“The SEC Championship is the ultimate meet for us for the biggest part of the season,” said head coach Ralph Spry. “So at that meet we try to be rested and sharp so we can rock and roll.”
Before competing for a conference championship, the Tigers will compete in four meets, including the Mississippi Open this weekend.
Spry said the next few weeks the team will back off a little and mainly focus on speed and technicalities rather than strength.
During this period Spry said the team will try to get rested, get sharper and try to peak at the right time.
“We have a few nicks and cuts and a couple of people that we have to get healthy, but it has been a transition,” Spry said. “Every weekend we seem to get a little better, and everybody is stepping up and answering the challenge, and that’s all we really ask for. We have a week to prepare for the meet at Ole Miss and then get ready for SECs.”
The Tigers will aim for another performance like that of the War Eagle Invitational last weekend where they won seven events against five nationally-ranked teams in both the men’s and women’s fields.
Auburn won five events in the women’s field while the men posted two wins of their own.
The Tigers also posted two top collegiate marks, broke a school record and had one NCAA-leading performance.
Spry said he was pleased with the performance, knowing the competition has increased as the season has progressed.
“We try to give ourselves the opportunity to run fast, and this is another measuring stick for us right now,” Spry said. “We had some of the best kids in the country that were here today, like Ole Miss, South Carolina, Penn State, Iowa, Georgia, Florida State; those are some of the top programs in the country.
“We ran well and won our fair share of events, so I’m really pleased with how we lined up and competed, but more so that we put some good times down.”
Junior sprinter Nivea Smith won the 200 meters with a time of 22.97 seconds that ranks fourth in the NCAA this year and is third in Auburn outdoor history.
“After today the team has come a really long way,” Smith said. “I feel that we are running a lot better than we have been running all season and things are finally coming together.”
Smith also ran on the winning 4x100 meter relay team and the 4x400 meter relay that won with a season-best time of 3:36.02.
This time puts them in the top 15 in the NCAA this year.
Sprinter Keenan Brock continued to add to his freshman resume after finishing third in the men’s 200 meter with a time of 20.77.
This time ranks him 10th in Auburn outdoor history and puts him in the top 20 in the nation.
Brock also won the men’s 4x100 meters with the team of senior Stephen Fly, freshman Clay Porter and sophomore Harry Adams, with a time of 40.02 seconds.
“Today went really great,” Brock said following the invitational. “We started off again by winning the 4x100 relay and then came back with a personal record of 20.77.
“The team overall is progressing very well. We are looking great and exceptionally strong out here.”
Other notable Tiger performers included senior distance runner Holly Knight and junior distance runner Ben Cheruiyot, who both posted wins in the 5000 meters.
Knight won the 5000 meter with a time of 16:06.25, breaking a school-record in the process, while Cheruiyot clocked a personal best of 13:41.80.
“I’m really excited with our performance,” said head coach Ralph Spry. “I knew this was going to be a big measuring stick for us with the teams that were here for us to compete against, and we stepped up in a lot of ways.“
This weekend, the teams will split between the LSU Alumni Gold tournament in Baton Rouge, La., and the Mississippi Open in Oxford, Miss.
The Alumni Gold will begin at 9 a.m. at Bernie Moore Stadium and the Mississippi Open will take place all day Saturday at the Ole Miss track and field complex.