Batson, Green Win SEC Titles for Alabama in Final Day of SEC Indoor Championships

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Diondre Batson is the 2014 SEC Indoor 60-meter dash champion.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Diondre Batson is the 2014 SEC Indoor 60-meter dash champion.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 1, 2014

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College Station, Texas - The University of Alabama track and field collected a pair of individual conference titles Saturday to bring its total to three for the weekend on the final day of competition at the SEC Indoor Championships at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.

The Crimson Tide men's team finished fourth in the team standings with 76 points, its best point total since 1986 and the sixth-best total ever scored by a Tide team at the SEC Indoor meet. It also marks only the third men's top-4 finish since 1986. In the men's team standings, Arkansas won the team title with 121 points. Florida was second with 106 while Texas A&M was third with 83.33.

Alabama finished 10th in the women's standings with 27 points. Florida won the women's team title with 102 points, edging Texas A&M (96.5) and Arkansas (93.5).

"I couldn't be happier with our performance this weekend," said Crimson Tide head coach Dan Waters. "We had an outstanding day today and an excellent meet overall. Our athletes really went out with the right attitude today and competed in every event. We continue climbing up the ladder and making progress toward being a contender. I am very proud of our team today."

Senior Diondre Batson won the men's 60-meter dash with a time of 6.66, and freshman Jeremiah Green won the men's triple jump with a personal-best mark of 16.29 meters (53 feet, 5.50 inches). The three individual SEC titles are the most since 2002 as Batson and Green joined Charodd Richardson(who won the men's weight throw on Friday) as individual champions for the Tide.

Batson's win in the 60-meter dash served as the catalyst for what would shape up to be a strong afternoon for Alabama. Following Batson's win, junior Remona Burchell took second in the women's 60-meter dash, and junior Matt Airolaplaced third in the men's one-mile run. Over the course of the meet, Crimson Tide athletes set 16 individual personal bests and broke two school records, in addition to posting a bevy of performances that rank among the all-time Alabama top 10 in several events.

Crimson Tide athletes produced 23 personal-best (PR) performances at this weekend's meet.

QUOTES

Matt Kane, Assistant Coach (Sprints) on the performances of Diondre Batson (60 & 200), Remona Burchell (60) and Yanique Malcolm (800): ""They (Batson & Burchell had a good day today. They were focused and ready. Great performances against great competition. I was really excited for Yanique. She has worked hard to get to where she is now. Coming through with a PR of the magnitude that she produced today, in a championship race, is a really big step for her."

Dick Booth, Assistant Coach (Jumps) on Jeremiah Green: "He's a great kid. He has tremendous confidence. He gave an aggressive effort, which is what I always ask. I figured he might have to jump 53 feet, but I knew we could count on him."

Here's an event-by-event breakdown of Alabama's performances Saturday:

TRACK EVENTS

Men

60 Meters: Diondre Batsonbecame Alabama's first SEC indoor champ in a "short sprint" since Emmit King won the indoor 55 SEC title in 1982. Batson's winning time of 6.66 matched his qualifying time from Friday's heats as he edged a tightly-packed field led by Florida's Hugh Graham Jr. (6.673). That pair was an eyelash ahead of Jalen Miller of Ole Miss (6.675), Jamol James of Tennessee (6.681) and Texas A&M's Shavez Hart (6.69). With the win, Batson adds to his SEC outdoor 100 title from 2013, cementing his claim as the SEC's "fastest man."

200 Meters: Running in the second heat of the two-heat 200-meter final, Diondre Batsoncame out strong but was overtaken in the final turn by Florida's Dedric Dukes and Texas A&M's Aldrich Bailey Jr. while placing third in his heat and fifth overall in 20.84. Heat 1 winner Arman Hall of Florida won the event in 20.59 while Dukes was second in 20.61. Batson's time of 20.84 was the second-fastest of his career and ranks fourth in Alabama history.

800 Meters: Alex Amankwahtook sixth place in his SEC debut with a time of 1:50.14 while running a choppy race in a bunched field. Running from the back of the pack most of the race, Amankwah struggled to move into contention in the race's latter stages before finishing strong to score three team points for the Tide. Kerrif Neal of Kentucky won the title in 1:48.94 with Sean Obinwa of Florida second in 1:49.79.

