DES MOINES, Iowa – Harry Adams, Keenan Brock and Kai Selvon will all run for a championship in the finals of the 200 meters after punching their tickets on Thursday afternoon at Drake Stadium on day two of action at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Keenan Brock qualifies for final in 200 meters/Todd Van Emst photo
“We were really close to having a perfect day,” Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. “Marcus Rowland ran a great race out of lane two and it was just unfortunate. Lane two is really tight and you have to work so hard in the turns, but he did a great job. Keenan Brock – I’m really proud of him. He was really down yesterday, but he bounced back. He came back with a vengeance. To take second place out of lane two was big. Harry Adams continued to take care of business.
“We assured ourselves some points in the finals with two in the 100 and two in the deuce along with the 4x1 and Stephen Saenz. I feel good about what we can do here. We just need to finish it off in the finals. It’s really exciting. Tomorrow is the first chance we have to put some points on the board and these first two days have put us in good position to be a big factor here over the last two days.”
Adams and Brock finished 1-2 in the first heat of the men’s 200 meters in 20.49 and 20.65, respectively. The Auburn duo both advanced by virtue of the top two finishes. In the second heat, Rowland was out-leaned at the tape by Baylor’s Everett Walker (20.79) and dropped to fourth in his heat in 20.80 seconds and 15th overall.
“I knew when I saw Keenan’s face before the race that he was ready to run,” Adams said. “We had been talking to him and I knew he was ready from the start. I ran my race and he came right with me.”
Brock, the SEC 100 meters champion, was able to bounce back after a disappointing performance in the 100m yesterday.
“Today my main point was to make the finals make up for the mistakes I had in my 100 meters,” Brock said. “I actually came out here and did it. To do it from lane two, which is a difficult task, feels good. Yesterday, I was very frustrated. Words can’t even really describe how I upset I was. You just have to put it in the past and work towards the future. That’s what I did today.”
The finals berths mean Adams will run in both the 100 and 200 meter finals and Brock will give Auburn two in both races (Rowland, 100m).
Kai Selvon had another banner afternoon as she finished second in the opening heat of the women’s 200 meters. The likely Olympian from Trinidad & Tobago set a new PR and tied former Tiger Juliet Campbell’s mark from 1993 for second in school history with her time of 22.66 seconds.
“Kai Selvon did a great job today,” Spry said. “That is a PR for her two days in a row. She came off the turn in second or third and did a great job of finishing. Her time was in the top three overall. She is somebody that we need to come up big in the 100 and 200 and help the women get over the hump into the top 25.”
Selvon will make her first career appearance in the 200 meter finals after finishing one spot out of the championship race last season.
Auburn is one of two teams with two men in the finals of both the 100 and 200 meters and it also enters the 4x100m relay as the top seed. For Spry, his sprint group is getting a chance to finally show what they are truly capable of on a national stage.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the environment back in Auburn,” Spry said. “We’ve been fortunate over the years to have some high-level sprinters. Our coaching staff is strong and we know how to get people ready. We also have some great resources that help us get our athletes prepared for high-level events like NCAAs. All these guys have the competitiveness that it takes and not everyone has that. We are fortunate to have this talented group.
“Any time you have the chance to run against top sprinters, you push yourself. Our guys are fortunate to get that every day in practice. On any given day, any of them can be the best guy and I think they feed off that energy. There is strength in numbers, and you see that at big meets like this one.”
Action on day three begins as two-time SEC high jump champion Maya Pressley tries to improve upon her 13th-place finish a season ago at 4:30 p.m. CT on Friday. The 100m finals for the men and women featuring Adams, Rowland and Selvon are scheduled for 5:55 p.m. and 6:02 p.m. on Friday evening, respectively.