April 6, 2013
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - The Tigers continued to lay down big-time performances at the Crimson Tide Invitational in Tuscaloosa, AL, on Saturday with 13 more personal record performances, a facility record, and a handful of improvements in the national rankings. Six performances from Saturday added to the list of top 20 ranked Tigers in current NCAA D1 rankings, bringing the tally up to 11 thus far this season.
"I'm really proud of them. The athletes have managed some difficult conditions this spring, and they are pressing on, working hard. We saw some fruits of our labor this weekend with some really exciting things happening across the board in multiple event areas," said Head Coach Brett Halter. "Collectively, that's going to pay dividends when we get to May, and that's our target right now. We're starting to narrow in [on the SEC Championships]. But it's a process, it's not an overnight thing; you gotta climb all the steps of the ladder and that's what we're doing."
First up for the highlights was sophomore Macauley Garton, who came in with a previous PR of 65.26m from last weekend's Razorback Spring Invitational. With the exception of his first attempt, Garton surpassed that mark throughout the competition to maintain second place before laying down a final mark of 69.56m (228-2) to take the lead. This mark was not only enough to earn him the win, but it smashed through the previous facility record of 63.07m (206-11) from 1990. It also moved him up in the NCAA D1 National Rankings, as released by the Track & Field Results Reporting System (TFRRS), where he now sits at the No. 12 spot.
"I was just really happy. I was consistently around 220 and above that, and I have never done that before. So that was a big deal for me and now with that consistency, come Championship season, hopefully I can chase some big marks," said Garton. "Just stay sound technically right now and keep on going. I feel a lot better with where I am [this year] and now I can just go in and compete, get stuff done."
The women's javelin competition also saw a big PR from junior Hailey Twietmeyer, who landed in third with a best throw of 48.04m (157-7). This tops her previous PR of 46.78m (153-5.75) and puts her within sight of the Missouri School Record of 49.34m (161-10) set by Tracey Holloman in 1998. Twietmeyer joins Garton on the current top 20 list for NCAA D1 with a spot at No. 16. She is followed closely by teammate, sophomore Katrine Haarklau, who is an inch behind at No. 17.
"It was my first time throwing a full approach this season, and I was really excited because I have been throwing in the high 40m range [during practice]. I was expecting and wanting to PR today, so to hit it on my first throw felt really good," said Twietmeyer. "It gives me a lot of confidence that I can throw over my PR from last year consistently. I think I can build on that and use it as motivation. My major goal is to hit 50.00m and break the school record. I feel like it's right there, it's right at my fingertips and I'm ready to go."
Another big PR came from freshman Sam Dickerson, who missed out on the Missouri Relays 3k Steeplechase Record two weeks ago after placing second to teammate Chris Spudic. Dickerson came back with a win tonight and a huge 20-second PR after battling it out with Alabama's top man in the event. With about 600m left Dickerson made his move, cruising to the line on his own and crossing in 8:56.75. This time is good for No. 21 on the current NCAA D1 rankings as well as a spot on the Missouri All-Time Top Ten board.
"That was the first time I really had somebody to follow in a steeple, so I think that helped a lot. There's a lot more still. I felt like I had plenty of gas left in the last lap if I needed it, so I could have worked a lot harder three laps out," Dickerson said. "I have confidence that there is still more time to drop in two weeks when we go to Mt. SAC. I'm still getting comfortable in the steeple, so I'm still learning and just taking away a lot of confidence.
Another big PR came from sophomore Jill Rushin in the shot put. She bested her outdoor PR from last weekend by a little over one foot to mark in at 16.52m (54-2.5). She finished behind teammate, sophomore Kearsten Peoples, who took the win in the event with a toss of 16.69m (54-9.25). Senior Cortni Ervin ended in fourth, just missing her PR with a best mark of 15.38m (50-5.5).
Both Rushin and Peoples moved up in the national rankings, with Rushin currently landing at the No. 10 spot, and Peoples at No. 7.
Senior Laura Roxberg also had a solid evening, making her outdoor debut performance with a win the 1500m run. She finished in 4:20.75, almost exactly four seconds off her 4:16.71 school record from last year, which puts her at No. 14 on the current national rankings. Sophomore Liz Reida and senior Bailey Belvis joined her in the event, with Reida running just under her PR in 4:29.54.
Personal Record Performances - Full List
"We have to stay focused, not get distracted by stuff, stay patient, persistent, and we'll get to May and do what we want to do," said Coach Halter of the weeks to come.
Next up for the Tigers as they prepare for the SEC Championships in Columbia (May 9-12) is the Ole Miss Invitational in Oxford, MS, next weekend. For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.