8 Alabama Track & Field Athletes Ranked Among Best in World & U.S. in 2014
Eight University of Alabama athletes and three relay foursomes ended the 2014 world track & field season ranked among the best on the final United States and/or World Lists for top performances in the sport by Track & Field News magazine. The magazine, known internationally as the foremost authority on the sport, produced its top 10 World and United States rankings as part of its review of the entire 2014 athletics season in the February 2015 issue.
Sprinter Remona Burchell of Jamaica and thrower Hayden Reed of the USA were the most prominent members of the 2014 Crimson Tide team on the year-end lists, but by no means were they the only athletes to earn mention among World or US leaders in their respective events over the course of the entire 2014 calendar year.
Burchell, winner of the NCAA indoor women's 60-meter title and the NCAA outdoor women's 100-meter championship, ended the year with the 13th-fastest 100-meter dash time with her best clocking of 11.03 set at the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 30. Burchell actually posted a wind-aided time of 10.95 seconds in the semi-finals of the 100 at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 11, but that mark does not officially count for record-keeping purposes as it was above the legal wind speed allowable. However, that time ranked as the fastest wind-aided mark in the world in 2014, and the fifth-fastest 100 run under any conditions in 2014.
After a breakout season in which he captured the NCAA and USATF discus championships, Reed finished the 2014 season ranked as America's No. 1 discus athlete. Reed became the first man since Kamy Keshmiri in 1990 to win the NCAA and USA titles in the discus in the same year. Reed, who won the NCAA crown with his final throw at the Outdoor Championships in early June, had a throw of 62.19 meters (204 feet) on his second attempt at the USATF Championships in late June, and that effort held up throughout the rest of the competition. His best throw of the 2014 season was a 209-1 effort on May 17 at the SEC Outdoor Championships in Lexington, Ky., a performance that earned a second-place finish for Reed. His winning effort at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., went 205 feet, 10 inches.
Several other athletes from the 2014 Crimson Tide team ended the year among the world or American leaders in a variety of events.
Sprinter Diondre Batson, who won the NCAA indoor men's 200-meter title in March, ended an injury-plagued senior season with the 27th-fastest 100-meter time in the world for 2014, a 10.04 on May 3 at a meet in Starkville, Miss. Batson's 20.32 clocking in the 200 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, N.M., placed him 33rd on the 2014 final World List in the event.
Thrower Charodd Richardson made remarkable improvements in the hammer and weight throw in 2014. Richardson ended up 37th overall on the U.S. List in the men's hammer via his personal best of 213-6 (65.07m). High jumper Justin Fondren was 30th on the U.S. list in the event via a 7-3 (2.21m) clearance he made in Tuscaloosa on April 5.
In the women's pole vault, Alexis Paine completed her outstanding collegiate career during the indoor season with a school-record clearance of 14-3 1/2 (4.35m) on February 7 in Birmingham. That effort put Paine 21st on the final 2014 U.S. List in the event. As a freshman, Quanesha Burks ended the 2014 season tied for 22nd on the U.S. List in the long jump with a best of 20-11 1/4 (6.38m) set during the indoor season. Nia Barnes finished 2014 at 34th on the U.S. List in the hammer with a best of 203-9 (62.11m) set at the NCAA East Regional meet in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 29.
The Crimson Tide relay teams also made the lists. Alabama's men's 4x100-meter relay quartet of Alex Sanders, Diondre Batson, Akeem Haynes and Dwight Davis was 35th on the 2014 World List with a time of 38.91 set on April 5 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama's 4x400 relay unit of Dwight Davis, Alex Amankwah, Jacopo Lahbi and Ken Taylor was 40th on the 2014 U.S. List with a clocking of 3:07.09 set at the SEC Outdoor Championships on May 18 at Lexington, Ky. The Tide women's 4x100 quartet of Quanesha Burks, Remona Burchell, Dominique Kimpel and Sarah Thomas was 34th on the 2014 World List with a 43.76 set on June 11 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.