May 13, 2007
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Kerron Stewart, Cory Martin and Ty Akins all won individual titles to lead the Auburn men's and women's track and field teams during the final day of the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Auburn men's team finished in sixth place with 74 points, while the women finished seventh with 73.5 points.
"Coming in, we had a small group of athletes that we expected to get it done for us, which they did," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We won six SEC championships this weekend, which is really phenomenal. As a whole, we stepped up and competed well with the people we brought."
Stewart won both the 100m and the 200m, giving her four SEC titles this year after winning the indoor 60m and 200m crowns in February. She is the first Auburn woman to win both the 100m and the 200m at the same SEC meet, and posted the fastest time in the world this season in the 200m with a time of 22.52, topping her own world-best mark of 22.60 set April 21. She shared the Commissioner's Trophy as the top women's individual scorer at the meet.
Stewart's first title of the day came when she repeated as champion in the 100m, posting a time of 11.10 seconds into a slight headwind, which was just shy of her school-record time of 11.03 set at last year's SEC meet. Stewart, who is the only Auburn woman ever to win the 100m at the SEC meet, matched her best wind-legal time of the season while beating the second-place finisher by .16 seconds. Junior Tracy Ann Rowe finished fourth with a time of 11.45, just .04 off her season best.
"I didn't have the start that I wanted, but I'm glad that I was able to come back and pull out the win," said Stewart. "It was a good time, too, so you can't ask for much more."
A short while later, Stewart pulled away for an easy victory in the 200m, breaking her own school record and improving on her world-best mark with a time of 22.52. It was her first SEC outdoor title in the 200m and gave her victories in all short sprint events during the 2007 SEC indoor and outdoor championships. Rowe finished seventh in that event in 23.46 seconds.
"I feel great," said Stewart following the 200m. "It's Mother's Day and what better gift could you give your mom. It means a lot because it's my last year and I wanted to finish in style, so I'm glad I was able to do that. I'm on schedule for the NCAAs and just taking it one step at a time."
Stewart also anchored the 4x100m relay team, coming from behind to move up to second, helping the team of Shaquela Williams, Rowe and Danielle Gilchrist finish with a time of 43.53, which ranks third in school history and is third best in the NCAA this season.
Martin won his second title of the meet and sixth career SEC title, earning his first SEC shot put title. Martin, seeded third coming in, unleashed a personal-best throw of 19.63m (64-5), which ranks second in school history and fourth in the NCAA this year, to win the event. He finished the meet with 28 points, having won the hammer throw Friday and finishing second in the discus Saturday.
"There have been a lot of good SEC shot putters, and any time you can be an SEC champ and join the elite club, that's always cool," said Martin. "Competing in an event that I wasn't favored in and coming in as kind of a dark horse, it was fun to pull an upset and surprise some people. It's been in the back of my mind all this week that I could possibly win this thing, and I put it away early and was able to close it out."
Junior Jacob Dunkleberger finished seventh in the shot put with a mark of 17.25m (56-7.25), while junior Edis Elkasevic earned one point with an eighth-place finish thanks to a regional qualifying mark of 17.23m (56-6.5).
Akins finished in 13.62 seconds, matching his time from yesterday's prelims, but this time doing it into a slight headwind. He beat the current NCAA leader, John Yarbrough of Ole Miss, who finished second in 13.74 seconds. Akins, who was sixth at last year's SEC meet became the first Auburn man to win the high hurdles at the SEC meet since James Walker won four straight years from 1976-79.
"It feels good to come back from finishing sixth last year," said Akins. "Last year was a rough race, but this was a rough race, too, since we ran into a slight headwind. But hard work pays off and I've been working hard all year to get to this point, and when you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage of your one chance."
Senior Michelle Vaughn came up just short in her attempt to repeat as SEC champion in the women's triple jump. Vaughn, who placed sixth Saturday in the long jump, finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 13.27m (43-6.5).
Auburn had three of the top seven finishers in the women's 400m hurdles. Freshman Danielle Gilchrist placed fourth with a personal-best time of 58.99, while sophomore Amelia Anderson was sixth in 1:00.21 and junior Jasmine Johnson was seventh in 1:01.20.
Freshman Felix Kiboiywo raced to a fourth-place finish in the men's 1500m, clocking a time of 3:46.60. Senior Joey Giattino just missed scoring, finishing ninth in 3:53.92. Kiboiywo later doubled in the 800m, but ran out of gas, finishing ninth in 1:52.86.
Sophomore Katalin Mate placed fourth in the women's discus, posting a regional qualifying mark of 48.44m (158-11). Mate stood in seventh place entering her final throw before posting a season-best mark on her final attempt to move up three spots. Mate then competed in the javelin, finishing 11th with a throw of 38.70m (127-0).
Sabrina Fischer was 10th in the women's 1500m with a season-best time of 4:36.61.
Tennessee won the men's team title with 129.5 points, followed by LSU (122), Arkansas (100), Georgia (78), Florida (75.5), Auburn (74), Ole Miss (65), South Carolina (62), Alabama (47), Kentucky (36) and Mississippi State (30).
