The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Track and Field Notebook - April 19

182 days ago
Photo: SEC

Alabama

The Alabama men's track and field team remained at No. 4 for the third consecutive week, while the women are ranked No. 20 in the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Team Rankings, released Monday. The men's team posted 220.26 points while the women's team earned 94.75 points. Regionally, the men are ranked No. 1 in the South region for the second straight week, while the women are No. 3. The national team rankings are compiled by a 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. Ranking points do not equate with NCAA Championships team points. Alabama will travel downstate this weekend to compete at Auburn's War Eagle Invitational, April 21-22.

Arkansas

Men: The sixth-ranked Arkansas men's track and field team closed out its stay in California on Friday evening with personal-best performances from junior Jack Bruce (5,000) at the Mt. SAC Relays and redshirt sophomore Alex George (1,500) at the Bryan Clay Invitational. Bruce made his 2017 outdoor debut as the runner-up finisher in the 5,000 invitational with an epic 16-second PR of 13 minutes, 38.15 seconds. He currently leads the Southeastern Conference and sits at No. 3 on the NCAA performance list. Arkansas' other representative on the NCAA 5K leader board Alex George proved he had speed to go along with his endurance, placing 18th in the 1,500 with a two-second PR of 3 minutes, 42.34 seconds. George was the 12th-best collegian in a massive field which featured over 250 entries. His performance ranks him among the top-three best in the SEC so far this season. One day prior, the Razorbacks were paced to success by redshirt seniors Aidan Swain and Cale Wallace who both finished among the top-eight most talented runners of the day in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Swain made his 2017 debut in the event posting a 10-second PR to place seventh in 8 minutes, 59.46 seconds. An All-SEC performer in the event last year, Wallace finished as the steeplechase runner-up at Bryan Clay in 8:53.15, a nine second improvement on his season's best. Arkansas also had a successful 5K accounting at the Bryan Clay Invitational with exceptional performances in the 5,000 meters off the heels of sophomores Cameron Griffith, Austen Dalquist and Kyle Levermore. Griffith was the top Razorback finisher in the event, crossing the finish line in second place with a PR of 13:52.65. Dalquist also finished inside the top-10, improving on his personal best by seven seconds to place seventh in 14:00.33. Levermore rounded out the trio, placing 18th with a season's best of 14:19.41. Women: The second and final day of competition at the Bryan Clay Invitational for the No. 2 Arkansas women's track and field team saw junior Nikki Hiltz race to the top of the D-I NCAA performance list in the 1,500-meter run off an 8-second PR. Competing against collegians and professionals alike, Hiltz crossed the finish line in second place with a time of 4 minutes, 12.71 seconds to usurp the national (D-I) lead from Fresno State's Annemarie Schwanz. Her time is the fifth-best ever recorded by a Razorback. Senior Therese Haiss (eighth) and freshman Carina Viljoen (19th) also posted personal bests in the event, running 4:16.55 and 4:19.62, respectively. Haiss improved her time by three seconds while Viljoen dropped five seconds off of her former PR. Sophomore Devin Clark kicked off the week for Hogs, racing to a second-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a season's best time of 10 minutes, 8.15 seconds. A 2016 All-American in the steeplechase, Clark currently leads the Southeastern Conference and sits at No. 5 in the NCAA. Clark's teammates kept the trend of success going as Taylor Werner, Maddy Reed, Abby Gray, Regan Ward and Sydney Brown made Arkansas' presence felt in the 5,000 meters. An All-American in the 3,000 this past indoor season, Werner took over the 5,000 in a big way as the freshman from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, cruised to a runner-up finish with a lifetime best of 15:51.08. Her stellar performance ranks her inside the NCAA top-12, at No. 2 in the SEC and as the sixth-best performer in program history. Fellow freshmen Reed (16:04.43) and Gray (16:06.60) finished not too far behind their teammate, placing fifth and sixth, respectively, both with major PRs. The Razorbacks' 5,000-meter dominance was completed by Ward and Brown who also raced to PRs in the event and were rewarded with top-10 finishes.

Auburn

The Auburn sprinters led the way on day two of the Texas Invitational, with six-combined event wins. The Auburn men finished second, while the women finished fourth. The Tigers got things going early in the running events with a sweep of the 4x100m relays. The men won the race with a 39.10, which is tied for fifth all-time on Auburn's outdoor performers list. The women won with a 43.94. Freshman Nathon Allen won the men's 400 meters for the second time this season, finishing in 45.79. His mark currently ranks fourth in the SEC and also joins teammate Akeem Bloomfield as the only two freshmen in the top-20 for the event. Senior Jonielle Smith ran a wind-aided 11.08 to win the women's 100 meters, while Bloomfield won the men's 200m with a 20.29. Bloomfield's time currently ranks third in the nation. Sashel Brown finished third in the women's 400 meters with personal best time of 53.41, which stands as the No. 8 mark in Auburn history. Auburn will return to Hutsell-Rosen Track next weekend, as it hosts the War Eagle Invitational on April 21-22.

