Tiger Track and Field Teams Take Part In SEC Outdoor Championships Beginning Thursday
May 13, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn men's and women's track and field teams are set to participate in the 2009 SEC Outdoor Championships this Thursday through Sunday in Gainesville, Fla. Thursday's action involves only the first day of the men's decathlon and the women's heptathlon, while the bulk of the schedule gets underway Friday.
Auburn enters the meet with its men's team ranked No. 13 nationally and the women ranked 14th. However, the men's field is loaded with seven nationally-ranked squads, including No. 2 Florida, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 12 LSU, Auburn, No. 20 Georgia and No. 25 Kentucky. The women's field includes No. 4 LSU, No. 12 Tennessee, Auburn and No. 22 Arkansas.
"I'm pumped up about this weekend," said head coach Ralph Spry. "Our men's team has a chance to do extremely well this weekend and is pretty balanced. If we could finish in the top two or three, that would be great for the men.
"Our women have such a young team that we're looking forward to getting them some big-time experience this weekend, and getting them to step up in this environment. This weekend and the NCAA Regional and Championship meets are the biggest parts of our season. It's what we prepare for all year, so I'm excited."
Auburn's men have won four SEC outdoor championships, winning titles in 1954-55, 1961 and 1979. The Tigers have had 35 top-three finishes in their history, although their best finish over the past 12 seasons has been four fourth-place performances.
The women's squad has yet to win an SEC indoor or outdoor title, but came extremely close at the 2006 outdoor meet, being edged by one point by Georgia. Auburn's best outdoor finish prior to that came in 1996 when the Tigers finished third.
At last year's SEC Outdoor Championships hosted by Auburn, the Tigers' men's team finished in fifth place with 78.2 points and the women were seventh with 66 points. Three SEC Champions return for Auburn, including senior Raevan Harris in the women's high jump, junior Felix Kiboiywo in the men's 1500 meters and junior Valentina Srsa in the hammer throw.
Auburn has 20 individuals competing this weekend who have already qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. The Tigers also have four relay teams that have qualified for the regional meet.
Eight of the athletes currently own marks that rank them in the top 15 in the NCAA this year. Joanna Atkins is ranked third nationally in both the women's 200 meters (22.89) and 400 meters (51.77). Marcus Rowland is fourth in the men's 200 meters (20.48) and tied for 11th in the 100 meters (10.27).
Girma Mecheso is ranked sixth in the 10,000 meters (28:26.09) and Raevan Harris is tied for sixth in the high jump (1.83m). Eric Werskey is eighth in the shot put (18.58m), Michael DeHaven is tied for eighth in the 200 meters (20.64), Felix Kiboiywo is 13th in the men's 1500 meters (3:42.30), and Ryan Fleck is tied for 13th in the men's high jump (2.16m).
Atkins also helped the women's 4x100-meter relay team post the nation's fourth-best mark (43.74) and the women's 4x400-meter relay rank 11th (3:35.82). The men's 4x400-meter relay team ranks 12th among all schools.
More information on the SEC Outdoor Championships can be found on the University of Florida's athletics website at www.gatorzone.com. FOX Sports will also air a tape-delayed broadcast of the meet on Saturday, May 23, at 5 p.m. CT.
More Auburn Football Headlines
More Auburn Headlines