Jan. 29, 2015
This Week: Indiana Relays (Fri.-Sat., Jan. 30-31); New Mexico Team Invitational (Sat., Jan. 31)
The University of Alabama track and field team competes in its third weekend of the 2015 season this weekend with athletes traveling to two competitions. The bulk of the team competes on Saturday, Jan. 31, at the New Mexico Team Invitational in Albuquerque. Hosted by the University of New Mexico, the meet will be held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The meet is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and conclude at 4:20 p.m. The team will also travel a select group of throwers to the Indiana Relays hosted by Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., with events taking place Friday-Saturday, Jan. 30-31.
Senior sprinter Remona Burchell returns to the site of her first NCAA championship win this Saturday as the Tide travels to Albuquerque, N.M. The reigning champion is set to compete in the 60-meter dash preliminaries on Saturday at 12:50 p.m. in hopes of earning a berth in the finals to be run later that day. Joining Burchell are other members of the sprints and jumps squads, including sophomore Tony Brown, who won the 60-meter hurdles last Saturday at Vanderbilt. Junior Cameron Hudson will compete in both the men’s long jump and 60-meter dash. Last Saturday, Hudson leapt to a seventh-place national ranking with a mark of 25-1 1/4. Sophomore Lakan Taylor will compete in the women’s pole vault. Taylor’s clearance of 13-9 1/4 ranks as the 12th best jump in the NCAA in 2015. Fellow sophomore Alex Gholston enters this Saturday’s meet after a landmark victory at the Vanderbilt Invitational. Gholston’s 400-meter time of 53.90 ranks as no. 7 on the all-time Crimson Tide list and the 14th fastest time in the NCAA in 2015.
Alabama will travel seven throwers (three women, four men) to Bloomington, Ind., to compete at the Indiana Relays. Sophomore Kyle Felpel is set to compete in the shot put, the event in which he qualified for the NCAA indoor championships last year. The sophomore will be joined by fellow sophomores Hayden Reed and Nate Karr in the event. Freshman Daniel Haugh will compete in the weight throw. Senior Nia Barnes will make an appearance in the women’s weight throw. Joining Barnes are senior Candicea Bernard and freshman Haley Teel who will compete in the shot put.
Follow the Action Live
Links to live scoring of the meets this weekend are available via the following means:
Indiana Relays – www.IUHoosiers.com
New Mexico Team Invitational – www.LiveRunningResults.com
Head Coach Dan Waters on the Crimson Tide
“We are coming off a great showing at the Vanderbilt Invitational last Saturday and we’re hoping to take the momentum into this weekend. Athletes in the jumps tend to have very impressive marks in Albuquerque. We are hoping our jumpers can follow suit and secure a spot at the NCAA championships in March. We have also had a great deal of success in the short sprints in Albuquerque. This is the same venue where Remona Burchell won the 60 meters and Diondre Batson won the 200 meters at last year’s championships, so we’re hoping we see some fast times. The throwers are also heading to Indiana to try to improve on their marks for the season. Overall, I think we will have some impressive results out of both meets.”
Tide Athletes to Watch This Weekend
Tony Brown, sophomore, Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles
Sophomore Tony Brown tops the list of athletes to watch this weekend at the New Mexico Team Invitational. Brown won the men’s 60-meter hurdles at last weekend’s Vanderbilt Invitational. His time of 7.89 earned him the no. 7 time on the all-time Alabama list and a no. 6 ranking in the SEC. After spending the track and field offseason training and playing football for Alabama, Brown has worked tirelessly to return to track and field shape. He made his first appearance in a track uniform at Alabama’s first meet of the season, the Auburn Invitational.
“While Tony didn’t necessarily have the fall off, he didn’t have as much time for technical training for the hurdles as some of the other athletes,” said head coach Dan Waters. “We entered him into the 60-meter dash for the first week of competition and we were very impressed with his speed. That just points to his sheer talent – to not be able to practice for the event and then come out three or four weeks into training and run that fast is incredible.” In the second week of competition for the Tide, Brown again showed his ability. This time he ran only his main event, the 60-meter hurdles. Brown ran 8.01 in the preliminaries and was ultimately the third-fastest qualifier of the day. Only two seniors edged him in the prelims, Torrey Campbell of Auburn and Ole Miss’s Robert Semien. The sophomore was able to move into the finals, where he edged Mississippi State senior Javon Davis in a photo finish, beating him by .01.
“Tony is a very motivated athlete,” Waters said. “He brings his all into every practice and every race. I think last Saturday’s race at Vanderbilt really showed his competitive nature. He’s always willing to go out there and dominate the competition.” Brown will be competing in the 60-meter hurdles at this weekend’s competition. Prelims for the event are set to start at 12:15 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST).
Alex Gholston, sophomore, Women’s 400 Meters
Sophomore Alex Gholston, another Tide sprinter, is among those to watch this weekend. Gholston shattered her previous indoor personal best in the women’s 400 meter dash, crossing the finish in a time of 53.90. The sophomore won the Vanderbilt Invitational, beating 40 other sprinters who were entered in the event.
“Alex ran a very impressive race,” Waters said. “We all knew she had it in her and she worked really hard in the fall to be where she is in her training.”
Gholston dropped over a second from her indoor season best from 2014, when she ran 55.69 at the Indiana Relays. The sophomore broke 54 seconds in the 400 for the first time during last year’s outdoor season when she ran 53.84 in the prelims at the SEC Championships. She will be racing in the 400 this weekend at 2:10 p.m. MST.
