June 12, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Auburn track and field teams advanced four athletes to finals and one more to a semifinal during the second day of competition Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Tigers now have athletes qualified for nine finals plus one semifinal at the midpoint of the four-day meet.
"Today was a continuation of yesterday," said head coach Ralph Spry. "Everything we needed to do, we did. We got the people through to the finals that we needed in order to be a factor this weekend, so now it's just a matter of getting it done in the finals. We just want to continue to line up and be ready to go. Friday is going to be a really big day for us."
Senior Cory Martin continued his impressive meet, qualifying for the finals of the men's shot put Thursday in the same fashion that he qualified for the hammer throw finals on Wednesday - with an automatic qualifying mark on his first throw. Martin's throw of 19.48 meters (63-11) was the top mark in the field, and he was one of just two qualifiers to hit the automatic mark on his first attempt and one of only three throwers to surpass 19 meters.
Sophomore Eric Werskey was not able to join Martin in the shot put finals, finishing 19th with a top mark of 17.59m (57-8.5).
The Tigers had an impressive showing the 400-meter hurdles semifinals, as two women and one man advanced to the finals. Senior Reuben McCoy showed again that he is a strong contender in the men's 400m hurdles, as the No. 2 seed had the fastest semifinal time with a mark of 49.12 while winning the second heat.
"Reuben looked like a million bucks," said Spry. "He's running well and looks really confident right now."
In the women's 400m hurdles, sophomore Danielle Gilchrist and junior Amelia Anderson both reached the final by finishing third in their heats. Gilchrist, who entered the meet seeded 11th, had a personal-best time of 56.84 which was the fourth-best time in the field and moves her ahead of Anderson into third in school history. Anderson, who was seeded eighth, had a time of 57.57.
"It's a great honor to get to the finals with my teammate," said Gilchrist. "It's a wonderful privilege to just be here, let alone be in the finals, so I'm very grateful for that. I was happy with the time but I was mostly just excited that I did what I had to do to get to the finals. I'm ready to run the race of my life tomorrow and see how it goes."
"It's a really good feeling," said Anderson. "It's my first year here and I did what I had to do to make it to the finals and be an All-American. I didn't run the time I wanted, but as long as I made the finals I can worry about the time tomorrow."
Senior Ty Akins, the defending NCAA Champion in the 110m hurdles, didn't run his best race in that event, finishing third in the opening heat and seventh overall with a time of 13.68, but it was good enough to advance him to Friday's semifinals.
Freshman Cache Armbrister advanced through one round of the women's 200m before being eliminated in the semifinals. She was third in her opening-round heat and 12th overall in the first round with a time of 23.52, then improved to 23.42 into a headwind in the semifinals, but her 11th-place finish in the semifinals was not quite good enough for her to reach the finals.
The NCAA Championships continue through Saturday. Friday's competition will include Martin and Jacob Dunkleberger in the finals of the hammer throw, Raevan Harris in the high jump final, McCoy, Anderson and Gilchrist in the 400m hurdles finals, Hollie Knight and Felix Kiboiywo in the 5,000m finals and Akins in the 110m hurdles semifinals.
There will be live television coverage of the meet from 7-10 p.m. CT on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV), which will include coverage of all of the running events.