Stewart Stars at SEC Track Championships

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Auburn's Kerron Stewart, Cory Martin and Ty Akins won individual titles on Sunday to lead the Auburn men's and women's track and field teams during the final day of the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The Auburn men's team finished in sixth place with 74 points while the women finished seventh with 73.5 points. LSU won the women's title with 139.5 points while the Tennessee men finished first with 129.5 points.

LSU finished second in the men's competition with 122 points and was followed by Arkansas (100), Georgia (78), Florida (75.5), Auburn (74), Ole Miss (65), South Carolina (62), Alabama (47), Kentucky (36) and Mississippi State (30).

Arkansas was second to LSU in the women's race with 110 points and was followed by Georgia (106), Tennessee (89), South Carolina (84), Florida (82), Auburn (73.5), Kentucky (42), Ole Miss (39), Alabama (23), Mississippi State (19) and Vanderbilt (12).

Auburn's head coach Ralph Spry said, "It just shows you how tough of a conference we have when we're ranked third in the nation for men and fourth for women, but finished where we finished here," said Spry.

"We just have to keep working hard, and we're always a better national team than conference team because of our numbers. But I'm really proud of how we lined up, and we just need to keep grinding away and getting better. We're excited about what we're taking to the regionals in two weeks."

Stewart was the star for Auburn, winning both the 100 meters and 200 meters. She won two sprint events at he SEC indoor, winning the 60 and 200 titles in March.

In the 200 meters, Stewart ran a 22.52, the fastest time in the event this year, which was previously 22.60, a time also run by Stewart who shared the SEC Commissioner's Trophy as high scorer in the three-day meet.

The defending champion in the 100 meters, Stewart won it in a time of 11.10 while running into a head-wind, close to her SEC record time of 11.03 set last year. The senior is the only sprinter in Auburn history to win the SEC 100. "I didn't have the start that I wanted, but I'm glad that I was able to come back and pull out the win," said Stewart. "It was a good time, too, so you can't ask for much more."

Following her win the 200, Stewart said, "It's Mother's Day and what better gift could you give your mom. It means a lot because it's my last year and I wanted to finish in style so I'm glad I was able to do that. I'm on schedule for the NCAAs and just taking it one step at a time."

Stewart also anchored the 4x100 relay team which finished in second place in a time of 43.53, the third fastest in school history with Shaquela Williams, Tracy Ann Rowe and Danielle Gilchrist running.

"Coming in, we had a small group of athletes that we expected to get it done for us, which they did," Spry said. "We won six SEC championships this weekend, which is really phenomenal. As a whole, we stepped up and competed well with the people we brought."

Martin won his second title of the meet and sixth career SEC title, earning his first SEC shot put title. Martin, seeded third coming in, came through with a personal-best throw 64 feet, 5 inches, which ranks second in school history and fourth in the NCAA this year. He finished the meet with 28 points by winning the hammer throw Friday and finishing second in the discus Saturday.

Cory Martin competes in the shot put on Sunday.

"There have been a lot of good SEC shot putters, and any time you can be an SEC champ and join the elite club, that's always cool," said Martin. "Competing in an event that I wasn't favored in and coming in as kind of a dark horse, it was fun to pull an upset and surprise some people. It's been in the back of my mind all this week that I could possibly wi this thing, and I put it away early and was able to close it out."

Junior Jacob Dunkleberger finished seventh in the shot put with a mark of 56-7 1/4 while junior Edis Elkasevic earned one point with an eighth-place finish with a regional qualifying mark of 56-6 1/2.

Akins finished in 13.62 seconds in the hurdles, matching his time from Saturday's prelims, but this time doing it into a slight headwind. He beat the current NCAA leader, John Yarbrough of Ole Miss, who finished second in 13.74 seconds. Akins, who was sixth at last year's SEC meet, became the first Auburn man to win the high hurdles at the SEC meet since James Walker won four straight years from 1976-79.

"It feels good to come back from finishing sixth last year," said Akins. "Last year was a rough race, but this was a rough race, too, since we ran into a slight headwind. But hard work pays off and I've been working hard all year to get to this point, and when you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage of your one chance."

Senior Michelle Vaughn came up just short in her attempt to repeat as SEC champion in the women's triple jump. Vaughn, who placed sixth Saturday in the long jump, finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 13.27m (43-6.5).