Mile: A third-place finish by Matt Airolaearned him all-SEC honors as he broke the tape in 4:06.66. Airola was edged by SEC champ Matt Hillenbrand of Kentucky (4:03.80) and Sean Tobin of Ole Miss (4:06.14).

5,000 Meters: Alabama's lone finisher was Conner Thompson, who finished 24th in the field with a time of 15:19.63. Arkansas runners finished 1-2 in the race as Solomon Haile won the race in 13:58.64 with Gabe Gonzales taking second in 13:59.64.

Distance Medley Relay: A fourth-place finish yielded five team points for the Tide. Andrew Harris led off and had the Tide in fifth after 1,200 meters before handing the baton to Bryan Arthur, whose 400-meter leg had the Tide in fourth place for 800-meter man Jacopo Lahbi. Lahbi ran a solid leg, handing the baton to Parker Deuelfor the 1,600-meter anchor segment. Deuel closed on the leaders in the first 400 meters of the final leg before Sean Tobin of Ole Miss pulled away from the pack in the final 220 meters to take the win for the Rebels in 9:39.54. Deuel held on for a fourth-place finish in 9:45.88.

4x400 Meter Relay: The Tide entered the meet's final event with a 74 to 73.3 lead over Texas A&M for third place in the team standings. If the Tide could run a faster time than the Aggies in this three-heat final, Alabama would have its first top-3 men's team finish since 1986. The Aggies eliminated that by running an NCAA record 3:03.20 to win the event. Running in heat two, the Tide's Dwight Davis finished the first leg with a two-meter lead ahead of Georgia followed by South Carolina. The Tide's Nick Efkamp opened a lead up in the first 200 and led by 10 meters or more at one point before the gap closed with Georgia as he handed to Ken Taylor. Georgia took a lead in the first 200 and led by three meters with 200 to go before Taylor actually took a slight lead in the final stretch prior to the final exchange. Alex Amankwahgot the baton slightly behind Georgia and remained there heading into the bell lap. He could never quite catch up as Georgia held the lead through the tape, finishing in 3:08.42 with South Carolina edging ahead of Alabama at the tape. Alabama's time of 3:09.18 ranks eighth on the Crimson Tide all-time list. Alabama finished seventh overall in the race, collecting two more points to bring the men's points total to 76, the Tide's best at the SEC Indoor meet since scoring 85.5 in 1986.

Women

60 Meters: Remona Burchellposted a second-place finish in a PR of 7.24, a time that also ranks third on the all-time Alabama list. Burchell was runner-up to Kentucky's Dezerea Bryant, who broke the tape in 7.16. Burchell's second place finish is the best showing in a short sprint for an Alabama female sprinter since 1988.

800 Meters: Senior Yanique Malcolmran the finest race of her Alabama career on the way to a second-place finish in the 800. Malcolm's time of 2:03.97 bettered her personal best by 2.6 seconds and smashed the school record set in 1994 by Vicky Lynch (2:04.68) by .71. Malcolm earned all-SEC honors with the finish. Stephanie Brown of Arkansas won the race in 2:03.21.

5,000 Meters: Katelyn Greenleaf and Allison Greggcompeted in the 5,000 meters but did not finish in the top eight scoring spots. Running in the first heat of the two-heat final, Greenleaf ran a strong race while staying with the leading pack most of the way, eventually finishing fifth in her heat in personal best time of 17:09.02. Gregg was ninth in that same heat in 17:38.70. Dominique Scott of Arkansas won the race in 16:00.73 while Greenleaf was 18th overall with Gregg 25th.

Distance Medley Relay: Alabama appeared doomed to a non-scoring finish through 2,800 of the 4,000-meter DMR as Meropi Panagiotoutook the baton on the final leg for the Tide. Panagiotou quickly moved back into contention for a top-eight finish and a scoring position, passing four runners to move into eighth place in the first 200 meters before settling in for a strong finish that salvaged and eighth place finish for Alabama and a point in the team standings. The Tide's final time was 11:37.76. Florida won the race in 11:08.11.

