Feb. 27, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Four personal-best marks and two more NCAA provisional marks paced the Alabama women's track and field team on the second day of the SEC Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Saturday.
Senior Kim Laing advanced to Sunday's finals in the 60m hurdles, placing sixth in the prelims with a time of 8.41. It is the St. Catherine, Jamaica, native's fifth provisional mark this season in the event and her fastest time in preliminary rounds this year.
"I'm proud of Kim Laing," head coach Sandy Fowler said. "One thing I know about her is that what she runs in the prelims, she runs a lot faster in the finals so I think she will do really well tomorrow. She's looking forward to her goal, which is winning the meet."
Earning her first NCAA provisional mark of her young career, true freshman Wilamena Hopkins posted a fifth-place finish for Alabama with a heave of 51-11 1/4. The throw is a new career-best mark for Hopkins by over three feet and is the fourth-best launch in school history.
"Wilamena Hopkins had four personal-bests overall today, which says a lot for her consistency," Fowler said. "She was just shy, I believe, of getting in to the national meet. She has a pretty big provisional mark, but I think she needs a little more. Only being a freshman and competing this well in a meet of this caliber says how far she is capable of going."
Just under half of a mile into the 3,000m race, sophomore Kelsey Johnson lost her shoe and was forced to finish the remainder of the race with only one shoe. Johnson hung with the leaders for a few more laps before falling back into fifth place. That is where she would eventually finish, crossing the line with a time of 9:43.33. Fellow sophomore Andrea Torske notched a personal-best time of 10:10.42, finishing 12th in the race.
"I've got to tell you," Fowler said. "That's one lady with a huge amount of courage. After the first few laps, somebody pulls her shoe off and she finishes the race with one bare foot. I have to give her credit for sticking in there and doing the best she could. That tells me that she's better than she ran here today, by far. Hopefully she feels good about that because those are circumstances she didn't have any control of."
In the 60m dash, senior Heather Matherson could not advance out of the prelims, but did tie her career-best with a time of 7.60 - set at the 2009 SEC Championships.
Matherson also competed in the 200m dash, finishing 14th as she leaned across the line in a time of 24.58.
Though the three Crimson Tide milers could not manage to advance to tomorrow's finals, they combined for two personal-bests and one season-best. Sophomore Leigh Gilmore led the trio with a lifetime-best of 4:54.70 to finish 12th. The freshman duo of Katlyn Will (4:56.78) and Elsbeth Denton (4:57.49) followed in 13th and 14th with a season-best and career-best, resp
Senior Talaya Owens finished 13th in the 400m dash with a time of 55.66, just .06 seconds from her season-best time. Freshman Camilla Armstead produced a new season-best time of 59.26 in the event.
In the team standings after two days, Florida leads the field with 50 points with Arkansas following with 30 points. Tennessee (25 points) is third, LSU (17.5) is fourth and Alabama and South Carolina are tied for fifth with 16 points.
"I think we're in a great spot right now" Fowler said. "With what we have in tomorrows finals, hopefully we can stay right there in the top five or six. We should easily be able to do that with the events we have remaining. We just need to keep everybody positive and moving in the right direction."
The championships will commence on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. with the women's weight throw.