Two Tigers Win NCAA Track Titles

A report on the NCAA Track and Field Championships as the Tigers have an eventful day in California.

Sacramento, Calif.--The Auburn men's track and field team produced two individual champions on Friday and they were not from athletes favored to come home with first place trophies.

Jacob Dunkleberger, the fourth seed in his event, was the surprise winner of the hammer and fellow junior Ty Akins sprinted to victory in the 110 hurdles.

Those two wins pushed Auburn into the lead for much of day three at the NCAA meet, but No. 1 ranked FSU made a late push Friday night and took the lead with 34 points. Auburn is second in the men's competition with 32 points, LSU is third with 31, North Carolina has 26 and Wisconsin is fifth with 22.

Akins, who was seeded third in the event, ran a school-record time of 13.42 to win over runnerup John Yarbrough (13.57) of Ole Miss. He became Auburn's first winner in the event since Weems Baskin took the race back in 1927 when the sprinters ran 120 yards. Akins held the old school record of 13.51.

In the hammer, Auburn's Cory Martin was the top seed, but Dunkleberger won the event with a personal record toss of 235 feet nine, nine inches, more than six feet beyond his previous best to break Martin's school record of 234 feet, four inches.

Dunkleberger's winning throw came on his fifth and final attempt after taking the lead after the second throw. "After my second throw I knew Cory and Nick (Owens of North Carolina who finished second) are two of the most clutch throwers you will see so I was actually thinking that I was going to have to get on that horse again later in the meet," Dunkleberger said.

"I just wanted to set my first one up in the final and the second one was the one I wanted to try to hit. I figured I was going to get passed at some point, but that's just the way the meet goes sometimes. Earlier in the year I was pressing a little bit, and I just lined one up on the right day."

Dunkleberger scored 10 points for his first place and Martin's third place toss of 231 feet, three inches scored six points.

Auburn junior Ty Akins celebrates his first NCAA title.

Atkins scored 10 more points with his hurdles victory. "I knew everybody in the race was good and anybody could have won, but I knew the important thing was the start and I had to get out fast, and I got out pretty well," he said. "I crashed a couple of hurdles, but I put my all into it. It feels good because all of the hard work I did in the fall and in the winter added up and paid big dividends."

The other points for the men's team on Friday came from a third place in the high jump by Donald Thomas, the favorite going into the event. He jumped 7-6. His best jump this year was 7-8.

"My performance wasn't what I expected," he said. "Coming into the meet I wasn't 100 percent, but there are no excuses. Those boys put on a good show and they beat me. I wasn't 100 percent, but I thought I still felt good enough to come out and pull off the victory, but unfortunately I didn't." Scott Sellers of Kansas State won at 7-7 3/4 while Andra Mason of Texas jumped 7-6 and took second with fewer misses than Thomas.

Donald Thomas, who won the NCAA indoor title, clears 7-6 on his third and final try.

The women's team picked up six points from a third place finish by Tracy Ann Rowe in the 100 meters, who ran a time of 10.30.

The most disappointing result was that junior Reuben McCoy tripped and fell on the second hurdle in the 400-meter hurdles semi-finals and did not qualify for Saturday's final round. He still managed a time of 51.24 to finish sixth in his heat. That means the Tigers only have one competitor left in the men's competition on Saturday with Martin in the shot put final.

"This week is all about highs and lows and we experienced both today," said Auburn head coach Ralph Spry. "We had an explosive start in the hammer throw with Jake and Cory both throwing well, and I'm really happy for Ty Akins because he's done everything we've asked and really put it all together today. But Donald Thomas didn't have his best day and Reuben McCoy is one of the best 400 hurdlers here, but didn't advance to the finals.

"Our men are still in the hunt for a top four finish and we still have one more big round in the chamber with Cory throwing the shot put tomorrow." added.

For the women's team, Michelle Vaughn advanced to the finals of the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet, 9 1/4 inches, which qualified her in a tie for third.

Also on Saturday, senior Kerron Stewart will be the favorite in the women's 200 meters final. The competition will be televised live on CBS from noon to 2 p.m. CDT.

Meet Results

2007 Auburn Football Guide

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