April 24, 2010
AUBURN - The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams concluded three days of competition at the 115th Penn Relays Saturday, collecting three second-place finishes during the final day in front of a Relays record crowd of 54,310.
"I think we got a lot accomplished," said head coach Ralph Spry. "This is a very high-level meet and it was a great tune-up to keep us sharp as we head to the SECs. I feel comfortable with how we competed. We made a lot of finals and everybody is healthy. We are poised and peaking at the right time. We just need to maintain over these next couple of weeks and get ready for the conference championships."
Sophomore Marcus Rowland finished second in the 100 meters with a time of 10.36 seconds into a slight headwind. Rowland, who clocked a 10.15 in the prelims Friday, had a slow start out of the blocks and was never able to fully recover, and edged by .02 seconds at the finish line.
Auburn's men finished second in the 4xMile Championship of America final, thanks largely to a strong anchor leg from senior Felix Kiboiywo. The Tigers were in seventh place when Kiboiywo took the baton for the final leg, and the NCAA leader in the 1500 meters charged through the field with a split of 3:57.0 to move the Tigers all the way up to second, trailing only Oregon. Sophomore Jeff Sanders and Ben Cheruiyot and senior Elkanah Kibet rounded out the Tigers' lineup, which finished with a time of 16:20.41.
The Tiger women's sprinters competed in two Championship of America relays, claiming a second and an eighth place. In the 4x200-meter relay, the team of junior Joanna Atkins, junior Sheniqua Ferguson, sophomore Nivea Smith and junior Cache Armbrister finished second with a time of 1:31.59. They came up just short of the school-record time of 1:31.19 that was set during another runner-up finish one year ago at the Penn Relays.
In the 4x400-meter relay, the group of Atkins, senior Amelia Anderson, junior Latoya Parkinson and sophomore CeCe Williams finished in eighth place with a time of 3:36.33.
The Tigers also sent a small group to compete at the Coach O Invitational hosted by Troy University on Saturday, and the meet was able to be completed despite storms across Alabama. Senior Jean-Pierre Weerts was the Tigers' lone winner at Troy, as he claimed the 3,000-meter crown with a facility-record time of 8:32.00, while also finishing sixth in the 800 meters in 1:58.00.
Also at Troy, senior Scott Novack was second in the men's steeplechase (9:45.70) and junior Allison Smith was third in the women's steeplechase (12:21.20). Sophomore Spencer Ferguson was the runner-up in the men's 400 meters in 49.30.
One more member of the Tiger men's team, senior Eric Werskey, competed at the Triton Invitational in San Diego Saturday. Werskey finished in third place in the shot put with a throw of 17.73 meters (58-2), and in the discus, his throw of 53.34 meters (175-0), which was just four inches shy of his season best, was good for 12th place.
Most of the Tigers will take the next two weekends off before competing at the SEC Outdoor Championships May 13-16 in Knoxville, Tenn. A few selected athletes will likely compete at various meets across the southeast next weekend as a tune-up prior to the SEC meet.