Jan. 29, 2015
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –
The Crimson Tide track and field team makes its way to Albuquerque, N.M., this Saturday with impressive young performers in tow.
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.