May 13, 2016
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Reigning SEC javelin champion Rebekah Wales sat fourth in the standings with just one throw to go in her title defense on Friday afternoon, but took home All-SEC honors for the second-straight season when she let fly a personal best of 180 feet, 7 inches in the final round to move up a spot and win the bronze medal.
Wales eclipsed the 180-foot mark for the first time in her collegiate career to give the Lady Tigers their first points at the 2016 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Alabama’s Sam Bailey Stadium.
After advancing to the final in fourth place with a throw of 173-9 in the second round of qualifying, Wales held her position with throws of 169-11 in the fourth round and 172-7 in the fifth round of the final. She faced a sixth and final throw hoping to return to the medal podium just one year after being crowned the SEC Champion in the event with a winning throw of 177-0 as a sophomore last spring.
Wales sweated out a fair throw just inside the left boundary of the sector on her final attempt and watched as her lifetime best of 180-7 flashed across the scoreboard to move her into third place ahead of Texas A&M standout Audrey Malone (179-0). It took an SEC Outdoor meet record of 195-2 by Texas A&M’s Maggie Malone and a second-place throw of 189-8 by Florida’s Marija Vucenovic to dethrone Wales in the event.
“I can’t complain with a PR,” Wales said when speaking to the media after the event. “I didn’t even think it went that far when I threw it. I didn’t know really until they showed it on the screen. I was disappointed there at first, then it showed that and I said, ‘Wow!’ The conditions weren’t bad. There was a good headwind, so I’m glad I could take advantage of that.”
Wales, who already held the No. 2 spot on LSU’s all-time performance list in the event with her previous PR of 179-11 from last season, became the first Lady Tiger since Laverne Eve in 1988 to eclipse 180 feet.
The West Monroe native put the Lady Tigers on the scoreboard for the first time at these SEC Championships with six points thanks to her medal-winning performance. Senior Annie Simoneaux nearly added to it while making her final appearance at the SEC Championships as she threw a series best of 160-3 in the second round for 10th place overall.
Check back later tonight for the full Day 2 report, courtesy of LSUsports.net.