Martin Top Scorer at SEC Track Championships

Auburn, Ala.--Excellence from senior Cory Martin is expected and he delivered at the SEC Track and Field Championships.

However, not nearly as much was expected from Auburn women's hurdler Amelia Anderson and she surprised everyone, including herself, by slam-dunking her personal record on the way to winning her first SEC title in the 400 meter hurdles on Sunday night.

For Martin, it was his seventh individual SEC crown including one on Friday in the hammer. He also finished in second place in the discus in a strong field on Saturday to win the SEC Commissioner's Trophy as the high scorer in the meet.

"I am really happy for Cory because a couple of other times he just missed winning the trophy," said Auburn head coach Ralph Spry. "He had a big shot put tonight--the number two throw in the country."

Martin threw the discus 66 feet, 7 3/4 inches on Sunday night, his best throw of his career. He noted that he was "ecstatic" with the result. "Twenty meters is a golden day and to go 20.31 is really exciting," he told Inside the Auburn Tigers. Nobody came close to the Auburn senior who scored 10 points for his first place finish in the event to go with 10 in the hammer and eight in the discus for second place.

Martin's 28 points were a substantial chunk of AU's team total of 78.20, which put the Tigers fifth in the men's competition behind Arkansas (131.50), LSU (122), Tennessee (97.5) and Florida (80). Auburn finished ahead of Kentucky (72), South Carolina (57), Mississippi State (56.20), Alabama (46.20), Georgia (43.40) and Ole Miss (35).

Cory Martin paces with his orange towel as he waits for his next turn in the shot put ring.

Wes Stockbarger of Florida finished second, six feet, one inch shy of Martin. Auburn's Eric Werskey qualified for the finals, but finished out of the points at ninth as he fouled on all three of his throws in the finals.

"The game plan in the hammer was to get 18 points out of that and it didn't matter to me who won," said Martin, who finished ahead of teammate Jake Dunkleberger, who was the runnerup. "It's always good to win. It's always good to throw close to my PR (personal record.)

"The discus yesterday was an added bonus," Martin said. "I was just out there having fun. Today in the shot, I thought it was going to be tough to win. Some guys were warming up pretty big and I thought I was going to have my work cut out for me. I just got ahead on the first throw and stayed there."

Amelia Anderson (6) runs in the final turn of the 400 meter hurdles race she won on Sunday evening for the Tigers.

Anderson ran a time of 57.15 to win the 400 hurdles. Prior to Sunday, her fastest time in the event was 59.20. "It was wonderful," said Anderson, a junior from Smiths Station High School, who had to finish strongly to edge her teammate Danielle Gilchrist, a sophomore who ran a 57.30 to finish second.

Anderson said she had no idea she had run such a fast time. "I knew it was going to be quick, but not that fast--I was just worried about coming in first place," she said.

Anderson is No. 1 in the SEC this year.

Anderson said there "is no doubt" it was the best race of her life. "I just went out and competed," she said.

Even though it was her best race, it wasn't a clean race over the hurdles, she noted. "A few on the first straightaway were off," she said. "I got back on track and tried to do what I had to do to win.

"It means a lot for me to run a time like this," Anderson added. "I have been working so hard this year. I finally got to a point where I really wanted to be at."

Anderson helped the women's team finish seventh in the competition won by LSU with 137.50 points. Florida was second with 128 followed by Arkansas (86.50), Tennessee (84), Kentucky (83.50) and Ole Miss (72). The Tigers finished ahead of South Carolina (42.50), Alabama (33), Georgia (32), Mississippi State (28) and Vanderbilt (7).

"She has had some ups and downs, but tonight she just ran a great race," Spry said of Anderson. "She had a big weekend. She long jumped, triple jumped and ran on the 4x100 relay, the 4x400 and two rounds of the hurdles so she did that time on dead legs so I am really impressed with that run. I think she can run a lot faster."

Spry said he knew his rebuilding women's team wouldn't challenge for the league title, but said better days are ahead. "We have some really good athletes who will be joining our program on the women's side next season so we are excited about that."

Commenting on the men's competition, Spry said, "It's a tough meet. It was Coach John McDonnell's last SEC meet and Arkansas was very emotional and had a great meet for him." The coach has now won 46 SEC titles of the 51 indoor, outdoor and cross country titles awarded on the men's side since Arkansas joined the SEC. Counting his titles in the old Southwest Conference, his teams have won 84 conference titles.

Auburn had one more winner on Sunday, the fourth and final day of competition as a standing room only crowd watched at the Hutsell-Rosen Track and Field.

Sophomore Felix Kiboiywo won the 1500 (metric mile) for the Tigers, running a time of 3:45.81, edging LSU's John Kosgei who ran a 3:46.31. "I had a good kick at the end and was able to pull out the race," Kiboiywo said.

Felix Kiboiywo (right) won the metric mile race to become AU's first ever SEC chiampion in the 1500.

Auburn's Reuben McCoy finished third in a very fast 400 meter men's race. He ran a time of 48.85, but Georgia's Justin Gaymon ran a 48.53 to wow the crowd with the world class time.

The 27-year-old 100 meter dash record was broken on Sunday night as LSU's Richard Thompson ran a time of 9.93 seconds. LSU football player Trindon Holliday was second in 10.05. "I was a little tight coming into the race, but I ended up setting a new record and that is a great accomplishment for me," Thompson said.

Spry said in general he liked his teams' performances. "All in all, I was pretty pleased," he said. "I knew we came in a little short-handed with some academic casualties that really hurt us in the 4x100 and the 4x400 and a couple of individual events.

"I feel really good about this weekend," Spry added. "We had no injuries. All of our key people ran well and our next mission now is to get to the NCAA regionals and qualify as many people as possible for nationals. We should be a much better team at nationals than at the conference level. If we can get the key people qualified, we will have a chance to win the national title."


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