Auburn Track And Field Teams Open 2010 Season At Kentucky Invitational
Jan. 14, 2010
AUBURN - The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams open the 2010 indoor season this Friday and Saturday at the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington. The meet, which will be held at the E.J. Nutter Field House, begins Friday at 5 p.m. CT, with just four field events contested the first day. Saturday's competition begins with field events at 9:30 a.m. CT, while running events begin at 11:30 a.m. CT. Thirty-nine Tigers (18 men and 21 women) are scheduled to make the trip to Kentucky for the meet.
Auburn will face stiff competition including some nationally-ranked squads competing in Lexington. The nationally-ranked teams from the men's side include No. 15 Auburn, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 19 Georgia. The women's field includes No. 12 Tennessee and No. 18 Louisville.
Also in attendance will be SEC squads from Alabama, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. Other schools attending include Eastern Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Marshall, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, UCF and Western Kentucky.
"This is my 13th year and things haven't really changed much for the first meet," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We had a long Christmas break and everybody just got back, so we're just trying to break the ice and not put a lot of pressure on our first meet. The indoor season is a short season so once we get that first one under our belt we'll have a starting point and we can start getting more serious from there."
The Auburn men's team, which is ranked No. 15 in the initial USTFCCCA rankings, has eight All-Americans on its squad. Both Michael DeHaven and Marcus Rowland earned three All-American honors in sprints last season to lead the squad. Elkanah Kibet and Felix Kiboiywo have both won two career All-American honors, with both of Kiboiywo's and one of Kibet's coming during the cross county season. High jumper Ryan Fleck, shot putter Eric Werskey and 4x100-meter relay member Stephen Fly each earned one All-American honor in track and field 2009, while Ben Cheruiyot was a 2009 cross country All-American.
Leading the charge for the women is Joanna Atkins, the lone NCAA Champion on either squad who has two career All-American honors in the 400 meters. Holly Knight is a two-time All-American, earning one in track and one in cross country, while hurdlers Amelia Anderson and Danielle Gilchrist and sprinter Cache Armbrister have one All-American honor each.
The Kentucky Invitational will be the first collegiate track and field competition for nine of the 39 Tigers making the trip, including six of the women. Stephanie Barnes (distances), Kaci Blackstone (distances), Krystal Bodie (sprints), Sheniqua Ferguson (sprints), Maya Pressley (high jump) and Grace Pritchard (distances) will all compete for the first time on the women's side. Harry Adams (sprints), Christian Heiden (multi-events) and Stephen Saenz (throws) will take part in their first collegiate meets for the men's side.
Four current indoor records at the E.J. Nutter Field House were set by Auburn athletes. Kerron Stewart broke two records at the 2007 SEC Indoor Championships, setting the standard in the 60m (7.14) and the 200m (22.46). The men established two marks that still stand in 2004 - Maurice Smith set the heptathlon record with a mark of 5,767 points and Leevan Sands set the triple jump record with a leap of 55-10.25.
"The biggest difference this year is that we usually have a week of school before the week of our first meet," said Spry. "This year we're competing the same week we got back, so we only had two or three days to prepare for this competition. So we're going to kind of lay low and let the kids go out there with no fear and compete, and hopefully some of them will step up and we'll have a good starting point to our season."
More Auburn Football Headlines
More Auburn Headlines