NASHVILLE, Tenn. – University of Alabama junior Alex Amankwah broke the school record in the men's 800 meters while running the fastest time by a collegian this season, and defending NCAA champion Remona Burchell impressed while winning the 60-meter dash in her 2015 debut to lead the Crimson Tide on a hugely successful Saturday at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational.
Amankwah broke an 11-year-old Crimson Tide record set in 2004 by Peter Etoot in dominating the field in the men's 800, crossing the line in 1 minute, 46.86 seconds, .04 faster than Etoot's previous standard of 1:46.90. Burchell twice broke the facility record in the women's 60, running two of the 10 fastest times in Alabama history with a 7.28 in the preliminary heats and a winning 7.25 in the final, a time that ranks sixth in Alabama history.
Crimson Tide athletes compile four event victories (two men's and two women's) while producing eight performances (five women's, three men's) that rank in the school's all-time top 10 in six events (four women's. two men's) on an impressive day by the Alabama at the Vanderbilt Multipurpose Facility. Alabama picked up individual victories in the women's 60-meter dash, the women's 400 meters, the men's 60-meter hurdles, and the men's 800 meters.
“This was a tip-top day for us, as we had several excellent performances by several of our people,” said head coach Dan Waters. “I can’t say enough about Alex Amankwah, Remona Burchell, Cameron Hudson, Jacopo Lahbi, Tony Brown . . . and several others today. We had several people punch their tickets to the NCAA meet today and, for this early in the season, that’s a big deal. We still need to work on some things regarding the overall competitive toughness of our team. But today was a big day for us.”
60 Meters – Tide junior Cameron Hudson led Alabama with a second-place finish in the men's 60-meter dash with a time of 6.73 seconds. Ole Miss sophomore Jalen Miller won the race in 6.58, setting a facility record. Tide sophomore Tony Brown, who won the 60-meter hurdles earlier, was sixth in 6.84 with Alabama sophomore Ahmed Ali eighth in 7.00. In the prelims, Hudson won heat two in 6.79 to advance to the final as the third-fastest qualifier behind Miller (a facility record 6.60) and Auburn senior Keenan Brock (6.78). Brown advanced with a 6.82 while placing second in heat two. Three Tide sprinters raced in prelim heat three with Ali winning the heat in 6.92 to advance. Tadashi Pinder was second in 6.94 with Bradley Sylve third in 6.95. Neither Pinder nor Sylve advanced to the final.
60-Meter Hurdles – In his 2015 indoor debut, Alabama sophomore Tony Brown won the men's 60-meter hurdles in 7.89, the No. 7 time on the all-time Alabama list, 4th in the SEC for 2015 and 15th in the NCAA this season. Brown ran 8.01 in the prelims to reach the final as the third-fastest qualifier behind Auburn senior Torrey Campbell (7.92) and Ole Miss senior Robert Semien (7.93). Brown and Campbell were paired together in heat three of the prelims.
400 Meters – Alabama junior Quincy Smith posted the no. 7 fastest time in the SEC in 2015 with a 47.99 in the men's 400 for a second-place finish, just a nose behind Southern Miss junior Elbert Rogers (47.97). The 400 was run in six heats with a total of 25 competitors. Smith and Efkamp ran in the first heat, along with Rogers. Efkamp was fourth in that heat. Bryan Arthur was 16th in 50.59, running in heat three, while Nathan Nammour was 19th in 50.93, running in heat three.
800 Meters – Crimson Tide junior Alex Amankwah ran the fastest 800-meter race by a collegian thus far in 2015, setting an 11-year-old school record by .04 and smashing the facility record by more than 2.5 seconds in an impressive victory in the men's 800, breaking the tape in 1:46.86. The performance broke the old Alabama indoor 800 record of 1:46.90 set by Peter Etoot in 2004. Running in the first of three heats of the final, Amankwah outpaced the field .77 of a second ahead of runner-up Corey Leslie (unattached). Tide sophomore Jacopo Lahbi was third in 1:48.28, the no. 2 time in the NCAA this season and no. 4 on the all-time Crimson Tide list.
Mile – Tide sophomores Payton Ballard and Jeff Edmondson ran in the seeded final in the afternoon. Ballard ended up 13th in 4:12.70 while Edmondson was 20th overall in 4:20.34. The unseeded men's mile was contested in a single heat in the morning where Tide freshman Connor Ferrentino took third in 4:25.78, placing him 24th overall after the seeded final later in the day. This was Ferrentino's indoor mile debut for Alabama.
Shot Put – Crimson Tide sophomore Kyle Felpel took second place in the men's shot put via a consistent series in which his first five attempts were in the sector before fouling on his sixth and final try. A total of 19 athletes competed in two flights in the men's shot put. Southern Illinois junior Josh Freeman won the event on his first throw in flight two (61 feet, 3 1/2 inches; 18.68 meters). Felpel finished up with a best of 60-0 1/2 (18.30) with that throw coming on his fourth attempt. Felpel's efforts were progressively longer with each of his first four throws before trailing off on his fifth and sixth attempts. 2014 NCAA outdoor discus champion sophomore Hayden Reed was fifth (56-2; 16.51) with sophomore Nathan Karr eighth with a personal best (53-11 1/4; 16.44) and Tide sophomore Joe Williams was 10th (52-4 1/2; 15.96).