Florida

Florida jumpers KeAndre Bates and Yanis David, along with hurdler, jumper, and sprinter Grant Holloway earned SEC weekly honors, the conference office announced Tuesday (April 18) afternoon. Bates, this year's indoor long jump national champion, was named SEC Men's Field Athlete of the Week. The El Paso, Texas native posted a top mark of 8.13 meters (26 feet, 8.25 inches), the No. 2 all-conditions mark in the nation this year. Bates joins Gator Great Marquis Dendy (2013, 2015) and LSU's Damar Forbes (2013) as the only other SEC long jumpers in the last five seasons to clear 8.05 meters prior to the NCAA Preliminaries. Dendy won the NCAA title in 2015, and Forbes won the title in 2013. David, the triple jump runner-up at NCAA Indoor Championships, recorded a nation-leading mark of 13.92 meters (45 feet, 8 inches), earning SEC Women's Field Athlete of the Week honors. She also recorded a wind-legal mark of 13.78 meters (45 feet, 2.5 inches), making her the No. 2 triple jumper on Florida's All-Time Outdoor Top 10.

Georgia

Men: The fifth-ranked Bulldogs rested everyone but the sprinters over the weekend as a group of six traveled to Columbia, S.C., for the Gamecock Invitational. Sophomore Kendal Williams blazed to the country's sixth-best time in the 200-meter dash (No. 2 wind-legal finish) of 20.32 to finish second. This time, which ranks fourth on the world list, is tied for No. 2 in the school record books and is the best for Georgia since 1980. Williams joined with junior Cejhae Greene, senior Reggie Glover and senior Maurice Freeman to take second in the 4x100m relay with a 39.70. Greene, who was only running the 100m for the second time as a Bulldog, registered a wind-legal 10.10 to win. This time ranks sixth on the NCAA list (No. 2 wind-legal finish) and is fourth on UGA's all-time top-10 list. Greene and Williams have now both run 10.10 or better this year as Williams remains the nation's leader with a 9.99. In the 4x400m relay, Glover, senior Ayrian Evans, Freeman and junior Gabe Blackman won by nearly two seconds after finishing in 3:08.50. Freeman and Evans were also the top collegiate finishers (second and third overall) with a 46.52 and 47.23 in the 400m. While the sprinters will train through the weekend, the Bulldogs will travel to Charlottesville, Va., for the Virginia Challenge on April 21-22. Women: The seventh-ranked Georgia women also sent six team members to South Carolina to compete at the Gamecock Invitational. Junior Katie Stone was the top collegiate finisher (second overall) in the 200m after crossing the finish line with the 10th-best time in school history at 23.59. She started her day in the 100m and earned runner-up honors in the 100m with a season-best time of 11.51. Freshman Amber Tanner, junior Devon Artis and freshmen Catherine Reid and Chelsea Zoller passed the baton in the 4x400m relay to a 3:41.38 for the victory. Reid was also the top freshman finisher (seventh overall) in the 400m with a UGA best time of 54.71. In addition, Tanner was second in the 800m (2:12.08). A number of Lady Bulldogs will also make the trip to the University of Virginia's campus this weekend.

Kentucky

The Kentucky track and field teams got plenty of what they entered into this weekend's Texas Invitational for, amid picture perfect weather this weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Viewed from any angle, the quantity of quality performances broke down in a positive light. Kentucky won seven events outright - four on the women's side and three on the men's side on Saturday. Add events in which UK had the top collegian -in those cases a professional won and a Wildcat placed second overall - and that number increased to nine. Throw UK Class of 2015 alumna, world-record holding professional and volunteer assistant coach Kendra Harrison into the equation, and Wildcats won 11 events.

