Feb. 23, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- UAB redshirt senior Rhiannon Johns and junior Elinor Kirk went one-two in the Conference USA Indoor Track and Field 5000m race with times of 16:18.92 and 16:33.53, respectively, on Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
"It was a phenomenal day, maybe one of the best first days UAB has had in a very long time," head coach Kurt Thomassaid. "You can't argue with the results. Rhi and Eli going one-two and having a champion in the 5000m is what it's all about. It's why we're here."
Both Blazers quickly broke into a sizeable lead and never looked back as Johns finished the race tied with the UAB school record, which was set by Elizabeth Ambrus in 2008. Johns' first-place finish earned her 10 points for UAB as a team, while Kirk followed with eight. Junior Kate Brownadded three points of her own with a personal best finish time of 17:01.67.
For the first day of competition, UAB totaled 31 points for third place. Memphis currently holds the lead with 36 points, while UCF sits in second with 33 points.
In the 800m prelims, senior Sarah Hudakqualified for Sunday's finals with a time of 2:11.61, finishing in second in her heat and fifth overall. The finals in the 800m is scheduled for 3:50 p.m. CT.
Junior Kyana Whitewon her heat of the 400m prelims with a time of 56.04. White will race in the 400m finals on Sunday at 2:40 p.m. CT.
Redshirt junior Angel Watsonran a 24.35 in the 200m prelims to qualify for the finals on Sunday, which will run at 4:10 p.m. CT.
In the DMR, the UAB team, made up of freshman Hannah Coffin and seniors Lytrice Thomas, Rachel Harley and Sarah Hudak, was in the midst of the pack competing for third place when Hudak took the baton. Hudak broke out from the group of runners and was able to overtake the runner from Rice to finish in second place with a time of 11:42.56. The place added eight more points to the team's total.
"A number of girls made finals today, and we capped the day with a fantastic race to get second in the distance medley, so you really can't ask for more for a first day," Thomas added. "Kelli Smith also scored in the long jump, and Shelby Barkergot us a crucial point in the pentathlon.
In the pentathlon, sophomore Shelby Barkerfinished third in the 800m leg with a time of 2:23.65, en route to finishing in eighth place overall with a total of 3,374 points. Barker also recorded UAB's first team point of the day.
Junior Kelli Smithalso scored a point for UAB after finishing with a 5.75m (18-10.50) in the long jump.
"We still have some work to do," Thomas said. "There are some miles to run, some finals to run, but it was a great first day. The girls did a great job and the coaches did a great job at getting them ready."
Along with the finals the Blazers qualified for today, UAB will compete in finals for the mile (2:15 p.m. CT), the 3000m (4:50 p.m. CT), the 4x400m relay (5:35 p.m. CT), the high jump (12 p.m. CT) and the triple jump (12 p.m. CT).
The Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championship continues on Sunday, with the last of the men's heptathlon events commencing at 10 a.m. CT. The first women's event, the high jump, begins at 12 p.m. CT.