May 12, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Auburn junior DJ Smith won the men's high jump competition on Sunday as the men finished ninth and the women placed 11th at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Walton Stadium.
"I knew we had a really young women's team and even with that we had a couple of highlights with the throwers," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "The men's team has had a tough year injury wise. We just have to fight through it. We had two SEC champions, which is great. In spite of everything, we ran solid in a lot of areas, but we just had too much to make up with injuries. We just have to get everyone and regroup for nationals. We still have a chance to make some noise at the national level."
Smith cleared a top bar of 7-2.25 (2.19m) to edge Alabama's Justin Fondren. The title is the first for the Georgia native and just the second high jump championship all-time for Auburn after World Champion Donald Thomas' win in 2007.
"My main focus was to give thanks and win. That's it," Smith said. "It's a rewarding feeling. You work so hard and you train so hard. You just want to make sure that you get back what you have worked for and I did that today. It feels great."
Smith had previously finished 7th (2012) and 3rd (2011). With Auburn's wins in the men's shot put and men's high jump, the Tiger men have now won at least one event title in 14 of the last 15 season and have 67 individual titles (36 men, 31 women) under Spry.
The men's program totaled 37 points to finish ninth overall, while the women were 11th with 32.5 points.
In her first SEC outdoor championship, sophomore Valentina Muzaric placed second in the women's shot put with a long throw of 55-9.75 (17.01m). The performance was an improvement from a fourth-place showing indoors.
Also in the throws, Marcus Popenfoose
scored in his second event of the weekend with an eighth-place performance in the men's discus throw. The junior recorded a top mark of 167-4 (51.01m) to earn one point for the team standings.
The Auburn men's 4x100m relay recorded a season-best mark to win the first heat and finish fifth overall with a time of 39.48 seconds. It was just the second time this season that the first-choice squad of Jeremy Hardy, Harry Adams, Marcus Rowland and Keenan Brock lined up.
The fifth-place performance totaled four points for the team standings.
Adams also chipped in a fifth-place finish in the men's 100 meters in 10.26 for four points. Olympian Kai Selvon was fifth in the women's 200 meters in 23.23 for four points in the women's standings.
Kane Grimster scored in the men's 1500m with a seventh-place showing in 3:52.81 to grab two points. Teammate Niklas Buhner (3:55.23) was just outside the score in 10th place.
Sophomore Siobhan Ford-Holland recorded a personal best in the women's triple jump. A Virginia native, Ford-Holland jumped 41-1 (12.52m) on her final preliminary mark to reach the SEC finals for the first time in her career.
The next competition for Auburn will be the NCAA East Regional on May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C. For the latest on Auburn track and field, follow @AUTrack on Twitter.