Fuller and Paine Earn All-America Honors at NCAA Championships
June 6, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa -
The University of Alabama track and field team had two competitors become All-Americans on the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with Kamal Fuller and Alexis Paine each scoring for the Crimson Tide.
Fuller finished eighth in the men’s long jump with a mark of 25-2 while Alexis Paine capped off her season with an eighth-place showing in the women’s pole vault and a school record height of 13-9.25.
“It was a great day for the Crimson Tide today,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “I’m very proud of both athletes today and the way they attacked the meet, had focus and made the finals. That’s exactly what we work on every day.”
Paine’s eighth-place showing put the finishing touches on what has been a remarkable season for the junior as she broke her own school record twice during action on Wednesday and added four inches to her previous personal best with her final height of 13-9.25.
“I really didn’t expect it and didn’t even realize I was in eighth until everyone else finished,” Paine said. “I wanted to jump a little bit higher but can’t complain about a PR and a school record.”
Fuller battled his way into the final after fouling on his first two attempts but hit on his third with a wind-aided mark of 25-2 to push himself into the finals.
“I’ve been hitting my third jumps all year so I wasn’t worried,” Fuller said of the jump that earned his spot on the podium. “I just went out there and did what I normally do, try to jump far and run fast. This is my first outdoor top-eight which is a good thing.”
Fuller wasn’t able to add to his jump in the final flight, but his mark held up for eighth place to give him three combined All-America honors in his young career.
“These are a couple of young athletes who will hopefully be here [at the NCAA Championships] in the years to come,” Waters added. “They’ll learn from this stage and be able to bring this experience back to Tuscaloosa and build upon it next year.”
The Tide continues action on Thursday with another pair of competitors making a push toward the podium. Kaylon Eppinger will lead off the day for the Tide in the first four events of the heptathlon followed by Krystle Schade in the high jump. During the indoor season Schade finished as the NCAA Championships runner-up in the event.