Auburn 6th At NCAA Track and Field Meet

Sophomores led the way for Coach Ralph Spry's Auburn Tigers as Auburn wrapped up competition at the nationals.

Des Moines, Iowa--An injury to All-American sprinter Harry Adams affected Auburn's point total in two events on Saturday, but the Tigers managed their best finish at the NCAA Track & Field Championships since 2008 with a sixth place showing.

On Saturday the highlights for the Tigers were a second place in the men's shot put by sophomore Stephen Saenz and a second place in the women's 200 meters by sophomore Kai Selvon.

Auburn was the favorite to win the 4x100 relay, but with Adams suffering a knee injury the Tigers finished third. He was also expected to challenge to win the 200 meters on Saturday, but he jogged the event so he could cross the finish line and score a point for the team with his eighth place finish.

SEC teams Florida (50 points) and LSU (48) finished first and second in the men's competition. Auburn scored 30 points in the four days of competition.

LSU swamped the field in the women's events, scoring 76 points, 14 more than Oregon. Auburn was 24th with 13 points in a tie with Arkansas, Arizona State and Southern Cal.

"It would have almost taken a perfect meet to win a team title, but we were certainly going to be in second or third range," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said of the men's team run that was slowed by the injury to Adams.

The Tigers came into the meet ranked 10th nationally, but Spry was hoping to do much better. "We are going to learn from this and find a way to get over the hump and come back with a vengeance," he said. "I'm really proud of how we lined up this week.

"We will be back next year with a bigger group and we will add more firepower," Spry added. "This group that scored this year will all return in 2013. When you have a year under your belt with this type of experience, it only benefits as you come back for another year."

Two-time SEC champion Saenz had the best day for the men's team with second place in the shot put.

"Whenever you come out to a meet and perform well, especially close to your personal record, then it's a good thing," Saenz said. "That's what you are aiming for. I was within five inches or less of my personal best so I'm pleased with my performance."

Stephen Saenz competes for the Tigers on Saturday in Des Moines.

The sophomore's throw of 64 feet, 10 3/4 inches trailed only a toss of 66 feet, 11 1/4 inches by Jordan Clarke of Arizona State. Saenz scored eight points for the Tigers and had the best finish for Auburn in the event since Cory Martin won it in 2008 while helping that team to a second place finish overall.

The men's 4x100 relay, competing without Adams, finished third. Michael DeHaven, who has been rehabbing an injury, learned Friday night he would take the spot of the ailing Adams.

"They needed me," DeHaven said. "I wouldn't have missed this for the world, the chance to go out with these boys. When a man goes down, then another man steps up. I was going to do whatever I had to that would help the team."

Auburn ran a time of 38.69. LSU won the event in 38.38 and FSU was second in 38.57.

"I was really proud of DeHaven," Spry said. "I know he didn't want to go out like he did at the prelims with an injury. He stayed tough and did the things to get healthy. I looked him in the eyes and asked him if he was ready to go and he told me he was ready. I put him in there and he ran a really good leg. That was a solid finish considering we had to take Harry Adams off the relay. We really competed well."

Keenan Brock led the way for the Tigers in the 200 meters, placing sixth with a time of 20.02 for three points. The sophomore was unable to keep up with Florida State's Maurice Mitchell, who won the event in 20.40 seconds. Adams jogged the 200 to add a point for his team. He crossed the finish line in 26.51.

Kai Selvon (left) raced to a second place finish in the 200 meters on Saturday.

Selvon was the lone competitor for the women on Saturday, running in the finals of the 200. Her time of 23.19 was second only to the 22.86 by LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan, who has the fastest time in the world in that event this season.

Selvon's finish was the Tigers' best finish in the 200 since Kerron Stewart won it in 2007 and gave the women eight more points. "It's a good feeling, but I can't become complacent," Selvon said. "Every year someone new steps up so I've got to get back to work and continue improving."

Saenz said he is looking forward to returning for next year's competition. "To get sixth place at nationals and have all of us be All-Americans and know that all of the guys are coming back next year is exciting," he said. "We've had a taste of the top. We could smell it so now I think next year we will be ready to come out and do even better."

Results And Scoreboard

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