May 11, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Junior Marcus Popenfoose won the men's shot put championship and freshman Jessie Johnson was the runner up in the women's pole vault for Auburn on Saturday at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Walton Stadium.
"We had a lot of good things happen today," Auburn track and field head coach Ralph Spry said. "Obviously, Popenfoose had a big personal best. He really stepped up and I was glad that happened for him, because he's a hard worker. Jessie Johnson came out and was one bar away from winning, but second as a freshman is huge. Now we just need to take care of business in the final events tomorrow and we have a chance to finish up pretty well as a team."
Popenfoose recorded a personal best throw of 62-2.25 (18.95m) on his final attempt to top Tennessee's Matthew Hoty (61-11/18.87m) for the shot put title. The junior from Huntley, Illinois had previously matched Hoty on his fifth throw at 18.87m. With the event win, he scored 10 points for the Auburn men.
"I knew when I let it go that it was going to be far, but I didn't want to react until I knew for sure," Popenfoose said. "I knew I needed to step up with Stephen out and I'm glad to know I was able to do that and that I kept Auburn on the shot put map."
The title is the third consecutive in the men's shot put for Auburn and the 11th all-time for the Tigers in the event. Auburn athletes have won eight men's shot put titles since 2003. Injured thrower Stephen Saenz won the 2011 and 2012 titles.
In the women's pole vault, Johnson cruised through the first three bars, clearing a 3.80m, 3.95m and 4.10m on her first attempts. Only four competitors reached 4.20m and with no misses prior, Johnson earned second place with two other vaulters also exiting the competition at 13-9.25 feet to equal her personal best.
Georgia's Morgan Leleux placed first with clearance at 4.20m. Johnson scored eight points with her runner-up finish.
Maya Pressley capped her Auburn career with a fourth-place finish in the women's high jump after clearing 5-10.75 (1.80m) to score five points. Teammate Monica Carney tied for eighth place at 5-8.75 to secure half a point for the team standings.
Three Auburn men earned spots in Sunday running finals with Saturday performances. In the men's 100 meters, Harry Adams ran a wind-aided 10.05 to win his heat and a spot in the Sunday championship race. The mark is the third-fastest all-conditions time in the NCAA this year.
Additionally, Kane Grimster (3:49.60) and Niklas Buhner (3:51.16) had the third and fourth fastest qualifying marks in the men's 1500 meters. Grimster was seventh at the 2012 SEC meet, while Buhner was 12th.
Competition begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday. For the latest on Auburn track and field, follow @AUTrack on Twitter.