Jan. 19, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - University of Alabama athletes won four individual events on Saturday at the Auburn Invitational Indoor Track Meet at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Krystle Schade won the women's high jump, Justin Fondren won the men's high jump, Elias Hakansson won the men's weight throw and Ken Taylor took a victory in the men's 800 meters as the Crimson Tide took a step forward in its second indoor meet of the season.
"We showed some life today and I was pleased with our competitiveness," said Alabama head coach Dan Waters. "I think we really took a step forward. Krystle has started out well in the high jump and is competing at a level that we expect, but it was very encouraging to see three athletes in their first season with us - Elias, Ken and Justin - really step up with victories today."
In the women's high jump, Schade outlasted South Carolina's Jeannelle Scheper. Both athletes cleared six feet, two inches (1.88 meters) but Schade won the competition due to fewer overall missed jumps over the course of the event. Fondren, a freshman, won the men's high jump in a jump off with a clearance of 6-10 1/4 (2.09m), breaking a tie with three other athletes - Samford's Tyler Kemp, Georgia Tech's Mykhail Chambers and Georgia's Maurice Freeman. Hakansson won the men's weight throw with a winning distance of 63 feet, 10 1/2 inches (19.47 meters). Taylor won for the second straight Saturday in the men's 800, this time edging Samford's Nathan Hendershot. Taylor won the event in a time of 1:51.67 to outlast Hendershot's 1:51.78.
In the women's high jump, Schade bided her time in the early going as Scheper started the event with a clearance at 5-3 3/4 (1.62m) but Schade chose to pass on the first two heights before making a clearance on her first attempt at 5-7 3/4 (1.72m).
Scheper missed her first attempt at 5-7 3/4 before clearing on her second jump. Schade cleared the next three heights on her first attempt and did not have a miss in the competition until missing her first two attempts at 6-2 (1.88m) and clearing on the third try. Meanwhile, Scheper missed at 5-9 3/4 (1.77m), cleared 5-11 1/2 (5.82m) on her first try and missed on her first two attempts at 6-0 3/4 (1.85m) before clearing the height on her third and final attempt. Like Schade, Scheper only cleared 6-2 on her third attempt. Both jumpers failed on all three attempts at 6-3 1/4 (1.91m). Schade won by virtue of having only five missed heights in the event compared to Scheper's nine misses overall.
Fondren, a freshman, won the men's high jump in a jump off with a clearance of 6-10 1/4 (2.09m), breaking a tie with three other athletes - Samford's Tyler Kemp, Georgia Tech's Mykhail Chambers and Georgia's Maurice Freeman.
Hakansson won the men's weight throw in his second meet as a member of the Crimson Tide. The freshman from Sweden had the three best throws of the meet and his winning distance of 63 feet, 10 1/2 inches (19.47 meters) came on his sixth and final attempt. But Hakansson was the leader from the start of the completition as his opener of 62-5 (19.03m) was also better than any other competitor could produce. Hakansson outdistanced Syi Georgewill of Southern Mississippi, who was second with a toss of 61-9 3/4 (18.84m).
"Elias works hard and is very diligent and that showed today because he came in and executed in the clutch," said Doug Reynolds, Alabama's assistant track coach who oversees the throws for the Crimson Tide. "He built into that final throw today. Technically, it's just been a matter of him getting comfortable with the event as it's not something he has done very much in Europe over the years."
For the second consecutive Saturday, Ken Taylor took home a victory in the men's 800 meters, this time edging Samford's Nathan Hendershot. Taylor won the event in a time of 1:51.67 to outlast Hendershot's 1:51.78.
The Tide took two of the top three places in the women's 800 meters. Freshman Kimberley Ficenec and junior Yanique Malcolm finished second and third, respectively, behind event winner Georgia Peel of Florida State who posted a winning time of 2:08.11. Ficenec was second in 2:09.11 while Malcolm, a transfer competing in her first meet for Alabama, was third in 2:10.24.
Alabama had a strong showing in the men's triple jump as Crimson Tide athletes finished in three of the top five places led by Kamal Fuller's 50-4 1/2 (15.35m) effort. Fuller's distance was a clutch performance as it came on his sixth and final attempt and improved his showing from what would have been a seventh-place finish. Jonathan Reid placed third for Alabama at 50-1 1/4 (15.27m) with Imani Brown finishing fifth at 48-5 1/4 (14.76m). Mississippi's Ricky Robertson won the event at 52-8 1/4 (16.06m), posting that effort on his first attempt of the day.
In the men's mile, freshman Robbie Farnham-Rose placed third in a time of 4:11.63. Georgia Tech's Shawn Roberts won the event in 4:07.42 with Clemson's Ty McCormick second in 4:08.66. Junior transfer Matt Airola of Alabama was sixth in his debut with the Crimson Tide in a time of 4:14.25.