Track and Field on the Way to NCAA Indoor Championships

March 12, 2014

THE MEET: The Alabama track and field team concludes the championship portion of the 2014 indoor season by sending 10 athletes (seven men, three women) to compete in 11 events at the NCAA Indoor Championships. This year’s championships are being hosted by the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., March 14-15.

THE VENUE: 2014 marks the first year that Albuquerque has hosted the NCAA Indoor Championships. Hosted at the Albuquerque Convention Center, the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships will celebrate 50 years of men’s championships and 33 years of women’s championships. The facility was equipped in 2005 with a 200-meter Mondo track and has hosted three USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and two NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Follow action from the NCAA Indoor Championships in real-time via 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. The meet will also be streamed live on ESPN3 on Friday, March 14, starting at 6:55 p.m. Central Time, and at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday, March 15. A tape-delayed telecast of the championship will air Saturday, March 22, starting at 5:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU. On-air talent includes Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (sideline reporter).

LAST TIME OUT: At the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships, the Alabama men’s team captured its highest team finish since 1986 by placing fourth. Diondre Batson captured an SEC title in the 60 meters by clocking a 6.66. Two other Tide athletes earned SEC individual titles, including Charodd Richardson with a school record in the weight throw, and Jeremiah Green winning the triple jump. A total of 23 performances landed in the school’s all-time top 10 lists and 15 personal bests were recorded.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Recapping Alabama’s performances at the SEC Indoor Championships, head coach Dan Waters said, “I couldn't be happier with our performance [at the SEC Championships]. We had an outstanding [final day] and an excellent meet overall. Our athletes really went out with the right attitude today and competed in every event. We continue climbing up the ladder and making progress toward being a contender. I am very proud of our team today.”

MEN & WOMEN RANKED IN USTFCCCA POLL: Alabama track & field team enters this weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships with both the men’s and women’s team ranked nationally for the second consecutive week. The women’s team rose two spots in the rankings to 16th while the men's team remains ranked 11th in this week’s edition of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Team Computer Rankings. The Tide men maintained their No. 2 ranking in this week's South Region rankings while the Alabama women are ranked 7th in the South Region team survey.

2014 HIGHLIGHTS: Entering the NCAA Indoor Championships, Alabama athletes have produced 59 performances that rank in UA’s all-time top 10 (36 in men’s and 23 in women’s). Eleven Alabama athletes (eight men, three women) currently rank in the top 14 of the nation in their respective events.

TIDE MEN HAVE 5TH-MOST ENTRIES AT NATIONALS: The Alabama men’s indoor track and field team will have the fifth-most accepted entries when competition gets underway in Albuquerque at the NCAA Indoor Championships, with eight. Arkansas and Florida both have 13 entries, while Oregon has 11 and Texas A&M has 10. Alabama and Wisconsin both will see eight entries.

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 finished 1–2 at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships, both throwing over 70 feet, which is a first in UA history. Currently, the pair sits eighth and 10th nationally, respectively, entering this weekend’s championship event.

GREEN NAMED SEC FRESHMAN FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Freshman triple jumper Jeremiah Green (Tampa, Fla.) is the 2014 Southeastern Conference Men's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year for indoor track by virtue of a vote of the league's head coaches. Green is the first Alabama athlete to be voted the SEC's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year. At the SEC Indoor Championships, Green was one of three Alabama athletes to win SEC titles in individual events as he won the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 16.29 meters (53 feet, 5.5 inches), an improvement of 11 inches over his previous personal career best. In doing so, Green became Alabama’s first SEC indoor triple jump champion since 1978 and only the second in Alabama history. So far this season, Green has consistently produced performances that rank among the best triple jumps in Alabama indoor history. His winning mark last weekend ranks fifth on the Alabama all-time list, but he also owns marks that rank sixth (16.01m/52-6.5) and 10th (15.91m/52-2.75). Green will travel to Albuquerque with the third best mark in the country thus far this season.

BATSON’S 60 METERS: So far this season, sprinter Diondre Batson has registered three of the top 10 60-meter times in Alabama history. At the SEC Indoor Championships, Batson won the 60 meter title with a time of 6.66, becoming the first UA athlete since Emmit King (1983 in the 55 meters) to win a men’s indoor short sprint title. Batson now reins as the fastest male athlete in the SEC in both indoors (2014 60-meter champion) and outdoors (2013 100-meter champion). He enters the NCAA Indoor Championships with the 10th fastest time in the nation.

