Alabama Adds 5 to 2013 Track & Field Roster



Jan. 16, 2013

Tuscaloosa, Ala. -

University of Alabama track & field head coach Dan Waters announced Wednesday the addition of five scholarship student-athletes to the Crimson Tide track and field program: Matt Airola, Diondre Batson, Candicea Bernard, Akeem Haynes and Yanique Malcolm. All five are enrolled in classes for the 2013 spring semester and are eligible to compete immediately.

“We’re excited to welcome this group of student-athletes to our team,” said Waters. “This group completes our roster for this season and we are optimistic that they will be an important part of the continuing development of our team in our second season at Alabama.”

Matt Airola
6-0, 150, Junior
Altaville, Calif. (Bret Harte HS/American River College)

Versatile middle distance and distance performer ... has personal bests of 1:49.44 in the 800 meters, 3:45.80 in the 1,500 meters and 9:14.81 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase ... helped lead American River College to the California "Big 8" Junior College team title with a victory in the 1,500 meters and a second place finish in the 800 ... set a California junior college record of 4:00.21 in the 1,500 in a prelim at the Big 8 meet ... in cross country, won the 2012 California Community College Championships in a time of 20:10.68, seven seconds ahead of the second place finisher, while leading ARC to the team title ... a five-time all-American at ARC ... coached at American River CC by Rick Anderson ... son of Mike and Liz Airola ... born November 24, 1991.

Diondre Batson
6-2, 180, Junior
Sacramento, Calif. (Laguna Creek HS/American River College)

First name is pronounced "DEE-on-DRAY" ... one of the nation's top sprinters having qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 meters ... holds personal best performances of 10.10 in the 100 meters, 20.50 in the 200 and has run a relay split of 46.2 in the 400 ...  starred at wide receiver on the football team at American River College ... was a football/track star in high school at Laguna Creek High School ... was his district's most valuable player in football in 2009 while earning all-district honors on offense and special teams ... a standout on the football and track team at Laguna Creek, Batson came to ARC to play football, but in an agreement with his mom (a former track athlete at Oklahoma) he joined the track team in 2010 ... in a breakout 2012 season, Batson won the state junior college title in both the 100 and the 200 and participated in the Olympic Trials ... coached at American River CC by Rick Anderson and Mike Reid ...  son of Sonja Batson ... born July 13, 1992.

Candicea Bernard
5-11, Junior
Golden Spring, Jamaica (St. Hugh’s/Central Arizona College)

The first female discus thrower in Jamaican history to qualify for a World Junior Championships … the 2012 NJCAA outdoor shot put champion with a career-best effort of 15.42 meters (50 feet, 7 ¼ inches) ... also won the 2012 NJCAA indoor shot put title with an effort of 15.35 meters (50-4 1/2) ... the 2012 NJCAA indoor 20 lb. weight throw champion with a career-best effort of 16.93 meters (55-6) ... won the shot put competition at four of the five meets she competed in during the 2012 outdoor season ... won the weight throw competition at two of the three meets in which she competed during the 2012 indoor season ... also has experience in the hammer and discus ... was second in the discus at the 2012 NJCAA outdoor championships with a distance of 49.66 meters (162-11) ... as a freshman at the 2011 NJCAA outdoor championships in both the shot put and the discus ... coached by Micheal Vassell at St. Hugh’s and Kim Dismuke at Central Arizona CC ... daughter of Desmond Bernard and Norma Cousins ... born August 11, 1991.

Akeem Haynes
5-6, 167, Junior
Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Crescent Heights HS/Barton County CC)

Former junior college standout at Barton County CC that also is one of Canada's best young sprinters ... has posted career-best 100 meter times of 10.18 (wind-aided) and 10.23, along with 200 times of 20.61 (wind-aided) and 20.83 ... was a two-time all-American at Barton County ... was fourth in the 100 at the 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials in a time of 10.25 ... played football in high school at Crescent Heights High School in Calgary and earned all-City honors along with Calgary City Most Valuable Player honors in 2009 ... was second in the 100 at the 2012 NJCAA Outdoor Championships (10.16w) ... coached by John Cannon at the Calgary International Track Club and by Nigel Bigbee at Barton County CC ... son of Kim Samuels ... born March 11, 1992.

Yanique Malcolm
Middle Distance
5-11, Junior
Kingston, Jamaica (St. Jago HS/Essex County CC)

First name is pronounced "Yah-NEEK" ... has a personal best of 2:11.46 in the 800 meters outdoors and 2:12.81 in the indoor 800 ... also has personal bests of 56.88 in the 400 outdoors and 59.05 in the 400 indoors ... was Essex County's most valuable performer in both the indoor and outdoor season for 2012 ... began competing in track at the age of 18 in 2009 ... placed second in the 800 at the 2012 NJCAA Outdoor Championships (2:11.46) ... coached by Michael Smart at Essex County CC in Newark, N.J. ... daughter of Erica Pinto ... born August 8, 1991.