March 21, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Three event victories highlighted action for the University of Alabama track and field team on Friday at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays at the Sam Bailey Track Complex on the UA campus. Crimson Tide athletes picked up victories in the women's 1,500 meters, the women's shot put and the men's shot put on Friday, the second day of three days of competition at this year's Relays.
"This was a very good day for us with a pair of guys going over 60 in the shot and some very good performances all the way around," said head coach Dan Waters. "We are in a very heavy training period right now, along with the fact that it's the first time for many of our athletes to compete in several weeks. To open the outdoor season with the numerous PRs that we had, including some just crazy PRs in the 1500s and some good 5Ks, it shows that we have a complete team now.
"We looked a little rusty in places, particularly in the sprints, but that's a byproduct of where we are in the season now. One of the best things about this meet is it gives us a chance to get some competition for people that were not at indoor nationals and haven't competed in a few weeks. So, we're starting the outdoor season, working on some things, and it gives us a great look at where we are and what we need to improve on."
A 1-2 finish for the Crimson Tide in the men's shot put keynoted a strong field events performance by the Tide this week. Redshirt freshmen Hayden Reed and Kyle Felpel dueled for the title with Reed coming out ahead with a winning throw on his sixth and final attempt, a toss of 60 feet, 3 inches (18.36 meters) that ranks seventh on the all-time Alabama outdoor list. Felpel's best of 18.32 (60-1.25), ranks eighth in Crimson Tide history. Matthew Hoty of Tennessee was third (18.06m/59-3).
"That was kind of unexpected," said Reed. "That (throwing 60 feet) was honestly my goal for the end of the year. I'm looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow for the discus. That is going to be fun. I'm off to a good start for the outdoor season."
Jamaican junior Candicea Bernard completed the sweep of the shot put events for the Crimson Tide with a victory on the women's event. Bernard was dominant, winning by three feet over her closest competition with a best of 15.30 meters (50-2.50) on her fourth attempt of the competition.
"Great performances today, obviously," said Doug Reynolds, the Tide's assistant coach for throws. "We always want PR's, so throws like that for Hayden Reed are huge. Candicea [Bernard] had some big fouls. The biggest thing I told them after we came off the indoor conference meet, for those that didn't go to nationals, is to get back in the weight room and heavy training out here. Their volumes are up. I had a meeting with them and told them, 'look, I don't expect PR's every time out, when you're beat down and beat up. All I expect is for you to compete to the best of your ability and to try to defend our house.' This is our house and we don't let anyone come in here and win without earning it. And no one earned it [tonight]. We defended our house well and did what we had to do and we executed well and that's exactly what you look for out of the first meet. I'm happy with every one of our throwers this weekend."
In the women's 1,500 meters, sophomore Kimberley Ficenec produced an impressive personal best on the way to a victory in 4:26.13, the seventh-fastest outdoor 1,500 in Alabama history. Meropi Panagiotou was fourth in 4:29.59 with Katelyn Greenleaf seventh in a PR of 4:33.01.
"I was really nervous, but I was really excited," said Ficenec. "I knew we were just opening the outdoor season and it wasn't one of the biggest meets, but I got out and had a lot of energy left coming into the third lap and gave it my all for the last lap."
"She was excellent and it was nice to see her put it together tonight," Waters said. "She's had some very good relay legs in the past, but this is the first time she has put it all together in an open race like this. She's really returning to form and I think this was a real boost for her."
The John Mitchell Alabama Relays conclude Saturday with action starting at Noon with the women's discus. Action on the track will begin at 2 p.m. with the women's 4x100-meter relay and concludes with the men's 4x400-meter relay slated for 5:25 p.m.
Here's a summary of Friday's events for Alabama athletes:
400-METER HURDLES: Stephen F. Austin State junior Josh Taylor edged Mississippi State's Javon Davis. Taylor ran 51.57 to beat Davis's 52.14, with both athletes running in the first heat of the three-heat final. Alabama freshman Brennan Parks was 17th in 55.45.
1,500 METERS: Georgia Tech junior Brandon Lasater edged Belmont's Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson with Alabama junior Matt Airola finishing third. Lasater's winning time of 3:44.50 was just a couple of strides ahead of Bridger-Wilkinson (3:44.98) with Airola close behind in 3:45.86. Other Alabama competitors were Parker Deuel (13th, 3:53.08), Jeff Edmondson (26th, 3:55.83) and Payton Ballard (27th, 3:55.93).
400 METERS: Tulane sophomore Lilla McMillan won the women's 400 in 54.97, well ahead of Shorter's Daisy Helm (55.35). Crimson Tide senior Dacia Mays was Alabama's lone competitor, finishing 11th in 57.92.
1,500 METERS: A personal-best performance by Alabama sophomore Kimberley Ficenec produced a victory for the Crimson Tide in the women's 1,500. Ficenec's time of 4:26.13 is the seventh-fastest outdoor 1,500 in Alabama history. Meropi Panagiotou was fourth in 4:29.59 with Katelyn Greenleaf seventh in a PR of 4:33.01.
