Track and Field advances Four to NCAA Championships on Day One of East Regional

May 30, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four University of Alabama athletes earned a berth to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and five others advanced to Friday's quarterfinal rounds of the NCAA East Region Preliminary on the meet's first day at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.

"I'm extremely happy for the athletes that advanced today," UA head coach Dan Waters said. "Our young athletes had a great day."

Junior Nia Barnes (women's hammer throw), redshirt freshman Kyle Felpel (men's shot put), sophomore Josh McCullan (men's long jump) and freshman Quanesha Burks (women's long jump) punched their tickets to next month's NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with their performances Thursday.

Seniors Yanique Malcolm (women's 800 meters), Akeem Haynes (men's 100m) and Alex Sanders (men's 100m), along with juniors Alex Amankwah (men's 800m) and Remona Burchell (women's 100m), performed well enough in the first round of their respective events to advance to Friday's quarterfinals.

Alabama seniors Diondre Batson and Kamal Fuller saw their storied collegiate careers come to an end Friday. Batson, a national champion in the indoor 200 meters and five-time All-American, was scheduled to run the men's 100 meters and the 4x100-meter relay, but scratched prior to the 100 meters Thursday. Fuller competed in the men's long jump but his mark of 7.29 meters (23 feet, 11 inches) did not advance him to the NCAA Championships.

"My heart hurts for the two seniors that missed their opportunity to finish their career at NCAAs," Waters said. "Batson and Fuller have meant everything to our program for some time now."

Barnes was Alabama's first athlete to compete Thursday, and she launched a personal-best throw of 62.11 meters (203 feet, 9 inches) on her first throw of the day in the women's hammer throw. Her first throw was her only legal mark--she fouled twice and passed her final three attempts--but it was enough to advance to Eugene.

Felpel followed with a mark of 19.06 meters (62 feet, 6 1/2 inches) to finish 11th in the men's shot put, and sophomore Josh McCullan jumped 7.54 meters (24 feet, 9 inches) to place 10th in the men's long jump. Burks finished the night with a fourth-place finish in the long jump after setting a personal record of 6.30 meters (20 feet, 8 inches) on her third jump.

Alabama returns to action with the aforementioned quarterfinalists, along with the men's hammer throw, the women's pole vault, men's triple jump, the women's 200 and the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Events begin with the men's hammer throw at 10 a.m. EST/9 a.m. CST.

An event-by-event breakdown of Alabama's events Thursday:

TRACK EVENTS

Men

100 meters: Senior Akeem Haynes and Alex Sanders finished second and third, respectively, in heat one of the men's 100 meters and advanced to Friday's quarterfinals. Despite running into a headwind of 1.2 meters per second, Haynes clocked a time of 10.49, while Sanders registered a 10.53. Haynes and Sanders will run the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. CST Friday.

400 meters: Sophomore Dwight Davis clocked a 47.21 in the men's 400 meters. Davis finished sixth in the third heat and did not advance to the next round.

800 meters: Junior Alex Amankwah clocked a 1:48.56 to finish second in the first heat and eighth overall to advance to the quarterfinals. Freshman Jacopo Lahbi ran a strong 650 meters in the sixth heat but lost ground in the final run-in, finishing the race in 1:52.45.

1,500 meters: Senior Matt Airola ran a time of 3:51.16 to finish sixth in the second heat of the men's 1,500 meters, one spot away from advancing to the finals.

Women

100 meters: Junior Remona Burchell cruised to the quarterfinals by winning the first heat of the women's 100 meters. Running into a headwind of 0.6 meters per second, Burchell's time of 11.47 was the second overall time on Thursday.

400 meters: Freshman Alex Gholston lost ground in the first heat of the women's 400 meters and finished eighth in the heat with a time of 54.27. It was Gholston's second-best performance in the event this season, but she did not advance to the finals.

800 meters: Two weeks following her SEC title win in the 800 meters, senior Yanique Malcolm advanced to the quarterfinals of the event Thursday with a time of 2:05.24. She will compete in the quarterfinals Friday at 7:15 p.m. EST/6:15 p.m. CST. Sophomore Kimberley Ficenec finished eighth in the second heat with a time of 2:09.94 and did not advance.

FIELD EVENTS

Men

Long Jump: Sophomore Josh McCullan followed up an impressive finish in the men's long jump at the SEC Championships by advancing to the NCAA Championships on Thursday with a mark of 7.54 meters (24 feet, 9 inches). Senior Kamal Fuller jumped a best mark of 7.29 meters (23 feet, 11 inches) in his first three attempts to finish 22nd overall, six spots from earning three more jumps.

Shot Put: Redshirt freshman Kyle Felpel had the top mark in the third flight of the men's shot put after he launched a throw of 19.06 (62 feet, 6 1/2 inches). That mark would stand as his best of the day and earn him a 10th-place finish overall and a trip to the NCAA Championships.

Women

Hammer Throw: Junior Nia Barnes threw a personal-best 62.11 meters (203 feet, 9 inches) on her first attempt of the day, fouled on her following two and passed up the final three chances in the women's hammer throw. Her work was done, though, as her mark was fourth-best overall and earned her a trip to the NCAA Championships in two weeks.

Long Jump: Freshman Quanesha Burks finished fourth overall with a personal-best mark of 6.30 meters (20 feet, 8 inches), advancing to the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Lacey Dent did not advance after posting a mark of 5.82 meters (19 feet, 1 1/4 inches).

MEN
100 meters (First Round) (w: -1.2 m/s) - 13. Akeem Haynes, 10.49; 17. Alex Sanders, 10.53.
400 meters (First Round) - 31. Dwight Davis, 47.21.
800 meters (First Round) - 8. Alex Amankwah, 1:48.56; 46. Jacopo Lahbi, 1:52.45. 1,500 meters (First Round) - 36. Matt Airola, 3:51.16.
Long Jump (w: +1.0 m/s) - 10. Josh McCullan, 7.54m (24-9); 22. Kamal Fuller, 7.29m (23-11).
Shot Put - 11. Kyle Felpel, 19.06m (62-6.50).

WOMEN
100 meters (First Round) (w: -0.6 m/s) - 2. Remona Burchell, 11.46.
400 meters (First Round) - 35. Alex Gholston, 54.27.
800 meters (First Round) - Yanique Malcolm, 2:05.24; 45. Kimberley Ficenec, 2:09.94.
Hammer Throw - 4. Nia Barnes, 62.11m (203-9).
Long Jump (w: +1.6 m/s) - 4. Quanesha Burks, 6.30 meters (20-8)
Long Jump (w: +0.9 m/s) - 40. Lacey Dent, 5.82m (19-1.25)