March 7, 2006
Auburn Heads To NCAA Indoor Championships
Eleven Auburn athletes (eight women, three men) will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships March 10-11. The Tigers will have athletes competing in 11 individual events and one relay.
Making the trip for the women's team are: Ronda Gullatte (weight throw), Angela Homan (5,000m), Markita James (400m/4x400m relay), Jovanee Jarrett (long jump), Josanne Lucas (60m hurdles/4x400m relay), Kerron Stewart (60m/200m/4x400m relay), Tamara Thomas (4x400m relay) and Michelle Vaughn (triple jump).
Several Tigers Highly Ranked Entering Indoor Meet
The Auburn women's team has several athletes that are highly-ranked in their respective events and look to score big points. Kerron Stewart has a chance to score the most points with the second-best mark in the field in the 200m (22.91) and the fifth-best mark in the 60m (7.23). Markita James is ranked third in the 400m (52.46), and teams with Stewart, Tamara Thomas and Josanne Lucas to form the No. 2-ranked 4x400m relay team (3:31.66). Other performers ranked in the top eight include Michelle Vaughn, who is seeded fifth in the triple jump (13.33m), and Jovanee Jarrett, who is ranked eighth in the long jump (6.37m).
The Auburn men hope to pile up the points in the weight throw, as Jacob Dunkleberger is seeded third after a throw of 22.36m at the Cyclone National Qualifier last weekend, while Cory Martin is ranked fifth after winning the SEC title with a mark of 22.24m. Ty Akins, Auburn's other male competitor, has the eighth-best mark in the 60m hurdles (a converted time of 7.78 seconds).
History At The NCAA Indoor Championships
The Auburn women's team, ranked No. 3 nationally, has a chance to earn its best-ever finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Tigers' previous best was a seventh-place finish at the 2003 indoor meet, while Auburn has also had top-ten finishes in 1993 (eighth), 2000 (ninth) and 2005 (10th). Auburn has scored in every meet but one since 1992.
The men's team, with three competitors, won't be able to duplicate last year's fourth-place finish, but the Tigers should still score points for the 12th year in a row. Auburn has had eight top-ten finishes including runner-up performances in 1978 and 2003.
Auburn's Individual Indoor Champions
Auburn athletes have won 17 NCAA individual indoor championships, including three last year. Junior Edis Elkasevic (out with an injury for the indoor season this year) won the shot put title in 2005, while the now departed Fana Ashby (60m) and Maurice Smith (heptathlon) were also individual winners.
Elva Goulbourne is the only Tiger to win multiple titles at one meet, winning the triple jump and long jump in 2003. She also is the only Tiger with three career indoor titles, having previously won the 2002 long jump crown. Willie Smith is the only other Auburn athlete to win more than one indoor title during a career, winning the 440-yard dash in 1977 and 1978.
Women Second, Men Eighth At SEC Indoor Championships
The Auburn women's team finished a close second at the SEC Indoor Championships, matching the team's best-ever finish while posting the highest point total in team history with 96 points - 50 points more than during last year's seventh-place finish. Auburn had four individual winners, including two victories by Kerron Stewart, who won the Commissioner's Trophy by winning the 55m and the 200m while running a leg on the second-place 4x400m relay team. Stewart, who set a new school record in the 55m of 6.71 seconds, is Auburn's third ever double-winner at the SEC Indoor Championships. Auburn also swept the horizontal jumps, as Jovanee Jarrett won the long jump and Michelle Vaughn won the triple jump. Angela Homan posted provisional times while finishing second in the 5000m and third in the 3000m and Markita James was second in the 400m.
The men's team finished eighth, but still had some solid individual performances. Cory Martin repeated as SEC indoor champion in the weight throw, breaking his own school record with a mark of 22.24m (72-11.75). Ty Akins finished a close second in the 55m hurdles with a provisional qualifying time of 7.25, while Tavaris Washington also provisionally qualified in that event with a mark of 7.32 in the semifinals. Jacob Dunkleberger finished fourth in the shot put with a provisional mark of 18.18m, while Reuben McCoy finished fifth in the 400m with a provisional time of 47.61.
Kerron Stewart was awarded the Commissioner's Trophy at the SEC Indoor Championships for being the highest female point scorer (22 points). Stewart won the 55m and the 200m while also running on the second-place 4x400m relay team. Stewart became just the second Auburn woman to be the top point scorer at the SEC meet, joining Elva Goulbourne, who scored 28 points at the 2003 meet.
