Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide has mixed results at relays


The Alabama women’s track and field team competed in Des Moines, Iowa, last week for the 101st Drake Relays at Drake Stadium. Head coach Sandy Fowler said the team had mixed results.

“Well, I thought that we had probably a little bit of everything this weekend at Drake,” Fowler said. “We had those that did extremely well, those that did kind of their average performance and those that I think we can improve upon. But in saying that, we also had some cold weather and pouring rain.”

The Crimson Tide 4×100-meter shuttle hurdle relay team finished in second in the preliminary round with a time of 56.59. Four hours later, the team – which consists of junior Kim Laing, senior Chealsea Taylor, junior Talaya Owens and sophomore Audra Frimpong – competed in the finals and placed first with a time of 54.49.

“The 4×1 shuttle ran fantastic,” Fowler said. “Not only did they win but they set a new school record.”

Taylor, Owens, Frimpong and Laing also competed in the 4×100 meter relay and placed eighth with a time of 46.38. But these girls weren’t the only ones to score some points for the Tide.

“Krystle Schade won the high jump, and she won the high jump on a soaking wet track, which is pretty impressive,” Fowler said. “Wilamena Hopkins competed in the shot put in an all-out downpour and placed third, which is phenomenal for a freshman.

“And we had Kim Laing place third on the hurdles, and we had a fifth place finish in the javelin by Meghan Austin and an eighth place finish by another freshman, Bekah Hoppis.”

Fowler said she is happy with results, considering the cold and rainy weather.

“On the whole, I think the team did fairly well,” she said. “We had some outside circumstances with the rain and the cold weather on Friday that I thought that the whole team dealt with extremely well. Because we’re not used to those circumstances, to walk up there and to win something and to compete as high as we did, they did phenomenal.”

The team has improved a lot since the beginning of the season, and Fowler said she believes that one area she has seen improvement in is strength. But she’s not talking muscles.

“I’ve seen improvements in general with the team in regards to competing a lot harder and getting mentally tough,” Fowler said. “I think they’ve really gotten mentally tough in that they pull from within themselves and really compete from the heart in all the events across the board. I think our team leadership has really led to that above and beyond anything else.

“And as a result, the team has competed really well when they need to, which is toward the end of the season, so that says volumes for the team and the direction that the team is going.”

But Fowler said she doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more improvement.

“Are there places that we can improve upon? Without a doubt,” she said. “And we always look at that as a positive because as you improve from meet to meet, you’re also going to improve once you get to your biggest meets of the season, which are SECs and regionals. And I expect them to improve there as well, so that their placing gets higher and they get more points for the team.”

The SEC championships and regionals are coming up in a couple of weeks, and Fowler said she expects great things from the team.

“We should usually be sixth in the competition anyway. That’s my expectation for the team,” she said. “We have a very talented team, and if everything goes our way, we should do very, very well.”

The Tide will hit the road this weekend for the Mississippi Open in Oxford, Miss., May 1. This will be their last meet before the SEC Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., on May 13-16.

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