Jan. 17, 2014
THE MEET: The Crimson Tide will start the 2014 indoor season at the Auburn Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 18. Hosted by SEC foe Auburn, the meet is held in Birmingham, Ala., at the Birmingham Crossplex. This will be Alabama’s third straight year of competing at the Auburn Invitational. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 8:05 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
THE VENUE: The Crossplex is a state-of-the-art indoor track stadium that holds seating for 4,000 fans, features a 200-meter hydraulically banked Mondo Super X track, eight-lane sprint track and double runways and rings for all field events. It first opened in 2011 and was named the 2012 Indoor Track and Field Facility of the Year by The American Sports Builders Association. In 2016, The Crossplex will host the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Live scoring will be available on DirectAthletics.com. Get all the latest information on the team by following Alabama Track & Field on Twitter (@AlabamaTrack), Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
MEN RANKED IN PRESEASON USTFCCCA POLL: The UA men’s indoor track and field team is ranked 24th in the USTFCCCA Preseason Poll, released Jan. 13. The Crimson Tide joins six other SEC teams that cracked the preseason poll including No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 13 Georgia, No. 16 Ole Miss and No. 25 LSU.
TIDE ADDS THREE FOR 2014: Head coach Dan Waters announced on Jan. 9 the addition of Tony Brown II, Dominique Kimpel and Jacopo Lahbi to the spring 2014 roster. Brown (Beaumont, Texas), who will also play football at Alabama, was the 2013 Texas 4A state champion in the 110-meter hurdles (13.40) and has clocked a 10.37 (wind-aided) in the 100 meters. Kimpel comes to UA from Iowa Central Community College where she captured the 200 meters NJCAA national championship (23.43). Lahbi is a native of Treviso, Italy, and was regarded as one of the top junior 800-meter runners in Europe.
PAINE STARTED EARLY: Senior pole vaulter Alexis Paine started her 2014 indoor season as the sole UA participant at the UAB Invitational on Jan. 11. She finished tied for third with a vault of 13-3 1/2 (4.05m). Last year, Paine captured All-SEC honors at the indoor championships the pole vault.
BATSON ONE OF NATION’S TOP SPRINTERS: Sprinter Diondre Batson finished 2013 ranked as the USA’s eighth-ranked 100-meters sprinter according to Track & Field News magazine’s January 2014 issue. The list included all athletes regardless for classification or professional status. Joining Batson in the top-10 was UA Volunteer Assistant Coach Mookie Salaam, who ranked sixth.
MEN LOOK TO RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS IN 2014: Looking to build off of their 2013 indoor success, the Crimson Tide will be led by several returning athletes. On the men’s side, indoor All-American Diondre Batson earned an NCAA eighth-place finish in the 200 meters. Sophomore Elias Hakansson returns after a third-place finish at the SEC Indoor Championships in the weight throw. In his first year at UA, Hakansson staked a claim to nine of the top 10 marks in school history in the weight throw, including the top five throws.
UA SPANS THE GLOBE: Included on the 2014 roster are 10 athletes from six countries other than the United States. Four Crimson Tide athletes call Jamaica home (Kamal Fuller, Candicea Bernard, Remona Burchell and Yanique Malcolm), while two hail from Canada (Akeem Haynes and Hilary Stafford). Elias Hakansson is from Sweden, while newcomer Jacopo Lahbi resided in Italy. Meropi Panagiotou hails from Cyprus and Merilyn Uudmae is from Estonia.
YOUTHFUL LINEUP: Alabama boasts one of the youngest track rosters. Out of the 83 athletes, 59 are underclassmen (71.1 percent). Only 13 athletes are seniors. The breakdown of classifications are as follows: 24 FR/5 R-FR/29 SO/1 R-SO/11 JR/12 SR/1 R-SR.
LAST YEAR AT THE AUBURN INVITE: Alabama athletes captured four individual titles at last year’s Auburn Invitational. Ken Taylor captured a win in the 800 meters, as did Justin Fondren in the high jump. Elias Hakansson took the weight throw crown and on the women’s side, then-senior Krystle Schade won the high jump.
RECAPPING THE 2013 INDOOR SEASON: UA sent five athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championships last year. Three of the five return to the team this year including Diondre Batson (200 meters); Kamal Fuller (long jump); and Alexis Paine (pole vault).
ROAD TO ALBUQUERQUE: The 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships will be hosted in Albuquerque, N.M. this year, at the Albuquerque Convention Center on March 14-15. The SEC Indoor Championships will be hosted by Texas A&M on Feb. 27-March 1 in College Station, Texas.
UP NEXT: The Crimson Tide will travel to Lexington, Ky. next week for the Rob McCravey Invitational. The two-day meet will start Friday, Jan. 24, and run through Saturday, Jan. 25.