The second-place showing for the Auburn women's team at the SEC Indoor Championships is even more impressive when one considers the number of athletes that Auburn had participating in Gainesville. In the 15 individual events excluding the two relays, Auburn had a total of 25 entrants. Georgia, which won the team title, was able to field 45 entrants in those 15 events. In fact, every team in the top eight had more entrants than Auburn, yet the Tigers still managed to finish second, just 5.5 points behind Georgia for first and at least 17.5 points ahead of every other team.
Auburn In The National Rankings
After starting the season unranked, the Auburn women's team has climbed all the way to third for a second straight week in the March 7 Trackwire 25. It marks the fifth straight week Auburn has been in the top ten after jumping from a tie for 14th into a tie for sixth following a strong showing at the Pepsi Invitational Feb. 5 in Gainesville. The current ranking of No. 3 marks the highest of the season for Auburn. The men's squad, which has suffered from injuries and other misfortunes, is back in the rankings at No. 24. Auburn was ranked as high as tied for 15th back on Jan. 30, but was not ranked the last three weeks.
Climbing The Charts
Auburn women have posted 21 marks that have moved them into the top 10 in the Tigers' all-time indoor lists, while the men's team has had 12 such marks. Those who have cracked the top three this season include Kerron Stewart (first in the 55m and second in the 200m), Markita James (first in the 400m), Jacob Dunkleberger (first in the weight throw), Ronda Gullatte (first in the weight throw), Cory Martin (second in the weight throw), Andrew Heath (second in the 500m), Angela Homan (second in the 5000m), Josanne Lucas (second in the 60m hurdles and third in the 55m hurdles), Katlin Mate (second in the shot put) and the women's 4x400m relay team of Lucas, Stewart, Tamara Thomas and James (first).
Markita James' school record-setting performance of 52.77 seconds in the 400m at the Pepsi Invitational Feb. 5 was a breakthrough for her. Entering the meet, her fastest indoor time in the 400m was 54.87, although she had run faster times during legs of the 4x400m relay. Pacing herself alongside Tiandra Ponteen, ranked 20th in the world in the 400m, James was able to break her personal best by more than two seconds and Auburn's 10-year-old school record (53.29 by Eusheka Bartley) by more than half a second. The following weekend at the Tyson Invitational, James broke her own record, posting a time of :52.64.
Doing Whatever It Takes
Angela Homan had a gutty performance at the SEC Indoor Championships. Homan, a two-time outdoor All-American in the 10,000m, ran the 3,000m for the first time in two years, yet still managed to place third with the fourth-best mark in school history. The next day, she finished second in the 5,000m with a time that was less than four seconds off the school record. Just over an hour later, with her team still in contention for the SEC title, she came back and ran the mile during the anchor leg of the distance medley relay.
Auburn Athletes Rank in the World
Two members of the Auburn men's team are ranked in the world according to the March 6 IAAF rankings. Edis Elkasevic is ranked 16th in the shot put and Lansford Spence is ranked 28th in the 400m. Unfortunately, neither athlete is currently competing for Auburn, as Elkasevic suffered an injury prior to the indoor season and Spence was ruled to be ineligible midway through the indoor season.
Auburn Record Holders
Eight members of the current Auburn track and field squads (two men, five women) currently own 10 indoor and outdoor school records. A list of the school record-holders competing on this year's teams follows:
Women Kerron Stewart 55m 6.71 Angela Homan 5000m (o) 16:22.62 Markita James 400m (i) 52.77 Josanne Lucas 400m hurdles 55.59 Lucas, Stewart, Thomas, James 4x400m relay (i) 3:31.66 Ronda Gullatte Weight Throw 67-0.75
Experienced Tigers Return
Auburn has 11 All-Americans this season, including six on the men's team and five on the women's side. Auburn's returning All-Americans include: Ty Akins, Jacob Dunkleberger, Edis Elkasevic, Cory Martin, Reuben McCoy, Shamar Sands, Angela Homan, Jovanee Jarrett, Markita James, Josanne Lucas and Tamara Thomas.
Follow the Tigers on the Web
Complete information on the NCAA Indoor Championships including live results can be found on Arkansas' women's athletics website: www.ladybacks.com.
Auburn Competitor List For Indoor National Championships
Men Ty Akins - 60m hurdles Jacob Dunkleberger - weight throw Cory Martin - weight throw
Women Ronda Gullatte - weight throw Angela Homan - 5,000m Markita James - 400m/4x400m relay Jovanee Jarrett - long jump Josanne Lucas - 60m hurdles/4x400m relay Kerron Stewart - 60m/200/4x400m relay Tamara Thomas - 4x400m relay Michelle Vaughn - triple jump