LSU

The members of LSU's record-setting 4x100-meter relay team have been named the SEC Women's Runners of the Week and freshman runner Ruby Stauber has picked up a third selection as the SEC Women's Freshman of the Week this season with their performance at the Mt. SAC Relays on Saturday. That's where the Lady Tigers blew away their 28-year-old school and SEC records with the second-fastest women's sprint relay in collegiate history to close out the 59th Mt. SAC Relays at Murdock Stadium. Junior Mikiah Brisco, sophomore Kortnei Johnson, senior Jada Martin and junior Aleia Hobbs arrived at the Mt. SAC Relays with confidence following their seasonal-best performance at LSU's Battle on the Bayou only a week ago as they ran the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season at 42.66 seconds. They still lined up in Saturday's women's invitational 4x100-meter relay as second favorites with collegiate-record holder Oregon also in the race with a best of 42.34 from the Florida Relays two weeks before. LSU's women ran stride-for-stride with the Ducks in the fastest relay race in collegiate history as Oregon broke its own NCAA record with a winning 42.12 followed by the Lady Tigers in second place with a school record of 42.14. Those watching might not have even realized there were four other teams in the race as a team from the Altis training center in Phoenix, Arizona, was well back in third with a time of 43.82. The Fearless Flyers followed in fourth at 44.47 ahead of UNLV (44.66) and Ole Miss (44.73).

Ole Miss

Ole Miss athletes produced three school records and some of the nation's best times and marks on their trip to California last weekend, which included participation in the Mt. SAC Relays, Bryan Clay Invitational and Beach Invitational. On Monday, the Rebel men moved up one spot to No. 13 in the USTFCCCA rankings, while the women came in at No. 18. Ole Miss is one of 17 schools with both teams in the top 25, including 11 SEC schools. The Rebels are back in action this Friday and Saturday at Auburn's War Eagle Invitational. MEN: The Rebels had a standout weekend on the men's side, led by Dempsey McGuigan's school record in the hammer throw (70.55m/231-5) and second-best national times by Craig Engels in the 1500m (3:37.75) and MJ Erb in the 3000m steeplechase (8:41.03). Engels' mark, just .09 of a second off his own school record from last year's U.S. Olympic Trials, ranks him third in the world early this 2017 outdoor season. Engels, Erb and Brian Williams (discus - 61.13m/200-7) all top the SEC in those events, while McGuigan is fourth among SEC hammer throwers. Engels is also second in the SEC and seventh nationally in the 800m (1:46.96) and Williams is fifth nationally in the discus. Ryan Manahan is fourth in the SEC and 19th nationally in the 1500m. WOMEN: A pair of Ole Miss women's records went down last weekend in California. Shelby Brown, running her second ever steeplechase, broke a 4-year-old record with her time of 10:14.20 that ranks her 17th nationally and third in the SEC. Mary Alex England broke the school record in the 5000m (16:12.19). Another highlight came from sophomore Maddie McHugh, who raced to a big personal best of 2:05.23 in the 800m, moving her up to No. 2 in school history, No. 15 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the SEC this year. Raven Saunders continues to lead the world in the shot put (18.51m/60-8.75), while fellow junior Janeah Stewart ranks top 10 in the NCAA in the shot put (5th, 17.86m/58-7.25), discus (7th, 56.39m/185-0) and hammer (9th, 64.69m/212-3). Stewart is the SEC leader in the discus.

Mississippi State

Over the course of the three-day, two meet weekend, the Bulldogs captured a grand total of 10 victories and set numerous personal bests. In the central time zone, MSU competed in a plethora of events.Out in California, Haley Reynolds recorded a monster throw in the discus to pick up her first win of the season. Her mark of 49.88m obliterates the previous record of 49.18m set by Sasha-Gaye Marston back in 2015. Junior Brianna Smith tossed a personal best 60.38m in the hammer throw Thursday night to pick up her first victory of the season. Smith, already the owner of the second best mark in school history, improved upon her mark to inch closer to the school record of 62.93m set by Favian Cowards in 2012. Also in California, Mia Meydrich grabbed 20th place finish in the 10,000m run after posting the second best mark in school history at 34:41.05. In the men's 10,000m run, JT Mackay finished 28th after running 31:37.68. JaQuarius Wilson ran away in the decathlon after collecting 6,921 points, nearly 900 more than the next closest competitor. Wilson recorded the best score in four of the 10 events (Javelin, Discus, 110mH, Shot Put), finishing no worse than third in any event. In the 1500m Invite, 2015 national champion Rhianwedd Price ran a time of 4:17.03 to take fourth collegiately. Her sister Ffion Price ran 4:21.03 and took eighth. Freshman Emma Tucker competed in the Open 1500m and grabbed 17th with a time of 4:34.58. Tiffany Flynn picked up a top five finish in the 100m hurdle, running 13.80 to finish third. In the women's heptathlon, two Bulldogs finished inside the top five as Zaria Tillman grabbed third after collecting 4,699 points and Shayla Broughton scored 4,652 for fourth place. Freshman Daniel Nixon posted a time of 4:07.68 in the 1500m in a victory. The men's 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams, each consisting of Lawrence Crawford, Stephan James, Philip Smith and Charles Taylor, both won their respective events, posting scores of 39.83 and 3:17.52. Additionally, Willie Reed picked up a victory in the long jump after leaping 7.54m. Kristy Terp grabbed her first victory of the season after running 10:21.77 in the 3000m, and freshman Stephanie Peterson finished just behind her in second with a mark of 10:24.11. Leah Lott won the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.64, and freshman Alexis Farley finished third with a personal best mark of 14.22. Out west, Logan Boss finished first collegiately in the high jump with a jump of 1.78m. Boss has finished as the best collegiate jumper in all three of the events she has competed in this season. Tiffany Flynn competed in both the long jump and triple jump, finishing 5th and 3rd respectively in those events.

