Alabama Men’s Track and Field grabs Top-10 finish at NCAA Outdoor Championships
EUGENE, Ore. – The Alabama men recorded their first top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships since 2001 behind All-America performances in the 110-meter hurdles, 200 meters, 400 meters and 4x400-meter relay on a cold, rainy day at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
The Crimson Tide men took 10th, its best national outdoor finish since taking sixth at the 2001 NCAA meet, which was also held in Eugene. Florida captured the men’s crown for the second year in a row with 61.5 points as the Southeastern Conference dominated the meet with eight teams from the conference finishing in the top-10. Texas A&M was second with 59.5 points, followed by Virginia (36), Arkansas (33), Auburn (24), Georgia (22.5), LSU (20), Tennessee (20), Oregon (19.5) and the Crimson Tide (19).
“I’m very pleased and excited about the passion and energy and the way the team bought into what we were trying to accomplish this year,” head coach Dan Waters said following the meet. “We fought hard in a lot of different places. We went to the well indoors to try to win the conference championship, tried to score well at indoor nationals, SEC outdoors, regionals and outdoor nationals. Every time we asked the team to step up and do something special they absolutely did. I couldn’t be prouder of that competitiveness. That’s what will put us over the top. A top-10 finish is nice but in order to achieve the goals of this program, we have to be able to come to championships and compete. Hopefully, we can build on what we did here this week.”
Junior Ruebin Walters opened the night for the Tide with a second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 13.54. It was the best finish for Alabama in the event since Ron Bramlett won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. It also gives the Tide All-Americans in the event in back-to-back seasons, with Tony Brown finishing sixth at the 2016 championships.
“The race was really good,” Walters said. “I think I let Grant (Holloway from Florida) get away a little too much from me in the first five hurdles - I was a little too cautious, but I’m still thankful for the second place finish. I closed really well at the end, but it’s only 110 meters, so there’s only so much you can do within that distance. This season has been tremendous. I started peaking just at the right time in my season and it’s been great out here this week.”
Junior Jereem Richards finished third in the 200 meters in 20.55. The finish is the best for Alabama in the 200 since Calvin Smith finished second in 1982 and 1983. The finish caps a stellar individual outdoor season for Richards during which he posted four of the 10-fastest times in school history in the 200 meters and broke Smith’s 24-year-old school record of 19.99 with a time of 19.97 at the NCAA East Regional on May 27. Richards and Smith are the only men to run under 20 seconds in the 200 meters at Alabama.
“I felt like I got out good enough, but coming into the home straightaway it was windy and being one of the smallest guys in the field, the wind really affected me,” Richards said. “But I gave it my all. I was in fourth place and I wasn’t going to settle for that. I did all I could do to finish third. I’m proud of that. To be in the top three is a really big accomplishment.”
Senior Steven Gayle finished seventh in the 400 meters in 45.59 to earn First Team All-America honors in the event for the second time in his career at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Gayle finished fifth in the event at the 2015 NCAA Championships. He is the first two time All-American in the 400 meters for Alabama since Olympic champion Kirani James won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
“I’m happy with the result,” Gayle said. “I took all of last year off and I accomplished my goal this year. I came here and made the finals. I gave it my all at the end of the day and I’m happy with the results. I just tried to do everything I could for the team. I love my team.”
In the final event of the evening, Alabama’s 4x400-meter relay of freshman Will Allen, Gayle, sophomore Skyler Bowden and Richards finished sixth in 3:03.81, the ninth-fastest time in school history. The race capped off a four-meet stretch dating to May 6 that saw the quartet record five of the 10-fastest times in Alabama history in its last seven races.
The Alabama women will wrap up competition at the NCAA Championships on Saturday with the 4x100-meter relay and sophomore Stacey Destin in the high jump.
Men’s Event Summaries – NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships- Day 3
110-Meter Hurdles – Junior Ruebin Walters finished second in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 13.54. Walters’ finish is the best for Alabama in the 110-meter hurdles since Ron Bramlett won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. It also gives the Tide All-Americans in the event in back-to-back seasons. Tony Brown finished sixth at the 2016 championships.
