Auburn Track And Field Athletes Post Six NCAA Qualifying Marks On Saturday
Jan. 24, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams posted six provisional NCAA qualifying marks while competing Saturday at both the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., and the Terrier Invitational in Boston.
Most of Auburn's squad of competed in Gainesville, but the five men who competed in distance events in Boston grabbed most of the headlines, posting four NCAA provisional qualifying marks and five marks that rank in the top 10 in school history between them.
Freshman Girma Mecheso won the men's 5,000 meters in Boston with a time of 14:01.14 that ranks second in school history. He defeated a field of 62 in his first collegiate indoor track competition and regionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
In the 3,000 meters, Auburn runners posted three of the top 10 marks in school history, with junior Jean-Pierre Weerts taking second out of 101 runners with a time of 8:01.47, junior Elkanah Kibet placing fourth in 8:03.83 and junior Scott Novack finishing eighth in 8:08.87. The times rank fourth, seventh and 10th in Auburn indoor history, and the marks for Weerts and Kibet were NCAA provisional qualifiers.
Junior Felix Kiboiywo finished fourth in the mile in a field of 132 with an indoor personal-best time of 4:02.93, which ranks fifth in school indoor history.
Meanwhile in Gainesville, sophomore Joanna Atkins posted a provisional qualifying mark in the 55-meter dash, finishing sixth overall but second among collegiate athletes with a time of 6.91 seconds, which ranks her tied for 10th in Auburn history. She is now provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in two events after qualifying in the 200 meters last Saturday.
Junior Eric Werskey earned a provisional qualifying mark in the men's shot put, finishing second oval and first among collegians with an indoor personal best of 18.56 meters (60-10.75). His effort ties him for fourth with former Tiger Cory Martin on Auburn's all-time indoor list. Freshman Wesley Wright was fifth with a mark of 15.63 meters (51-3.5).
"We got a few more people qualified for nationals today and I feel good about where we're at going into the meat of our season," said head coach Ralph Spry. "It's very important to keep doing what we're doing, because the indoor season is such a short season that you have to knock the rust off and get right at it. We've got two weeks until our next meets and those are critical meets, but we're right where we should be."
Also in Gainesville, Wright was third in the men's weight throw with a mark of 17.49 meters (57-4.75), while junior Valentina Srsa was fifth in the women's weight throw with a toss of 15.89m (52-1.75).
The Tigers won both the men's and women's high jumps, with senior Raevan Harris and freshman Ryan Fleck taking the titles. Harris did not match her performance from last Saturday when she set a new school record clearing 6-2.25, but still won with a top jump of 1.73 meters (5-8). Freshman Monica Carney was fourth with a mark of 1.68m (5-6).
Fleck soared 2.09 meters (6-10.25) to win the men's event on fewer misses than Florida A&M's Bryan Turner, who also cleared 2.09m.
In the women's 200 meters, freshman Nivea Smith was fourth overall and first among collegiate runners with a time of 24.55 seconds. Junior Shaquela Williams was ninth overall and fourth among collegians with a time of 24.89.
The men's 4x400-meter relay team of freshman Spivey, Marcus Rowland, DeHaven and freshman Spencer Ferguson finished third with a time of 3:14.23. The women's 4x400-meter relay team of freshman CeCe Williams, Atkins, sophomore Latoya Parkinson and sophomore Cache Armbrister was fifth in 3:47.65.
Junior Danielle Gilchrist was 11th overall but sixth among collegians in the finals of the women's 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.98 seconds.
The Tigers will take next weekend off before sending athletes to compete at both the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Iowa State Classic.
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