Felpel – 53-1 (16.18), 58-10 3/4 (17.95), 59-0 (17.98), 60-0 1/2 (18.30), 59-6 3/4 (18.15), foul
Reed – foul, foul, 53-5 (16.28), 56-2 (17.12), 55-7 (16.94), 55-4 3/4 (16.88)
Karr – foul, 52-10 3/4 (16.12), foul, foul, 53-11 1/4 (16.44), 49-5 (15.06)
Williams – foul, foul, 52-4 1/2 (15.96)
Long Jump – Tide newcomer Cameron Hudson took second in the long jump with a best of 25-1 ¼ (7.65 meters), the top mark in the SEC so far in 2015 and the sixth-best in the NCAA up to this point of the season. Josh McCullan was 10th (23-3 ½; 7.10m) for Alabama with Anthony Averett 19th. (23-1; 6.73m). Hudson’s performance virtually assures an appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
4×400-Meter Relay – The Crimson Tide foursome of Quincy Smith, Alex Amankwah, Marlon Humphrey and Nick Efkamp was a close second in the 4×400-meter relay in a time of 3:09.88. Western Kentucky won in 3:09.46. Both teams broke the facility record. The time ranks just outside of the top 10 in Alabama history, so it was a very good start to the season for the Tide relay unit.
60 Meters – Tide senior Remona Burchell, the 2014 NCAA 60 champ, opened her 2015 season impressively by winning the 60-meter dash final in 7.25 seconds, the No. 6 fastest 60 in Alabama history, the No. 2 time in the SEC in 2015 and the No. 5 time in the NCAA this season. Burchell outpaced SMU senior Stephanie Kalu (7.33) by .08 in setting a new facility record, bettering the mark she set earlier in the prelims. Alabama sophomore Quanesha Burks was third in 7.48. The prelims of the 60-meter dash were run in six heats. Burchell won the first heat in 7.28 to set a facility record (eighth on the all-time Alabama list). Burks ran 7.45 to win heat four and advance with the third-best time of the prelims. SMU's Kalu was the second-fastest qualifier (7.36). Dominique Kimpel ran 7.61 in the fifth heat while Sarah Thomas posted a 7.65 in heat three, but neither Kimpel nor Thomas advanced to the final.
60-Meter Hurdles – Tide sophomore Passion Gamble ran 9.02 in the prelim, placing fourth in the third heat, but did not qualify for the final.
400 Meters – Sophomore Alex Gholston earned a career landmark victory in the women's 400, beating Mississippi State senior Shayla Luckett. Gholston broke the tape in 53.90 ahead of Luckett's 54.41. The performance ranks no. 7 on the all-time Crimson Tide list in the event, is the fifth-fastest 400 run in the NCAA this season and ranks no.3 on the SEC list for 2015. Tide sophomore Briana Sims was sixth in 56.07 with Alabama freshman Kaitlin Walker placing 16th in 57.55. The 400 was contested via 10 heats with 40 sprinters entered overall. Gholston ran in the first heat and her time held up to the end.
800 Meters – Alabama junior Kimberley Ficenec placed third in the women's 800 in 2:07.20, the no. 7 performance in Alabama history, the no. 3 time in the SEC in 2015 and the no. 6 time in the NCAA so far this season. It took a facility-record and NCAA-leading performance to beat Ficenec, as Ole Miss freshman Brooke Feldmeier won in 2:05.27, just ahead of Heidi Gregson, who was running unattached.
Mile – Tide freshman Veronica Lyle led Alabama with a seventh-place finish in 4:55.19 with Alabama junior Meropi Panagiotou 10th (4:57.75). Freshman Carolina Barlow was 16th (5:01.19) with Hilary Stafford 25th (5:06.74), Jessica Gray 29th (5:09.32) and Emily Edwards 30th (5:11.30). The women's mile was contested in the morning in two heats.
Pole Vault – Tide sophomore Britainy Smith finished fourth with a clearance of 11 feet, 9 3/4 inches (3.60 meters). Smith passed on the opening height of 11-3 3/4 (3.45) before clearing 3.60 on her first attempt. Smith missed all three tries at 12-3 1/2 (3.75) to bow out. Louisville's Kelsey DeLapp won the event at 12-3 1/2 (3.75).
Shot Put – Tide senior Candicea Bernard was fourth in the shot put with a best of 50 feet even (15.24 meters) while Alabama freshman Haley Teel was eighth with a best of 46-10 1/4 (14.28). Teel won flight one of the two-flight final while Bernard was fourth in flight two. The top seven finishers competed in the second flight.
Bernard – 49-5 (15.08), 50-0 (15.24), foul, foul, foul, 48-6 (14.80)
Teel – 42-11 (13.10), 43-4 (13.21). 46-1 (14.05). 42-4 (12.90), 46-10 1/4 (14.28)
Triple Jump – Senior Merilyn Uudmae produced the fifth-longest triple jump in Crimson Tide history on the way to a fifth-place finish in the women's triple jump. Uudmae's final mark of 41 feet, 7 inches (12.67 meters) moved her into the all-time Tide top 5. The two-flight final consisted of 23 competitors with Uudmae in the flight with the top eight finishers overall, the second flight. Uudmae's best mark of the day came on her second attempt. All six of her jumps were legal.
Uudmae – 41-4 1/2 (12.61), 41-7 (12.67), 40-4 3/4 (12.31), 39-6 1/2 (12.05), 41-1 (12.52), 41-4 1/2 (12.61)
4×400-Meter Relay – Alabama’s quartet of Briana Sims, Alex Gholston, Dominique Kimpel and Kaitlin Walker finished seventh in 3:48.02 to close out the meet.