Skinny Legs Produce Hefty Results For AU Star

A junior Olympian leads Auburn into the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Baton Rouge, La.

Baton Rouge, La.--Multi-talented Elva Goulbourne is expected to be a major contributor for the Auburn women's team as the Tigers look to finish among the nation's Top 10 at the 2002 NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Competition begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday on the campus of LSU. The Auburn women go into the meet ranked 14th nationally.

Goulbourne has made a name for herself in the long jump this season by recording marks of 22 feet, eight inches at the SEC Indoor Track Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., and 22-4 1/2 at the SEC Outdoor Track Championships in Starkville, Miss. With those two jumps Goulbourne took the title at both events. She beat her nearest competition at the outdoor meet by more than a foot.

Her effort in Fayetteville was the second best indoor long jump in the world this year and her effort at the SEC outdoors meet was the eighth longest women's long jump in the world this season.

Goulbourne is obviously enjoying her accomplishments this season and says she feels good about the way she is jumping. "Woo-Hoo, I feel great," she says with a big smile. "Most people think that, ‘Oh, she's so skinny she can't do this or that,' but I have the strength and the Lord is with me so I just go out there and do what I have to do."

Elva Goulbourne works out at the Wilbur Hutsell Track in Auburn.

The long jump is not Goulbourne's only forte. She has quick feet as well and showcases them in the 100 meters, the 200 meters and 4x100 relay. She will step into the blocks for all three events at the NCAA Championships with qualifying times of 11.43 in the 100 and 23.04 in the 200. Both are the top times for the Auburn women's team this season.

If training for four track and field events at a world-class level seems like a difficult task, the Auburn junior doesn't seem concerned. "No, it's not because I am prepared for everyone of them," she says. Asked if she likes all the training necessary to be successful in the four events, she smiles and says, "Yes I do. Track is like my career right now."

Goulbourne is definitely planning on turning her love of track into a career. She has been a member of the Jamaican National Team every year since 1997 and she finished 10th in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the long jump. She plans to try to improve on that finish at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. "I'm working myself there," she says. "Hopefully, I'll get a medal in 2004 in Greece. And next year, in the World Championships, I'm going for one there, too."

Goulbourne's accomplishments this season have earned her quite a few accolades. She was awarded the SEC Indoor Co-Female Track Athlete of the Year, along with All-SEC honors in both the long jump and the 200 meters. She was recently named the Mondo/USTCA South Region Female Track Athlete of the Year, which was awarded to her by a vote of the nation's track coaches.

Goulbourne hopes to finish her impressive junior collegiate season with an impressive showing in Baton Rouge. "For myself I hope to win the long jump and, hopefully, medal in the 100," she says. "And I want to run a good second leg of the 4x100 and bring the team up so they can hopefully finish in the top three."

Coach Ralph Spry also has high expectations for Goulbourne and other Tigers heading into the NCAA meet. "I think we can both be Top 10 in the women's and men's competitions and that's a goal going in, but I think we can be as high as six or seven or better on both sides if we have a great meet."

Other key performers for the Auburn women's team include long jumper and sprinter Shelly-Ann Gallimore, sprinter Timicka Clarke, high jumpers Natalee Sterling and Kaylah Burks plus Camica White and Natalee Sterling in the 4x100.

Gallimore, who is a junior, is the defending NCAA outdoor triple jump champion. She brings the longest college triple jump of the season into the competition at 44 feet, 10 1/4 inches.

The men's team, which is ranked 16th nationally in a rebuilding season, is led by Sanjay Ayre and Shameron Turner in the 400, Fred Sharpe and Dean Griffiths in the 400 hurdles, SEC champion Reedus Thurmond in the discus, Osbourne Moxey in the long jump and Ayre, Turner, Sharpe and Griffiths in the metric mile relay.

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