Feb. 9, 2018
Clemson, S.C. - Sophomore Akeem Bloomfield broke his own school record in the men's 400m dash at the Tiger Paw Invitational Friday to highlight Day 1 of competition for the Tigers' track and field program.
Bloomfield crossed in 45.02, the second fastest time in the nation this year, the sixth-fastest time in NCAA history and eighth best ever in the world all-time list. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Bloomfield, who finished second in the race to Southern California's Michael Norman (45.00), broke the Jamaican National record in the process.
"Akeem's performance running a 45.02 in the 400 was incredible," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "To post a time like that and break the school and Jamaican National record is very, very impressive. Our sprinters Jonielle, Natalliah and Raheem posted some big-time runs, which I'm very pleased with."
In Fayetteville, Ark., at the Tyson Invitational, senior Jonielle Smith ran a 7.18 in the prelims of the women's 60m dash, posting the fastest time by an Auburn athlete in the event in 11 years. Auburn all-time great Kerron Stewart is the only Tiger to post faster times in the last 20 years than Smith's 7.18, clocking a 7.14 and 7.15 in 2007. Teammate Natalliah White also dropped a fast time in the event with a PR of 7.19, making her the fourth fastest in school history in the 60m.
Sophomore Raheem Chambers became the fourth fastest male in school history in the 60m dash, crossing in a PR time of 6.60 to finish third at the Tyson Invite.
"We had a really strong day today against very good competition," Spry said. "Our athletes did a great job competing as we prepare for the SEC meet in two weeks. We need to bounce back Saturday had have a good day as we continue to sharpen and prepare for the conference meet."
In the men's mile at the Tiger Paw Invitational, Wesley Curles, Wesley Pectol, Silas Kipngetich, and Erik Armes logged new PRs. Curles' time of 4:03.37 was good for third place and made him the eighth fastest performer in AU history. On the women's side, Presley Weems, Frances Patrick and Emily Mills all notched bests in the mile.
"Our milers ran really well today, which I'm very pleased with," Spry said.
A total of 14 personal bests were broken or tied during Friday's competition in Clemson and Fayetteville.
Freshman thrower Tori McKinley finished seventh in the women's shot put with a personal-best throw of 50-11.50, making the rookie the third best performer in school history behind Valentina Muzaric and Rachel Dincoff.
Mark Rubalcala took sixth in the men's long jump (24-0.25), while freshman Noah Igbinoghene was 10th (23-3.50) in his first collegiate action. Igbinoghene, also a member of the SEC West champion football team, joined the track and field team earlier in the week.
"It was great to get Noah out there," Spry said. "We wanted to get him a couple of jumps and ease him in. He competed well, especially considering he has had no training to this point."
Day 2 of the Tiger Paw Invitational and Tyson Invitational will conclude with events starting at 11 a.m. local time.