AYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Alabama women’s track and field team finished third (67 points) at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday night, while the men took fourth (73 points).
“We had a good weekend on both the sides of the meet,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “To have both teams finish in the top four and for our women to post their best team finish in 25 years is a big step forward for us as a program.”
It was the women’s best finish at the SEC indoor championships since winning it all in 1994. It also marked the first time that the Crimson Tide has put both the men and women in the top four at the conference indoor meet since 1986.
Sophomore Tamara Clark led the way for the women on Saturday, blasting her way to the 200 meters championship, crossing the line with a 22.90 as the only runner under 23.00 in the race. Clark is the first Alabama runner to win the 200 meters since Stacy Bowen in 1994 and just the third ever.
“Tamara just keeps getting better as she goes along,” Waters said. “That was a tremendous race and it bodes well for the future. We had a lot of highlights from the women this weekend. Now they have to take the momentum from here into the NCAA Championships.”
Junior Abigail Kwarteng grabbed the Tide’s first podium finish of the day, taking silver in the high jump with a season-best 5-11.50 (1.82m). A day after taking third in the pentathlon, junior Stacey Destin came back on Saturday to score in the high jump, taking fourth with a clearance of 5-9.75 (1.77m).
Senior Portious Warren, who won the shot put on Friday, came back to score in the weight throw on Saturday with a toss of 66-8.50 (20.33m), placing fourth.
The Tide women also scored in the mile, where senior Nicole Gardner (4:53.02) and junior Esther Gitahi (4:53.39), went seventh and eighth, respectively.
Senior Gilbert Kigen, who was second in the 5,000 meters on the championships first day, came back on Saturday and earned another silver medal, taking second in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:03.03, less than a quarter of a second out of first. Senior Vincent Kiprop, who was third in the 5,000 meters, also scored in the 3,000, taking sixth with an 8:07.32.
“We had a lot of guys step up with tough performances this weekend,” Waters said. “We can still get better and that will be our focus as we get ready for NCAAs in a couple of weeks.”
Senior Keitavious Walter made the podium in the 60 meters, taking third in a time of 6.64, before coming back to score in the 200 meters, finishing fourth with a 20.77.
Sophomore Champion Allison finished just off the podium in the 400 meters, posting a 46.58, just three-hundredths of a second out of third place. Bobby Colantonio Jr. landed a 68-2.25 (20.78m) to take seventh place in the weight throw, becoming the only freshman to score in the event. Junior Michael Wiggins scored in the triple jump, using a 49-5.50 (15.07m) to take eighth.
The Tide women won two individual titles on the weekend and tallied six podium finishes, including two on Saturday to go with four from Friday. The Crimson Tide men garnered seven top-three finishes overall, with two on Saturday and five on Friday.
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