Women's Track and Field Heads to NCAA Mideast Regional Championships
Senior Trish Bartholomew enters the weekend with the second fastest 400 time in the region.

Senior Trish Bartholomew enters the weekend with the second fastest 400 time in the region.

May 28, 2008

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -The Alabama women's track and field team will head to the NCAA Mideast Regional this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The meet will begin on Friday, May 30 at John McDonnell Field. The first event for the Crimson Tide will be the 4x100 meter relay at 3:00 p.m. followed by the pole vault at 3:15 p.m.

SEC Championship Recap:The Alabama women's team finished ninth at the 2008 SEC Championships. Despite the finish, some stellar individual performances were turned in. Junior Betty Rotich was the highlight of the meet for the Crimson Tide. Rotich finished second in the 10,000 meters with a time of 34:26.08 and then came back to finish sixth in the 5000 with a time of 16:29.88. Talaya Owens ran a career best in the 400 hurdles to finish third overall while Lynda Cooper broke the school record in the pole vault to also finish third overall.

Scouting the Competition:Familiar faces will be at the NCAA Mideast Regional as four of the five teams that are ranked in the top 25 reside in the SEC. LSU checks in at No. 1 while Arkansas is ranked at No. 12. Tennessee is ranked No. 14 and is followed by No. 18 Michigan and No. 22 Mississippi.

Crimson Tide in the Top-10 at the Regional:Alabama will send a contingency of eight athletes to compete in Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend. Senior Trish Bartholomoew enters with the second best 400 meter time with a 52.48 and also brings with her the eighth fastest 200 meter time with a 23.31. Talaya Owens sports the fourth fastest 400 hurdle time with a 57.76 while Lynda Cooper checks in at No. 10 in the pole vault with a 13-04.50. Meghan Austin is ranked eighth in the javelin with a toss of 151-06.

Bartholomew Looks to Continue Stellar 2008:Senior Trish Bartholomew looks to cap off her stellar career at Alabama in impressive fashion. The SEC 400 indoor champion and All-American will look to win her first national title. Bartholomew has the second fastest time in the region. The last time Alabama had a national champion was Beth Mallory in the discus in 2005. Bartholomew finished seventh at last year's Mideast Regional.

Record Breaking Performance:Junior Lynda Cooper shattered her own outdoor school record at the SEC Championships. Cooper opened the outdoor slate by clearing a school record height of 12-07.50 at the Alabama Relays. Cooper then vaulted 13-04.50 at the SEC meet to finish third overall. Cooper became the first Crimson Tide athlete to clear 13 feet in school history.

Alabama Rookies:Four of the top athletes wearing a Crimson Tide uniform this weekend are doing so for the first time at the NCAA Regional meet. Junior Betty Rotich has instantly made an impact in just a semester. Rotich has qualified in both the 10,000 and 5000 meter races. Rotich currently ranks third all-time in the UA record books in the 10,000 and fourth in the 5000. In just her first season running the 400 hurdles, Talaya Owens sports the sixth fastest time in school history with a 57.76. Owens enters the meet ranked fourth in the event. True freshman Meghan Austin has made a splash for Alabama in the throwing events by tossing the fifth best mark in school history in the javelin with a throw of 151-06. Also in the throws, Angelica Howard will be making her first postseason appearance with a mark of 48-03.50 in the shot put.

Next Time Out:Alabama will next hit the oval when it heads to the NCAA Championships. The meet is scheduled to begin on June 11 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.