UA track and field wins two titles

UA track and field wins two titles

Junior sprinter Remona Burchell (left) runs in the 100-meter final. Photo courtesy of UA Athletics

After a pair of individual top titles at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 11 to 14, the Alabama men’s and women’s track and field teams finished the 2014 outdoor season 15th and 18th, respectively.

“Our success this year is a testament to the hard work of our athletes and staff, and it’s another step forward for our program,” Alabama coach Dan Waters said in ?a press release.

This marked the second consecutive top-15 finish for the men and the best finish for the Alabama women since 2006. This was the first time that both teams finished in the top 20 since the year 2000.

Despite the teams’ positive finishes, redshirt freshman thrower Hayden Reed, one part of Alabama’s championship duo, said the team’s final rankings could have been even higher if not for bumps in the road throughout the year.

“The underside, what no one really knows, is we should have done a lot better,” Reed said. “It’s great to finish like we did, but a lot of injuries occurred and things happened that, if they wouldn’t have, we would have been a lot higher. You always have the what-ifs, but even the way we finished, we’re headed in the right direction and just need to keep heading that way.”

Alabama’s two individual championship titles came on Friday, the third day of the championship event in Eugene, Oregon. Junior sprinter Remona Burchell secured the Crimson Tide’s first championship of the meet with her finish in the 100-meter final. Against a strong headwind, Burchell recorded a time of 11.25, and became Alabama’s first female 100-meter champion.

Although Burchell, who was the favorite entering the race, enjoyed her championship win, she said her winning time wasn’t quite what she wanted it to be.

“I was happy,” Burchell said. “I knew I had it in me to do it, so it was a little bit expected. I was happy, but I wasn’t overly excited.”

Burchell also became the first Alabama woman to win an outdoor national championship in any event since 2005, and became the first Alabama sprinter to win indoor and outdoor titles in the same year, as she also won the 60-meters during the indoor season.

After a successful season in only her first year at Alabama, the junior college transfer said she has simple goals for the year to come.

“[I’ll] train hard and hope I can do the same thing next year,” Burchell said.

Reed secured the second Crimson Tide championship, winning the discus championship on his final throw. He completed a throw of 205 feet and 10 inches, which put him over two feet ahead of two-time NCAA Champion and collegiate-record holder Julian Wruck of UCLA.

With the throw, Reed’s second best of the season, he became only the second freshman to win the outdoor discus title in NCAA history, and only the third thrower in Alabama men’s history to win an NCAA championship.

“It was really cool to be able to do that, especially for Alabama and to have that ‘A’ on your chest when you do it,” Reed said.

Reed also said a large reason for their success has everything to do with the coaches and the main lesson they instill in their athletes.

“It’s definitely just how to compete. The coaching we have is unmatched anywhere else. That’s the real reason we have young people doing well, because the coaches know that they’re doing and do it well,” he said.

After the Championships, fourteen members of the track and field team earned All-American status, with eight men and six women receiving the honors. Alabama also had five athletes receive honorable mentions.

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