Feb. 13, 2014
THE MEET: The Alabama track and field team travels to Fayetteville, Ark., this week for the Tyson Invitational. The two-day meet runs Friday through Saturday, Feb. 14-15, and is hosted by the University of Arkansas. Action will begin Friday at 11 a.m. with the women's pole vault.
THE VENUE: The Tyson Invitational is hosted at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas. Opened in 2000, the indoor facility has hosted 11 NCAA Indoor National Championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013) and seven SEC Indoor Championships (2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013). The track features a 200-meter, 60-degree banked track with 55-meter straightaways.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Follow this week's action in real-time via flashresults.com and arkansasrazorbacks.com and via social media 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: The Alabama track and field team won eight events, set eight personal records and saw a school record fall on at the Indiana University Relays, Jan. 31-Feb. 1.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: Recapping the team's performance at the Indiana Relays, head coach Dan Waters said, "I'm very happy with how we performed. We absolutely accomplished what we wanted to at this meet. We had a lot of opportunities and we made the most of them with some very good performances."
MEN RANKED IN USTFCCCA POLL: The UA men's indoor track and field team is ranked 11th in the Feb. 11 edition of the USTFCCCA Division I National Team Computer Rankings. The bulk of Alabama's team took last weekend off, with two relay units competing at a meet in New York and two women's pole vaulters competing at a meet in Birmingham. The No. 11 ranking is one spot down from last week's No. 10 ranking for Alabama. The Crimson Tide men's team began 24th in the preseason rankings before moving to 17th one week later and up to 10th in last week's rankings. UA joins seven other SEC teams ranked in the top 25 (No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 18 LSU, No. 22 Georgia and No. 25 Mississippi). In the regional rankings, the men check in at No. 2, while the women are ranked No. 6 in the South Region.
RANKINGS RUNDOWN: The Alabama men started the season ranked No. 24 in the preseason USTFCCCA poll. Below is a breakdown of the movement in the polls:
2014 HIGHLIGHTS: Through three meets in the 2014 indoor season, Alabama athletes have produced 35 performances that rank in UA's all-time top 10 (23 in men's and 12 in women's). Nine Alabama athletes currently rank in the top 10 of the SEC in their respective events, while three relay teams rank in the top 20 nationally.
BATSON'S 60 METERS: Participating in his first 60 meter event of the year, Diondre Batson registered three of the top-10 times in Alabama history. While winning the event at the Indiana Relays, Batson ran a 6.61 in the finals, which is tied for the 10th fastest time in the nation and third fastest time in the SEC in 2014.
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.
BURCHELL RUNS FASTEST 60 TIME IN EIGHT YEARS: Remona Burchell ran a 7.33 at the Indiana Relays on Feb. 1. The time is good enough for fourth in Alabama's history, while it is tied for fifth in the conference and tied for 13th in the nation.
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 Jan. 28. Lahbi's 800-meter time of 1:48.77 is the third fastest in UA indoor history and is currently the tenth-best time in the country and fourth in the SEC.
MALCOLM'S MAGNIFICENT 800 TIME: Senior Yanique Malcolm (Kingston, Jamaica) ran her first 800 of the year at the Rod McCravy Memorial, and in the process she clocked the 12th-fastest time in the nation in 2014 and the third 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.
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.
RELAY UNITS RANK IN TOP 10: Three of UA's relay teams rank in the top 20 nationally. The men's 4x400 team of Dwight Davis, Alex Amankwah, Nick Efkamp and Quincy Smith ran 18th nationally (3:08.53) after running the 4x4 at the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky. Both the men's and women's distance medley teams set UA top-10 marks at Bloomington: the men's team of Alex Amankwah, Dwight Davis, Jacopo Lahbi and Matt Airola ran at the Armory Invitational Feb. 7 and their time of 9:41.23, which ranks eighth all-time in UA history and is 13th in the nation thus far this year. The group of Meropi Panagiotou, Kimberley Ficenec, Remona Burchell and Yanique Malcolm clocked a DMR performance of 11:26.70 at the Armory Invitational, good for fourth in Alabama history. The women's DMR team ranks 14th in the nation in 2014.
GREEN NAMED SEC FIELD ATHLETE FOR THE WEEK JAN. 21: 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 second-best longest jump in the SEC, and ranks also the sixth longest mark in the nation. His jump is the eighth-longest in the world so far this year, according to Tilastopaja.org.
PAINE CONTINUES ASSUALT ON UA RECORD BOOK: In two years of competing in the pole vault senior vaulter Alexis Paine has re-written the UA record book. Paine now holds all top eight marks for the Crimson Tide, including last weekend at the Samford Multi Invitational, where Paine cleared 14-3 1/4 (4.35 meters), the first time a UA athlete has cleared 14 feet. Paine's mark is tied for fourth best in the nation and she ranks first in the SEC.
HAKANSSON AND RICHARDSON REIGN IN WEIGHT THROW: After sophomore Elias Hakansson (Halmstad, Sweden) re-set the Alabama indoor record in the weight throw Jan. 18 at the Auburn Invitational, junior Charodd Richardson (Blakely, Ga.) raised him by throwing the three of the top five marks at the Indiana Relays, including breaking Hakansson's top mark with a throw of 69-7 1/2. The duo currently rank 1-2 in SEC performances this year, and Richardson's mark ranks 11th in the NCAA, while Hakansson's top throw of 67-9 3/4 is the 18th best throw in the nation.
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.
TIDE ADDS 19 WITH 2014 SIGNING CLASS: Head coach Dan Waters announced on Feb. 6 that 19 student-athletes will join the Crimson Tide track and field program for the 2014-15 season. Among the signees are nine recruits on the women's side and 10 newcomers to the men's squad. Ten of the signees are currently considered among the national leaders in their events and the class includes student-athletes across the full spectrum of disciplines: eight distance runners, six sprinters (three of whom are also hurdlers), four throwers and one pole vaulter. Signees come from eight states (Alabama - 3, Texas - 4, Florida - 3, New York - 1, Georgia - 1, Louisiana - 1, Utah - 1, Tennessee - 1) and one foreign country (Australia - 1). During the early signing period, UA signed Tony Brown II, Dominique Kimpel and Lacopo Lahbi. The three are currently competing for the Crimson Tide.
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 has a young roster in 2014. Of the 82 on the roster, 59 are underclassmen (72 percent). Only 13 athletes are seniors. The breakdown of classifications: 23 freshmen/6 redshirt freshmen/30 sophomore/10 junior/13 senior.
WHEY THEY COME FROM: UA's 2014 track and field squad represents 21 states. The largest contingent is from Alabama, with 22 athletes. The breakdown is as follows: Florida 7; Texas 7; Georgia 5; Tennessee 5; California 4; Pennsylvania 4; Illinois 3; Iowa 2; Virginia 2; Arkansas 1; Colorado 1; Kansas 1; Maryland 1; Massachusetts 1; Mississippi 1; Missouri 1; New Jersey 1; North Carolina 1; South Carolina 1; Wisconsin 1.
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. 27-March 1 at the SEC Indoor Championships, hosted by Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaTrack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.