April 22, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams won 13 events and reached or improved on nine regional qualifying marks Saturday as the Tigers hosted the Auburn Invitational at Hutsell-Rosen Track. In addition to the track meet, the day was also highlighted by the dedication ceremony for the new track, which was named Hutsell-Rosen Track after Auburn's first two track and field head coaches - Wilbur Hutsell and Mel Rosen.
"I'm really pleased with our performance," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We had a lot of good performances on both sides (men and women). On the women's side, the highlight would probably be Markita James in the 400m running one of the top times in the country. Josanne Lucas and our throwers, Katalin Mate and Ronda Gullatte, both put up good regional qualifying marks, and that's the name of the game right now.
Several of Auburn's women's sprinters put up impressive marks, including Markita James, who won the 400m for Auburn with a personal-best time of 52.00 seconds, which is the fourth fastest collegiate time in the nation this season and ranks No. 2 in Auburn outdoor history.
Kerron Stewart, in her first 100m race of the season, easily met the regional qualifying mark, winning the event with a time of 11.27 seconds, which ranks fourth in Auburn history and No. 7 in the NCAA this season.
Thomas, Jarrett, James and Stewart also combined to win the 4x100m relay with a time of 43.74 seconds, improving their previous season best and regional qualifying mark by .03 seconds.
Josanne Lucas won the 400m hurdles with a time of 56.19 seconds, which ranks fourth in the NCAA this year and one spot behind James, who set the school record earlier this year with a time of :55.40. Lucas also placed second in the 100m hurdles in 13.61 seconds, trailing only former Auburn All-American Lacena Golding-Clarke, who won the event as an unattached athlete in :13.31. Jasmine Johnson was fifth with a personal-best time of :14.08.
Katalin Mate won two events and has now regionally qualified in three events this season. Mate won the javelin with a throw of 45.23m (148-5), which ranks No. 6 all-time in Auburn history, and also won the discus with a mark of 52.77m (173-1), improving her No. 3-ranked throw on the Auburn outdoor lists and her regional qualifying mark. She has also regionally qualified in the shot put this year.
Ronda Gullatte won the hammer throw with a mark of 58.36m (191-6), although she did not improve on her previous regional qualifying mark of 58.95m (193-5). Gullatte also finished second in the discus, improving her regional qualifying mark with a distance of 49.40m (162-1), and in the shot put with a mark of 14.02m (46-0).
Leading the way for the men was Reuben McCoy, who improved on his regional qualifying mark in the 400m hurdles, posting a winning time of 50.16 seconds, which is the fourth-best mark in the NCAA this year.
Ty Akins won the 110m hurdles with a time of 13.77 seconds, missing his personal best and regional qualifying time by just one one-hundredth of a second.
The men's 4x100m relay team finished first with a mark of 40.57 seconds, improving its regional qualifying mark set during Auburn's first home meet.
Drew Lovette won the pole vault with a personal-best height of 4.90m (16-0.75), which moves him up to eighth in Auburn outdoor history.
Auburn will return to action when the Tigers compete at the prestigious Penn Relays April 27-30.