Alabama Track & Field Opens SEC Outdoor Championships with Two Individual Titles

The Crimson Tide women finished Day 1 in first place with 19 points while the men are in second with 20 points
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Alabama Track and Field closed out Day 1 of the SEC Outdoor Championships on the campus of Texas A&M on Thursday with a pair of individual titles.

Vincent Kiprop of the men's team and Mercy Chelangat of the women's team each placed first in their respective 10,000-meter races, giving the Crimson Tide a sweep of the event.

Chelangat's victory was enough to put Alabama first place overall with 19 points at the end of the event's first day.

“What a way to close out day one," Alabama coach Dan Waters said. "That was a strong race for Vincent, extending his lead throughout and coming home strong to take his second SEC 10k title. And then to have Mercy dominate her race and set a new championship record in the process was really special."

Chelangat led her race from start to finish, finishing with a final time of 32:13.13 — over a minute ahead of second place. After winning titles at both the NCAA and SEC Cross Country earlier this year, her victory on Thursday marks her first SEC outdoor title.

Kiprop took over in the second half of his race, finishing with a time of 28:55.56 and a 15-second win. The victory is Kiprop's second SEC outdoor title, having also won the event in 2018. He also won the 5,000-meter title in 2018, giving him three SEC titles overall.

Five Alabama athletes will move on to the SEC finals in other events, starting with Tamara Clark (22.55) and Natassha McDonald (23.10) in the women's 200 meters. Eliud Kipsang also ran a personal-record 1:46.99 in the 800 meters, advancing him to the finals.

Robert Dunning clocked a 50.44 in the 400-meter hurdles, advancing him to the finals. Jake Spotswood currently sits in eighth place after the first half of the decathlon with 3,657 points heading into the finals.

Heading into Friday's Day 2, the Alabama women are one point ahead of second-place Auburn with 19 points overall. On the men's side, the Crimson Tide is tied with LSU for second place with 20 points, two points shy of Day 1 leader Arkansas.

The SEC Outdoor Championships will conclude on Saturday.