Back from Texas, on to Arkansas for women's track and field

The Alabama women’s track and field team came back to Tuscaloosa this past weekend with big smiles. The Crimson Tide continued to rival some of the best in the sport at the Texas A&M Challenge on Saturday in the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

The Tide ended its weekend with nine top-10 finishes against several nationally ranked competitors. Competing against teams from the Pac-10, Big 12, Conference USA and the SEC, Alabama aided the SEC to a third-place finish. The weekend was a competition of the conferences, with Alabama leading the SEC. Not only did the Tide bring in third-place finish for the conference, the team broke seven personal records.

Nationally ranked 40th in hurdles, junior Kaylon Eppinger held four of the nine top-10 finishes for Alabama.

"[Being ranked] means so much to me,” Eppinger said. "I have been hitting times that I have never even ran before by just implementing what I’ve been taught in practice. I had a lot of events this weekend that fatigued me, but when I have fresh legs for the SEC Championship, it will be a showdown."

Eppinger also beat several of her own personal records. In the high jump, she finished ninth and recorded a new personal best, 5-4.25, and in the long jump, she recorded another personal record at 18-4.5. She also finished seventh in the 60m hurdles. Krystle Shade earned second-place honors with a 5-10.5 high jump.

Amethyst Holmes topped the weight throw competition with her personal best of 65-4.

"Holmes has improved over five feet in the last two competitions that we’ve had," said head coach Sandy Fowler. "She is a very good student of her events. She works through her very active drills at practice and continues until she’s done it."

Katlyn Will finished fifth in the 1,000m. Followed by Andrea Torske, Elsbeth Denton finished 13th in the mile. Less than three minutes behind Torske and Denton, Sarah Gilmore recorded a personal best and finished 17th.

In the 400m dash, Camilla Armstead finished 21st, while Dacia Mays followed at 22nd. Devon Romero finished 25th. Toni Graham and Romero both recorded personal bests in the 200m dash. The 4x400m relay team ran a season-best, finishing eighth over the weekend.

“It’s huge for us to finish in the top 10 over the weekend," Fowler said. "We know where we stand nationally and in the SEC. We are a competitive and dedicated team. I am so proud of them. To be where we are right now says a lot about where we will be by the end of next weekend."

Next, the Tide will compete in the SEC Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 25-27.

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