Auburn's Stephen Saenz throws shot-put at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships hosted by Drake University in New Orleans Saturday. Saenz won two All-American honors at the event.
Perhaps no sport epitomizes what it means to be an athlete like Track & Field. Often overshadowed in today’s world by the big team sports, it is the fore runner of all other athletic endeavors. The American Indians were known to hold athletic contest and the modern Olympics are based on the Track & Field Olympics of the ancient Greeks.
The track athlete is in training all year long. He/she pays special attention to nutrition and spends many countless hours training, honing, and refining their skills. Athletes from other sports could make that same claim. However, track & field events pit not only man against man but man against himself.
In every event the athlete’s goal is to out do his last performance. Many today still recognize Jim Thorpe Decathlon gold medalist as the greatest athlete ever. He was an All-American who won 10 medals at the 1912 Olympics.
For any athlete to earn All-American is a great honor; but to accomplish it in Track & Field is the measure of true athleticism.
And Tuesday marked a special day for Auburn’s Track & Field athletes as the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association awarded 11 Auburn Athletes with 21 All-American honors.
The recognition came after the Auburn men finished sixth overall and the women were 24th Saturday at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships hosted by Drake University.
The Men’s finish gives Head Coach Ralph Spry eight Top 10 National finishes. For the Women’s Team it was the 12th consecutive finish in the top 25.
Keenan Brock and All-SEC sprinter Harry Adams led the Men’s Team with three 1st Team selections each. Marcus Rowland won two 1st team and one 2nd team honor. Stephen Saenz, Michael DeHaven, and Jeremy Hardy all won 1st Team honors while Saenz also garnered an Honorable Mention.
Kai Selvon won two First Team All- American selections for the Women’s Team and one Second Team honor. Four other athletes named to the Second Team included CeCe Williams, V'alonee Robinson, Maya Pressley, and Alycia Prior.
The 21 combined All-America honors for the men's and women's teams is the most in Auburn history. Coach Spry said it was, "A testament to the level of athlete we have here at Auburn," Making All-American is a very difficult task."
That’s true and it’s also true that Auburn will have all of these All-Americans back next year. So maybe, just maybe, next year this group might bring Auburn its first Track & Field National Championship.