Missouri

Behind first place finishes in seven women's events and five men's events, the Mizzou Track & Field team finished first in the women's standings and third on the men's side on Saturday at the Tom Botts Invitational. The women's team was led by sophomore Maya Cody (St. Louis, Mo.), who was named the female Most Outstanding Performer of the meet following first place finishes in the 200m dash and 4x100m relay, as well as a second place finish in the 100m dash. The women's team finished atop the team race with 153 points, finishing ahead of Nebraska (125 points) and Northern Iowa (121 points), while the men's team finished with 122 points, coming in behind Nebraska (157 points) and Northern Iowa (141 points). Prior to the final relay event of the meet, Mizzou honored 23 seniors and one team manager for their contribution to the program over the past several years.

South Carolina

University of South Carolina junior Ncincilili Titi made history on Saturday as he ran a 200m school record at the Gamecock Invitational. Not only was Titi's mark of 20.14 (+1.7) the best in Carolina history, it also leads the NCAA and ranks third in the entire world this season. Titi took the victory in the first heat of the race, smashing Carolina's previous record. His time of 20.14 is 0.2 seconds faster than Rodney Martin's previous school record of 20.34, set in 2005. Only two athletes stand ahead of Titi on the 2017 world list in the 200m, and both are fellow South Africa natives. Akani Simbine recorded a time of 19.95, and Clarence Munyai finished in 20.10 on March 4 in Pretoria, South Africa. Titi was one of six Gamecocks to win an individual event on Saturday, joining Josh Awotunde (shot put and discus), Nakita Gray (high jump), Kara Lyles (400mH), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump) and Armand Woodley (pole vault). Carolina also won both the men's and women's 4x100m relays. Carolina easily cruised to victory in the women's 4x100m relay. Rougui Sow, Taranisha Taylor, Makyla Stanley and Maiya Dendy turned in a time of 45.41 for their fourth win of the season in the event. The men's 4x100m was much closer but also resulted in a Gamecock victory. Darrell Singleton Jr., David Winters, DeVon Lewis and Ncincilili Titi cut .01 off their season best to take the win in 39.42, .28 faster than Georgia. The new season best ranks 11th in the nation. Gray finished in the top four of her first four competitions this season, and she scored a breakthrough victory on Saturday. The senior entered the week ranked eighth in the nation in the high jump, and she jumped 5-10 3Ž4 for the win. Lyles set a new PR by almost a second on Saturday to win the 400mH for the first time in her collegiate career. The sophomore stopped the clock in 58.90, the NCAA East Region's 17th-best mark this season. Awotunde chalked up his first outdoor shot put victory, winning Saturday's meet by almost seven feet. The junior entered the day ranked second in the NCAA, and he notched an effort of 63-7 3Ž4 for the victory. Teammate Eric Favors placed second, at 56-9 1Ž4. Later in the day, Awotunde won the discus with a mark of 176-11. Ben Bonhurst came in third, and Favors chalked up fourth. Woodley added a Carolina victory in the pole vault, his first this season. The sophomore's mark of 16-0 3Ž4 is his new personal best, and it's the third time this season he has eclipsed his previous PR. Randrianasolo set a PR for the second straight week with his winning mark of 25-4 3Ž4. That effort ranks fifth in Carolina history and sixth in the NCAA this season. Colleen Openshaw led the Gamecocks in the first event to finish, the women's 5000m. She placed second, her best result of the season, in a time of 18:10.45. Sow added a fifth-place result in the 100mH, and she was the top collegiate finisher. Her time of 13.47 ranks 17th in the nation this season and ranks just outside of Carolina's all-time top-10. Freshman Anna Kathryn Stoddard continued her strong season with a big effort in the 1500m. The Greenwood, S.C., native turned in a time of 4:39.21, less than a half-second out of the top spot and a new season best. Another freshman that continued to find success on Saturday was Hailey Sweatman. The pole vaulter matched her PR by clearing 12-7 1Ž2, and she was the top collegiate finisher at the event. Sophomore Makyla Stanley grabbed a fifth-place result in the 100m by smashing her PR. The Charleston, S.C., native shaved over a tenth of a second off of her previous top effort with a mark of 11.58, which won her heat. Clarence Gallop recorded his fourth podium finish of the season in the hammer throw. The senior recorded a top mark of 207-4 on Saturday and placed second among collegians. Senior David Winters brought the Cregger Track crowd to their feet with his effort in the 100m. Winters set his season best and ran the 10th-fastest time in Carolina history, a mark of 10.30. He finished second on the afternoon, and he also had a third-place result in the 200m, with a time of 20.76. Otis Jones grabbed second place in the 800m for the second week in a row. Jones tallied a mark of 1:50.20 at Cregger Track, just a half-second shy of first. Freshman Alycia Springs added another strong effort to her breakout freshman season when she placed third in the discus. The Charlotte, N.C., native finished on the podium for the fifth time this outdoor season with a mark of 144-1.