Auburn had three of the top seven finishers in the women's 400m hurdles. Freshman Danielle Gilchrist placed fourth with a personal-best time of 58.99 while sophomore Amelia Anderson was sixth in 1:00.21 and junior Jasmine Johnson was seventh in 1:01.20.

Freshman Felix Kiboiywo raced to a fourth-place finish in the men's 1500m, clocking a time of 3:46.60. Senior Joey Giattino just missed scoring, finishing ninth in 3:53.92. Kiboiywo later doubled in the 800 meters, but ran out of gas, finishing ninth in 1:52.86.

Sophomore Katalin Mate placed fourth in the women's discus, posting a regional qualifying mark of 48.44m (158-11). Mate stood in seventh place entering her final throw before posting a season-best mark on her final attempt to move up three spots. Mate then competed in the javelin, finishing 11th with a throw of 38.70m (127-0).

Auburn returns to action May 25-26 at the NCAA Regional meeet in Columbia, Mo.

2007 SEC Outdoor Championships

Event Winners and Auburn Finishes

Women's Discus Throw (Final)

1. Precious Akins (USC), 51.18m (167-11)

4. Katalin Mate, 48.44m (158-11)

Men's Triple Jump (Final)

1. Gary Jones (ARK), 15.17m (49-9.25)

Women's Javelin (Final)

1. Krista Woodward (UGA), 51.61m (169-4)

11. Katalin Mate, 38.70m (127-0)

Women's High Jump (Final)

1. Levern Spencer (UGA), 1.86m (6-1.25)

3. Raevan Harris, 1.80m (5-10.75)

T4. Michelle Williamson, 1.75 (5-8.75)

Danielle Threatt, NH

Women's Pole Vault (Final)

1. Jodi Unger (ARK), 4.12m (13-6.25)

Men's Shot Put (Final)

1. Cory Martin, 19.63m (64-5)

7. Jacob Dunkleberger, 17.25m (56-7.25)

8. Edis Elkasevic, 17.23m (56-6.5)

Men's 4x100m Relay (Final)

1. Tennessee, 38.91

10. Auburn (Rogers, Akins, Foster, McCoy), 40.78

Women's 4x100m Relay (Final)

1. South Carolina, 43.33

2. Auburn (Williams, Rowe, Gilchrist, Stewart), 43.53

Men's 1500m (Final)

1. John Richards (UK), 3:43.02

4. Felix Kiboiywo, 3:46.60

9. Joey Giattino, 3:53.92

Women's 1500m (Final)

1. Dacia Barr (ARK), 4:14.97

10. Sabrina Fischer, 4:36.61

Men's 110m Hurdles (Final)

1. Ty Akins, 13.62

Men's 400m (Final)

1. Calvin Smith (UF), 45.74

Women's 400m (Final)

1. Natasha Hastings (USC), 50.84

Men's 100m (Final)

1. Trindon Holliday (LSU), 10.08

Women's 100m (Final)

1. Kerron Stewart, 11.10

4. Tracy Ann Rowe, 11.45

Men's 800m (Final)

1. Jamaal James (LSU), 1:47.00

9. Felix Kiboiywo, 1:52.86

Women's 800m (Final)

1. LaTavia Thomas (LSU), 2:05.07

Men's 400m Hurdles (Final)

1. Justin Gaymon (UGA), 49.25

4. Reuben McCoy, 50.14

Women's 400m Hurdles (Final)

1. Nickiesha Wilson (LSU), 55.77

4. Danielle Gilchrist, 58.99

6. Amelia Anderson, 1:00.21

7. Jasmine Johnson, 1:01.20

Men's 200m (Final)

1. Reuben Williams (UT), 20.60

Women's 200m (Final)

1. Kerron Stewart, 22.52

7. Tracy Ann Rowe, 23.46

Women's Triple Jump (Final)

1. Andrea Linton (LSU), 13.44m (44-1.25)

2. Michelle Vaughn, 13.27m (43-6.5)

Men's 5000m (Final)

1. Barnabas Kirui (UM), 14:06.94

21. Chase Oliver, 14:57.06

Simon Nyang, DNF

Joey Giattino, DNF

Women's 5000m (Final)

1. Jill Steffens (UGA), 16:23.80

Laurel Pritchard, DNF

Men's 4x400m Relay (Final) 1. LSU, 3:03.62

10. Auburn (Rogers, Keegan, Foster, Akins), 3:20.68

Women's 4x400m Relay (Final)

1. South Carolina, 3:28.44

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