June 8, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Jovanee Jarrett won the long jump and Angela Homan finished fifth in the 10,000m to become Auburn's first All-Americans at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Thursday night. With just two events scored, the Auburn women are in second place with 14 points, trailing only Arizona State which scored 15 points. The men's team did not score in the three finals that were contested.
"This was a really unbelievable second day," said head coach Ralph Spry. "At this meet you have to be both good and lucky. We weren't expected to score many points today. Potentially we could have scored zero, but we scored 14, so that gives us a big boost. We have a lot of momentum going right now. We have to keep up the energy we've got and try not to look too far ahead and it could be a fun finish. It was a great day for the Auburn Tigers."
Jarrett claimed the long jump crown with a leap of 6.46m (21-2.5), which came on her second of six jumps. She became the second Auburn woman to win an NCAA long jump title at the outdoor championships, joining Elva Goulbourne (2003, 2003).
"I'm so happy right now," said Jarrett. "I woke up this morning and told myself that I was going to come out a winner. I came out here and gave it my all and I did turn out to be the winner.
Despite posting a mark slightly below her qualifying mark from Wednesday of 6.52m (21-4.75), Jarrett earned redemption for a disappointing performance last year when she failed to qualify for the finals.
"I had a lot of flashbacks to last year," said Jarrett. "I told my teammates that last year I had to sit in the stands and watch them in the finals, but this year they were going to sit in the stands and watch me."
"It was a great race," said Homan. "I wish I would have placed a little bit higher, but everybody is up for this meet and today wasn't the day for me. I know it's top five but I would have liked to have been in the top three my last year."
"Everybody is doing what they have to do," said Spry. "Jovanee has been working hard all year long and has jumped well all year long. She's been consistent, and that paid off for her here. That was a real big plus for us. Angela ran a gutsy 10,000m and she got us four big points as well."
The other Auburn athlete to compete in a final on Thursday was Andrew Heath, who ran in the men's 10,000m. Heath placed 22nd with a time of 30:28.37
Most of Thursday's action consisted of preliminary rounds. Auburn dominated the first rounds of the 400m hurdles, winning two of the women's heats and one of the men's. Markita James, who owns the best women's collegiate time this season, opened a big early lead in her heat before easing to a time of :57.57. Josanne Lucas had a tighter race, but finished strong to win her heat in :57.05.
In the first men's heat, Reuben McCoy nearly matched his season best of :49.47, posting a winning time of :49.77, which was the fastest time in the opening round. All three hurdlers will run in the semifinals Friday.
Kerron Stewart, ranked No. 1 in the 100m, earned her way into Saturday's final in that event, winning two heats on Thursday. She breezed in the opening round, winning her heat with a time of 11.34 seconds, then turned it up a notch in the semifinals, posting a mark of :11.18, which was the fastest time of the day.
Ronda Gullatte just missed qualifying for the finals of the hammer throw, finishing 14th in the qualifying round. On her third and final throw, Gullatte posted a mark of 58.50m (191-11), finishing less than four feet shy of a mark that would have put in her the top 12 and into the finals.
The NCAA Championships run through Saturday, June 7. Auburn will have athletes in four finals Friday, including Josanne Lucas in the 100m hurdles, Katalin Mate in the discus, Michelle Williamson in the high jump and the women's 4x100m relay team. Other action will include Kerron Stewart and Tamara Thomas in the semifinals of the 200m, Reuben McCoy, Markita James and Lucas in the semifinals of the 400m hurdles and Michelle Vaughn in the qualifying round of the triple jump.
College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast the NCAA Championships live from 7 until 9 p.m. (Central time) Friday, with coverage that will include Auburn's competitors in the 100m hurdles final, the women's 200m semifinals and the men's and women's 400m hurdles semifinals.