Jan. 30, 2014
THE MEET: The Alabama track and field team travels to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend to compete in the Indiana Relays. The two-day meet runs Friday through Saturday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, and is hosted by the Indiana University. Action begins on Friday with the men's weight throw slated to start at 3 p.m. The meet will feature open and invitational sections of track and field events both days.
THE VENUE: The Indiana Relays are hosted at Indiana's Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. The Fieldhouse features a Mondo-surfaced banked track, which was installed prior to the 2006 season. The facility has played host to five Big Ten Conference Men's Indoor Championships (1975, 1982, 1990, 2000 and 2007) and five Big Ten Conference Women's Indoor Championships (1982, 1986, 1993, 2003 and 2009).
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Follow this week's action in real-time via http://www.iuhoosiers.com/livestats/c-track/IndRel14/ and via the social media team by following @AlabamaTrack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
LAST TIME OUT: Last weekend the track and field squad competed at the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky. Crimson Tide athletes broke more than 20 personal records, and 10 performances landed in the school's history books.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: Recapping the Rod McCravy Memorial, head coach Dan Waters said, "A lot of really, really great things happened [last week]. I'm very pleased with where we are at this point. We expect some of the marks we earned [at the Rod McCravy Memorial] to be strong enough to qualify for NCAAs. We've gotten stronger in areas that we historically haven't been that strong in. I am proud of the way we've progressed, the way we've responded technically and the way we've competed. This meet was a really big step in our process of trying to get better every week."
MEN UP SEVEN SPOTS IN USTFCCCA RANKINGS: The UA men's indoor track and field team jumped seven spots to No. 17 in the Jan. 28 edition of the USTFCCCA Division I National Team Computer Rankings. The Tide was ranked No. 24 in the preseason poll, but after a strong two-week showing at the Auburn Indoor and at the Rod McCravy moved up to No. 17. UA joins six other SEC teams ranked in the top 25 (No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 12 Mississippi State, No. 21 Georgia and No. 22 Ole Miss). The Alabama men rank third in the South Region rankings behind Florida and Georgia. Despite not being ranked in the women's top 25, the Crimson Tide women's team checks in at No. 4 in the South Region, trailing No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Florida State.
ITALIAN IMPACT: Newcomer Jacopo Lahbi has competed in only two collegiate meets for Alabama, has already made an impact. After his second-place finish in the 800 meters at the Rod McCravy Memorial, Lahbi was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Lahbi's 800-meter time of 1:48.77 is the third fastest in UA indoor history and is currently the fourth-best time in the country.
MALCOLM'S MAGNIFICENT 800 TIME: Senior Yanique Malcolm (Kingston, Jamaica) ran her first 800 of the year last weekend at the Rod McCravy Memorial, and in the process she clocked the fourth-fastest time in the nation in 2014 and the fastest time in the SEC (2:06.58), the third-fastest in UA history. Malcolm now holds three of the top five times in Crimson Tide record books.
HAKANSSON RE-SETS UA RECORD IN WEIGHT THROW: During the first meet of the indoor season on Jan. 18, sophomore Elias Hakansson (Halmstad, Sweden) re-set the Crimson Tide record for weight throw with a mark of 67-9 3/4 (20.67 meters), breaking the his previously held record by three inches, and now holds all top eight throws in UA history. In the process, Hakansson also set the Auburn Invitational meet record. His school-record throw currently ranks 10th in the nation.
GREEN NAMED SEC FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: In his collegiate debut on Jan. 18, freshman Jeremiah Green made an immediate impact by winning the Auburn Invitational triple jump. His mark of 52-6 1/2 (16.01 meters) broke the facility record at the Birmingham Crossplex and went down as the fifth-longest triple jump in UA indoor history and the longest in Alabama history by a freshman. Currently Green has the longest jump not only in the SEC, but also the fourth longest mark in the nation. His jump is the eighth-longest in the world so far this year, according to Tilastopaja.org.
AIROLA CRACKS UA TOP-5 MILE TIME: Distance runner Matt Airola ran the fifth-fastest mile time in Crimson Tide indoor history to open up the 2014 season at the Auburn Invitational on Jan. 18, and the fastest time by an Alabama runner since 2008 (Emmanuel Bor). The junior from Altaville, Calif., ran a 4:02.24, breaking his previous personal best by 12.24 seconds. Airola's time currently ranks as the second-fastest time in the SEC and 12th fastest time in the NCAA thus far this year.
PAINE CONTINUES ASSUALT ON UA RECORD BOOK: Senior vaulter Alexis Paine added to her illustrious career by posting another UA all-time mark on Jan. 18 at the Auburn Invitational when she cleared 13-7 1/4 (4.15 meters). The mark ranks fifth in Crimson Tide history, and Paine holds the top seven vaults in Alabama indoor history.
BATSON RANKED AS 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 Crimson Tide volunteer assistant coach Mookie Salaam, who ranked sixth.
MEN LOOK TO RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS IN 2014: Looking to build off of its 2013 indoor success, the Crimson Tide is led by several returning athletes. On the men's side, indoor All-American Diondre Batson looks to improve on his NCAA eighth-place finish in the 200 meters. Sophomore Elias Hakansson is looking to improve a third-place finish in the weight throw at the SEC Indoor Championships.
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.
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. Beaumont, Texas native Tony Brown, 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 national championship with a time of 23.43. She will be classified as a junior. Lahbi is a native of Treviso, Italy, and was regarded as one of the top junior 800-meter runners in Europe.
SPANNING 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 has a young roster in 2014. Of the 83 on the roster, 59 are underclassmen (71.1 percent). Only 13 athletes are seniors. The breakdown of classifications: 24 freshmen/5 redshirt freshmen/29 sophomore/1 redshirt sophomore/11 junior/12 senior/1 redshirt senior.
RECAPPING THE 2013 INDOOR SEASON: UA sent five athletes to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field 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). As a team, the men finished tied for 32nd (six points) and the women finished tied for 46th (three points) last year at the NCAAs, which were hosted in Fayetteville, Ark.
ROAD TO ALBUQUERQUE: The 2014 NCAA Division I National Championships will be hosted in Albuquerque, N.M. this year at the Albuquerque Convention Center, 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 is off next week, but will return to action Feb. 14-15 at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.