Photo by Jimmy Mitchell/Courtesy of USA Athletics
USA’s Emilie Berge recently set the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championship pentathlon record for the Jaguars.
The NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place this weekend at the CrossPlex Athletic Facility in Birmingham. Someone hoping to bring a trophy back down Interstate 65 will be the University of South Alabama’s Emilie Berge.
The 6-foot junior from Norway is coming off an impressive effort at the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Indoor Championship at the same Birmingham location. She surpassed the previous pentathlon record set in 2012 by former Jaguar Lindsay Schwartz.
Berge’s 4,079 points included a first-place finish in the long jump (5.82 meters, 19-01.25 feet). She had three personal-best performances and finished second in the 800-meter run (2:22.91), shot put (12.26m, 40-02.75) and high jump (1.77m, 5-09.75). The high jump mark ranks third in the USA record books.
For the entire meet, Berge contributed 28 of her team’s 69 points. She also had a first-place finish in the long jump (6.03m, 19-09.50) and a second-place finish in the high jump (1.76m, 5-09.25). She earned all-conference honors in both events.
“Emilie is such a hardworking student-athlete,” head coach Pal Brueske told Lagniappe. “She is very driven. She just keeps getting better and better.”
As a sophomore, Berge finished 19th in the NCAA Outdoor Division I Championships heptathlon with a total of 5,314 points. As a freshman, she won the heptathlon in the SBC Outdoor meet and the pentathlon at the SBC Indoor finals.
Also coming through for the Jaguars was Autavia Fluker, who won the shot put with a throw of 15.27 meters (50-01.25 feet). Michaela Preachuk earned second-team all-SBC recognition with her weight throw effort of 8.39 meters (60-04 feet).
For the men, freshman Graham Collins set a USA record in the heptathlon (5,166 points to earn third-team all-conference honors) by finishing first in pole vault (4.60m, 15-01.00) and second in the 1,000-meter run (2:48.93). Sophomore Christian Ellis broke his own Jaguar record in the triple jump (15.54m, 51-00).
“We had some positives this week that we can build on for outdoors,” Brueske said after the meet. “Berge’s performances were remarkable, especially when you consider she was just coming off the flu. Fluker and Michaela Preachuk stepped up in the throws. On the men’s side, our newcomers Collins and Ellis had a very solid meet, breaking their school records in the process.”
• Berge and Collins were named the SBC Indoor Field Athletes of the Week following their performances at the LSU Bayou Bengal Invitational. Berge won the pentathlon with 3,970 points, finishing first in the high jump (1.73m, 5-08.00) and long jump (5.71m, 18-09.00). Collins had set the previous school record of 5,122 in the heptathlon, as the McGill-Toolen graduate took first place in the long jump (6.72m, 22-00.75) and pole vault (4.50m, 14-09.00).
• Fluker has been named the SBC Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week twice this season. Her second honor came after an 18.50-meter (60-08.50) toss at Samford’s Bulldog Invite that was the third-best weight throw mark in Jaguar history. She also finished second in the shot put event (15.15m, 49-08.50).
• Ellis turned in an impressive effort at the Jaguar Invitational in Birmingham, setting a school record in the triple jump (15.5m, 50-10.25).
Mobile hosts new event
West Mobile County Park and Medal of Honor Park will host the new Black American division of the World Sports League this weekend. Presented by the Mobile Sports Authority, this adult slow-pitch softball event will feature 65 men’s and women’s teams competing for a spot in the world championship, set for August in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The tournament begins Friday at Medal of Honor Park with a home run derby and two all-star games. Teams will be chosen at random to compete.
On Saturday, the teams will be divided across both West Mobile County Park and Medal of Honor Park. Games will run from 8 a.m. until midnight on Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Conservation Advisory Board meets
The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) will meet Saturday in Montgomery at the Alabama State Capitol Auditorium (600 Dexter Ave.). The CAB assists in formulating policies for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, examines all rules and regulations, and makes recommendations for their change or amendment. This includes hunting seasons and bag limits.
Registration for those wishing to address the board will take place 8-8:30 a.m. The meeting will begin promptly at 9 a.m.
Local members on the CAB are Ben C. Stimpson Jr. of Mobile and Gary Wolfe of Fairhope. To learn more, visit outdooralabama.com.
• The men’s basketball team at Stillman College has strong ties to Mobile. The Tuscaloosa squad claimed a share of the Southern States Athletic Conference regular-season title with a 26-4 overall record while going 18-4 in league play. The Tigers are No. 5 in the NAIA Division I coaches’ poll, the highest ranking in school history.
Head coach is John Teasley, who has compiled a 53-9 record in his two seasons as Stillman’s head coach. The Mobile native was previously an assistant coach at Spring Hill College. Earlier this year, HoopDirt.com named him the NAIA Coach of the Week.
Local players on the team are freshman guard Derrick Finklea (LeFlore), junior guard Tamarco McDuffie (Murphy) and senior guard Anthony Bell (Blount). Serving as an assistant coach is Gerald (JJ) Watkins, also of LeFlore.
“I’m proud of our team and the way they’ve played all year,” Teasley said. “They’ve worked hard and they deserve to go to the national tournament.”
• Spring Hill College (SHC) sophomore Katie Krout was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. The 5-foot-11 forward posted a double-double in three games for the Badgers. She did so while matching or setting career highs in both rebounds and points scored twice.
During the week, Krout shot 55.8 percent (29-for-52) from the floor for a total of 66 points and grabbed 44 rebounds for an average of 22 points and 14.7 rebounds. She was also a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Krout’s performances helped SHC to a 2-1 record, including a 71-68 road win over Miles College and a 62-60 win over Central State University in the NCAA Division II Showcase game on ESPN3.
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