May 29, 2014
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Auburn senior Stephen Saenz and freshman Justin Carter advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on the first day of competition at the NCAA East Preliminaries at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.
Carter, an Auburn native, finished 10th in the javelin with a mark of 222-6/67.82m, and becomes the first Tiger to qualify in the javelin since Juan Lopez in 1996.
“It was good to advance, obviously,” Carter said. “My main goal was to just live another day and advance to Nationals. I didn’t feel my best today, but I wasn’t going to use that as an excuse. The main thing I had to do was keep pushing. I know one day all of this will come back and hit me. None of it has really hit me yet from this year. I can’t let little things hold me back.”
Saenz, who will be making his third appearance at the NCAA Championships, placed eighth in the shot put at 63-8.75/19.42m. Saenz hit the mark on his second attempt, before fouling twice and passing on his final two throws.
“I felt pretty good today,” Saenz said. “My rhythm wasn’t the best, but I just wanted to get a mark to get into Eugene. With this being my third time going to Nationals, I know what level of intensity to bring, so hopefully I can use that to my advantage.”
“The big thing for us today was to make sure Stephen Saenz and Justin Carter made it through,” head coach Ralph Spry said. “They had high marks coming into the meet, so we just wanted to make sure they were able to advance to Nationals in two weeks in Eugene, Ore. They both took care of business. We missed on some opportunities. I was hoping Marcus Popenfoose would’ve made it through. He competed well, just wasn’t able to make it. V’alonee Robinson and Sashel Brown advanced to the next round so I am happy about that. We have a big day tomorrow with sprints, hurdles and throws.”
Senior V’alonee Robinson qualified to the quarterfinal of 100m with a time of 11.75. Freshman Sashel Brown advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal in the 400m hurdles at 59.19. In the women’s hammer throw, senior Tori Nwadiogbu finished 26th at 183-10/56.05m.
Auburn will return to action on Friday at 2:30 pm CT with the women’s discus, while men’s 110m hurdles are slated for 4:00 pm CT. Live results for the NCAA East Preliminary Round can be found online here.
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