March 29, 2008
ATLANTA, Ga. -
Despite intermittent showers that shortened the event, the Auburn track and field team still set four regional qualifying marks and won two events Saturday during the Yellow Jacket Invitational hosted by Georgia Tech.
The teams in attendance waited out a pair of weather delays, but a third delay caused officials to cancel the remainder of the meet, as the men's and women's 200m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, 4x400m relays and a few of the field events were not contested.
"You can't control the weather, and we had some people that we wanted to get a chance to compete that didn't get that chance, but we still had a handful of regional qualifiers which is good," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We were looking to get the ball rolling heading into our first home meet next weekend. We had a few kids that we wanted to get a race under their belts, and it was disappointing that they couldn't compete, but for those that did compete, they did a good job. We had some solid efforts and I'm pleased with what we accomplished considering the meet was cut short."
In his collegiate debut, freshman Jean-Pierre Weerts won the men's 1500m with a regional qualifying time of 3:45.80. It was an impressive opening race for the newcomer from Bastogne, Belgium, who defeated a field of 53 runners.
Senior Ty Akins had his best-ever opening performance outdoors, winning the 110m hurdles with a regional qualifying time of 13.66, while defeating Tennessee All-American Jangy Addy, who was runner-up in 13.73 seconds. No other hurdler finished in less than 14 seconds.
The women's 4x100m relay team of sophomore Shaquela Williams, freshmen Joanna Atkins and Cache Armbrister and junior Amelia Anderson was third overall but first among collegiate teams with a regional qualifying time of 44.79.
Auburn's fourth first-time regional qualifier came in the men's javelin, where sophomore Luke Gaines
finished in third place with a career-best mark of 61.62m (202-2), besting the regional qualifying standard by two centimeters. His mark ranks him eighth in school history.
Sophomore Danielle Gilchrist placed second in the women's 100m hurdles and also had a regional qualifying time of 13.52 into a headwind, but was just shy of her career-best mark of 13.49 that she set last Saturday.
Sophomore Catherine Frappier was the only competitor to clear a height in the pole vault, as she posted a career-best mark of 3.35m (10-11.75) on her first attempt.
Amelia Anderson also finished second in the women's 400m (54.80), while sophomore Laurel Pritchard placed third in the women's 1500m (4:36.57). In the women's 800m, sophomore Sabrina Fischer was fourth (2:14.71) and senor Jessica Smith was ninth (2:17.20), and sophomore Shaquela Williams finished sixth in the women's 100m (11.92).
In the men's 100m, redshirt freshman Stephen Fly was fifth (10.97) and freshman Brandon Johnson sixth (11.10).
One other athlete who competed for Auburn this week was sophomore Jager Livingston, who finished third in the decathlon at the Alabama Relays. Livingston posted a score of 6,268.
The track and field teams will take host their first outdoor meet of the season next weekend when Auburn holds the Tiger Track Classic. The hammer throw will take place on Friday, April 4, and all other events will be contested Saturday, April 5.