May 16, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. - Cory Martin and Valentina Srsa won the men's and women's hammer throws for Auburn to highlight the second day of competition at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hutsell-Rosen Track. The Tiger men are currently in first with 21 points, though just three finals for both the men and women have been contested, while the women are tied for third with 15 points.
The men's hammer throwers took care of business as expected, taking the top two spots for 18 quick points. Martin had a winning mark of 72.83m (238-11), falling just shy of his school record and NCAA-leading mark of 73.07m (239-9). Jacob Dunkleberger finished second with a throw of 70.27m (230-6), which was more than 17 feet further than the third-place finisher - LSU's Rabun Fox (64.94m, 213-1).
It marked the third SEC hammer throw championship for Martin, who also won the title in 2005 and 2007. It was his sixth career SEC title in all events.
"We did what we needed to do," said Martin. "We wanted to get 18 points out of it and that's what we did. I was happy with my performance. I came in a little excited. I have to work on that. This meet was a good stepping stone to show me where I am at this point in the season. I am definitely looking forward to regionals and nationals."
Srsa was the surprise winner in the women's hammer throw, breaking the school record with a mark of 60.02m (196-11). Srsa, whose previous season and personal best was 57.43m (188-5), entered the competition seeded fourth. She broke the school record of 195-4 set by Ronda Gullatte in 2006.
"The throwers got us off to a great start," said head coach Ralph Spry. "That's a huge win for Valentina because she's had some injuries she has battled, and it was fun to see her come out on top. We knew we had 18 points there but it's great for Jake and Cory to see them do so well again."
Freshman Hollie Knight earned five points for the Auburn women by finishing fourth in the women's 10,000m. Her time of 34:42.48 improved on her previous freshman record of 34:59.18 set at the Penn Relays. Sophomore Laurel Pritchard was 10th with a time of 36:56.06.
In the men's 10,000m, freshman Jean-Pierre Weerts placed sixth to score three points for the men. His time of 29:55.84 ranks ninth in school history.
Jager Livingston finished 13th in the decathlon for Auburn, scoring 6,346 points, which was an improvement over his point total from last year's SEC meet when he scored 6,314.
Prelims were also contested Friday in six running events, with Auburn advancing four athletes into finals.
The Tigers placed two in the finals of the women's 400m hurdles, as Danielle Gilchrist posted the second-best time of 59.46, while Amelia Anderson was third with a mark of 59.83. Latoya Parkinson just missed reaching the finals by one spot, placing 10th with a time of 1:01.93.
In the men's 400m hurdles, Reuben McCoy won his heat and had the fifth-best time overall with a mark of 50.90, as the top five finishers were separated by less than a second.
In the women's 200m, freshman Cache Armbrister finished third in her heat and seventh overall with a time of 23.74 to reach the finals. However, fellow freshman Joanna Atkins, who was seeded fifth, finished a disappointing 11th with a time of 24.04.
"The most important thing for us is the key people we're expecting to do well are doing what we need them to do, and I'm pleased with the effort," said Spry. "Joanna Atkins has been sick, which was bad timing and I feel bad for her, but for the most part, I feel happy about where we're at heading into day three."
With 21 points, Auburn has a two-point lead on Arkansas in the men's race, with Tennessee three points back. Alabama is fourth with 15 points, followed by Florida and Georgia (12 each), LSU (8), Mississippi State (6), Kentucky (5) and South Carolina (1).
Florida leads the women's field with 26 points, followed by Kentucky (18), Auburn, Mississippi State and Arkansas (15 each), Alabama and Tennessee (8 each), LSU (5), South Carolina (3) and Ole Miss and Vanderbilt (2 each).
Competition at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships will continue Saturday with field events beginning at 12:30 p.m. and track events starting at 6 p.m. Finals contested on Saturday will include the men's and women's long jumps and 3000m steeplechases, the women's javelin, pole vault, high jump and shot put and the men's discus.