March 10, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -
Auburn won two individual national titles and added three All-America honors en route to top-five finishes for both the men and women Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Donald Thomas was perfect through the high jump competition and was never challenged, while Kerron Stewart came from behind to edge Tennessee's Courtney Champion by .04 seconds in the 60-meter dash to win her second national title in as many days.
The women finished in fifth place with 26 points, while the men finished fifth with 25 points. That accomplishment marks the first time ever that both Auburn teams have placed in the top five at an NCAA Championships.
Including Stewart's 200m title from Friday, Auburn won a total of three individual titles, which is tied for the most in school history at a single indoor or outdoor NCAA Championships. Auburn's All-American list also grew by seven entries from six athletes this weekend.
"We had a lot of good things happen for us today," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "Donald Thomas and Kerron Stewart gave us big time performances, and we finished in the top five on both sides. We missed trophies by three points on the men's side and two points on the women's, so I'm very happy with the way we performed."
Thomas breezed through the high jump competition, clearing 2.28m (7-5.75) to win the event without faulting and then clearing 2.33m (7-7.75) to tie a facility record. Thomas then attempted to tie the collegiate record at 2.37m (7-9.25) and knocked the bar off on all three attempts.
The 2.33m jump broke Thomas' own school record, which he set at the Diet Pepsi Invitational on Jan. 27. Thomas is now a Division I All-American for the first time after capturing NAIA All-America honors at Lindenwood University last year.
"I came in confident," Thomas said. "I felt deep down inside that no one was going to beat me on a stage this big. I knew I was going to win."
Stewart had to wait more than 24 hours between her 60m prelim and final, but demonstrated no negative effects, posting time of 7.15 to win her second national title. Her time was .01 seconds off of her personal best and the fifth-fastest time in the world this year. She is now an eight-time All-American.
"This is what I trained for," Stewart said. "This is why I practiced every day. The girls in this field are very strong, so I had to stay focused to accomplish what I did."
Michelle Vaughn turned in an excellent performance, earning All-America honors for the second time with her third-place finish in the triple jump. Vaughn jumped 13.21m (43-4.25) to earn six points for the team and help propel the Tigers into a top-five finish.
ESPN2 will air a 90-minute tape-delayed broadcast of the NCAA Indoor Championships on Tuesday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Auburn will host the Springtime Invitational to open its 2007 outdoor season on March 24th. The meet will run all day at the Hutsell-Rosen Track behind the Soccer Complex on Lem Morrison Drive.