Saenz, Smith Lead Auburn On Day 1 at NCAA Indoors
March 9, 2012
NAMPA, Idaho--Auburn sophomore thrower Stephen Saenz set a school-record in the men's shot put and finished fourth, while women's sprinter Niva Smith finished eighth in the 200-meters during the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Jacksons Indoor Track. The Tigers, who had eight athletes competing, had sprinters Keenan Brock for the men and Kai Selvon for the women advance to Saturday's finals in the 60-meter dash.
With one event still being contested on Friday, the Auburn men were tied for 16th place with five points, while the women were tied for 31st with one point.
"Stephen is a gamer for us and did a great job tonight for us throwing a lifetime best and school record mark in the shot," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "He's been one of the best in the country the last few years finishing fourth in back-to-back years."
Saenz set a school record in the men's shot put with a throw of 65-10.75 (20.08m) to finish fourth for the second consecutive year at the indoor championships. Saenz saved his best for last, setting the school mark on his sixth and final throw, besting his fourth throw by over two feet.
Saenz personal record and school mark broke a seven-year old mark previously held by Edis Elkasevic's 64-7.25 set in 2005.
"The first round I wasn't sure if I was going to make finals and after making it, I told Coach Clayton that I was going to light it up now that I have a chance," Saenz said. "My first throw (in finals) felt good, but I knew I had more. On my last one I told myself to go for it and as soon as it left my hands I knew it was big. It was a great feeling and a great place to PR."
In the men's 60-meter dash, Brock advanced to Saturday's finals after finishing seventh in the prelims with a time of 6.61. Harry Adams and Marcus Rowland, also competing in the event, failed to qualify for the finals after posting times of 6.62 and 6.66, respectively. Adams entered the meet with the nation's second fastest time.
"Keenan Brock did a good job making finals in the 60 and thought we had a chance to get more in the finals, but Harry Adams caught his calf on his start and it cost him in advancing," Spry said. "Kai did a good job in the 60 and unfortunately came up just short in the 200. This meet is always about a lot of highs and lows as just a few times we were on the outside looking in with a few ninth place finishers."
Selvon advanced to the finals of the women's 60-meter dash after winning her preliminary heat in 7.25. She will enter Saturday's finals with the fourth best time. Senior Ashley Cruder missed the 60 finals by one spot as her time of 7.40 was ninth.
In the women's 200, Smith ran a 23.52 in the finals, two tenths faster than her preliminary time, which seeded her eighth entering the finals. Selvon, also participating in the event, just missed the finals after finishing ninth in prelims in 23.54.
Senior high jumper Monica Carney finished in 18th place, clearing 5-8.75 (1.75m).
"We need to finish business tomorrow and hope that Kai and Keenan can come up big for us in the 60," Spry said.
Brock and Selvon will be Auburn's lone competitors on Saturday evening. Brock will run in the men's 60 finals at 7:15 p.m. MT, while Selvon will be in the women's 60 at 7:25 p.m.
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