April 29, 2006
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -
Senior Josanne Lucas capped a strong performance from the Auburn track and field teams at the 112th Penn Relays, winning the college women's 100m hurdles championship event Saturday in front of 49,771 fans at Franklin Field. Lucas nearly helped earn a second title for Auburn, as the women's 4x400m relay finished a very close second while breaking the school record.
Lucas posted a personal-best time of 13.02 seconds in the hurdles, which ranks third in the NCAA this season and third in Auburn history. Lucas edged Texas' Melanie Walker, who was second in :13.07, and Ronnetta Alexander of South Carolina, the fastest qualifier from the prelims, who was third in :13.22.
Lucas became the second individual winner of the 2006 Penn Relays from Auburn, joining Angela Homan, who won the 5,000m Thursday night. She is the first Auburn runner to win the 100m hurdles at the Penn Relays since Rosalind Council won the 1986 race in :13.27.
"Before the race I was just concentrating on getting a good start," said Lucas. "I was thinking I might have a chance to win. But when I crossed the line, I knew it was close, and then when I heard my name and saw the time, I couldn't believe it. I was just overwhelmed."
"Josanne has been solid all year long," said head coach Ralph Spry. "It's all about getting ready for two weeks from now (the SEC Championships), and she's leaving here with a lot of confidence. She ran the race of her life and beat some of the best hurdlers in the country. She did a phenomenal job."
About two hours after winning the 100m hurdles, Lucas teamed with Kerron Stewart, Tamara Thomas and Markita James for a runner-up finish in the 4x400m relay championship event, just eight one-hundredths out of first. The Tigers posted a time of 3:27.93, breaking the school mark of 3:28.47 that they set earlier this season at the Texas Relays. Miami (Fla.) won the race in 3:27.85, while LSU finished third in 3:27.96, as the three teams posted the second, third and fourth fastest times in Penn Relays history.
The first race of the day involving Auburn was the college men's 4x100m relay. The Tiger team of Jamaal Barnes
, Reuben McCoy
, Tavaris Washington
and Ty Akins
finished fifth with a time of 40.63 seconds, improving on their qualifying time from Friday of :40.81, but falling just shy of their season-best mark of :40.57.
Shamar Sands was Auburn's final competitor on Saturday after being added to the men's Olympic Developmental 110m hurdles. Sands finished fourth in the race with a regional qualifying time of :14.00.
"Leaving this weekend, we're very poised," said Spry. "We're right where we want to be. Right now we just have to regroup and refocus, and I think we'll have a good SEC meet. I'm real excited for it."
Auburn will take next weekend off before competing at the SEC Outdoor Championships May 11-14 in Fayetteville, Ark.