5,000 METERS: UAB senior Kate Brown was dominant in the women's 5,000 meters with a time of 16:43.12, well ahead of Georgia's Marion Kalafut (17:22.06). Crimson Tide freshman Allison Gregg was third in her outdoor debut with a time of 17:22.78, a career personal best.
SPRINT MEDLEY RELAY (1,600 METERS): Vanderbilt's foursome of Erin Edmond (200 meters), Jennifer Cannon (200), Courtney Clayton (400) and Skyler Carpenter (800) ran 3:56.19 to edge Alabama. Sarah Thomas (200), Kyri Tabor (200), Shani Chandler (400) and Aubrielle Wright (800) finished in 3:58.57. Ball State was third in 4:01.58.
TRIPLE JUMP: Georgia Tech senior Jonathan Gardner produced a dominant performance with three leaps of 15 meters or better to win the triple jump handily with a winning mark of 15.87m/52 feet, 1 inch. Georgia's Jamario Calhoun was second at 15.15m (49-8.50) with Lazyon Legarde of South Alabama third (15.02m/49-3.50). Alabama sophomore George Freiberger finished ninth with a best of 14.26m/46-9.50.
SHOT PUT: Two Crimson Tide redshirt freshmen dominated the shot put. Hayden Reed won the event with his collegiate-best of 18.36 meters (60 feet, 3 inches) on his final throw of the night. Reed's effort, the seventh-best in Alabama history, eclipsed teammate Kyle Felpel's best of 18.32 (60-1.25), a mark that ranks eighth in Crimson Tide history. Matthew Hoty of Tennessee was third (18.06m/59-3).
POLE VAULT: Josh Dangel of Cincinnati cleared 17-4.50 (5.30 meters) on his first attempt to win the pole vault. Alabama's Ryan Pierson, a freshman making his Crimson Tide debut, was 10th with a mark of 14-11 (4.55m).
SHOT PUT: Crimson Tide junior Candicea Bernard completed an Alabama sweep of the shot put events with a victory in the women's shot put. Bernard had a best of 15.30 meters (50-2.50) on her fourth attempt of the competition. Bernard's effort was three feet better than runner-up Aslynn Halvorson of Tennessee (14.38m/47-2.25).
JAVELIN: Madison Johnston of Stephen F. Austin State won the javelin with a best of 162 feet (49.39 meters). Daliadiz Ortiz of Tulane was second (15-8, 48.05m) and Nia Barnes was third with a personal best of 149-10 (45.67m). Barnes' PR ranks seventh on the Alabama all-time list.
HEPTATHLON: South Alabama senior Noelle Jones scored 5,328 points to win the Heptathlon ahead of Tennessee State's Clairwin Dameus, who scored 5,283. Jones led from the second event onward, taking the lead in the high jump on Thursday. Alabama sophomore Lacey Dent produced a personal-best total of 4,868 on the way to a third-place finish. Dent's best events were the 100-meter hurdles (14.35 for 929 points) and the 200 meters (25.09, 879 points) while scoring 3,019 points on the first day and adding a strong showing in the long jump (5.59 meters, 726 points) to highlight the second day. Dent's 4,868 ranks fifth on the all-time Crimson Tide outdoor list of heptathlon performances.
John Mitchell Alabama Relays
Friday, March 21, 2014
100 Meters - 26. Ryan Glosson, 11.41.
400-Meter Hurdles - 17. Brennan Parks, 55.45.
1,500 Meters - 3. Matt Airola, 3:45.86; 13. Parker Deuel, 3:53.08; 26. Jeff Edmondson, 3:55.83; 27. Payton Ballard, 3:55.93; Andrew Harris - DNF.
5,000 Meters - 15. Justin Ahalt, 14:53.72; 16. Conner Thompson, 14:54.51; 18. Eric Sivill, 14:58.49; 19. Andrew Faris, 15:02.47.
Triple Jump - 9. George Freiberger, 14.26m (46-9.50).
Shot Put - 1. Hayden Reed, 18.36m (60-3); 2. Kyle Felpel, 18.32m (52-1); 20. Nathan Karr, 14.95 (49-0.75).
Pole Vault - 10. Ryan Pierson, 4.55m (14-11).
400 Meters - 11. Dacia Mays, 57.92.
400-Meter Hurdles - 4. Shani Chandler, 1:01.62.
1,500 Meters - 1. Kimberley Ficenec, 4:26.13; 4. Meropi Panagiotou, 4:29.59; 7. Katelyn Greenleaf, 4:33.01; 13. Olivia Ortiz, 4:39.13; 18. Hannah Waggoner, 4:40.95; Anna Leinheiser - DNF.
5,000 Meters - 3. Allison Gregg, 17:22.78; 28. Claire Turner, 18:06.72.
Sprint Medley Relay (1,600 Meters) - 2. (Sarah Thomas, Kyri Tabor, Shani Chandler and Aubrielle Wright), 3:58.57.
Javelin - 3. Nia Barnes, 45.67m (149-10).