"Everything has been going really well with his training and his last two competitions," says Jerry Clayton, who coaches the field events for the Tigers. "He is right where he needs to be at this time of year."
Martin came into the NCAA meet ranked first in the hammer with an Auburn record throw of 234 feet, four inches (71.42 meters) set at the SEC Championships. He is ranked fifth in the shot put with a best throw of 19.63 meters. Noah Bryant of Southern Cal is ranked first at 20.56.
"The first thing is, and I tell them all this, is that you have got to treat the qualifying like it is another meet," Clayton says. "It is serious, it is like a final. Technically, if he continues to do the things he has been doing the last couple of weeks the distances are there."
Cory Martin takes his first and only throw in the hammer qualifying session.
The Auburn coach notes that Martin has worked hard to improve. "His special strength has gotten a lot better," Clayton says. "Technically, he has lined up the things we have been working with him on and he has gotten consistent doing them, especially with the shot. The shot was going really well indoors in training, but it just really never happened in competition. His shot at the conference was just his second meet outdoors in that event. It is going now the way we thought it would."
Martin says the work he put in last year is making a positive difference in his results. "It all started with training in the fall," he says. "Coach got it set up well and I have just been listening to him. Training has been going well and hopefully it will continue."
Commenting on what he hopes to accomplish at the nationals, he says, "I have got a shot to win a title. That is the biggest expectation. In the shot, I think I can get in the top four or five if I go at it hard. I want to get through qualifying first in both events before I start counting all of my chickens. After that, it is going for the win.
"We went back and focused on some technical stuff on the shot," Martin says. "Indoors it was there setting up, but I didn't have the timing down yet. The more I have practiced, the more I have got my timing down and it has started to go a little farther."
Martin notes that his size is good for the hammer. "I have definitely got a lot stronger," he says. "My weight room numbers skyrocketed in the fall. That is when you have to set it all up. The spring time is for maintaining those numbers. My size is pretty good. I would like to be a little bigger for the shot, but in the hammer it is important that I maintain my foot speed."
The men's team, which went into the meet ranked second, is a small group this year with just five qualifiers for the nationals, but all are considered athletes who have a chance to score significant points. The women's team, the defending national champions, has five NCAA qualifiers, too, and is shooting for a Top 10 finish.
Commenting on the men's team, Martin says, "We are looking for a title. We have a shot at it. You have to have a little luck when you are going for a team title. A couple of things have to go our way."
Following the NCAA meet, Martin plans to keep training and compete in several big summer meets in the U.S. and possibly go to Europe for a competition or two.
Day One NCAA Notes: Another No. 1 seed on the Auburn team qualified with ease for the Friday finals of his event. High jumper Donald Thomas passed on the opening height and then jumped 6-10 3/4 (2.05 meters) on Wednesday night...Jakob Dunkleberger will join Martin in the finals of the hammer with the third best toss of the prelims at 219 feet, four inches...Ty Akins advanced to the finals of the 110 hurdles with times of 13.52 and 13.57 in the first two rounds...Tracy Ann Rowe advanced to the finals of the women's 100 meters with times of 11.25 in the first two rounds, which is the fifth fastest mark in school history...Women's high jumper Raevan Harris did not qualify for the finals on day one as she could only clear 5-7...AU's top female competitor, senior Kerron Stewart, will run in the prelims of the 200 meters on Thursday.