Strachan, Rueff qualify for NCAA Outdoors


LEXINGTON, Kentucky—Auburn throwers Keyshawn Strachan and Matthew Rueff punched their tickets to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and the Tigers' sprint crew advanced five to the second round during day one of the NCAA East Preliminary at the University of Kentucky track Wednesday.
Strachan, the Auburn school record holder in the men's javelin, finished third, comfortably qualifying for the NCAA meet in two weeks in Eugene, Oregon. The sophomore from the Bahamas had marks that comfortably qualified him on all three of his attempts, including his best toss of 74.63m/244-10 on his last attempt. Qualifying for his first national outdoor meet, Strachan also had marks of 70.54m and 71.37m.
Sophomore thrower Matthew Rueff had perhaps the Tigers' best outing of the day as he surpassed his lifetime best by nearly a foot and a half to finish 10th in the men's shot put to earn a trip to the national meet. Rueff, who entered the meet ranked 54th nationally, outperformed 38 of the 48 competitors to earn one the 12 spots for nationals. A Waterman, Illinois native, Rueff had consecutive marks of 18.84m/61-9.75, bettering his previous PR of 18.39m/60-4, to become Auburn's first national qualifier in the event since Stephen Saenz in 2014.
Freshman Ja'Kobe Tharp, who notched the nation's top time in 2024 while setting the American Junior (U20) record in the 110m hurdles two weeks ago to become an SEC Champion, easily won his heat to advance to Friday's second round. Tharp ran a 13.44 which was the fifth fastest wind-legal time in program history and second fastest time of the day in the event.
Auburn's 100m duo of Kanyinsola Ajayi and Favour Ashe made easy work during Wednesday's first round, winning their respective heat to earn automatic qualifying spots for Friday's second round. Ajayi, the SEC Indoor 60m champion had the fastest time of the day, crossing in 10.24, while two heat later, Ashe cruised to a heat win in 10.35.
In the men's 200m junior Makanakaishe Charamba, fresh off a third place showing at SECs in the event, ran 20.17 to win his heat to advance to the second round. Teammate Dario Matau was third in his heat to move on with a time of 20.64. Both will look to make their first appearance at the NCAA championships on Friday at 7:50 p.m. ET.
Day two of the NCAA East Preliminaries will feature the Auburn women as 14 Tigers will compete in nine events starting with senior Shaniya Holley in the javelin throw at 11:30 a.m. ET. Running events will kick off at 3 p.m. with Danae Nembhard in the 100m hurdles.
NCAA East Preliminaries – Day 1 Results
Kentucky Track & Field Complex – Lexington, Kentucky
May 22, 2024
Men's Javelin Throw
3. Keyshawn Strachan (Q)            74.63m/244-10
Men's Shot Put
10. Matthew Rueff (Q)                  18.84m/61-9.75       (PR)
Men's Pole Vault
James Courson                                                            NH
Men's 110m Hurdles
2. Ja'Kobe Tharp (Q)                                            13.44
Men's 1500m
24. Max Hardin                                                  3 :44.88      
Men's 100m
1. Kanyinsola Ajayi (Q)                                       10.24
15. Favour Ashe (Q)                                             10.35
32. Azeemi Fahmi                                                 10.50
Men's 800m
14. Louis O'Loughlin                                        1:48.24
43. Davis Plowden                                            1:52.44
Men's 200m
3. Makanakaishe Charamba (Q)                      20.17
19. Dario Matau (Q)                                             20.64