The reigning NCAA indoor 60-meter champion blazed to the second-fastest time in Alabama history to lead the Crimson Tide track team on Friday at Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Alabama senior Remona Burchell led the Crimson Tide track and field teamon Friday, the first day of two days of competition at the Tyson Invitational, winning the women’s 60-meter dash with an NCAA-leading time of 7.14 seconds as the Tide accumulated five personal bests (four men, one woman) to cap a successful first day of competition at the Randal Tyson Track & Field Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
Burchell was the leading qualifier in both the preliminary and the semifinal rounds of the 60. Her time of 7.17 in the semifinal round bested her previous season-best of 7.20 set at the New Mexico Team Invitational on Jan. 31. The senior rocketed to another season best in the final round, running 7.14. That time ranks as the No. 2 time in Alabama history, following only Burchell’s school record of 7.11 set last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, N.M. The time is also the fastest time in both the NCAA and the SEC in 2015.
Junior Kimberley Ficenec’s performance in the 800 meters also highlighted the Tide’s first day of competition. Ficenec ran a personal best 2:05.25 to finish second overall in the seeded heats of the event. Ficenec’s previous personal best was 2:07.20, run at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational on January 31st. The time currently ranks second in the SEC and fifth in the NCAA this year. It is also the third-fastest time in Alabama history.
The Alabama men’s squad was led by junior Cameron Hudson, who recorded a personal best in the long jump, leaping to a mark of 28 feet, 5 ¾ inches. Hudson fouled on his first two jumps before a legal jump of 25-4. The junior’s series included two more fouls before leaping to his personal record on his final jump. The mark is tied for sixth on Alabama’s all-time performance list. It is also tied for second in the SEC and fourth in the NCAA in 2015.
Tide junior Steven Gayle made his first 400 meters appearance for the Tide a memorable one, running a personal best 46.93 to win his heat of the finals. The junior finished second overall among a field of 42 athletes. In his first outing in the event, Gayle took home the eighth-fastest time on the Tide’s all-time performance list. The time currently ranks as No. 10 on the SEC list in 2015.
"We’ve known all along that Remona (Burchell) is a star, and she certainly proved it again tonight," said Crimson Tide head coach Dan Waters. "I was very impressed by her performance. I thought Cameron Hudson did a great job of competing at a high level in two events simultaneously (the men’s 60 and the long jump). He continues to impress us and makes a difference for our team. Kimmy (Ficenec) had a big breakthrough performance tonight in the women’s 800, which is also a major factor for our team. Overall, we made some nice improvements in a lot of areas tonight. I’m happy with how we competed today. We have another big day tomorrow in this meet, against excellent competition."