Most Tigers Advance at NCAA Track Meet

A report on the NCAA Track and Field Championships is featured.

Des Moines, Iowa--Two of Auburn's key big guys performed well on the opening day at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, but two other throwers the Tigers were hoping to produce points struggled on Wednesday.

Cory Martin, the number one ranked hammer thrower in the country, breezed through the qualifying round with the top throw of 235 feet, 10 inches.

On Thursday Martin will join teammate Eric Werskey in the shot put preliminary round.

Jake Dunkleberger, another Auburn senior and the defending NCAA champion in the hammer, finished as the number two qualifier with a throw of 223 feet, eight inches.

The story for the Tigers wasn't as good in the discus. Zach Clayton, who threw the discus better than 191 feet in the Mideast Regional, didn't qualify with his best throw of 166 feet, 11 inches. Edis Elkasevic, a darkhorse in the discus who has an NCAA shot put title on his resume, didn't qualify for the finals either. He was 12th with a toss of 171 feet, 11 inches.

The Tigers have high hopes to score points in the hurdles. Senior Reuben McCoy won his heat and posted the second fastest qualifying time of 49.99, just .09 off the best run by Jeshua Anderson of Washington State.

Defending NCAA champion Ty Akins will run in the first round of the 110 hurdles on Thursday at the championships that will run through Saturday.

In the women's 400 hurdles, sophomore Danielle Gilchrist ran a 58.08 to qualify for the semi-finals with the second fastest time in her heat. Junior Amelia Anderson ran a 58.36 for second in her heat to also advance to the next round on Thursday.

Another Auburn woman who got through her qualifying on Wednesday is junior Raevan Harris, who went 5-9 3/4 in high hump. The finals will be held on Friday.

Freshman Hollie Knight finished third in her semi-final heat in a time of 17:24.28 and advanced to the finals of the 5,000 meters even though the time was a minute off her season's best.

In the men's 5000, sophomore Felix Kiboiywo was the 15th and last qualifier for Friday night's finals.

Another AU competitor, Valentina Srsa, was a longshot to advance in the women's hammer throw and she threw it 182 feet, seven inches, which was 25th.

"I'm really pleased," AU coach Ralph Spry said. "We were hoping to get someone to the finals of the men's discus, but it didn't happen, but other than that everyone did what they needed to do. Our hurdlers handled their business, our distance runners did a superb job and our guys in the hammer throw had the top two throws. We're right where we need to be, and we need to just keep on doing what we need to do and we'll have a great shot to do some really good things."

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