Auburn track & field heads to Kentucky for NCAA East Preliminaries

20240511_TF_SEC_s_DG_235320240511_TF_SEC_s_DG_2353

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn track & field travels to Lexington, Kentucky to compete in the 2024 NCAA East First Rounds at the University of Kentucky Track and Field Complex May 22-25.  

Auburn will send 13 men and 16 women to compete in 20 individual events and three relays to attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field June 5-8.  

Action will begin Wednesday at 9 am CT with the men's hammer throw. The men will compete Wednesday and Friday, while the women's events will take place Thursday and Saturday.  

The top 48 individuals and top 24 relay performances from the East and West Regions earned the opportunity to compete in their respective preliminary meets. The top 12 finishers at the East and West Preliminaries advance and the top 24 will compete at the NCAA Championships. The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas will host the West Preliminaries. 

"You've got to go and compete," Auburn track & field head coach Leroy Burrell said. "It gets serious in the second round, but if we put what we put on the track in Gainesville, then we'll be in pretty good position." 

Following a strong performance at the SEC Championships in Gainesville, Florida, seven Tigers earned All-SEC honors to begin their postseason campaign. 

"We had an outstanding meet in Gainesville," Burrell said. "We got a few things done and had a couple of surprises that were comforting. We are in a good place right now and we have a lot of upside potential and growth in this program."  

Freshman Ja'Kobe Tharp was named to the All-SEC First Team after his dominant performance in the 110m hurdles where he brought home gold with a time of 13.18. Tharp's time is currently the fastest in the nation.  

Juniors Makanakaishe Charamba and Favour Ashe, sophomores Michael May and Azeem Fahmi and freshman Max Hardin and Kanyinsola Ajayi were named to the All-SEC Second Team after their conference championship performances. 

May had a personal best performance in the men's decathlon putting up 7559 points to take third. Hardin raced in the 1500m where he brought home silver and delivered the best performance by an Auburn freshman on the distance side since 2009 (3:43.39).  

The quartet of Ajayi, Fahmi, Ashe, and Charamba had a second-place finish in the 4x100m relay with a season's best time of 38.55. Charamba later raced in the 200m where he claimed bronze (20.00).  

Tharp and Charamba's times in their respective events were good enough to earn them a spot in the 2024 US Olympic Team Trials that will take place June 21-30 in Eugene, Oregon.   

Heading into the preliminary rounds, the men are ranked eleventh overall in the most recent USTFCCCA poll.  

Going toe-to-toe with the Tigers from the east region includes 5/17 Alabama, 3/6 Florida, 4/1 LSU, NR/9 Ole Miss, 10/NR South Florida, 12/10 Tennessee and host NR/24 Kentucky.  

"We're ready," Burrell said. "We are prepared. Our staff has done a great job and I think we are going to do well." 

Live stats can be found at flashresults.ncaa. ESPN+ will livestream the event Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.