4x400-Meter Relay: The Crimson Tide foursome of Brianna Sims, Alex Gholston, Yanique Malcolm and Lacey Dentran in the first heat of the three-heat final. Alabama finished second in that heat behind Tennessee in a time of 3:41.80. Alabama ended up in seventh place, scoring the team's 27th point of the meet. Florida won the race in 3:30.16 ahead of Texas A&M (3:30.81), but the Aggies were disqualified due to an impeding violation. That infraction ended up costing the Aggies the team title and giving it to the Gators.

FIELD EVENTS

Men

Triple Jump: Freshman Jeremiah Greenbecame Alabama's first SEC indoor triple jump champion since Maxwell Peters in 1978 and only the second in Crimson Tide history. He did it by producing a personal-best of 16.29 meters (53 feet, 5.50 inches), an improvement of 11 inches over his previous PR (52-6.50). After fouling on his first two attempts, he safely notched a legal jump of 15.61 (51-2.75) on his third jump before uncorking the winner on his fourth attempt. He fouled on his final two attempts but ended up the winner by a distance of 15 inches ahead of Anthony May of Arkansas (15.91/52-2.50).

Shot Put: Redshirt freshman Kyle Felpel finished second in the shot put, the best SEC indoor finish by a Bama shot putter since 1977. His best throw of the day came in round five, a 19.23 meters toss (63 feet, 1.25 inches) that is a personal best by two inches beyond his prior PR of 61-1.25. Kentucky's Brad Szypka won the event with a throw of 19.47 (63-10.50) on his first attempt of the day. Felpel had four legal throws, all of which exceeded 60 feet. His first attempt went 18.47 (60-7.25), this second throw traveled 18.65 (61-2.25) and his fourth attempt (after a foul on his third try) went 18.87 (61-11). Hayden Reed was 12th with a mark of 17.36 (56-11.50) while Nathan Karrwas 17th (14.67/48-1.75).

Women

Weight Throw: Nia Barnes finished eighth for Alabama in the women's weight throw with a mark of 18.81 meters (61 feet, 8.50 inches). Candicea Bernardwas 12th (17.31/56-9.50). Denise Hilton of LSU won the title with a mark of 22.53 (73-11).

Triple Jump: Alabama's Merilyn Uudmaewas the Tide's lone competitor in the triple jump, finishing 15th with a mark of 12.44 meters (40 feet, 9.75 inches). Florida's Ciarra Brewer won the title with a best leap of 13.59 (44-7).

SEC Indoor Championships

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Alabama Results

MEN

60 meters: 1. Diondre Batson, 6.66.

200 meters: 5. Diondre Batson, 20.84.

800 meters: 6. Alex Amankwah, 1:50.14.

Mile: 3. Matt Airola, 4:06.66.

5,000 meters: 24. Conner Thompson, 15:19.63.

Distance Medley Relay: 4. Alabama (Andrew Harris, Bryan Arthur, Parker Deuel), 9:45.88.

4x400 Relay: 7. Alabama (Dwight Davis, Nick Efkamp, Ken Taylor, Alex Amankwah), 3:09.18

Triple Jump: 1. Jeremiah Green, 16.29m (53-5.50); 14. Kamal Fuller, 13.94m (45-9).

Shot Put: 2. Kyle Felpel, 19.23 m (63-1.25), 12. Hayden Reed, 17.36m (56-11.50), 17. Nathan Karr, 14.67m (48-1.75).

WOMEN

60 meters: 2. Remona Burchell, 7.24.

800 meters: 2. Yanique Malcolm, 2:03.97.

5,000 meters: 18. Katelyn Greenleaf, 17:09.02; 26. Allison Gregg, 17:38.70.

Distance Medley Relay: 8. Alabama (Kimberley Ficenec, Shani Chandler, Aubrielle Wright, Meropi Panagiotou), 11:37.76.

4x400 Relay: 7. Alabama (Brianna Sims, Alex Gholston, Yanique Malcolm, Lacey Dent), 3:41.80.

Weight Throw: 8. Nia Barnes, 18.81m (61-8.50); 12. Candicea Bernard, 17.31m (56-9.50).

Triple Jump: 15. Merilyn Uudmae, 12.42m (40-9).

-UA-