Auburn Sets New Men's Distance Medley Relay School Record At Notre Dame
March 6, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Several members of the Auburn men's and women's track and field teams were in action Friday night, competing at Last Chance qualifying meets in various venues around the country in an attempt to earn spots at the NCAA Indoor Championships March 13-14 in College Station, Texas. A new school record and NCAA automatic qualifying mark by the men's distance medley relay team highlighted the evening's events.
Auburn sent a group of distance runners to compete at Notre Dame, where the school record fell. The Tigers' team of Jean-Pierre Weerts, Michael DeHaven, Felix Kiboiywo and Elkanah Kibet raced to a time of 9:33.32, smashing the previous school record of 9:39.08 set in 1985. With nearly all of the nation's top distance squads in attendance, Auburn finished just 15th in the race, but all of the top 15 teams beat the required time to automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
In the men's 5,000 meters, freshman Girma Mecheso finished first and improved his NCAA provisional qualifying time by just over a second to 13:59.56, which would rank 23rd on the NCAA's performance list. He became the third Auburn runner in history to go under 14 minutes in the indoor 5,000 meters. Junior Scott Novack was 11th in 14:37.70.
In the women's 5,000 meters, junior Laurel Pritchard set a new personal best with a time of 16:39.69, which ranks her fourth in school indoor history. Her time met the NCAA provisional qualifying standard, but is not expected to put her high enough on the performance list to reach the NCAA Championships.
Meanwhile at Arkansas, freshman Nivea Smith competed in the 60 meters and 200 meters. She won the 200 meters with a time of 23.83, but did not improve on her previous best of 23.73. Entering the weekend ranked 17th, she still stands a chance of earning one of the spots in the field. In the 60 meters, she posted a time of 7.61 but did not meet the qualifying standard.
Finally at LSU, freshman Ryan Fleck was unable to improve his season-best mark in the high jump of 2.15m (7-0.5), placing fourth at the meet with a top mark of 2.01m (6-7).
On Saturday, Kiboiywo is expected to compete in the mile at Notre Dame, with one or two other distance runners in attendance possibly competing as well. The field for the NCAA Indoor Championships will be determined on Monday based on the national performance list.
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