Saenz Shot Put Title Highlights Final Day at SECs
Feb. 24, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Already an outdoor champion on two occasions, junior thrower Stephen Saenz claimed the men's shot put title on Sunday to highlight performances as the Auburn men finished sixth with 41 points and the women placed 13th with nine points at the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships hosted by the University of Arkansas.
"I know every team has its problems, but we left a couple of our top guys at home with injuries," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "It's a war in there and sixth is a pretty solid finish in this conference. With the group we brought, we can turn around and score pretty close to that at the national level. With the women, it was a really, really tough weekend. That's probably the most frustrating SEC meet I've had in the 16 years I've been at Auburn. When you have a handful of girls are doing the damage for you and one goes down, then you pay the price. We have to regroup and learn from it."
Saenz stood in fourth place overall with one throw remaining in the first round of competition. Knowing he needed a big mark to jump ahead, the Mexican international recorded a top throw of 64-7.75 (19.70m) to grab a lead that would hold through three more throws.
"I knew there would be good completion from Georgia coming in," Saenz said. "My season average wasn't the best, it was low 19s. I knew I needed a big throw to win and my third throw I came around on it, hit it solid and got the win. I'm happy because I haven't gotten it in my first two years, and now I finally have it."
The mark is a season high for the now three-time SEC champion and it ranks fourth in the NCAA this season. His throw was nearly two feet ahead of second place Caleb Whitener from Georgia (62-9.25).
`I'm really proud of Stephen Saenz," Spry said. "He did a great job. He's an All-American and he showed why today. I'm glad to see Stephen get rewarded with the SEC title today and I expect him to continue his success at NCAAs in two weeks."
Saenz is only the second Auburn man to win the SEC indoor shot put title, joining Edis Elkasevic in 2005. With his title, the Auburn men have now won an individual title at the SEC Indoor championships in 10 of the last 11 years and in 14 of 16 seasons under Spry.
The 60 meters was the first event to produce points for the Auburn men on Sunday. In the men's 60 meters, Marcus Rowland placed second in 6.63 seconds and Harry Adams was fourth in 6.66. Missouri's Markesh Woodson took the title in 6.60.
The combined finishes by Rowland and Adams totaled 13 points in the team standings. Auburn also added two points with Rowland's seventh place 200 meter finish in 20.96.
In the women's 60m final, Kai Selvon pulled up injured in the first 10 meters and finished eighth for one point. She later scratched from the women's 200 meters due to the injury.
Kane Grimster picked up four points for Auburn with a fifth-place performance in the men's mile. Last season's runner-up, Grimster finished in 4:05.84, a seasonal best.
The Auburn men's distance contingent also had a strong showing in the 5000m. Sophomore Griffin Jaworski finished just outside the scoring in ninth place overall, but recorded a new personal best mark of 14:16.35 - the 10th-best time in Auburn history.
Fellow Tiger Niklas Buhner finished 15th in his first 5k of the season and broke his previous career-best time by more than 30 seconds at 14:32.69.
Auburn added two late points with a seventh-place finish in the men's DMR in 9:57.79, a new season best. The race featured Jeff Sanders leading off before handing to Adams for the 400m leg. It was the first collegiate indoor 400 meters run by the senior.
The Tigers also picked up a point in the men's 4x400m relay with an eighth-place finish in 3:13.42. That mark was a season best for Auburn.
Maya Pressley chipped in a point for the women's team with an eighth-place finish in the high jump. She cleared the first two bars with ease before missing three times at 1.80m.
A pair of women's horizontal jumpers had strong showings, despite not scoring for the Tigers. Sophomore Siobhan Ford-Holland recorded a seasonal best in the triple jump with her jump of 40-5 (12.32m) in a 12th-place performance and teammate Nicole Charley posted a mark of 39-5.75 (12.03m) to equal her personal best and finish 16th.
The Tigers' next action will be next weekend when multiple athletes compete at last chance meets across the country. For the latest on Auburn track and field, follow @AUTrack on Twitter.
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