Martin Wins Title, AU 3rd at NCAA Meet

The Auburn men's track and field team's stars attacked the record book at the NCAA Championships.

Des Moines, Iowa--With a pair of seniors coming through with a one-two finish, the Auburn men's team hammered out a lead in day three of the NCAA Track and Field Championships before settling into third place with one more day of competition remaining.

Cory Martin, the favorite in the event, unleashed a toss of 243 feet, two inches to score 10 points for first place. His teammate and the defending NCAA champion in the event, Jake Dunkleberger, threw the hammer 239 feet, five inches to score eight points for second place.

Dunkleberger's throw was a personal best, breaking the mark of 235 feet, nine inches to set the school record last year at the national meet.

The Tigers also got a second place in the 400 meter hurdles from senior Reuben McCoy, who ran a personal best time in the event to break his own school record and nearly break the NCAA Championship record.

Going into Saturday's final day of events, Auburn is in third place in the men's competition with 26 points. FSU is first with 32 and LSU is second with 31. The Auburn women's team is in seventh with 13 points.

Cory Martin jumps for joy after launching what proved to be the winning throw.

Martin had a tough challenge from Dunkleberger to win his NCAA crown. Both Tigers set Drake Stadium records prior to Martin winning the event on his last throw.

Martin's first throw of 238 feet, 11 inches was the leader until the fourth round when Dunkleberger put the pressure on by throwing the hammer six inches farther. Martin had three more throws left to best his teammate and finally did it on the sixth and final toss to regain the school record in the process and earn his first NCAA title.

"I thought after my first throw it was in the bag, but Jake came back and kind of surprised me," Martin said. "On my last throw I just thought I had to give it all I've got. This is what I trained for all year. It's fun when it's you and your teammate and you have 18 points locked up."

Martin shows his form in the hammer competition.

Dunkleberger said, "We both threw our best and that's all you can ask out of anybody," said Dunkleberger. "It's been our goal all year to finish one-two. I tried to do the same thing I do at every national championship--I try to build a rhythm then hit a couple of throws. I did that today, but it just turned out that today my best wasn't quite good enough."

Dunkleberger throws the hammer on Friday in Des Moines.

McCoy, another Tiger senior, was edged in the 400 hurdles by Washington State freshman Jeshua Anderson to finish second in a personal-best time of 48.71, just .02 of a second out of first.

Auburn's other hurdles star, senior Ty Akins, broke the school record and the stadium record with a time of 13.25 in the 110 hurdles to qualify for the finals of his event on Saturday. He is the defending NCAA champion in the event that he won last year with a time of 13.42. The NCAA meet record is 13.38. Jason Richardson of South Carolina ran a time of 13.29 on Friday.

Ty Akins runs the high hurdles in school record time on Friday.

Martin is Auburn's only other competitor for the men's events on Saturday. He will participate in the shot put and is expected to score in that event, too.

The top performance for the women's team came from Raevan Harris, who finished third in the high jump at 6-1 1/4. She matched the winning height, but had more misses than the top finishers while clearing her season-best height.

"Even though I finished third I'm a little disappointed because I could have made the last height," said Harris, who was seeded seventh. "I slowed down at the end on that last jump and it felt like time stood still at the top of that jump, and I got it on the way down. I'm still excited and now I think I can do even better during my senior year. I've gotten a taste of what it feels like to be an All-American."

Raevan Harris competes in the high jump.

Three other AU women scored on Friday with Amelia Anderson taking fifth in the 400 hurdles in 57.12, one spot ahead of teammate Danielle Gilchrist, who posted a 57.80.

Freshman Hollie Knight became the first AU woman to score in the 5,000 by taking eighth in a personal-record time of 16:11.46, the second fastest in AU history.

No Auburn women will compete on Saturday.

"I'm really impressed with how we lined up today," AU coach Ralph Spry said. "Everybody that competed had personal bests or did at least as well as they were expected to do coming in. Today was the most important day for us and it put us in position so that if we do what we need to do tomorrow we can finish in the top three on the men's side. On the women's side, today's performance gives us a shot at a Top 25 finish, which is very pleasing."

NCAA Track and Field Scoreboard

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