Burning And Getting Burned At NCAA Championships

Marc Burns was smoking in the 100 meters, but several other Tigers went down in flames at the NCAA Championships.

Austin, Tex.--Auburn's chances of making a strong showing at the 2004 NCAA Track and Field Championships were dealt a major blow on Thursday night when defending long jump champion Leevan Sands did not score in the event.

Leevan Sands

Sands fouled on his first two jumps in the prelims and then jumped 25 feet on his next attempt, more than two feet shy of what would be a strong jump for the senior.

His 25-0 effort did not advance him to the finals, which were won with a jump of 27-6 3/4 by John Moffitt of LSU, a competitor that Sands had beaten in the regional qualifying meet at LSU two weeks ago.

Sands' second jump, which was ruled a foul, might have been long enough to win the competition. The senior will also compete in the triple jump for the Tigers and is one of the favorites in that event.

"We had a lot of highs and lows today," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "Having Leevan not make it to the final round of the long jump was a big setback for us, but this is a tough competition. We will regroup and come out ready to go tomorrow--there is a lot of track and field left to go in this competition."

Not all of the news for the men's track team was bad. Sophomore Marc Burns sizzled in the 100-meter prelims, running a time of 9.99 in the 100 meters, the fastest of the day. He will race in the finals on Friday night trying to improve on last year's finish.

Marc Burns runs his personal best time in Austin on Thursday. (Photo by Todd Van Emst

The AU record is 9.98 set by Coby Miller in 2000. However, Burns had a 4.8 miles per hour tailwind so his mark will not be officially listed in the AU record book as the second fastest in school history. Defending NCAA champ Mardy Scales of Middle Tennessee and Tyson Gay of Arkansas are expected to be major competition for Burns in what is a strong field.

Sophomore Angela Homan was the first Auburn competitor to score in the meet. Running late on Thursday night, she finished sxith in the 10,000 meters in a time of 34:40.12th. Alicia Craig of Stanford, the NCAA record-holder in the event, finished first in 33:58.27.

Angela Homan earned All-America honors for the Tigers.

On an up and down opening day for the Auburn women's team, one of the bright spots was in the 100 meters as Fana Ashby ran a personal best time of 11.20 to advance to Friday night's finals. That ties her with Elva Goulbourne for the second fastest time in AU history. Lauryn Williams of Miami is the number one qualifier with a time of 10.94. Ashby had the sixth fastest time on Thursday.

The other bright spot for the women's team is that the 4x400 relay of Treska Baptiste, Markita James, Josanne Lucas and Kareen Gayle ran a time of 3:31.76 to advance to Saturday night's finals. Their effort was the fastest in school history, breaking a 14-year-old record, and sixth fastest of the day.

For the men's team, freshman Edis Elvasevic was one of 12 qualifiers for the finals of the shot put with a toss of 61 feet, 6 1/4, the seventh best throw. Nebraska's Carl Mysercough dominated the prelims with a toss of 68 feet, 7 3/4, almost five feet farther than the second best toss by Jeff Chakouian, the SEC champ from Kentucky.

Teammate Colton Hodge was the eighth of 12 qualifiers for the finals of the hammer throw with his toss of 208 feet. Lucais MacKay of Georgia had the best toss of 221 feet, three inches.

It's hammer time for Auburn's Colton Hodge on Thursday in Austin. (Photography: Todd Van Emst)

Auburn assistant Jerry Clayton, who coaches the throwers, said, "Qualifying is always tough in this high level of competition. Both Colton and Edis stepped it up today and did what they had to do. Colton came in ranked 17th and ended up eighth in the preliminaries so I am very excited for him. Edis is in a great position to do very well in the finals of the shot put."

It was a rough day for the middle distance runners. Sherridan Kirk finished sixth in his heat and 20th of 27 runners in the men's 800 prelims and did not advance to the finals. His time was 1:49.76.

In the women's 800 meters, Auburn's two competitors did not advance. Gayle ran a 2:08.60 to finish fifth in the heat and 19th overall. Senior Sarah Reese was 22nd in 2:09.96.

Spring Dawson ran 4:35.52 to finish 25th in the women's 1500.

Another Tiger who didn't advance to the finals was senior Stacy Martin, who threw the shot put 51 feet, 10 1/2. That placed her 18th. Becky Breisch of Nebraska led the pack with a throw of 58 7 1/4.


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories