Auburn track and field heads to SEC Indoor Championships
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
The Auburn track and field program will compete in the 2019 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus.
The meet begins at 11 a.m. CT on Friday and 10:45 a.m. on Saturday.
“This is by far the youngest team I’ve ever lined up at SECs in my 22 years,” Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. “We’re going to get indoctrinated very quickly to the SECs. Good, bad and different—we’re going to see what we’re made of. This team has got to start their identity; it will start this weekend.”
The Tigers will send 33 athletes to the conference meet, including 20 that will be making their SEC Indoor Championship debut this weekend.
Auburn enters the meet coming off a performance two weeks ago that had over 20 personal bests established at Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational.
“The PRs two weeks ago tells you is that they’re heading towards the right direction,” Spry said. “If we can continue to keep that going, by the time our underclassmen are juniors and seniors they’ll be the ones that are going to nationals. This weekend will tell me an awful lot about who they are in terms of development heading into the outdoors season.”
Auburn will be without freshman sprinter Anthony Schwartz who pulled up in the 200m at the Tiger Paw Invite. Schwartz is currently sixth nationally and second in the SEC in the men’s 60m.“It’s unfortunate, Anthony won’t compete, but a guy that talented, you want to be cautious,” Spry said. “In his best interest, I think it’s better to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy before we line him up again. We’ll probably shoot for indoor nationals.”
Senior Chris Stone will lead the Auburn men’s efforts. The heptathlete is fourth in the SEC in the event and will look to improve upon his fifth-place showing a year ago. Senior Mark Rubalcaba and sophomore Noah Igbinoghene are previous scorers at the SEC Indoor meet and will look to repeat in 2019. Rubalcaba was fourth in the long jump as a freshman, while Igbinoghene was seventh in the triple jump in 2018.
On the women’s side, the Tigers’ depth lies in the field and distance events. Senior Erin Perkins is fourth in the SEC in the weight throw, while fellow senior Skyler Daniels is sixth in the league and 21st nationally in the high jump.
“We’re really counting on our field events and the distance running,” Spry said. “We have some people that if they really perform well that day, they have some opportunities to score us some points. We’re banking on them. We don’t have a lot of room for error with this young team.”
The Tigers will face tough competition as eight SEC women’s programs are ranked in the top 25 nationally, including four in the top seven. A nation-leading seven men’s programs are ranked in the top 25, including four in the top six.
“Arkansas has one of the fastest tracks in the country, so there will be some quite phenomenal performances this weekend across the board,” Spry said.
Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center is playing host to the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships for the ninth time. The venue also hosted the SEC Indoor Championships in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016.
Live coverage of the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on SECN+ at 3:30 p.m. CT on Friday and 2:55 p.m. CT on Saturday. The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones, Jill Montgomery and John Anderson. A tape-delayed broadcast of the Championship will air on the SEC Network Sunday at 7 p.m. CT.