June 14, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa -
Senior thrower Cory Martin won his second NCAA championship in as many days by winning the shot put and the Auburn men tied for second with 44 points as the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships concluded Saturday. The women finished tied for 15th with 14 points, and Auburn finished the meet with nine All-American honors.
The men tied with LSU for second, trailing only Florida State, which won the meet with 52 points. It marked the second time that the Auburn men took home a second-place trophy at the outdoor meet, as the 2003 team also finished second. The Tigers were third last year and in 2000, marking four top-three finishes this decade.
"I'm very pleased with the entire meet from day one to the final event," said head coach Ralph Spry. "All year long I knew we had a team that could challenge for a national title. Cory, Jake, Ty and Reuben are seasoned-tested guys. They came here and completed like always. They gave us a chance to win a title, but we came up a little bit short. I'm so proud of the way they lined up and performed.
"Both sides did extremely well, with our women having a strong meet with a 15th-place finish. This championship gives us more focus to go back to the drawing board and keep doing what we're doing and continue to work towards our ultimate goal of winning a national title. We leave this weekend with our head's held up high. We gave it our best effort and you can never be disappointed with that."
Martin won his second title of the meet, coming from behind to win on his final throw for the second day in a row. Just as he set a new school record on his last attempt to win the hammer throw on Friday, Martin entered his final throw in the shot put on Saturday in second place before setting a personal best on his final attempt. Martin's toss of 20.35 meters (66-9.25) topped his previous career best by an inch and a half and moved him past Arizona State's Ryan Whiting by just over four inches. Whiting had one last shot but came up just short, giving Martin the title.
"I like making things interesting," Martin said. "It came down to the last throw and I had to go for broke. My mom always says I'm a procrastinator and like to save things for the last minute. Luckily, I hit it right and he (Whiting) didn't pass me on his final throw."
Martin became just the second Auburn athlete to win two championships at a single NCAA outdoor meet, joining Harvey Glance, who won the 100 meters and 200 meters in 1976. He also became just the second man to win the shot put and hammer throw at the same NCAA Championship meet, joining Jack Merchant of Cal in 1922.
Moments after Martin's victory, Ty Akins just missed defending his NCAA championship in the 110m hurdles, finishing second behind South Carolina's Jason Richardson by just six tenths of a second. Akins finished in 13.46 into a headwind while earning his third career All-American honor. He held the lead early in the race before Richardson came from behind to grab the crown.
"You can never win a race running sloppy," Akins said. "I got out to the lead early and clipped a few and it broke my momentum. He (Richardson) caught up with me and I started pressing. I just hit too many hurdles. It would have been great to repeat, but you have to take the good with the bad."
Martin and Akins were the only Auburn athletes competing on Saturday. Seven of Auburn's nine All-American honors came on Friday, as Amelia Anderson (400m hurdles), Jacob Dunkleberger (hammer throw), Danielle Gilchrist (400m hurdles), Raevan Harris (high jump), Hollie Knight (5000m), Martin (hammer throw) and Reuben McCoy (400m hurdles) all were honored.
In addition, in the 15 events in which Auburn competed, Tiger athletes finished at or better than their ranking entering the meet in 13 events, including all seven events in which Auburn athletes were ranked in the top 10.
Auburn's 2008 Outdoor Track and Field All-Americans
MEN--Ty Akins (110m hurdles), Jacob Dunkleberger (hammer throw), Cory Martin (hammer throw, shot put), Reuben McCoy (400m hurdles)
WOMEN-- Amelia Anderson (400m hurdles), Danielle Gilchrist (400m hurdles), Raevan Harris (high jump), Hollie Knight (5000m)