditions by any Crimson Tide triple jumper in 22 years on the way to a sixth-place finish. The leap of 54 feet, 1 3/4 inches (16.50 meters) was produced with the aid of a 4.3-meters per second tailwind (well beyond the legal limit for records purposes of 2.0 mps).
“Jeremiah had a big jump, a PR, in the biggest meet of our season and that’s something he can build on,” Waters said. “We’re very pleased with how he competed today. He has the potential to be the best out there and he was in contention for a top-three finish all the way through. It’s a good finish to his season, getting First Team All-America.”
“This was the toughest day I’ve ever had in triple jumping, but I’m really happy to get a PR and finish so high,” Green said. “Once I got a big jump that allowed me to relax for the rest of the way.”
In the men’s 4×100-meter relay, Alabama ran in lane one with the quartet of Tony Brown II, Steven Gayle, Ahmed Ali and Tadashi Pinder. Five of the eight teams in the final were from SEC schools (Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama). Arkansas won the relay in 38.47 seconds with TCU second (38.59), LSU third (38.62) and Southern California fourth (38.75). Alabama was eighth in a time of 39.63. All four members of the Tide’s relay team earned First Team All-America status by virtue of their finals appearance and top-8 finish.
“We were in lane one again, and we ran an outstanding time coming out of that lane on this track,” Waters said. “I couldn’t be happier with the relay. They were put together as a team late in the year, ran together for the first time at this meet, and ran very well here this week. It’s very difficult to run under 41 seconds in lane one on this track. We ran 39.63. That’s an impressive performance, especially considering the relative inexperience of this group and their unfamiliarity running together.”
Summaries of Alabama’s competition at the NCAA meet on Friday:
MEN’S 400 METERS (FINAL) – Crimson Tide junior Steven Gayle had a tough assignment on Friday in his NCAA meet debut, running into a stiff breeze from lane one in the eight-man final of the men’s 400 meters. Defending champion and pre-meet favorite Deon Lendore of Texas A&M and LSU’s Vernon Norwood went to the lead early before Lendore pulled up with an injury after the first turn while Gayle was in contention in the top five. Entering the second turn, Gayle was in fifth place and charging for a top-three finish. As the sprinters entered the final straightaway Gayle and Florida’s Najee Glass were in a tight battle for fourth with Norwood leading the pack well ahead of Oregon’s Marcus Chambers and Illinois’ DJ Zahn. That’s how it ended with Norwood winning in 45.10, Chambers second (45.59) and Zahn third (45.97). Gayle and Glass were virtually even at the finish with Glass edging Gayle for fourth place by .01. Glass ran 46.31 with Gayle fifth in 46.32, well off Gayle’s 2015 best of 45.67 but earning him a surprisingly high NCAA finish and First Team All-America honors while scoring four points for the Tide in the team standings.
MEN’S 4X100-METER RELAY (FINAL) – Eight teams competed in the finals of the men’s 4×100-meter relay on Friday afternoon. Alabama ran in lane one with the quartet of Tony Brown II, Steven Gayle, Ahmed Ali and Tadashi Pinder. Five of the eight teams in the final were from SEC schools (Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama). Arkansas won the relay in 38.47 seconds with TCU second (38.59), LSU third (38.62) and Southern California fourth (38.75). Alabama was eighth in a time of 39.63. All four members of the Tide’s relay team earned First Team All-America status by virtue of their finals appearance and top-8 finish.
MEN’S HIGH JUMP (FINAL) – Alabama junior Justin Fondren cleared the opening height of 6 feet, 9 1/4 inches (2.08 meters) on his first attempt, then cleared 6-11 1/2 (2.12m) on the first attempt to share the lead with five other jumpers through the first two heights. Fondren missed all three attempts at the next height (7-1; 2.16m) to exit the competition. He finished 14th overall. Fondren jumped 12th in the order of 24 jumpers who competed on Friday. Jacorian Duffield of Texas Tech won the high jump with a final clearance of 7-5 ¼ (2.28m).
Alabama Series – Fondren – 6-9 1/4 (2.08m)-o; 6-11 1/2 (2.12m)-o; 7-1 (2.16m)-xxx.
MEN’S DISCUS (FINAL) – Defending NCAA outdoor champion Hayden Reed, a sophomore at Alabama, finished 12th overall and out of the points in the men’s discus final but earned Second Team All-America honors. The top nine marks through three rounds competed for the top eight positions overall. The field of 24 competitors in the final competed in two flights (sections) of 12 athletes. Reed began the day in the first flight of 12 and through three attempts was in third place in his section with a best of 190 feet even (57.93 meters), which was on his only legal throw of the first three rounds. He then waited for the completion of the second flight to see if he would advance to the final three rounds. Reed tumbled down the standings as the second flight progressed, eventually being eliminated from the final three rounds to end his day. Sam Mattis of Penn won the discus with a throw of 205-0 (62.48m).
Alabama Series – Reed – 190-0 (57.93m); foul; foul.
MEN’S TRIPLE JUMP (FINAL) – Alabama sophomore Jeremiah Green produced the best triple jump mark under any conditions by any Crimson Tide triple jumper in 22 years on Friday on the way to a sixth-place finish. The leap of 54 feet, 1 3/4 inches (16.50 meters) was produced with the aid of a 4.3-meters per second tailwind (well beyond the legal limit for records purposes of 2.0 mps). Green fouled on his first round attempt, then leaped his wind-aided 54-1 3/4 (16.50m) mark in the second round to move into third place behind Florida’s defending champion Marquis Dendy (57-5w; 17.50m in the first round) and Texas A&M’s Latario Collie (54-2 3/4w; 16.53m in the second round). That leap is the longest by an Alabama jumper in any conditions since 1993 when David Nti-Berko went 54-8 1/4 (16.66m) in 1993. Green fouled in the third round, but easily advanced to the final three rounds that featured the nine best marks from the first three jumps to compete for the championship. Green entered the final three rounds in third place behind Dendy and Collie, who had improved to 55-9 3/4w (17.01m; w: +3.8) in the third round. Green fouled in the fourth round but maintained third place through the fifth round when he leaped 52-2 1/2 (15.91m) (w: +4.5). Green fouled on his sixth and final attempt, dropping to sixth overall in the final standings as Donald Scott of Eastern Michigan, Ben Williams of Louisville and Jonathan Reid of Florida State all passed him in the sixth round to take third through fifth place. Dendy won the title with a best of 58-1 1/4 (17.71m), a mark that bettered the existing collegiate record and NCAA meet record but will not count for records purposes due to an excessive tailwind of 2.4 mps. Collie was second for A&M.
Alabama Series – Green – foul; 54-1 3/4w (16.50m) (wind: +4.3 mps); foul; foul; 52-2 1/2w (15.91m) (w: +4.5); foul.
2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships
Hayward Field – Eugene, Oregon
Friday, June 12, 2015
400 Meters (Final) – 5. Steven Gayle, 46.32.
4×100-Meter Relay (Final) – 8. (Tony Brown II, Steven Gayle, Ahmed Ali, Tadashi Pinder), 39.63.
High Jump (Final) – 14. Justin Fondren, 6-11 1/2 (2.12m).
Triple Jump (Final) – 6. Jeremiah Green, 54-1 3/4w (16.50m) (wind: +4.2 mps).
Discus (Final) – 12. Hayden Reed, 190-0 (57.93m).