LSU earned the women's team title with 139.5 points, followed by Arkansas (110), Georgia (106), Tennessee (89), South Carolina (84), Florida (82), Auburn (73.5), Kentucky (42), Ole Miss (39), Alabama (23), Mississippi State (19) and Vanderbilt (12).
"It just shows you how tough of a conference we have when we're ranked third in the nation for men and fourth for women but finished where we finished here," said Spry. "We just have to keep working hard, and we're always a better national team than conference team because of our numbers. But I'm really proud of how we lined up, and we just need to keep grinding away and getting better. We're excited about what we're taking to the regionals in two weeks."
Auburn will take next weekend off before competing at the NCAA Mideast Regionals May 25-26 in Columbia, Mo.
2007 SEC Outdoor Championships
Event Winners and Auburn Finishes
Women's Discus Throw (Final)
1. Precious Akins (USC), 51.18m (167-11)
4. Katalin Mate, 48.44m (158-11)
Men's Triple Jump (Final)
1. Gary Jones (ARK), 15.17m (49-9.25)
Women's Javelin (Final)
1. Krista Woodward (UGA), 51.61m (169-4)
11. Katalin Mate, 38.70m (127-0)
Women's High Jump (Final)
1. Levern Spencer (UGA), 1.86m (6-1.25)
3. Raevan Harris, 1.80m (5-10.75)
T4. Michelle Williamson, 1.75 (5-8.75)
Danielle Threatt, NH
Women's Pole Vault (Final)
1. Jodi Unger (ARK), 4.12m (13-6.25)
Men's Shot Put (Final)
1. Cory Martin, 19.63m (64-5)
7. Jacob Dunkleberger, 17.25m (56-7.25)
8. Edis Elkasevic, 17.23m (56-6.5)
Men's 4x100m Relay (Final)
1. Tennessee, 38.91
10. Auburn (Rogers, Akins, Foster, McCoy), 40.78
Women's 4x100m Relay (Final)
1. South Carolina, 43.33
2. Auburn (Williams, Rowe, Gilchrist, Stewart), 43.53
Men's 1500m (Final)
1. John Richards (UK), 3:43.02
4. Felix Kiboiywo, 3:46.60
9. Joey Giattino, 3:53.92
Women's 1500m (Final)
1. Dacia Barr (ARK), 4:14.97
10. Sabrina Fischer, 4:36.61
Men's 110m Hurdles (Final)
1. Ty Akins, 13.62
Women's 100m Hurdles (Final)
1. Jessica Ohanaja (LSU), 13.10
Men's 400m (Final)
1. Calvin Smith (UF), 45.74
Women's 400m (Final)
1. Natasha Hastings (USC), 50.84
Men's 100m (Final)
1. Trindon Holliday (LSU), 10.08
Women's 100m (Final)
1. Kerron Stewart, 11.10
4. Tracy Ann Rowe, 11.45
Men's 800m (Final)
1. Jamaal James (LSU), 1:47.00
9. Felix Kiboiywo, 1:52.86
Women's 800m (Final)
1. LaTavia Thomas (LSU), 2:05.07
Men's 400m Hurdles (Final)
1. Justin Gaymon (UGA), 49.25
4. Reuben McCoy, 50.14
Women's 400m Hurdles (Final)
1. Nickiesha Wilson (LSU), 55.77
4. Danielle Gilchrist, 58.99
6. Amelia Anderson, 1:00.21
7. Jasmine Johnson, 1:01.20
Men's 200m (Final)
1. Reuben Williams (UT), 20.60
Women's 200m (Final)
1. Kerron Stewart, 22.52
7. Tracy Ann Rowe, 23.46
Women's Triple Jump (Final)
1. Andrea Linton (LSU), 13.44m (44-1.25)
2. Michelle Vaughn, 13.27m (43-6.5)
Men's 5000m (Final)
1. Barnabas Kirui (UM), 14:06.94
21. Chase Oliver, 14:57.06
Simon Nyang, DNF
Joey Giattino, DNF
Women's 5000m (Final)
1. Jill Steffens (UGA), 16:23.80
Laurel Pritchard, DNF
Men's 4x400m Relay (Final)
1. LSU, 3:03.62
10. Auburn (Rogers, Keegan, Foster, Akins), 3:20.68
Women's 4x400m Relay (Final)
1. South Carolina, 3:28.44
Final Men's Team Scores
1. Tennessee 129.5
2. LSU 122
3. Arkansas 100
4. Georgia 78
5. Florida 75.5
6. Auburn 74
7. Ole Miss 65
8. S. Carolina 62
9. Alabama 47
10. Kentucky 36
11. Miss. State 30
Final Women's Team Scores
1. LSU 139.5
2. Arkansas 110
3. Georgia 106
4. Tennessee 89
5. S. Carolina 84
6. Florida 82
7. Auburn 73.5
8. Kentucky 42
9. Ole Miss 39
10. Alabama 23
11. Miss. State 19
12. Vanderbilt 12