Track & Field Scores in Four Events on Third Day of SEC Championships
May 12, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. -
The University of Alabama track and field team scored points in four events and advanced athletes to the finals of two other events during the third day of the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at LSU's Bernie Moore Track Stadium on Saturday.
In addition to the points the Crimson Tide racked up, UA also had five athletes record personal bests and three that etched their names in the Alabama record book.
"I think our athletes are competing well," UA head coach Dan Waters said. "If you look at their performances throughout the season, everyone is getting better, improving and consistently running personal bests."
The highlight of the afternoon was sophomore Kamal Fuller finishing fourth in one of the deepest long jump fields in the nation. Fuller recorded a jump of 25-8.75 which, had it not been for a slight tailwind, would have easily been a personal best, the eighth best jump in school history and ninth best in the nation this season.
"It was a pretty nice PR," Fuller said despite feeling he was capable of more. "I have been competing with those guys for a long time now, it was good jumping against them again. Coming in the next few weeks I think I can get that 8-meter mark I've been looking for all year."
The women's team was led by nine points in the javelin as Nia Barnes, Bekah Hoppis and Brittany Hines finished fourth, sixth and eighth, respectively. Barnes and Hoppis both recorded season best throws at 141-1 and 140-1.
The Tide women also mined the vertical jumps for points as All-American Krystle Schade finished third in the high jump at 6-0 while Postenea Louisjeune scored in her first SEC meet by jumping 5-7.75 to finish eighth. Alexis Paine cleared 13 feet for the third time this season by finishing seventh in the pole vault with a height of 13-0.25.
On the track, UA had success in the 1,500 meters on both the men's and women's side with Gary Bradbury qualifying for tomorrow's final by running the third fastest qualifying time with a 3:49.38 finish.
"With the heats, you never know what's going to happen, so I wanted to play it safe the first couple of laps and see what everyone else does, and move up when I needed to and that's what I did," Bradbury said of his qualifying heat.
Leigh Gilmore narrowly missed qualifying in the women's race with a personal best time of 4:27.12 to tie for the sixth fastest time in school history.
Kaylon Eppinger continued her stellar SEC Championship trip by turning in a wind-aided personal best of 13:50 in the 100-meter hurdle preliminaries just one day after finishing third in the heptathlon. Had it not been for the wind, her time would rank eighth in school history.
"I'm really excited to not just make it to the finals, but to PR," Eppinger said of her finish. "It's very difficult in this conference. Even though a prelim is a prelim, you've got to run like it's a final. There's so many great competitors in this league and great times that on any given day anyone can be beaten. This is the SEC and it's one of the hardest conferences in the nation."
In the current team standings, UA's women are sixth with 26 points through nine scored events. The men are ninth through six scored events.
"It's a tough league and a great learning experience," Waters said of the competition in Baton Rouge, "We're here trying to learn, get that experience and get better for years to come. We're holding serve and we've got to continue scoring until we get on the bus tomorrow night."
Action resumes on Sunday for the Tide with the women's triple jump at 1:35 p.m. Events on the track begin at 3 p.m. with the 4x100-meter relays.
400 Meters (Prelims)
400 Meters (Prelims)
100-Meter Hurdle (Prelims)