AUSTIN, Texas—Auburn senior Madi Malone, the program’s most decorated hammer thrower in school history saved her best performance for last, finishing second at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday. Malone crushed her previous school record by over three meters while all six throws surpassed her previous AU mark.
Throwing third to last in the second flight, Malone surpassed the elusive 70-meter mark with a throw of 72.35m/237-4 to break her previous school record of 69.66m/228-6 set in 2022. The throw put her in second place, a spot she would hold the entire competition.
“I just went in with a level head,” Malone said. “I’ve had 70 meters in my mind for a long time. To finally get past that, especially on the first throw, it took a lot of the pressure off. I just keep moving forward from there.”
A seven-time All-American, Malone was on the verge of not qualifying for the championships after fouling on her first two throws two weeks ago at the NCAA East Prelims, but a clean third throw was good enough a second-place finish and trip to Austin.
“I was very nervous on the first throw,” Malone said. “But from the regional meet, I learned to quiet that and remember what I’ve done at practice. I’ve been hitting over 70 in practice. Knowing I can do that in practice, I can do it in the meet and just trusted the process.”
Malone was the most consistent in the field as she was the only athlete with all six throws over 70 meters. She followed her first toss with marks of 71.14m, 71.81m, 71.71m and 72.01m.
“To step in the ring and perform at a personal-best level six times in a row, your final championship, it just speaks to the champion that she is,” Auburn head coach Leroy Burrell said. “She performed at a championship level. I’m fortunate to have had her be our captain for my first year at Auburn. It couldn’t have happened to a better person, and I couldn’t be prouder of Madi.”
Stepping into the ring on her sixth and final throw having to surpass 73.63m to win a national championship, she posted her lifetime best throw of 72.37m/237-5. Stephanie Ratcliffe of Harvard won with a throw of 73.63m/241-7 on her first throw of the competition.
“It was pretty special. We’ve been seeing these distances in practice, and it finally showed up in a meet,” Auburn throw coach Pat Ebel said. “We’ve talked about throwing 70 meters for a long time. I said stay persistent, keep believing in what we’re doing and keep training hard. Sure enough, every single throw was over 71 meters which is special, really special. I’m very proud of her. To end your Auburn career throwing your best-ever and breaking the school record by another three meters, is special. I’ll never forget this moment.”
Competing in her second NCAA outdoor championships and first in the javelin throw, junior Maura Huwalt was 19th with a mark of 49.02m/160-10.
Friday’s action for the Auburn men will start at 7:30 p.m. CT with Dontavious Hill in the high jump followed by Favour Ashe in the 100-meter dash at 8:52 p.m. ESPN2 will air Friday’s competition live.