Track Tigers Attack Record Books at Regional

A report on the NCAA Mideast Track and Field regional is featured.

Columbia, Mo.--Junior Cory Martin won his second event of the NCAA Mideast Regional Track and Field meet on Saturday and three other Tigers took individual titles on a record-setting day for Auburn.

Overall, the Tigers qualified nine competitors for next month's NCAA Track and Field Championships. In the men's competition the Tigers finished second with 55 points, 15 behind LSU and five ahead of Louisville. The Auburn women scored 35 points, which was fifth. LSU won the women's competition with 112 points while Arkansas was second with 77.

Martin, winner of the hammer throw on Friday, powered up on day two of the event to win the discus with a toss of 63 feet, six inches. AU's Edis Elkasevic, who has been battling injuries, finished eighth in the event and does not advance to the June 6-8 NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

"I'm just trying to be consistently over 19 meters so people don't think I'm a fluke," said Martin, who came into the event ranked fourth nationally. "The first throw I wanted to take it a little easy and I kind of messed up, so the second throw I knew that I needed to come in and really hit it, and I'm just fortunate that it went that far. I've just got to go back and work hard at practice and get it out there a little bit farther." Martin's personal-best is 64 feet, five inches.

Auburn senior Donald Thomas jumped 2.35 meters (seven feet, 6 1/2 inches) to claim the high jump title by a wide margin. The runnerup was Tone Belt of Louisville who jumped 7-2 1/4. Thomas set an Audrey J. Walton Stadium record and a Mideast Regional record with his winning leap.

Thomas, who took all three attempts to clear 2.27 meters and 2.30 meters, said he it wasn't his best day of jumping. "There was a lot of front breeze blowing in my face, and that threw my run-up off," he noted. "I'm not used to jumping so early in the morning. I woke up at 7 a.m. and came in early.

"Today was a good performance, but hopefully for nationals I'll have everything together because today definitely wasn't on point," he added. "My run-up was off, my jumping was off and my back was stiff. Hopefully, I'll have it together in two weeks."

For the women's team, senior Kerron Stewart ran to a comfortable victory in the 200-meter dash with an Auburn record time of 22.41, the fourth fastest in the world this year. Gloria Asumnu of Tulane was second in 22.70.

Stewart, who held the AU record at 22.52, also broke the stadium and Mideast Regional records and kept her unbeaten streak alive this season. "It was a good performance," said Stewart. "I ran a personal best so I can't ask for anything more. I'm just being patient and hopefully my times will keep getting better."

Stewart, who was the heavy favorite to win the 100 meters also, decided to concentrate on one event this year and skipped the 100. Tracy Ann Rowe ran the event and qualified for the nationals by finishing fifth in 11.54. The top five finishers in each event qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Michelle Vaughn also won an event for the women's team and set meet and stadium records while doing it. She won the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet, 5 1/4 inches. April Williams of Toledo was second at 43 feet, 11 3/4 inches.

"I'm pretty excited with my performance," said Vaughn, who moved into second in AU history with her leap. "Coach (Henry Rolle) and I worked on my approach because that has been my problem during the outdoor season and we've tried to stay consistent with my approach. Today I was on and off, but on my third jump I hit it correctly and that's how I got my PR (personal record)."

Another strong performance for an Auburn runner came from junior Tyron Akins, who ran a time of 13.51 to finish second in the 110 hurdles behind John Yarbrough of Ole Miss who ran a 13.48.

The Tigers advanced another hurdler to the national meet when junior Rueben McCoy ran a 50.37 in the 400 to finish second to Isa Phillips of LSU who ran 49.68.

The Tigers had a disappointing finish in the men's 1500 when Felix Kiboiywo didn't qualify for the nationals. His time of 3:44.05 in the prelims on Friday was faster than the winning time on Saturday, but he fell back to a time of 3:50.16 to finish 11th.

Coming into this meet the name of the game was to advance to nationals, and for the most part we did exactly that," said Auburn head coach Ralph Spry. "We did what we needed to do as a team. I'm really pleased with how we did here, and we put ourselves in position to have a great shot to be a factor at nationals. I feel good about the opportunities we have to score a lot of points there."


Mideast Regional Results

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