Tide finishes up indoor season

Just short of a NCAA automatic qualifying mark, junior Wilamena Hopkins won the SEC Championship in shot put over the weekend, scoring 10 of the 33 points that earned the Alabama women’s track and field team a ninth place finish. The Crimson Tide finished up its final day of the SEC Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Complex in Fayetteville, Ark., on Sunday after a long weekend of competing.

Not only did Hopkins throw for a new personal best mark of 54-7½, she also became the second longest shot put thrower in Alabama history. Next weekend, Hopkins and several other athletes will get the opportunity to attend one of the three Last Chance meets to reach their qualifying bid for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Junior Amethyst Holmes also threw for her season best and placed 12th in shot put. Holmes also placed third in the weight throw.

Junior Kaylon Eppinger finished third at 8.29 in the 60m hurdles. Eppinger beat her preliminary time by .2 seconds and won the Tide six points for her efforts. Eppinger also placed sixth in the pentathlon.

“I thought it was a great day,” head coach Sandy Fowler said. “Especially with Kaylon advancing, I see her dropping her time a lot tomorrow in the finals, and I couldn’t be happier for Krystle. She’s been fighting an injury so being able to block that out makes me proud. Who knows what can happen for her with nationals coming up. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and being able to put some more points on the board.”

Junior Krystle Schade secured her bid into the NCAA Indoor Championships with a second place finish in the high jump.

Freshman Chloe Hetherton placed ninth in the finals of the triple jump, while the 4x400m relay team placed 11th with a time of 3:48.14.

“Today went pretty well, and I feel that we had a decent meet overall,” Fowler said. “We need to work on a lot of things and bring this forward to the outdoor conference meet. I told the team that we’re better than how we performed this weekend. I’m really excited for Kaylon Eppinger. She had a major personal best in the hurdles, and I think her performance might have put her on the outskirts for the nationals list because she’s right on the bubble. I’m proud of Hopkins, Holmes and [Krystal] Schade and their performances this weekend. Those girls have done an excellent job.”

The SEC Indoor Championships included five teams from the top 25: LSU (2), Arkansas (4), Tennessee (6), Florida (21) and Auburn (24). LSU concluded its SEC indoor season with a big win at 135 points, followed by Arkansas with 118. Placing third, Tennessee totaled 78 points.

Next weekend, Alabama will send certain athletes to Last Chance meets across the country. The Tide will push for NCAA qualifying times as this weekend will mark their last chance to render a bid for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11-12. The championships will be help in College Station, Texas, where that the Tide has performed well in past competitions.


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