BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of Alabama opened its 2015 indoor track and field season with a strong performance at the Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. The day was highlighted by two individual wins. Senior Nia Barnes won the women’s weight throw to begin the competition. Later in the day, sophomore Robbie Farnham-Rose beat a field of 39 athletes in the men’s mile to secure the Tide’s second win of the meet. His time (4:03.75) ranks as the tenth best time on Alabama’s all-time performance list.
"As a team, we are ahead of where we were at this time last year and I was pleased with several performances today," said Crimson Tide head coach Dan Waters. "Our primary objective always is to bring a competitive mindset to the track on each attempt, be it a jump, a sprint, a run or a throw. From what I saw today, we need to have more trust in ourselves as a unit but I think that will come for us in time. It was a good start to the season."
Alabama had 12 freshmen and newcomers making their competitive debuts for the Crimson Tide on Saturday. Those athletes joined experienced teammates in producing strong performances across all disciplines in Saturday’smeet. Here's an event-by-event breakdown of Saturday's Alabama competitors
60 meters: Sophomore Tony Brown ran a preliminary time of 6.85 to qualify for the final, where a false start ended his efforts. Junior Tadashi Pinder made his Tide debut with 17th place finish overall in a time of 6.99.
200 meters: Junior Cameron Hudson made his Alabama debut by leading the Tide in the 200-meter dash. Hudson crossed the line in 21.41, finishing sixth overall in a field of 53 athletes. Sophomore Ali Ahmed finished eighth in a time of 21.65 in his first meet for Alabama.
400 meters: Sophomore Bryan Arthur opened the 2015 season with a time of 50.96 to finish 16th. Freshman Nathan Nammour finished 23rd in a time of 51.76 in his first Alabama outing.
Mile: Alabama sophomore Robbie Farnham-Rose and senior Matt Airola dueled for the top spot in the first section of the mile, finishing first and second in their heat. Rose crossed the line first in a time of 4:03.75, which ranks as 10th on Alabama’s all-time performance list. Airola’s time of 4:05.37 is the senior’s second-best time of his career. The pair’s times bested the athletes in the other two sections of the race, earning them first and second place overall. Junior Parker Deuel raced in the third section of the race, placing 11th overall in a time of 4:10.73.
Distance Medley: The Alabama men placed fifth in the distance medley in a time of 10:20.65. The team was made up of sophomore Payton Ballard, junior Andrew Harris, freshman Connor Ferrentino and sophomore Jeff Edmondson.
4×400 Meter Relay: Alabama rounded out competition in its first meet of the 2015 indoor track and field season with a third place finish in the 4×400 meter relay. Sophomore Jacopo Lahbi, juniors Quincy Smith and Alex Amankwah and senior Nick Efkamp combined to cross the finish line in a time of 3:12.82.
60 meters: Sophomore Quanesha Burks ran 7.51 in the third preliminary heat. As the section’s top finisher, she qualified for the final where she matched her preliminary time to finish fifth overall. Senior Sara Thomas placed third in second heat with a time of 7.71. Junior Dominique Kimpel ran 7.65 in the first preliminary heat of the day, while sophomore Vanessa Clerveaux made her Alabama debut with a time of 7.67 in the fourth heat. Freshman Olivia Fotopoulou made her collegiate debut in the final preliminary heat, placing fifth with a time of 8.03.
60-meter hurdles: Sophomore Vanessa Clerveaux finished the preliminary round of the event third in a time of 8.52. She finished fifth in the final race with a time of 8.59. Tide junior Passion Gamble finished 17th in the event, running a preliminary time of 9.01.
200 meters: Sophomore Brianna Sims led three Tide sprinters in the 200 meters, finishing 13th in a time of 24.74. Sophomore Alex Gholston followed in 17th with a time of 25.16. Senior Sarah Thomas rounded out the Tide’s performances in 21st in 25.53.
400 meters: Freshman Kaitlin Walker made her collegiate debut with a time of 59.72, finishing 22nd overall amongst a field of 30 collegiate athletes. Sophomore Nicole Sassaman crossed the line in 1:00.11 to finish 25th.
