March 26, 2014
THE MEET: The Alabama track and field team continues the outdoor season with its first road trip as the Crimson Tide travels to Atlanta, Ga., for the Yellow Jacket Invite on the Georgia Tech campus this Friday-Saturday, March 28-29. Action begins Friday evening at 6 p.m. Eastern Time with the hammer throws for both men and women, followed by the 5,000 meters. Saturday's schedule begins at 10:30 a.m. ET with the shot put while action on the track starts at 12:30 p.m. ET with the 4x100-meter relays. The final scheduled event is the 4x400-meter relays, slated for a 4:30 p.m. ET start.
THE VENUE: The George C. Griffin Track was built in 1985 and is named for hall of fame coach George C. Griffin, who led the Georgia Tech track program from 1921-25 and 1934-43 before specializing as cross country head coach from 1944-74. The track served as a practice location for track athletes during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta. The facility is located adjacent to Georgia Tech's tennis center on Fowler Street just off Interstate 75/85 in Atlanta on the Georgia Tech campus.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Follow action for the Georgia Tech Invite in real-time via deltatiming.com. More meet information is available thru Georgia Tech's website at http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-track/spec-rel/geot-mw-track-meet-info.html. Updates on Alabama athletes can be obtained 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.
10 SCHOOLS COMPETING: A total of 10 schools have entered competitors for this week's Yellow Jacket Invite, all of which are fielding teams in both the men's and women's divisions: Alabama, Auburn, Chattanooga, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio State and Syracuse.
LAST TIME OUT: The Crimson Tide opened the 2014 outdoor season by winning eight events, setting one school record and producing nine performances that rank among the all-time Alabama top 10 in eight events as Alabama hosted the John Mitchell Alabama Relays. Two Crimson Tide throwers - Elias Hakansson and Charodd Richardson - broke the school record in the men's hammer throw with Hakansson coming out on top. Each of Hakansson's six marks was better than his previous school record (214 feet, 11 inches), but his sixth and final throw spanned 234-2 (71.38), breaking the school record by nearly 20 feet, while Richardson finished third with a PR of 203-11 (62.16). In the women's hammer, Nia Barnes set a PR of 193-9, a mark that ranks third in school history. In the men's javelin, Kevin Shannon set a PR of 207-5 (63.22), a mark ranks sixth in Alabama history. In the men's shot put, Hayden Reed and Kyle Felpel dueled for the title with Reed coming out ahead with a winning throw of 60-3 (18.36) that ranks seventh on the all-time Alabama outdoor list while Felpel's best of 18.32 (60-1.25) ranks eighth in Crimson Tide history. In the women's 1,500 meters, Kimberley Ficenec produced a PR on the way to a victory in 4:26.13, the seventh-fastest outdoor 1,500 in Alabama history. Lacey Dent produced a personal-best total of 4,868 in the heptathlon, fifth on the all-time Crimson Tide outdoor list. In the women's 4x100, the quartet of Quanesha Burks, Dominique Kimpel, Sarah Thomas and Brianna Sims won handily in 45.02, the 10th-fastest time in Crimson Tide history.
IN THE RANKINGS: The Alabama men's team is ranked 10th in the first outdoor ranking of the season in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Team Computer Rankings. The No. 10 ranking is the second-highest ranking ever attained by the Crimson Tide in the seven-year history of the rankings, just behind a No. 9 ranking achieved in the second week of the 2008 outdoor season. The national team rankings are compiled by mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national team race. Rankings points do not equate with NCAA Championships team points.
10 INDOOR ALL-AMERICANS: Ten Crimson Tide athletes who competed at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 14-15 earned All-America honors based on their performances, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced. The 10 athletes combined for a total of 11 All-America citations overall, including five first-team honors by four athletes led by sprinter Diondre Batson earning first-team honors both for his victory in the 200 meters and his third-place finish in the 60-meter dash. Other first-team honorees included women's 60-meter dash national champion Remona Burchell, Jeremiah Green (men's triple jump) and Elias Hakansson (men's weight throw). Six athletes earned second-team All-America honors: Kyle Felpel (men's shot put), Kamal Fuller (men's long jump), Jacopo Lahbi (men's 800 meters), Yanique Malcolm (women's 800 meters), Alexis Paine (women's pole vault) and Charodd Richardson (men's weight throw).
GREEN IS SEC FRESHMAN FIELD ATHLETE OF 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.
BATSON RACKS UP THE HONORS: Entering the 2014 outdoor season, senior sprinter Diondre Batson has already left quite a mark on the Alabama track and field team. In the 2014 indoor season, Batson captured an SEC title in the 60-meter sprint, and then took home an NCAA championship in the 200 meters, running the fastest time in the nation in 2014. Batson holds four of the top 10 marks in UA history in the 60 meters indoors, and holds eight of the top 10 marks in the indoor 200. Batson owns seven of the all-time Alabama top 10 marks in the 100 meters and four of the all-time Crimson Tide top 10 marks in the 200 meters.
BATSON ONE OF USA'S TOP SPRINTERS: Batson finished 2013 ranked as the USA's eighth-ranked 100-meter 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.
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 81 on the roster, 59 are underclassmen (73 percent). Only 13 athletes are seniors. The breakdown of classifications: 23 freshmen/6 redshirt freshmen/30 sophomores/10 juniors/12 seniors.
WHERE THEY COME FROM: UA's 2014 track and field squad represents 21 states. The largest contingent is from Alabama, with 21 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.
Get all the latest information on the team by following 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.