Senior And Freshmen Are Double Winners For Tigers

Olympic hopeful Leevan Sands and a newcomer to the Tiger team came through with big meets at the SEC Championships.

Oxford, Miss.--Senior Leevan Sands and freshman Edis Elkasevic were double winners for Auburn at the SEC Track and Field Championships.

Sands took the long jump and triple jump titles at the rain-plagued event at the new Ole Miss track and field complex. He is the first athlete in Auburn history to sweep both events in the indoor and outdoor SEC meets. Elkasevic was the winner in the shot put with a personal record toss and he also won the discus.

As a team, the Auburn men didn't do as well as Sands and Elkasevic. The Tigers scored 80 to finish sixth. Arkansas was the runaway winner with 183 points and was followed by Florida (120), Georgia (115), Tennessee (108) and LSU (93). Auburn finished ahead of Mississippi State (42), Kentucky (25), Alabama (20), South Carolina (19) and Ole Miss (12).

With distance runner Angela Homan leading the way, the Auburn women's team finished seventh with 68.5 points. She won the 10,000-meters in the rain with a time of 34:18.10, more than 30 seconds ahead of Jill Steffens of Florida. The Auburn sophomore was second in the 5,000 on Sunday night in 16:24.92 behind Erika Schneble of Vandy, who ran a 16:22.66.

Angela Homan

Arkansas also won the women's competition. The Lady 'Backs scored 124 points, 10 more than LSU. Georgia was third at 101.5 and was followed by South Carolina (90.50), Florida (79), Tennessee (72.5), Auburn (68.5), Alabama (64), Kentucky (30), Vanderbilt (27), Mississippi State (22) and Ole Miss (15).

Sands defended his 2003 triple jump title with a leap of 54 feet, 6 1/2 inches, more than a foot past the best effort of LSU's Lejaun Simon. Sands also won the long jump at 26 feet, four 1/2 inches to defeat Simon in that event by four inches.

"It is always an honor to win at the SEC Championships," Sands said. "The competition here has always been strong. I am pleased with all of my performances this weekend and I am happy that I was able to come away with two SEC individual titles. This was my first time triple jumping this outdoor season and it was a good indicator of what I need to work on before heading into (the NCAA) regionals and the nationals."

Elkasevic threw the discus 187 feet, 10 inches to continue Auburn's recent dominance in that event at the SEC level. He finished more than five feet ahead of runnerup Lucais MacKay of Georgia. The Auburn freshman tossed the shot put 64 feet 1/4 inch to win that event over Jeff Chakouian of Kentucky.

Sherridan Kirk set an Auburn school record in the 800 meters of 1:46.77 as he finished second to Paul Cross of Tennessee (1:46.60).

Women's standout Shelly-Ann Gallimore showed that she has recovered from an injury by winning her second SEC triple jump title with a leap of 44 feet, two inches. She won her first one in 2001. "It was a very exciting for me and I am happy to walk away with this win," Gallimore said.

"I was competing against a lot of talented athletes and it was a big accomplishment for me to come out and finish ahead of them," Gallimore added. "I look forward to competing in Baton Rouge at regionals in a couple of weeks and hope that I can win another NCAA title in June."

Fana Ashby ran a personal best time of 11.40 to take third in the women's 100 meters in an Olympic Trials "B" standard qualifying time.

Josanne Lucas broke the three-year-old Auburn 400-meter hurdles record with her time of 56.96 in the finals Sunday evening. She placed fourth to score five points for the Tigers. Markita James finished sixth with a new personal best time of 58.30.

In other AU highlights at the competition in Oxford:

*Three Tigers scored in the men's hammer throw with Cory Martin throwing 202 feet, 10 inches to take second. Colton Hodge was third at 201-2 and Michael Cobb was fifth at 195 feet.

*In the shot put event won by his teammate Edis Elkasevic, Cory Martin was sixth at 57 feet, 8 1/2 inches.

*Damion Barry ran a close race in the men's 400-meters with a personal best time of 45.96 to finish sixth.

*In the women's 1500 meters, Spring Dawson, who set a new personal best in the trials, bettered her time in the finals by two seconds to place sixth with a time of 4:20.91. She added three points to the team total and moved into third place in Auburn's record books.

*Stacy Martin broke her own school shot put record on Sunday night with her sixth place throw of 51 feet, seven inches. Martin finished third in the discus with a throw of 174 feet, six inches. Ronada Gullate was seventh at 162-2.

*Darron Brown finished eighth in the men's 100-meter dash at 10.56 to score a point.

*Sarah Reese ran a 2:06.19 in the prelims to set a new school record in the 800. She was eighth in the finals. She broke the old record set last season by her sister Caitlin, who did not make the finals this season.

The Tigers will be back in action at LSU on May 28-29 at the NCAA Regional meet to qualify for the nationals.

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