Auburn men claim NCAA Runner-Up Trophy, win 4x100m Relay national title


AnchorEUGENE, Oregon—The Auburn men's track and field team won a national championship in the 4x100m relay and claimed two individual silver medals en route to the NCAA Outdoor Championships second-place trophy Friday at Historic Hayward Field. The runner-up trophy was the program's first since finishing third in 2007 and equaled the men's best outdoor finish since tying for second in 2008 and finishing second in 2003.
"The guys showed up big-time. I told them we had an opportunity and on the first day they created an opportunity for us to win," Auburn second-year head coach Leroy Burrell said. "We took a heck of a swing at it and fell just a little short, but I couldn't be more grateful and excited for this program and its future. We were so close in a few races and if any of those flip a place, we are celebrating a national title."
Auburn finished the championships with 40 team points, just one behind national champion Florida. The Tigers were painfully close to bringing home the program's first national championship, leading the team standings by five points heading into the final event of the evening, the 4x400m relay. The Gators finished third in the relay garnering six team points to push them over the top to win the team title with 41 points.
"Two years ago this week I was offered the job to come to Auburn and I would have never thought that two years later we would be fighting for a national championship," Burrell said. "I'm grateful for that opportunity and grateful for the athletics administration at Auburn and President Dr. Roberts. We have a great group of Auburn men, a great staff and great group of coaches. We will be back."
The Tigers won their first-ever relay national title on the first event of the evening, racing to the third-fastest time ever in the event, crossing in 38.03. The foursome of Azeem Fahmi, Kanyinsola Ajayi, Dario Matau and Makanakishe Charamba ran a flawless race to claim gold by 18 one-hundredths of a second over second place LSU. It was the men's first national title in any event since Cory Martin won the shot put and hammer in 2008.
"Those guys ran a great race and really set the tone for us," Burrell said.
Less than an hour later, true freshman Ja'Kobe Tharp, who jumped onto the national scene last month when he won the SEC title while breaking a 46-year-old American Junior (U20) national record, claimed silver in the 110m hurdles in 13.20.  The Rockvale, Tennessee native became the first Auburn freshman to finish second or better at the outdoor championships since Nathon Allen was runner up in the 400m seven years ago.  
For the first time in Auburn's historic sprints history, two Tigers finished second and third in the 100m finals as junior Favour Ashe won silver while Ajayi, a true freshman, won bronze. Making his third consecutive finals in the event, Ashe finished in 9.99, while Ajayi broke his own school freshman record in 10.01.
Charamba, who anchored Auburn's national champion relay team turned around 90 minutes later to finish fifth in the men's 200m dash in 20.16. The junior's finish was the best by an Tiger sprinter in the 200 since Auburn legend and Olympian Harvey Glance was fourth in 1978.
Auburn sophomore Paula Grauvogel, competing in her first NCAA Outdoors is in 23rd place after day one of the women's heptathlon with 3172 points. Grauvogel will finish the seven-event competition on Saturday beginning with the long jump at 10:30 a.m. PT. Freshman Marley Raikiwasa will compete in her first NCAAs in the discus throw at 2:05 p.m. PT.

 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships – Day 3 Results
Hayward Field – Eugene, Oregon
June 7, 2024
Men's 4x100m Relay
1. Auburn                                                                  38.03       SR, #3 Collegiate All-Time
Azeem Fahmi, Kanyinsola Ajayi, Dario Matau, Makanakishe Charamba
Men's 110m Hurdles
2. Ja'Kobe Tharp                                                    13.20
Men's 100m
2. Favour Ashe                                                          9.99
3. Kanyinsola Ajayi                                               10.01       PR, AU FR
Men's 200m
5. Makanakishe Charamba                                20.16
Heptathlon, Day 1
23. Paula Grauvogel                                       3172 pts
110m Hurdles                                                        13.97
High Jump                                                      1.60m/5-3
Shot Put                                               10.99m/36-0.75
200m                                                                          25.31