Track Teams In Fourth At SEC Championships

On Sunday the Tigers and others will wrap up their competition in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Knoxville, Tenn.--The Auburn men's track team is in fourth place going into Sunday's finals at the SEC Track And Field Championships while the AU women are tied for fourth place with Kentucky.

Auburn senior Elva Goulbourne set another SEC meet record as she defended her championship in the long jump. Goulbourne jumped 22 feet, five inches.

Elva Goulbourne

The big performance for the men's team was senior Gabor Mate winning the shot put, a secondary event for the discus start. Mate won the title with a toss of 59 feet, five inches at Tom Black Track on the University of Tennessee campus on a wet day.

"Elva and Gabor put two big wins on the board for us," Auburn coach Ralph Spry said. "This was Gabor's first shot put title and now he is on course to challenge for the Commissioner's Trophy (the SEC commissioner honors the high point scorer) and Elva had a phenomenal day. Any time you can break a record and record one of the top times in the world, that is an incredible accomplishment."

Spry's Tigers and the other teams competed on a bad-weather Saturday that caused a three-hour rain delay.

Coach Ralph Spry

Arkansas leads the men's competition with 51 points. Georgia is second with 48 and is followed by Tennessee (40), Auburn (35), Florida and LSU at 23 apiece, South Carolina scored 18, Alabama 15, Ole Miss and Kentucky each scored seven points and Mississippi State is last with six points.

Florida leads the women's competition with 69 points, 11 points ahead of Arkansas. Georgia is third with 35 points while Auburn and Kentucky are tied for fourth with 26 points. Alabama is next with 14 points and is followed by Vandy (13), South Carolina (12), Tennessee (10), LSU (6), Ole Miss (2) and Mississippi State (2).

Goulbourne broke the long jump record on her second try in the finals, going a half-inch longer than her record set in 2002. "I am very excited about breaking the record," said Goulbourne. "This is my last SEC Championship so I wanted to come out here and do my best and defend my title, but I didn't expect to break the record. I just try to beat my personal best every time that I jump and today it worked." Goulbourne's 22-5 is the top collegiate jump this season and the third-longest long jump in the world for 2003.

Goulbourne qualified for her second for the finals in the 100 meters in 11.37 while teammate Timicka Clarke just missed the finals in 10th with a time of 11.69.

Leevan Sands took second place in the men's long jump with a distance of 25 feet, six inches. Sands finished second behind LSU's John Moffitt, who won by four inches. Sands was the number-one jumper heading into the finals, but couldn't overcome Moffit's last jump.

The long jump was the only completed event of the afternoon as another storm blew through Knoxville for the third consecutive day. The field events and preliminary competition got underway after another three hour rain delay at the Tom Black Track with Mate taking his first-ever shot put title by a centimeter.

"That was the most thrilling shot put competition that I have ever been in," Mate stated, "This is my senior year, so I just wanted to prove that I am the best shot putter in the SEC for 2003. Mission accomplished."

Ronda Gullatte and Beatrice Louisy-Louis took to the field in the women's discus with Gullatte finishing eighth with a throw of 159-09 and Louisy-Louis grabbing 13th with a distance of 146-08.

In the high jump, Kaylah Burks took fifth with a height of 5-05.75 and Danille Prime finished ninth with a height of 5-05.75, as decided by attempts.

Wyman Hamilton represented Auburn in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing 14th in a time of 9:45.18.

In preliminary action, the Tigers had three more athletes qualify for finals competition with Spring Dawson posting the first qualifying mark in the 1500 with a time of 4:29.64. Reade Kidd and Clay Askew competed in the men's 1500, but missed qualifying for finals by recording times of 3:54.48 and 4:05.57, respectively.

Shamar Sands and Lisa Miller just missed qualifying for finals as Sands finished ninth in the 110-meter hurdles in 13.93 and Miller also took ninth in the 400-meters in 54.70.

In the 400-meter dash, senior Sanjay Ayre finished first in his heat, advancing to the finals as the fifth seed in a time of 46.91. Fellow senior Tim Green missed qualifying for the finals after posting a time of 48.70 for 21st.

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