April 16, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams will host their second and final home meet of the season this weekend at Hutsell-Rosen Track. While most of the action takes place Saturday, Friday will feature women's heptathlon competition throughout the day, the men's and women's hammer throws beginning at 4:30 p.m., and special invitational 1500-meter races for the men and women at 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, field events begin at 10:30 a.m. CT, with running events slated to start at noon. The meet, which is free to the public, will run until approximately 7:30 p.m. CT.
Along with the No. 16 Auburn women and the No. 23 Auburn men, headlining the meet will be Florida, whose men are ranked fourth nationally and whose women are 13th, and Penn State, which has the No. 7-ranked women's squad. Other SEC schools in attendance include Mississippi State and women's competitors from Alabama and Vanderbilt.
Also scheduled to compete are teams from UAB, Alabama-Huntsville, Alabama State, UNC Charlotte, Cumberlands, Florida A&M, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville State, Mercer, Samford, Tennessee State, Troy and West Florida.
"We should have great competition and great weather, so it should be a really interesting meet," said head coach Ralph Spry. "We have a lot of athletes that have already qualified for the NCAA regionals, but we're hoping to get a few more this weekend, and improve on our times for those who have already qualified. We've got a couple of meets under our belts now, so we're starting to really get focused to prepare for the big meets we have coming up."
So far this season, Auburn has 14 individuals who have posted a combined 17 individual qualifying marks for the NCAA Mideast Regional, and two that have automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. The Tigers also have three relay teams that have qualified for the regional meet. Three Tigers have qualified in more than one individual event this season: Cache Armbrister (200m, 400m), Joanna Atkins (100m, 200m) and Eric Werskey (shot put, discus).
Six of Auburn's athletes currently own marks that rank them in the top 10 in the NCAA this year, plus a relay. Atkins is second in the women's 200 meters (22.89), while Girma Mecheso is ranked third in the 10,000 meters (28:26.09) and Elkanah Kibet is fourth (28:26.96) in the same event. Marcus Rowland is seventh in the men's 100 meters (10.27), Felix Kiboiywo is seventh in the men's 5,000 meters (13:50.87) and Ryan Fleck is tied for eighth in the men's high jump (7-1). Atkins also helped the women's 4x100-meter relay team post the nation's fifth-best mark (44.10).
Live results for the meet can be found on www.auburntigers.com.