Tennessee

Tennessee track and field spent the week training as the team prepares to head to Columbia, S.C. for the USC Open on Saturday. Tennessee will enter the competition ranked 15th on the men's side and 11th in the women's USTFCCCA National Team Rankings. Christian Coleman earned a couple of honors last week as he was named SEC Co-Runner of the Week. The junior was also tabbed as the Male Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He will be honored alongside #VFL Justin Gatlin who was named the Male Professional Athlete of the Year.

Texas A&M

Texas A&M travels to Waco this weekend for the Michael Johnson Classic hosted by Baylor. In national rankings, the Aggies remain the same with the men No. 2 and the women No. 8. Texas A&M swept team titles at the Jim Bush Collegiate Invitational hosted by UCLA. The Aggie men totaled 189 points to defeat Alabama (103), UCLA (100), Arizona State (66) and UTEP (56). A closer challenge on the women's side had Texas A&M producing 148 points in holding off Alabama (135) as they were followed by UCLA (88), UTEP (87) and Arizona State (61). Men: Mylik Kerley led a 1-2-3-5 finish by the Aggies in the 400m with a career best time of 45.48. He was followed by Robert Grant (46.09), Richard Rose (46.35) and Deon Hickey (47.25). Fred Kerley won the 200m in 20.45 as he defeated Alabama's Steven Gayle (20.77) while Aggie Elijah Morrow (20.85) placed third. Texas A&M won both relays with times of 39.49 and 3:03.90. Victories for the Aggies included Sam Hardin (238-6) in the javelin, Garrett Cragin (7-1) in the high jump, Will Williams (25-0 ¾) in the long jump, and Jeffrey Prothro (52-0 ¾) in the triple jump. Audie Wyatt (17-7) finished second in the pole vault as Alex Riba (3:47.99) led a 2-3-4-5 effort by Texas A&M in the 1,500. Other runner-up efforts include Ilolo Izu (51.67) in the 400m hurdles, and Jace Comick (10.67) in the 100m. Women: Jazmine Fray broke her school record in the 800m with a winning time of 2:01.43, improving her previous outdoor best of 2:03.25 from last season. The Aggies claimed both relays with times of 43.44 and 3:32.88. Briyahna Desrosiers ran a career best of 52.28 in winning the 400m over Alabama's Domonique Williams (52.41). Brenessa Thompson posted a 23.09 to win the 200m. Alison Ondrusek hit a mark of 197-11 for a victory in the hammer while Shelby Poncik led a 1-2-3-4 finish by the Aggies with a winning toss of 162-9 in the javelin. A 2-3 finish in the 1,500m helped secure the team title as Arin Rice (4:29.23) and Hannah Campbell (4:29.81) both utilized strong kicks at the end of the race. Ciynamon Stevenson (41-10 ¾) finished second in the triple jump while Serena Brown (163-2) placed third in the discus.

Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilt track and field program was off this past weekend, but will compete at the Virginia Invitational on Apr. 21-22. Junior Jenn Edobi will also be competing in the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas on Apr 22-23. Edobi will be representing Nigeria and Vanderbilt assistant coach Donnie Young will also serve as an assistant for the Nigerian team this weekend. The Commodores have had 10 marks/times during the 2017 outdoor season that rank among the top 10 all-time in Vanderbilt history, including a pair of school records in the distance medley relay (11:34.58) and the 4x800 relay (8:38.34).