Feb. 7, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams won six events, collected four new NCAA provisional qualifiers and had five performances that rank in the top 10 in school history Saturday at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup hosted by Penn State.
A pair of freshmen who excelled in the 200 meters highlighted Saturday's competition for the Tigers, as Marcus Rowland and Nivea Smith won the men's and women's races, respectively.
Rowland, who won the 60-meter dash Friday, cruised to an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 21.10 seconds to win the 200 Saturday. His time, which came in the first 200-meter race of his collegiate career, ranks third best in school indoor history, and only four runners nationally had a better time entering the weekend. Sophomore Michael DeHaven was third in 21.62 seconds.
Smith sped to a time of 23.73 seconds to win the women's race and provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time this season. Her time ranks sixth in Auburn indoor history. Sophomore Cache Armbrister finished third in 24.07 seconds, freshman CeCe Williams was fourth in 24.14 and junior Shaquela Williams was sixth in 24.31.
Sophomore Joanna Atkins finished second in the women's 400 meters, but her time of 54.03 seconds qualified her for the NCAA indoor meet. Having previously qualified in the 60 and 200 meters, she is the first woman this year to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in all three events.
Atkins also helped the women's 4x400-meter relay team qualify for the NCAA Championships, as the Tigers finished second with a time of 3:37.39. Atkins teamed with CeCe Williams
, Danielle Gilchrist
and Armbrister to record the fifth-best time in school history, and their time was faster than any other school had recorded entering the weekend.
Sophomore Amber Riley won the women's 3,000 meters with a time of 9:39.59 that ranks sixth-best in school history. Junior Sabrina Fischer was fourth in the 800 meters, but her time of 2:11.98 is ninth-best in Auburn indoor history. She also finished third in the mile (4:57.98).
Other individual winners for Auburn included junior Eric Werskey in the men's shot put (17.89 meters, 58-8.5) and senior Raevan Harris in the women's high jump (1.79 meters, 5-10.5). Freshman Monica Carney was fifth in the high jump (1.67 meters, 5-5.75).
The men's 4x400-meter relay team was also a winner, as the team of freshman Neil Danville, DeHaven, Rowland and sophomore Bernard Spivey clocked a time of 3:13.24 seconds.
"I'm very pleased with our overall effort at this meet," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We had several champions and provisional qualifiers, and took advantage of a good opportunity in a competitive meet. Hopefully this will help serve as a springboard into next week. We're really looking forward to putting up even better marks next week in Arkansas at an even better facility and against even better competition."
In the men's mile, junior Jean-Pierre Weerts finished third (4:11.35) and junior Scott Novack took sixth (4:13.21). Sophomore Erica Akins was third in the women's triple jump (11.80 meters, 38-8.75).
Other top-five finishers included Spivey in the men's 400 meters (49.06), freshman Jeff Sanders in the men's 3,000 meters (8:27.60) and freshman Ryan Fleck in the men's high jump (2.09 meters, 6-10.25).
Meanwhile, junior Felix Kiboiywo competed Saturday evening at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games in the men's college mile. Kiboiywo finished ninth in the field with a time of 4:10.35.
Auburn will return to action next weekend when the Tigers send athletes to compete at both the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Iowa State Classic.