400 Meters – Senior Steven Gayle finished seventh in the 400 meters in 45.59 to earn first-team All-America honors in the event for the second time in his career at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Gayle finished fifth in the event at the 2015 NCAA Championships. He is the first double All-American in the 400 meters for Alabama since Kirani James won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
200 Meters – Junior Jereem Richards finished third in the 200 meters in 20.55. The finish is the best for Alabama since Calvin Smith finished second in 1982 and 1983. The finish caps a stellar individual outdoor season for Richards that saw him post four of the 10-fastest times in school history and break Smith’s 24-year-old school record of 19.99 with a time of 19.97 at the NCAA East Regional on May 27. The two are the only men to run under 20 seconds in the 200 meters ever at Alabama.
4x400-Meter Relay – In the final event of the evening, Alabama’s 4x400-meter relay of freshman Will Allen, Gayle, sophomore Skyler Bowden and Richards finished sixth in 3:03.81, the ninth-fastest time in school history. The race caps off a four-meet stretch dating to May 6 that has seen the quartet record five of the 10-fastest times in Alabama history in its last seven races, including the fourth-best time ever in Wednesday’s semifinals.
Discus – Senior Joe Williams finished 11th in the discus with a throw of 188-3 (57.39m). Williams ends his career with back-to-back appearances at the NCAA Championships, earning second-team All-America honors in both trips to Eugene.
Joe Williams – 184-1 (56.12m); Foul; 188-3 (57.39m)
Triple Jump – Competing for the final time as a collegian, senior Klyvens Delaunay finished 23rd in the triple jump with a leap of 47-10 (14.58m).
Delaunay – 47-10 (14.58m); 43-6 ½ (13.27m); Foul
NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Thursday, June 9, 2017
Eugene, Ore. (University of Oregon)
1. Florida- 61.5
2. Texas A&M- 59.5
3. Virginia- 36
4. Arkansas- 33
5. Auburn- 24
6. Georgia- 22.5
7t. LSU- 20
7t. Tennessee- 20
9. Oregon- 19.5
10. ALABAMA- 19
200 Meters- 3. Jereem Richards, 20.55
400 Meters- 7. Steven Gayle, 45.59
110-Meter Hurdles- 2. Ruebin Walters, 13.54
4x400-Meter Relay: 6. Alabama (Will Allen, Steven Gayle, Skyler Bowden, Jereem Richards), 3:03.81
Triple Jump- 23. Klyvens Delaunay, 47-10 (14.58m)
Discus- 11. Joe Williams, 188-3 (57.39m)
School Top-10 Performances
100 Meters- 9t. Tony Brown, 10.12
400 Meters- 7. Steven Gayle, 45.45
Pole Vault- 5. Will Herrscher, 17-4 ½ (5.30m)
200 Meters- 4. Jereem Richards, 20.04
Javelin- 9. McLean Lipschutz, 227-8 (69.41m)
Javelin- 10. McLean Lipschutz, 226-5 (69.03m)
10,000 Meters- 10. Alfred Chelanga, 29:12.34
4x400-Meter Relay- 4. Alabama (Will Allen, Jereem Richards, Skyler Bowden, Steven Gayle), 3:03.26
4x400-Meter Relay: 9. Alabama (Will Allen, Steven Gayle, Skyler Bowden, Jereem Richards), 3:03.81
Hammer Throw- 10. Danielle McConnell, 200-3 (61.05m)
4x100-Meter Relay: 2. Alabama (Quanesha Burks, Diamond Gause, Symone Darius, Takyera Roberson), 43.08
Javelin – 6. Samantha Zelden, 168-4 (51.31m)
Javelin – 7. Samantha Zelden, 164-10 (50.24m)
Javelin – 8. Samantha Zelden, 164-0 (49.99m)
100 Meters- Tony Brown, 10.12
PB- Personal best
SB- Season best
SR- School record
NB- National best
NM- No mark
NH- No height
DNF- Did not finish
DNS- Did not start
Q- Qualified for final with heat finish
q- Qualified for final with heat time
w- Wind above allowable