Auburn true freshman Khalil Henderson finished sixth in the men's 200m in a personal-best time of 20.61 during the final day of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field. The Tigers had four athletes competing during the final day, including three participating in their first NCAA Championships.
"Coming to this meet as a freshman is an incredible accomplish, but to get to finals and score says a lot about Khalil," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "He did a great job racing today and he ran his best race at the right time, which is what you look for."
Henderson's sixth-place finish was the best by an Auburn athlete in the 200m since 2012 and the fifth time in the last six years a Tiger has been in the finals of the event.
"I'm happy I made it (to finals) as a freshman and finish sixth," Henderson said. "Overall, I'm happy with the experience and the atmosphere of this event. This meet helped with my track maturity will help me improve and know what to expect the next time I come to nationals."
The men finished the meet with 10 points tying for 24th place overall, the program's 10th top 25 finish in the last 15 year.
"We have a young group," Spry said. "I'm pleased with our effort this year and excited about what we have coming in for next season."
Auburn native Justin Carter finished 13th in the men's javelin with a mark of 215-8 (65.75m). The Auburn, Ala., native had a mark of 191-8 on his first throw, fouled on his second, before having his best throw of the day on his final attempt.
"Justin had a sore elbow coming in and had he been healthy and throwing like he had at SECs and NCAA Prelims, he would have had a good chance to score," Spry said. "That's the nature of this sport. You have to be healthy at the right time, it's a long year and everyone fights those battle. He did a good job and still has a great chance to make the world junior in two weeks."
Junior Valentina Muzaric and sophomore Rachel Dincoff finished 10th and 14th, respectively, in the women's shot put. Muzaric, who finished seventh in the event a year ago, had a throw of 54-5¾ (16.60m) on her second attempt, coming up less than a foot short from advancing to the finals. Muzaric opened with a throw of 53-1½ and closed with a mark of 54-1¾.
"Valentina has battled a knee injury the entire outdoor season, so we knew she would be hit or miss and she just missed making finals," Spry said. "Rachel threw well all year, scored at SECs and was off just a bit but competed well. Both are back next year and look forward to them coming back to NCAAs."
Competing in her first NCAA Championship, Dincoff's best throw came on her last attempt, with a mark of 52-9¼ (16.08m), after throwing 51-8½ on her first throw and fouling on her second.
A total of seven Tiger earned All-America honors during the meet, including three first-team honors: Henderson, senior Stephen Saenz (shot put) and senior DJ Smith (high jump). Earning second-team All-America honors were Carter, Dincoff, Muzaric, and sophomore Samantha Scarlett (100m hurdles).
Men's Shot Put—Stephen Saenz, 5th, 64-10¾ (19.78m)
Men's 200m—Khalil Henderson, 20.94 (semis)
Men's 200m—Teray Smith, 13th, 20.94 (semis)
Women's 100m Hurdles—Samantha Scarlett, 13.36, 12th (semis)
Women's 100m Hurdles—Ebony Morrison, 13.63, 21st (semis)
Men's High Jump—DJ Smith, 6th, 7-2½ (2.20m)
Men's Javelin—Justin Carter, 13th, 215-8 (65.75m)
Women's Shot Put—Valentina Muzaric, 10th, 54-5½ (16.60m)
Women's Shot Put—Rachel Dincoff, 14th, 52-9¼ (16.08m)
Khalil Henderson, Men's 200m (first-team)
Stephen Saenz, Men's Shot Put (first-team)
DJ Smith, Men's High Jump (first-team)
Justin Carter, Men's Javelin (second-team)
Rachel Dincoff, Women's Shot Put (second-team)
Valentina Muzaric, Women's Shot Put (second-team)
Samantha Scarlett, Women's 100m Hurdles (second-team)