BATSON ONE OF USA’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 BAMA’S FASTEST 60 IN 8 YEARS: Junior college transfer Remona Burchell has made an immediate impact on the track team since joining in January. She has recorded four of the top-10 times in UA history, and in the process finished second with a new personal best at the SEC Indoor Championships in the 60 meters with a time of 7.24. The time is the fastest in eight years for the Crimson Tide and currently is tied for the third fastest time in the nation this year, trailing the top time by 0.08 second.

ITALIAN IMPACT: Newcomer Jacopo Lahbi has competed in only four collegiate meets for Alabama, but has already made an impact. After his second-place finish in the 800 meters at the Rod McCravy Memorial in January, Lahbi was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Jan. 28. Lahbi’s seasonal best 800-meter time of 1:48.77 is the third-fastest in UA indoor history and is currently the 14th best time in the country, entering the NCAA Indoor Championships.

MALCOLM’S MAGNIFICENT 800 TIME: Senior Yanique Malcolm (Kingston, Jamaica) saved the best performance of her career for when it mattered most. At the SEC Indoor Championships, Malcolm clocked two of the top-10 fastest times in UA history while in the process setting a new personal best and school record (2:03.97). She earned All-SEC second team honors in the process and qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Currently her time of 2:03.97 ranks as the sixth fastest time in the nation. Now, Malcolm owns five spots on UA’s all-time indoor list.

NINE UA ATHLETES EARN ALL-SEC HONORS: Nine University of Alabama athletes earned mention on the Southeastern Conference's All-SEC teams for indoor track and field. Three Alabama athletes earned First-Team All-SEC honors by winning their respective events at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships: men's 60-meter dash champion Diondre Batson, men's triple jump champion Jeremiah Green and men's weight throw champion Charodd Richardson. Six other Crimson Tide athletes (four men, two women) earned Second-Team honors: distance man Matt Airola (men's mile), sprinter Remona Burchell (women's 60), thrower Kyle Felpel (men's shot put), jumper Kamal Fuller (men's long jump), thrower Elias Hakansson (men's weight throw) and runner Yanique Malcolm (women's 800). Green and Felpel also earned spots on the Men's SEC All-Freshman Team by virtue of their performances at the SEC indoor meet.

AIROLA CRACKS UA TOP-5 MILE TIME: Distance runner Matt Airola ran the fifth-fastest mile time in Crimson Tide indoor history to open the 2014 season at the Auburn Invitational on Jan. 18, the fastest time by an Alabama runner since 2008 (Emmanuel Bor). The junior from Altaville, Calif., ran 4:02.24, breaking his previous personal best by 12.24 seconds.

PAINE CONTINUES ASSUALT ON UA RECORD BOOK: In two years of competing in the pole vault senior vaulter Alexis Paine has re-written the Tide’s records in the event. Paine now holds the top eight marks in Crimson Tide history, including last weekend at the Samford Multi Invitational, where Paine cleared 14-3 1/2 (4.35 meters), the first time a UA athlete has cleared 14 feet. Entering the championships, Paine’s mark is tied for seventh best in the nation.

GREENLEAF AND PANAGIOTOU EARN USTFCCCA ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS: University of Alabama track and field/cross country sophomores Katelyn Greenleaf and Meropi Panagiotou are two of 129 women in Division I who earned United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honors for the 2013 cross country season, the USTFCCCA announced on Friday, Feb. 14. Honorees must have compiled a cumulative GPA or 3.25 or greater and must have finished as an All-American or among the 15 finishers (or 10 percent) in their regional meet. Greenleaf, a sophomore from St. Petersburg, Fla. (Northside Christian High School) has a 3.83 grade-point average in Nutrition at the Capstone while Panagiotou, a sophomore from Nicosia, Cyprus (Koutsofta-Panayide) boasts a 3.86 GPA in Fashion Design. To qualify for the honor, both Greenleaf and Panagiotou finished among the top 10 percent of competitors at the 2013 NCAA South Region meet in November. The ACC led the way with 18 total honorees, followed by the Big East with 16 and the Pac-12 and SEC with 15 each.

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 Jacopo 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.

WHERE 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.

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.