March 2, 2008
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Senior Ty Akins won the 60m hurdles to highlight the third and final day of competition for Auburn at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Tiger men finished in eighth place at the meet with 37 points, while the women also placed eighth with 27 points.
The Tigers wrapped up the meet with two individual champions, as Akins' victory followed Jacob Dunkleberger's win in the weight throw Saturday. It was the first SEC meet for several freshmen that made the trip for Auburn this weekend.
"My main focus this weekend was to try to get our main people to perform well and get them ready for nationals," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We brought two teams that were young. Our women's team is rebuilding somewhat and our men's team is a much better outdoor team. We wanted to get through the indoor season and really focus on performing well during the outdoor season, which I'm excited about. We had two SEC champions and we competed well, but the best part of our season is still to come."
Akins used a quicker start than he had in the prelims to take command of the race early, and went on to win in 7.71 seconds. It was the second career SEC Championship for Akins, who won the 110m hurdles at last year's SEC Outdoor Championships, but was his first indoor title after finishing second last year.
"It feels good," said Akins. "Overall it was a sloppy race with a lot of guys hitting hurdles, and it's a blessing to come out on top. My start was a little better than usual and I was fortunate to win."
Akins became Auburn's first SEC indoor champion in the men's hurdles since James Walker won the 60-yard hurdles three straight years from 1977-79.
Senior Reuben McCoy finished third in the men's 400m, posting a time of 46.95, which tied his converted season best. McCoy just missed cracking Auburn's all-time top 10 by .01 seconds while improving on his time in the prelims by .46 seconds.
Sophomore Valentina Srsa finished third in the women's weight throw with a personal-best mark of 18.40m (60-4.5). The mark for Srsa, who entered the meet ranked fifth in the SEC, was only a little more than a foot shy of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 18.75m (61-6.25).
In the women's high jump, junior Raevan Harris finished third with a jump of 1.79m (5-10.5). She was in danger of dropping out earlier on two occasions, but cleared 1.76m and 1.79m on her final attempts. Harris finished fourth at last year's SEC indoor meet.
Sophomore Danielle Gilchrist was fifth in the women's 60m hurdles, racing to a time of 8.40 seconds. The time wasn't quite as good as her 8.32 performance from Saturday's prelims, but wan an improvement on her eighth-place performance at last year's SEC Indoor meet. She entered this meet ranked seventh in the SEC.
In the women's 400m, freshman Joanna Atkins placed fifth with a time of 53.38. Atkins was near the lead as the pack bunched together after completing the first of two laps, but an elbow from LSU's Deonna Lawrence knocked her to the outside and threw her off stride, and she struggled to recover and match her time from the prelims of 53.04. Lawrence was disqualified following the race.
Sophomore Felix Kiboiywo placed sixth in the men's mile with a time of 4:06.45. Kiboiywo hung with the leaders until about 300 meters remained, when the top four runners separated themselves from the field, with Kiboiywo in fifth. One more runner surged past Kiboiywo with about 150 meters left, but he held off a final charge from LSU's Michael Hendry, edging him for sixth by .01 seconds.
Dunkleberger, fresh off his win in the weight throw Saturday, finished sixth in the shot put with a season-best throw of 17.39m (57-0.75). Sophomore Eric Werskey, who entered the meet ranked second in the SEC, finished a disappointing 13th in the prelims with a throw of 16.68m (54-8.75).
Junior Amelia Anderson completed Auburn's individual scoring for the day with an eighth-place finish in the triple jump, despite fouling on five of her six attempts. She made her one good jump count, soaring a personal best 12.40m (40-8.25) on her first attempt, which ranks her ninth in Auburn history.
The women's distance medley relay team of sophomore Sabrina Fischer, freshman Latoya Parkinson, senior Jessica Smith and freshman Amber Riley finished fifth with a time of 11:57.95. The men's DMR team of sophomore Scott Novack, freshman Brandon Johnson, sophomore Simon Nyang and Kiboiywo was sixth in 10:00.90.
In the 4x400m relays, the women's team of Atkins, freshman Cache Armbrister, Anderson and freshman DeAngela McDougald finished seventh with a time of 3:39.00, improving their NCAA provisional qualifying time. The men's team of junior Jhak Keegan, freshman Bernard Spivey, McCoy and freshman Michael DeHaven also finished seventh in 3:19.34.
Arkansas won the men's team title with 124 points, while LSU was the women's champion with 133 points. LSU was second in the men's standings with 108 points, followed by Tennessee (99.5), Florida (79.5), Georgia (72), Kentucky 48, South Carolina (42), Auburn (37), Alabama (30) and Ole Miss (21).
In the women's standings, Tennessee was second with 116 points, followed by Arkansas (93), Florida (90), Kentucky (57), Ole Miss (49), Alabama (43), Auburn (27), South Carolina (20.5), Georgia (14.5), Mississippi State (12) and Vanderbilt (8).
Next weekend, selected Auburn athletes will compete in last chance qualifying events, trying to earn a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships. Those athletes who qualify will return to the Randal Tyson Track Complex in Fayetteville for the NCAA Championships March 14-15.