June 12, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. - The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams added a combined 15 All-American honors to their resumes as the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships came to a close in front of a standing-room only crowd of 12,812 fans Saturday at Hayward Field.
The Auburn women finished the meet in 12th place with 23 points, while the men tied for 37th with seven points. The Tigers finished the four-day meet with 14 individuals earning a total of 19 All-American honors.
It marked the second-best finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Auburn women's history, trailing only the 2006 national championship team. The Tigers have placed in the top 25 for 10 consecutive seasons, but their second-best finish entering this season was a tie for 12th in 2007.
"It's a long meet and a lot of good things happened for us," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We had a couple of chances to help ourselves in a few events and didn't capitalize on it, and there is very little room for error in this meet. But still, we're leaving with quite a few All-Americans and I'm proud of how we lined up and competed."
The Tigers had a pair of women finish as All-Americans in the 200 meters on Saturday. Sophomore Nivea Smith, who was runner-up in the 200 at the NCAA indoor meet, finished third with a time of 23.25 seconds, while Sheniqua Ferguson matched her sixth-place finish from yesterday's 100-meter final with a sixth-place showing in 23.60 seconds.
"I felt pretty good going into the race," said Smith. "I wanted to get a better start than I normally get, and I think I did. It was a good race. I would have rather been first, but third is good. Last year I wasn't even at this meet, so I feel good about my performance today."
The men's 4x100-meter relay team was at a disadvantage due to the loss of anchor Marcus Rowland, who suffered an injury during the 100-meter final on Friday and was unable to compete. However, the team of junior Stephen Fly, redshirt freshman Harry Adams, junior Michael DeHaven and sophomore Neil Danville executed their handoffs while three teams failed to finish the race, and the Tigers took fifth with a time of 40.44 seconds.
Danville, who ran the anchor leg in Rowland's place after having not run in the 4x100-meter relay all year, said that being thrust into the relay didn't catch him off guard.
"All week I was ready to run," said Danville. "I had to be prepared because we've had some injuries this season. I knew when Marcus got hurt that it was my time to go. The other guys have worked hard all throughout the season and I wanted to get All-American honors for them, so I just had to get the baton to the finish line."
In the final event of the meet for Auburn, the women's 4x400-meter relay team of junior Cache Armbrister, sophomore CeCe Williams, freshman Kai Selvon and senior Joanna Atkins finished sixth with a time of 3:33.17, just .01 seconds off their season best. It marked the first time since the 2005 season that Auburn scored points in the event.
The morning started with the women's 4x100-meter relay team finishing in seventh place. The team of senior Shaquela Williams, Atkins, Ferguson and Smith clocked a time of 44.43 seconds while posting Auburn's best finish in that event since 2006.
In the men's shot put, senior Eric Werskey just missed scoring points for the team, placing ninth with a throw of 18.50 meters (60-8.5). Werskey's best effort came on his second attempt, and he entered the finals in sixth place, but was unable to improve on his final three throws while dropping three spots. However, Werskey will still earn All-American honors as one of the top eight American-born finishers.
In the men's 5,000 meters, sophomore Ben Cheruiyot, who was seventh in the 10,000 meters just two nights ago, finished in 17th place with a time of 14:08.00. Senior Jean-Pierre Weerts placed 24th in the race, clocking a time of 14:32.21.
"I'm already looking forward to next year," said Spry. "We have two good squads coming back and this was a good experience for all of the kids that will be back next year."
Texas A&M won both the men's and women's team titles for the second year in a row. In the men's race, the Aggies scored 55 points to edge Florida by one point, followed by Oregon (45), Arizona State (37) and USC (35.5). In the women's standings, Texas A&M scored 72 points, followed by Oregon (57), Florida (40), Penn State (34) and Virginia Tech (33).
Harry Adams (4x100m relay)
Ben Cheruiyot (10,000m)
Neil Danville (4x100m relay)
Michael DeHaven (4x100m relay)
Stephen Fly (4x100m relay)
Marcus Rowland (100m)
Eric Werskey (shot put)
Cache Armbrister (4x400m relay)
Joanna Atkins (400m/4x100m relay/4x400m relay)
Sheniqua Ferguson (100m/200m/4x100m relay)
Kai Selvon (4x400m relay)
Nivea Smith (200m/4x100m relay)
CeCe Williams (4x400m relay)
Shaquela Williams (4x100m relay)