Stadium Dedication Highlights Final Day of John Mitchell Alabama Relays

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Robbie Farnham-Rose crosses the finish line as Alabama wins the 4,000-meter distance medley relay on Saturday evening at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Robbie Farnham-Rose crosses the finish line as Alabama wins the 4,000-meter distance medley relay on Saturday evening at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 23, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Lightning and heavy rain cancelled most of the action Saturday night at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays, but the inclement weather failed to dampen the mood of hundreds of Alabama track and field alumni that enjoyed a weekend of fellowship culminating in the formal rededication of the Sam Bailey Track Stadium. After lightning caused a one hour, 25-minute delay at 6:55 p.m., inclement weather returned shortly before 9 p.m. causing the remainder of the event to be cancelled.

Before the weather took control, Alabama athletes had a solid outing on an abbreviated day of action. The Crimson Tide successfully defended its Alabama Relays title in the 4,000-meter men's distance medley relay. Alabama's quartet of Parker Deuel, Joel Lynch, Alex LoPresti and Robbie Farnham-Rose won the race in a time of 9 minutes, 51.62 seconds to beat Indiana (9:53.36), Iowa (9:54.05) and Georgia Tech (9:55.78) in a field of 11 teams.

In the men's 4x100-meter relay, Alabama's quartet of Alex Sanders, Justin Austin, James Harrington and Dwight Davis placed second in a time of 40.30 seconds. Iowa won the event in 40.22. In the women's hammer throw, Alabama's Lee Stowers and Nia Barnes both compiled personal-best performances. Stowers placed sixth with a best effort of 177 feet, 4 inches (54.06 meters) while Barnes was eighth at 174-7 (53.22m). Alabama's Lacey Dent was seventh in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 14.45.

But the story of the weekend for Alabama was the rededication of the track complex, the naming of the Alabama Relays for former head coach John Mitchell and the welcoming back of four former Alabama athletes that have won Olympic gold medals (Calvin Smith, Lillie Leatherwood-King, Kirani James and Pauline Davis).

"For more than a century, you have created, sustained and embodied excellence," said University of Alabama President Dr. Judy Bonner as she formally dedicated the facility. "And, I hope you see this beautiful Sam Bailey Track and Field stadium as a visible monument to your legacy. Many of you have won recognition at the highest level of your sport - in fact, we have four Olympic Gold medalists with us here tonight. In my book, you are all champions - and tonight, it is our honor to celebrate our former coaches and student athletes who established this strong foundation of success."

Dr. Bonner also recognized Mitchell's special place in the history of Alabama athletics.

"Coach John Mitchell, you have made an indelible mark on The University of Alabama with your success, and the values you instilled in this program," Bonner said. "It is our distinct pleasure to recognize what you mean to The University of Alabama by hosting the Alabama Relays competition in your honor."