800 meters: Junior Kimberley Ficenec made her 2015 debut with an 800-meter time of 2:08.31 to finish second. Morgan Schuetz finished first in the event with Chelsea Jarvis from Florida State edging Ficenec for second place. Alabama freshman Veronica Lyle finished fifth overall with a time of 2:12.66, narrowly besting her high school personal best of 2:12.96 in the event. Junior Meropi Panagiotou crossed the line in 2:17.82, finishing 11th to round out the Tide’s performances.
Mile: A field of 39 runners competed in two heats of the women's mile. Junior Rebecca Stover led the Tide in the event, finishing eighth in a time of 4:56.53. Sophomore Hannah Waggoner trounced her previous personal best in the event by 8 seconds, finishing 10th in a time of 4:57.33. Junior Katelyn Greenleaf finished 14th overall in a time of 5:00.38. Freshman duo Caroline Barlow and Jessica Gray made their collegiate debut, placing 19th (5:07.41) and 32nd (5:16.80) respectively.
3,000 meters: Sophomore Allison Gregg placed eighth in the women's 3,000 in 10:09.63. Gregg’s time topped her previous personal best of 10:17.40 in the event.
Distance Medley Relay: The Alabama distance medley relay took second in a time of 12:07.23. LSU won the event, while Alabama bested five other teams.
4×400 Meter Relay: A combination of four underclassmen led the Tide to a sixth place finish among a field of 11 relay teams. Sophomores Nicole Sassaman, Alex Gholston and Brianna Sims and freshman Kaitlin Walker united to cross the line in 3:49.11.
Weight Throw: Freshman Daniel Haugh made his Tide debut with a fourth place finish in the weight throw. His toss of 19.11 meters (62-08.50) came on his second throw of finals. Senior Charodd Richardson threw the weight 17.72 meters (58-01.75) to finish eighth.
Shot Put: Four Alabama sophomores competed – Hayden Reed, Kyle Felpel, Nathan Karr and Joe Williams. Felpel led the Tide with a toss of 17.81 meters (58-5.25), earning third place in a field of 21 competitors. Reed finished sixth with a throw of 17.22 meters (56-6). Williams was 12th (15.07m/49-5.5) while Karr fouled on his three attempts.
High Jump: Junior Justin Fondren placed fourth overall but was the third collegiate finisher in the men's high jump via a clearance of 2.09 meters (6 feet, 10.75 inches). Fondren cleared heights of 2.05 and 2.10, missing just his first attempt at 2.05. He missed three attempts at 2.14 to end his day.
Long Jump: Junior Josh McCullan leapt to a third place finish, jumping 7.09 meters (23-03.25). Sophomore Jeremiah Green fouled all three of his attempts.
Pole Vault: Alabama's lone competitor Jacob Zalesky took 12th in the event with a jump of 4.45 meters (14-7.25) in his collegiate debut.
Weight Throw: Alabama’s lone competitor senior Nia Barnes started Saturday's action with a 19.02-meter (62-5) toss, winning the women's weight throw. The toss bested her performance from last year’s Auburn Invitational by two feet.
Shot Put: Senior Candicea Bernard took third in the women's shot put with a best throw of 15.43 meters (50-7.5). Freshman Haley Teel threw 13.37 meters (43-10.5) to finish fifth in her first meet for Alabama.
Long Jump: Senior Merilyn Uudmae finished 11th in the long jump with a leap of 5.56 meters (18-03). Junior Lacey Dent also jumped 5.56 meters. Alabama newcomer Filippa Fotopoulou made her collegiate debut with a jump of 5.42 meters (18-01) to finish 14th.
Pole Vault: Junior Anna Rawles placed fourth in the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 3.85 meters (12-7.5) on her first attempt. Sophomore Lakan Taylor cleared the same height, but missed on her first attempt to place fifth. Georgia's Morgann Leleux won the event with a clearance of 4.00 (13-1.5). Sophomore Britainy Smith made her indoor track and field debut, clearing 3.55 meters (11-7.75) to finish 10th.