Tharp wins SEC title, breaks 46-year-old American Junior record

2024 SEC Outdoor Championship Results
David Gray/Auburn Tigers

GAINESVILLE, Florida—Auburn freshman Ja'Kobe Tharp won the Southeastern Conference men's 110m hurdles title Saturday and broke a 46-year-old American Junior record to lead the Tigers on the final day of the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday.
Despite a slow start, Tharp cleanly cleared the 10 hurdles, dominating over the last five barrier to win easily in a time of 13.18, 22 hundredths of a second over the second-place finisher. The Basking Ridge, New Jersey native posted fourth fastest time in the world this year and broke Renaldo Nehemiah's American Junior (U20) that was set in 1978.
After breaking the Auburn school record in the preliminary round on Friday, Tharp became Auburn's first conference title winner in the event since Ty Akins won 17 years ago. It also marked the first time since Stephen Saenz won the shot put in 2011 that a Tiger freshman won an SEC crown.
Tharp's performance highlighted a strong team effort on day three that included a second place showing by the men's 4x100m relay and freshman Max Hardin in 1500m. Junior Makanakaishe Charamba also added a bronze medal in the men's 200m.
The quartet of freshman Kanyinola Ajayi, junior Favour Ashe, sophomore Azeem Fahmi, and junior Makanakaishe Charamba finished second in the men's 4x100m relay crossing in 38.55, posting the fifth-best time in AU history. The silver medal performance was the best in the event by the Tigers since 1997 when they captured gold.
Charamba and Ajayi later added points to the ledger for the Tigers as Charamba ran the second fastest 200m time in school history to finish third in 20.00. His time was an Olympic qualifying standard time and was only four hundredths of a second shy of Coby Miller's school record. The 2024 SEC Indoor 60m champion, Ajayi ran a personal-best 10.09 to grab seventh place in the men's 100m dash.
A native of Auburn, freshman Max Hardin ran an outstanding 1500m race with a strong kick to claim the silver medal in a time of 3:43.39. It was the best finish by a Tiger in the event since 2010 and the first time since 2009 that an Auburn freshman distance runner was top two in a distance event at the meet when Girma Mecheso was second in the 10k.
The Tiger men's distance corp had another solid effort later in the day with a pair of scorers in the 800m and 5000m. A native of Clondalkin, Ireland, junior Louis O'Loughlin was seventh in the 800m with a lifetime-best 1:48.00 to move him into fifth on the school performers list, while teammate Ryan Kinnane ran 14:00.00 in the 5000m to also claim seventh place.
Graduate senior James Courson scored for the third time during his outdoor career at SECs, finishing sixth. The 2022 silver medalist in the event cleared a season-best 5.30m/17-4.5.
As a team, the Auburn men had their highest point total in a decade at the meet finishing with 47 points, good for ninth place, thanks in part to the sprints and distance units. The Auburn women were 12th in the team standings with 24 points.
On the women's side, the 4x100m relay also performed well with a season-best 43.65 to finish fourth. The group of junior Danae Nembhard, junior Chante Clinkscale, freshman Deborah Oke and freshman Shonedra Richardson won the first heat and notched the Tigers' best outing in the event at SECs since 2017. Nebhard came back later in the day to claim sixth in the 100m hurdles in 13.06.
Freshman Marley Raikiwasa continued her strong rookie campaign with a fifth place showing in the women's discus throw, recording a mark of 55.54m/182. Senior Amy Warren grabbed two points in the triple jump finishing seventh with a leap of 12.80m/42-0.00.
Auburn's next competition will be the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, May 22-25, on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. The nation's top 48 competitors from the east and west regions of the country will qualify for the NCAA Prelims, with the top 12 from those meets advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.
SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships – Day 3 Results
James G. Pressley Stadium at Percy Beard Track – Gainesville, Florida
May 11, 2024
Men's 4x100m Relay
2. Auburn                                                  38.55
Kanyinola Ajayi, Favour Ashe, Azeem Fahmi, Makanakaishe Charamba
Men's 1500m
2. Max Hardin                                        3:43.39
12. Cooper Atkins                                 3:49.01
Men's 110m Hurdles
1. Ja'Kobe Tharp                                       13.18
Men's 100m
7. Kanyinsola Ajayi                                  10.09
Favour Ashe                                                DNS
Men's 800m
7. Louis O'Loughlin                               1:48.00
9. Davis Plowden                                  1:51.38
Men's 200m
3. Makanakaishe Charamba                    20.00
Men's 5000m
7. Ryan Kinnane                                  14:00.00        
21. Nickson Chebii                              14:31.27
28. Hayden Judge                                15:07.40
Cooper Atkins                                             DNF
Max Hardin                                                 DNF
Men's 4x400m Relay
9. Auburn                                               3:09.54
LeBron Bessick, Luke Roberts, Ian Myers, Louis O'Loughlin
Men's Pole Vault
6. James Courson                        5.30m/17-4.5
Women's 4x100m Relay
4. Auburn                                                  43.65
Danae Nembhard, Chante Clinkscale, Deborah Oke, Shonedra Richardson
Women's 100m Hurdles
6. Denae Nembhard                                 13.06
Women's 5000m
19. Gene Coetzee                                16:33.79
29. Hannah Tarwater                         17:14.11
Women's 4x400m Relay
9. Auburn                                               3:35.01
Deborah Oke, Vimbayi Maisvorewa, Ashantae Harvey, Zuriel Reed
Women's Discus Throw
5. Marley Raikiwasa                 55.54m/182-2
16. Megan Hague                      46.74m/153-4
Women's Triple Jump
7. Amy Warren                       12.80m/42-0.00