June 7, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
The Auburn track and field team advanced three more athletes during a light second day of action for the Tigers at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Thursday. Of the eight Auburn athletes that have competed through the first two days, seven have advanced and are still competing, with one more set to begin competition Friday.
Cory Martin reached his second final on Thursday, qualifying in the shot put, Kerron Stewart cruised to the finals of the women's 200m and Reuben McCoy reached the semifinals of the men's 400m hurdles.
"I'm really pleased with the effort since the time we got here," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We came in really focused and we're feeding off the success we had the first day. Today was just another example of that. Right now we're competing extremely well, and if we can keep that momentum going, we're going to give ourselves a good shot of scoring a lot of points the last couple of days."
Stewart remained untested in the 200m this year, easily winning her two heats Thursday. First, she breezed through the opening round with a winning time of 22.77 seconds, then raced to a mark of 22.52 in the semifinals, giving her the fastest time in the field entering Saturday's final. She remained undefeated in individual events this year and has not had anyone finish closer than .25 seconds behind her in any of her 200m races this season.
"Every time I step on the track I set out to do my best," said Stewart. "I'm definitely pleased with the way I ran today. It's all about getting to the finals and I did that. I'm very confident, I've been training hard and I'm healthy, so I'm ready to go."
Martin hit the automatic qualifying mark for the shot put finals on his second attempt, one day after hitting the auto mark for the hammer throw on his first try. His mark of 19.22m (63-0.75) ranked third overall in the prelims. He entered the meet ranked fourth nationally in the shot put.
"I wasn't expecting to hit the auto mark on my first throw," said Martin. "My warm-ups were going well and the first throw was far enough (19.02m) that I was comfortable that I could make it in to the finals, and the second throw was just so I could get out of here since I have the hammer tomorrow."
Reuben McCoy advanced to the semifinals of the men's 400m hurdles, winning his heat in the opening round with a time of 50.90. McCoy, who owned the nation's fifth-best time entering the NCAA meet, used a strong kick to pass No. 6 Brandon Johnson of UCLA down the stretch to move on to Friday's semifinals.
Auburn was scheduled to have one more athlete compete Thursday, but freshman Danielle Gilchrist was forced to withdraw from the women's 400m hurdles due to injury.
The Tigers will resume action on Friday with seven athletes scheduled to compete, including five in finals. Martin and Jacob Dunkleberger will start things off with the hammer throw final, while Donald Thomas (high jump), Ty Akins (110m hurdles) and Tracy Ann Rowe (100m) will also take part in finals. McCoy will run in his semifinal heat of the 400m hurdles, while Michelle Vaughn will participate in the qualifying round of the women's triple jump.