A championship day for the Alabama track
and field team got even better when freshman Hayden Reed won the NCAA Discus
Championship on his final throw, joining junior Remona Burchell, who won the
100-meter championship earlier in the day, atop the podium here at the 2014
NCAA Outdoor Championships, being held at Hayward Field on the University of
Oregon campus this week.
Reed, who redshirted his first season at Alabama,
uncorked a throw of 205 feet and 10 inches (62.74 meters) on the last of six
throws to beat two-time NCAA Champion and collegiate record holder Julian Wruck
of UCLA by more than two and a half feet. It was the Orange, Texas native's
second best throw of the season.
"That last one was a big one and that's when it needed to
be done," Reed said. "After that throw, he (Wruck) still had one to go, that
was the longest three minutes of my life."
Reed became just the second freshman in NCAA history to win the outdoor discus title, joining Gabor Mate in 1999. Reed is also the third thrower in Alabama men's history to win an NCAA championship.
In the women's 100-meter final, even running into the
wind, Burchell raced away from the elite field to win the Crimson Tide's first
women's NCAA 100-meter title.
"It was a good start," Burchell said. "I was ahead and
just wanted to get to the finish line and stay ahead of the other girls. It was
a tough competition and there were fast girls in the final, I was expecting
everyone to be coming up from behind me, but I was able to stay in front."
Burchell overcame a strong headwind (3.4 meters per
second) to clock a time of 11.25, well ahead of Texas sophomore Morolake
Akinosun, who finished runner-up with a time of 11.33, and the rest of the
Burchell is the first Alabama woman to win an outdoor
national title in any event since Beth Mallory won the discus title in 2005.
The Montego Bay, Jamaica, native adds the outdoor 100
meters title to her NCAA title in the 60 meters during indoor season, becoming
the first Alabama sprinter to win indoor and outdoor titles in the same year.
Burchell has dropped almost three tenths of a second off
her personal best in the 100 meters this year.
"I've been training hard, working on my block start and
my technique and listening to what my coach has to say," Burchell said of her
improvement this season.
Taking the headwind into consideration, Track Town USA
calculated the adjustment to Burchell's winning time of 11.25, had there been
no wind, to be a world-leading 10.96.
Sophomore Justin Fondren also made the podium, taking fifth place in the men's high jump with a leap of 7 feet, 2.5 inches (2.20 meters). The Oxford, Mississippi, native was 13th in the high jump as a rookie at last year's NCAA Championships.
INFORMATION SOURCE: UA Athletics Dept.