Auburn true freshman Khalil Henderson advanced to the finals of the men's 200m, highlighting Day 2 for the Tigers at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Thursday. The only freshman to qualify for the 200m finals, Henderson qualified on time after running a 20.77 and finishing third in his heat.
"Khalil did a phenomenal job and I'm very proud of the way he competed," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "He really looked ready and has stayed calm all year long. Anything can happen in the finals, so I expect him to come out to compete Saturday and run well."
A native of Hollywood, Fla., Henderson will be seeded seventh when he runs in Saturday's final at 4:42 p.m. CT.
"I'm blessed and words can't explain how I feel being here with the top names," Henderson said. "I've dreamed about this moment and I watched in on TV last year. Not too many freshman make it here, so I'm just happy to make it (to finals)."
Fellow freshman Teray Smith was 13th overall in the 200m after posting a time of 20.94 and finishing fifth in his heat and was just seven one-hundredths from qualifying for finals.
"Teray competed very well and even though he didn't final, the experience of running here will be huge for next year," Spry said. "They are going to be battle tested for next year, which is huge."
On the women's side, sophomore Samantha Scarlett was 12th overall and fourth in her heat of the women's 100m hurdles finishing in 13.36. True freshman Ebony Morrison running into a -1.6 headwind ran a 13.63 to finish tied for 21st overall in the 100m hurdles.
"Our hurdlers ran well and even though they didn't final, they are young and this was as great experience," Spry said. "This is a tough meet for a senior, let alone a freshman and sophomore. They've had a great year and I feel good about where they are and their future."
Competing Friday for the Tigers will be senior high jumper D.J. Smith at 5:20 p.m. CT. Smith will look to improve upon his 11th place finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be broadcast on ESPNU Friday and Saturday. Thursday's coverage will begin at 5:55 pm CT. Friday's ESPNU coverage begins at 6:30 pm CT, and Saturday's coverage is slated for 4 pm CT.
INFORMATION SOURCE: AU Athletics Dept.