March 1, 2008
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -
Senior Jacob Dunkleberger won the men's weight throw to highlight Saturday's action for the Auburn men's and women's track and field teams at the SEC Indoor Championships. Saturday's competition consisted mostly of preliminary action, with just nine finals contested. The remaining 24 finals will all take place on Sunday.
Auburn's men are tied for ninth place with 10 points with just five events completed, while the women have not yet scored in their five finals.
"We brought a lot of young kids this weekend, and the measuring stick I try to use at a meet like this is how close to your personal best you do," said head coach Ralph Spry. "This meet is about lining up and competing. We're scrapping hard, and we don't have a lot of areas that we're going to score in, but we want to make sure our top performers do what they're supposed to do. Our key people are performing well, and we want to find a way to have some of our young people step up and find a way to contribute this weekend."
Dunkleberger won his first career SEC title, easily winning the hammer throw with a mark of 21.75m (71-4.25), while just missing his season best. He had the top three throws in the competition, and the second-best performer's top mark was almost six-and-a-half feet behind Dunkleberger's best throw.
It marked the fourth consecutive year that an Auburn athlete won the weight throw, as Cory Martin had won the last three titles. Dunkleberger, who entered the competition as the favorite, was runner-up behind Martin at last year's SEC indoor meet.
"Every time you win you have to be happy," said Dunkleberger. "I think it's easier to be an underdog. I've been in that role before. But you know what you need to do, so for me it's pretty much the same. This is the first meet I've been fresh, so it was a little different. It changes your timing a little. Now we'll work on a few things and get some things corrected before NCAA's."
Senior Ty Akins
qualified for the finals of the men's 60m hurdles, posting the field's fastest time in the prelims of 7.78 seconds. However, it will be a very tight field in the finals, as all eight qualifiers were separated by a mere one-tenth of a second.
In the women's 60m hurdles prelims, sophomore Danielle Gilchrist advanced to the finals by racing to a personal-best time of 8.32 in the prelims, improving her NCAA provisional qualifying time. She was second in her heat and fourth overall in the prelims while beating her previous career best of 8.38 set at last year's SEC indoor meet.
Sophomore Felix Kiboiywo reached the finals of the men's mile, finishing fourth in the fastest of two heats with a time of 4:08.93, which was fifth-best overall. It was the first mile of the season for Kiboiywo, who had run just one 3,000m race this season prior to Saturday's competition.
In the women's 400m, freshman Joanna Atkins advanced to Sunday's final by winning her heat and finishing third overall in the prelims with a time of 53.04, which was just .09 seconds off her personal best of 52.95.
Senior Reuben McCoy made the finals of the men's 400m by winning his heat and tying for sixth overall in the prelims with a time of 47.41. It was a slight improvement over his time of 47.50 from two weeks ago at the same venue during the Tyson Invitational.
Sophomore Jager Livingston entered the sixth of seven events in the heptathlon - the pole vault - in 12th place, but failed to clear his opening height, costing him a chance at moving into the top eight during the closing 1000m, which is his best event.
Other top performances among those who competed for Auburn included junior Amelia Anderson finishing 11th in the long jump with a leap of 5.90 (19-4.25), sophomore Sabrina Fischer placing 12th in the prelims of the mile in 5:00.68, freshman Cache Armbrister finishing 13th in the prelims of the women's 200m with a time of 24.10 and sophomore Scott Novack placing 15th in the 3000m in 8:31.64.
The SEC Indoor Championships will conclude Sunday starting with the women's weight throw at 10 a.m. CT. Competition is scheduled to conclude shortly after 4 p.m.