Auburn sprints highlight Day 1 of NCAA Outdoors with five finalists


EUGENE, Oregon—The first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships was a successful one for the Auburn men's program as the 4x100m relay along with true freshman 110m hurdler Ja'Kobe Tharp advanced to Friday's finals with the top qualifying times in their respective events. The Tigers also advanced three sprinters to finals in the 100m and 200m, while sophomore Keyshawn Strachan finished fifth in the javelin throw.
The quartet of sophomore Azeemi Fahmi, freshman Kanynsola Ajayi, and sophomores Dario Matau and Makanakishe Charamba ran the fastest qualifying time of 38.38 with clean passes through the three exchange zones to record the second-fastest time in school history.
Auburn will race in the finals Friday at 8:02 p.m. CT/6:02 p.m. PT with hopes of bringing home the program's first national championship in the event. The Tigers last qualified for the 4x100m finals in 2017, finishing runners up that year as well as in 1978 and 1979.
Despite a slow start clipping the first hurdle, Tharp recovered to equal his collegiate best and American Junior National record time of 13.18 ran last month at the SEC Outdoor Championships. The Rockvale, Tennessee, native will run in the finals on Friday at 8:42 p.m. CT and is Auburn's first finalist in the event since Ty Akins was second in 2008. The 18-year-old will be vying for the program's first national champion in the event since Akins won it in 2007.
For the first time since 2012, Auburn will have two finalists in the men's 100m as Ajayi and junior Favour Ashe advanced after running 10.09 and 10.13, respectively. Both running in the first heat, Ajayi earned the automatic qualifying spot by winning the heat, while Ashe, was third in the heat and fourth overall earning a spot in the finals with one of the three next best times. Friday's finals will be run at 8:52 p.m. CT.
Charamba, who helped the Tigers' 4x100m relay advance earlier in the day earned a spot in the 200m finals finishing third in his heat and fifth overall in 20.16. A native of Zimbabwe, Charamba is Auburn's first finalist in the event since 2017. The NCAA Division II national champion in the event a year ago at Carson-Newman, will run Friday at 9:37 p.m. CT.
Auburn's school record holder in the javelin, Strachan notched his top throw of 74.95m/245-10 in his first attempt of the evening. The highest finishing underclassman in the 24-man field, Strachan also recorded marks of 73.54m and 73.13m.
Sophomore decathlete Michael May, competing in his first NCAA Outdoors, is in 16th place through five of 10 events with 3903 points. May equaled an outdoor lifetime best in the high jump clearing 1.92m/6-3.5 while establishing a season-best leap of 7.09m/23-3.25 in the long jump. May will finish the final five events on Thursday beginning with the 110m hurdles at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Also competing in his first national outdoors, sophomore Matthew Rueff finished 23rd in the shot put with a best mark of 17.72m/58-1.75.
Day two of the NCAA championships will turn to the women and the final five events of the decathlon on Thursday. Action starts at 5 p.m. CT with the women's hammer throw and the 4x100m relay at 5:32 p.m. CT.
Competing Thursday for the Auburn women include Alyssa Quinones-Mixon in the pole vault, Shaniya Holley in the javelin, Vimbayi Maisvorewa in the 400m and Megan Hague in the shot put.
NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships – Day 1 Results
Hayward Field – Eugene, Oregon
June 5, 2024
Men's Javelin
5. Keyshawn Strachan                    74.95m/245-10
Men's Shot Put
23. Matthew Rueff                          17.72m/58-1.75
Men's 4x100m Relay Semifinals
1. Auburn (Q)                                                          38.38       SB
Azeemi Fahmi, Kanynsola Ajayi, Dario Matau, Makanakishe Charamba
Men's 110m Hurdles Semifinals
1. Ja'Kobe Tharp (Q)                                            13.18       =SR, =CL, =PR
Men's 100m Semifinals
2. Kanyinsola Ajayi (Q)                                       10.09
4. Favour Ashe (q)                                                10.13      
Men's 200m Semifinals
5. Makanakishe Charamba (q)                         20.16
Men's Decathlon, Day 1
16. Michael May                                              3903 pts
100m                                                                          11.07
Long Jump                                            7.09m/23-3.25       SB
Shot Put                                                    12.81m/42-.5
High Jump                                                  1.92m/6-3.5       =PR
400m                                                                          49.54