AUSTIN, Texas – For the second night in a row, Alabama track and field closed strong at the NCAA Outdoor Championships being held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus this week.
Senior Portious Warren took second in the shot put and the Crimson Tide’s 4×400-meter relay broke a 32-year old school record on the way to qualifying for Saturday’s championship final.
The only thrower with more than one toss better than 59 feet, Warren had a tremendous finals series, with four consecutive throws of 59-feet or better. That series included a best effort 59-5 (18.11m), which led the competition until Arizona State’s Samantha Noennig posted a career-best 59-6.25 (18.14m) to edge past Warren for the win.
“Portious has had just a tremendous senior year,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “She just kept working at it and getting better and better each meet. To have her go out with a huge series of throws like that was great to see. To get edged by such a small margin on one of the last throws of the meet … it’s tough, but I couldn’t be prouder of her and the way she handled it and the way she attacked her final event as a collegian.”
Warren, who was third in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March after finishing 11that last year’s outdoor champions, set the school record in the shot put during the outdoor season, with a toss of 61-0.75 (18.61m). The only Alabama women’s shot putter to post a mark over 57 feet, she owns the top-10 throws in school history, with four of them coming tonight.
“After not scoring at this meet last year I’m grateful for to finish in the top two tonight,” Warren said. “It just shows how much Coach (Derek Yush) has prepared me to be the athlete that I am and put me into a better position moving forward into the pros.”
The Crimson Tide’s last race of the night, the semifinals of the 4×400-meter relay, saw juniors Takyera Roberson, Katie Funcheon, Mauricia Prieto and Natassha McDonald break the previous school mark to win their semifinal heat and advance to Saturday’s final with a time of 3:28.51. The previous school standard of 3:28.56 was set in 1987 by Sandra Latham along with Olympians Flora Hyacinth, Pauline Davis and Lillie Leatherwood.
The Tide’s 4×100-meter relay opened the night by earning a spot in Saturday’s championship final when sophomore Daija Lampkin, junior Mauricia Prieto, senior Krystal Sparling and sophomore Tamara Clark ran a 43.17 in the semifinals, the Tide’s second fastest time of the season and tied for fifth best all-time at UA.
In addition to the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays, senior Stacey Destin (high jump), juniors Esther Gitahi (5,000 meters) and Abigail Kwarteng (high jump) and sophomore Samantha Zelden (javelin), are still set to compete this week.