Lakan Taylor, sophomore, Women’s Pole Vault
Another sophomore, pole vaulter Lakan Taylor, rounds out the individuals to watch this weekend. Taylor cleared 13-9¼ at last week’s Vanderbilt Invitational. The jump tied her 2014 indoor season best and just missed her personal best of 13-10.
“I think Lakan’s performance last weekend was phenomenal,” Waters said. “She is jumping a lot higher right now than she did at this time last year. Albuquerque is a great place to jump, so I’m really hoping she can get really close to – if not over – 14 feet this weekend.”
Taylor’s jump of 13-9¼ was the best jump by a collegian at last weekend’s meet. The sophomore barely missed her second attempt at 14-1, the last height she attempted. Taylor is set to jump in the women’s pole vault this weekend. The event is slated to begin at 11 a.m. MST Saturday.
Men’s 4×400-Meter Relay
The men’s 4×400-meter relay will also take to the track at the New Mexico Team Invitational. Alabama has an A and a B squad entered into the competition. With a stacked group of 400-meter runners, the Tide is hoping to have an outstanding showing.
“Our men’s 4×400 meter squad has a lot of talent this year,” Waters said. “There are a number of very experienced and very fast individuals in the group. This will be the first weekend where we will put them all together in a way that really shows what an incredible force they can be in this event.”
Last week, the Tide ran junior Quincy Smith, senior Alex Amankwah, freshman Marlon Humphrey and senior Nick Efkamp in the event. The foursome crossed the line in 3:09.88. The New Mexico Team Invitational men’s 4×400-meter relay is slated to begin at 4:10 p.m. MST Saturday.
CRIMSON TIDE NOTEBOOK
In the Rankings
The University of Alabama men’s track & field team rose two positions to No. 11 in this week’s edition of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Team Computer Rankings released Monday, the first in-season survey of the 2015 season. The Crimson Tide men were 13th in the USTFCCCA preseason rankings. The Tide men are ranked fourth in this week’s South Region rankings, the first regional rankings of the 2015 season, while the Alabama women are No. 7 in the South Region team survey.
Amankwah Has World’s Fastest Time in Men’s 800
Crimson Tide junior Alex Amankwah currently owns the fastest men’s 800-meters time in the world this season and is one of six University of Alabama athletes, along with the Tide’s men’s 4×400-meter relay team, to rank among the top 20 on current world lists, according to AllAthletics.com as of Monday morning, Jan. 26. Amankwah and his Alabama teammate, sophomore Jacopo Lahbi, posted the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 times in the men’s 800 meters on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., at the Vanderbilt Invitational. Amankwah set a school record of 1 minute, 46.86 seconds to edge Lahbi, who broke the tape in 1:48.28.
6 Tide Athletes, 1 Relay, Rank Among World Leaders
Four men and two women from the Tide rank among the top 20 on current world lists, according to AllAthletics.com as of Monday morning, Jan. 26. Sophomore Allison Gregg ranks no. 6 on the list in the women’s 5,000 meters after running a 17:00.17 on Saturday in Nashville. Senior sprinter Remona Burchell ranks tied for 9th in the world in the women’s 60-meter dash via her 7.25 clocking on Saturday in Nashville. In the men’s mile, the Tide’s Robbie Farnham-Rose and Matt Airola are both among the world leaders so far via performances posted on Jan. 17 at the Auburn Invitational in Birmingham. Farnham’s 4:03.75 ranks 8th while Airola’s 4:05.37 is 11th in the world. Alabama’s men’s 4×400-meter relay unit of Quincy Smith, Alex Amankwah, Marlon Humphrey and Nick Efkamp ran 3:09.88 on Saturday in Nashville, a time that is currently 7th on the World List.
12 Athletes, 1 Relay, Among Collegiate Leaders
Alabama senior Alex Amankwah leads all collegiate runners in the men’s 800 meters following his school-record performance on Saturday at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational in Nashville. Amankwah’s performance leads a group of 12 Crimson Tide athletes in 10 events (plus the men’s 4×400-meter relay unit) that rank among the nation’s top 20 through Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015.
3 Alabama Athletes Lead SEC in 3 Events
22 athletes in 17 events, three relay teams among the SEC’s top 10
Three Alabama athletes have produced the top results in three events so far in 2015, leading a group of 22 athletes in 17 events plus three relay teams that rank among the conference’s top 10 overall this season. The Crimson Tide’s Alex Amankwah, a senior, leads the conference in the men’s 800 meters (1:46.86) with teammate Jacopo Lahbi, a sophomore, ranking second (1:48.28). Justin Fondren, a junior at Alabama, leads the SEC in the men’s high jump (7-1 1/2; 2.15m). Crimson Tide sophomore Cameron Hudson leads the SEC in the men’s long jump (25-1 1/4; 7.65m). Sprinter Remona Burchell is the leading female athlete for the Crimson Tide, ranking second in the women’s 60-meter dash.
Amankwah’s Record Run Earns SEC Honor
Alabama senior Alex Amankwah of the Crimson Tide track & field team has been named the Southeastern Conference’s Men’s Runner of the Week, the SEC Office announced Tuesday. Amankwah, a native of Ghana who immigrated to the United States and attended high school in Los Angeles, Calif., also bettered Ghana’s men’s national record with the performance. Amankwah earned the honor after winning the men’s 800 meters on Saturday at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational in Nashville. With a time of 1 minute, 46.86 seconds, Amankwah broke an 11-year-old Crimson Tide record set in 2004 by Peter Etoot in dominating the field, crossing the line .04 faster than Etoot’s previous standard (1:46.90).
The Tide heads to Lincoln, Neb., for the Frank Sevigne Husker Invite on Saturday, Feb. 6-7.
Following the Tide
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaTrack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.