Track And Field Successful At Indoor Opener

Thelyssa Katchen and the Blazers opened the indoor schedule on Saturday.


Dec. 1, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--UAB track and field redshirt senior Rhiannon Johns set a personal best and the school record in the 3K on Saturday at the Panther Indoor Icebreaker, hosted by Birmingham Southern at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

After redshirting the 2012 season, Johns won the race with a time of 9:28:58, which beat the meet record time of 9:59.18, also set by the Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, native last season (Dec. 9). Johns' previous best in the 3K was a 9:34.92, set during her junior campaign.

UAB would go on to sweep the top three spots in the 3K, with junior Elinor Kirk finishing in second with a time of 9:39.36, and senior Sarah Hudak seconds behind with a finish of 9:49.53.

"Overall, my staff and I are pleased with how we were able to start off ours season," head coach Kurt Thomas said. "First off, anytime you have an athlete break an existing school record, and do it in impressive fashion, you have to give credit to Rhi and Coach Houchin, and say congratulations. But the other two girls, Eli and Sarah, running faster than they ever have, and to do it this early, points to their preparation, and hopefully having a great year."

Also on the track, senior sprinter Lytrice Thomas opened the indoor season with a 58:25 in the 400m.

Senior Shakima Knox ran unattached in the 60m dash, and finished in 3rd place with a personal best 7.60. Redshirt junior Angel Watson ran a 7.70 in the second heat of the race while senior Thelyssa Katchen ran a 7.82.

In the 60m hurdles, freshman Autumnn Burnett made her Blazer debut with a finish at 9.05. Sophomore Jessica Shelley joined Burnett with a finish at 9.14. Running unattached, senior Akira McSwain led the Blazers with an 8:59 finish.

McSwain also competed unattached in the long jump and won with a personal best distance of 5.88m. Junior Kelli Smith finished in fourth with a long of 5.76, also a personal best.

Senior Rachel Harley ran a 2:19.18 in the 800m finals, while junior Kara Woods set a personal best with a 2:31.83 finish.

Two Blazers ran in the 200m finals, led by junior Kyana White's personal best finish at 25.64. White's previous best was set in 2011 at the Ice Breaker Invite with a time of 25.79.

Freshman Breona Humphrey made her UAB debut two heats before White, finishing with a time of 26.50.

UAB finished the night with the 4x400 relay, run by Katchen, White, Harley, and Thomas. The Blazers finished with a time of 3:50.48, good for second place and about four seconds behind Conference USA foe Memphis.

"We had several personal bests across the board in many events while many others were just off of personal bests, and it's only December," Thomas said. "It all points to their hard work this Fall, our strength coach, Coach Lou DeNeen and their competitiveness. Now that we know where we are, it's time to focus on final exams for a bit, train over the holiday break, and come back ready to continue what we've done at this meet. I'm proud of the ladies."

Up next UAB will return to the CrossPlex on Jan. 10-11, as the Green and Gold host the Blazer Invite.