June 10, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. -- Nine Auburn track and field athletes will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 11-14 at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Representing the Tigers will be seniors Stephen Saenz and DJ Smith, juniors Valentina Muzaric and Samantha Scarlett, sophomore Rachel Dincoff and freshmen Justin Carter, Khalil Henderson, Ebony Morrison and Teray Smith.
“I feel pretty good heading to Oregon,” head coach Ralph Spry said. “This is the last collegiate meet of the year so we are trying to be at our best. It is all about staying sharp. We have been working on our technique, so when we go to NCAAs, everyone has a shot to be at their best. Based on our results last week at the NCAA Preliminaries, I feel like everyone is where we need them to be. Everybody is healthy and feeling good, so I think everyone has a chance to perform at their best in Eugene.
We have four freshmen going, and at the National Championships, it doesn’t matter whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, the best kids in the country are going to there. However, when you do have freshmen going, it tells you that things are going well, and you have a great freshman student-athlete. Regardless if they score and become an All-American, the experience that they gain is invaluable. They will be battle tested, so when they come back next year as a sophomore, they have already been there done that. I am excited about having our freshmen going. It shows they will be good for years to come.”
Saenz, who will be making his third NCAA Championships appearance, will open competition for the Tigers on Wednesday in the shot put after finishing eighth at the NCAA Preliminaries with a throw of 63-8.75/19.42m. Saenz holds the nation’s third-longest throw in the shot put with a distance of 66-9.25/20.35m, set at the UCSD Triton Invitational.
Henderson and Teray Smith will compete in the 200m on Thursday at 6 pm CT. Henderson claimed two personal records at the NCAA Preliminaries, qualifying with a time of 20.63. Smith advanced the NCAA Championships with a time of 20.68.
High jumper DJ Smith will be Auburn’s lone competitor on Friday after clearing 7-1.5/2.17m at the NCAA Prelims to advance to his second NCAA Championships. The Atlanta native was runner-up at the SEC Championships, with a jump of 7-1.75/2.18m.
Carter, Auburn’s first javelin competitor in the NCAA Championships since 1996, will compete on Saturday at 2:35 pm CT. The Auburn, Ala., native placed 10th at the NCAA Prelims with a mark of 222-6/67.82m. Carter snapped the 18-year school record in the event at the SEC Championships with a throw of 239-7/73.04m.
On the women’s side, Morrison and Scarlett will compete in the 100m hurdles on Thursday. Scarlett recorded the program’s fourth-best time in the event at 13.01 to qualify, while Morrison broke the school’s freshman record with a time of 13.06.
Dincoff and Muzaric will compete on Saturday in the shot put as Dincoff placed eighth at the NCAA Prelims with a throw of 54-1.75/16.50m, while Muzaric finished 10th with a mark of 54-0.5/16.47m. Muzaric’s mark of 56-0.5/17.08m set at the UCSD Triton Invitational ranks sixth in the nation, while Dincoff’s personal best throw of 54-2/16.51m is 10th nationally.
The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be streamed online on ESPN3 exclusively on Wednesday and Thursday, and will be broadcast on ESPNU Friday and Saturday. Wednesday and Thursday’s coverage will begin at 5:55 pm CT. Friday’s ESPNU coverage begins at 6:30 pm CT, and Saturday’s coverage is slated for 4 pm CT.
Live results for the NCAA Championships can be found online at here.
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