Auburn sprint records fall as Tigers advance six to NCAA Outdoors


LEXINGTON, Kentucky—The Auburn men's track and field team broke two school records, equaled another and had four individuals and one relay qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships during the third day of the NCAA East Preliminaries Friday. Favour Ashe, Makanakaishe Charamba and Kanyinsola Ajayi all wrote their names in the school record books while each punching tickets to the outdoor championships at Eugene, Oregon in two weeks.
"We are building something special, and we've got some exciting things going," Auburn head coach Leroy Burrell said. "I think a lot of our performances here will carry through to Eugene. We're not done yet. It's certainly rounding out for an opportunity for us to finish the season strong and bring some glory to the program."
Ashe broke his own school record in the 100m dash, equaling the nation's top time and breaking the facility record, crossing in 9.94, to earn his third trip to the NCAAs. Running in the same heat and lane next to Ashe, Ajayi tied a 16-year-old school freshman record as the first-year Tiger was second overall in 10.03.
A transfer from Division II Carson-Newman, Charamba broke Auburn great and Olympian Coby Miller's 200m school record set in 2000, running a 19.95 with a strong last 150m to take fourth overall. The Division II NCAA champion a year ago at 100m and 200m, Charamba earned his first trip to outdoor championships at the highest level.
Auburn's newest SEC champion Ja'Kobe Tharp qualified in the 110m hurdles, running a 13.24, the top time of the event to become Auburn's first freshman NCAA qualifier in the event since James Walker in 1976.
For the first time since 2017, Auburn advanced the men's 4x100m relay team to nationals as the group of Ajayi, sophomore Azeem Fahmi, Dario Matau and Charamba ran the seventh fastest time in school history, crossing in 38.66. The relay finished second in their heat to automatically qualify for nationals and was third overall.
Auburn had a fifth individual qualify for nationals earlier in the day as sophomore Alyssa Quinones-Mixon punched her ticket to the championships earlier in the day in the women's pole vault.
Quinones-Mixon finished 11th equaling a career-best height of 4.20m/13-9.25 to become the second Auburn woman in school history to advance in the event to NCAAs, joining Jessie Johnson in 2015.
The women's pole vault competition came with unforeseen circumstances as the event was pushed back due to inclement weather during the original start time on Thursday.
"As a coach you ride the highs and you really feel the lows," Burrell said. "I'm so happy for Maka, Favor, the men's relay and for the women that qualified yesterday. But then you feel really bad for Dario who just missed it and Ryan. That really hurt, he was right there."
A strong outing by the Tigers saw two individuals unfortunately come up just short despite outstanding efforts. Matau, who ran the third leg of Auburn's 4x1 relay, established a new 200m PR in 20.49 but finished 14th and was 11 one-hundredths shy of becoming the fifth sprinter to advance to Eugene.
Likewise, senior distance runner Ryan Kinnane put together a valiant effort in the 5000m but was passed at the finish line, coming up 16 hundredths short of an automatic qualifying spot. The Wichita, Kansas native was 13th overall.
The fourth and final day of the NCAA East Preliminaries start Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with the women's discus throw. The Tigers will have eight women's individuals and two relays competing to secure spots at the national championships, June 5-8.
NCAA East Preliminaries – Day 3 Results
Kentucky Track & Field Complex – Lexington, Kentucky
May 24, 2024
Men's 4x100m Relay
3. Auburn                                                                  38.66
Kanyinsola Ajayi, Azeem Fahmi, Dario Matau, Makanakaishe Charamba
Men's 110m Hurdles
1. Ja'Kobe Tharp                                                    13.24
Men's 100m (6:35)
1. Favour Ashe                                                          9.94       PR, SR, FR, =CL
2. Kanyinsola Ajayi                                               10.03       PR, =SFR
Men's 200m
4. Makanakaishe Charamba                              19.95       PR, SR
14. Dario Matau                                                     20.49       PR
Men's 5000m
13. Ryan Kinnane                                           13:59.98
Women's Pole Vault
11. Alyssa Quinones-Mixon           4.20m/13-9.25       (=PR)
T-33. Rhiannon Held                        3.95m/12-11.5
Alyssa Quinones-Mixon (pole vault)
Megan Hague (shot put)
Shaniya Holley (javelin)
Paula Grauvogel (heptathlon)
Keyshawn Strachan (javelin)
Matthew Rueff (shot put)
Michael May (decathlon)
Kanyinsola Ajayi (100m, 4x100m Relay)
Azeem Fahmi (4x100m Relay)
Dario Matau (4x100m Relay)
Makanakaishe Charamba (200m, 4x100m Relay)
Favour Ashe (100m)
Ja'Kobe Tharp (110m Hurdles)