April 27, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Storms early in the day and intermittent rain throughout the rest of the afternoon couldn't dampen the performance of the Auburn track and field team at the Penn Relays, as the Tigers won one event and had the top prelim times in two others Friday in front of an announced crowd of 39,166.
"I'm pleased with our performance today," said head coach Ralph Spry. "The weather was frightful early on and there were a lot of delays, but sometimes that's a good thing because it makes sure that you are focused and realize that there aren't always going to be perfect conditions. That's could help us in the future because you never know what's going to happen in the conference or national championships. But despite the weather, we still had some good performances."
Michelle Vaughn had one rain delay interrupt her warm-up and a second delay halt action after her first jump, but still managed to keep her focus and win the college women's triple jump championship with a personal-best mark. Vaughn's jump of 13.42m (44-0.5) ranks third-best in the NCAA this season and is tops among all SEC triple jumpers.
"I'm extremely happy because that's the best jump I've had all year," said Vaughn. "It was difficult going through the delays, but coach told me to stay warm and relax since we had to wait about two hours, so that's exactly what I did."
Auburn had the top two finishers in the prelims of the men's 110m hurdles, as Shamar Sands raced to a time of 13.74 and Ty Akins was second in 13.81 seconds. The two ran side-by-side in the second prelim heat, and now will do the same in Saturday's final.
Kerron Stewart posted the fastest time in the women's 100m dash prelims, as the world leader in that event cruised to a time 11.22 seconds. Tracy Ann Rowe will join her in Saturday's finals after finishing sixth in the prelims with a time of 11.50. Shaquela Williams also ran for Auburn, placing 16th with a time of 12.18.
The women's 4x100m relay team finished third in the college women's championship, clocking a time of 43.95 seconds. The team of Williams, Rowe, Danielle Gilchrist and Stewart recorded the fifth-fastest time in Auburn history and their time ranks Auburn fifth in the NCAA this year.
Danielle Gilchrist also competed in the women's 100m hurdles, earning a spot in the finals by placing second in her heat and 10th overall with a time of 13.64, which is her best non-wind-aided time of the season.
In the college women's high jump championships, Michelle Williamson cleared 1.79m (5-10.5) to finish fourth. However, because the event was moved indoors due to the rain, it will not count towards her regional qualifying mark. Her previous season-best mark of 1.78m still stands as a regional qualifier.
In the college women's discus championship, Katalin Mate placed 10th with a mark of 43.66m (143-3).
The men's 4x100m relay team of Shamar Sands, Ty Akins, Hailey Foster and Reuben McCoy suffered a poor first exchange that left them with a time of 41.31 in the prelims, ranking Auburn 19th and with only an alternate spot for Saturday's finals.
"This is a big platform," said Spry. "It's a meet that gets a lot of national exposure. It's a great meet for us from a recruiting standpoint, and it's the last meet before we go to the conference meet. We're right where we need to be and I'm really excited for tomorrow to finish strong and come out of here with no injuries."
Competition at the Penn Relays will conclude Saturday, April 28.