The Auburn women moved up from their 21st place finish at the 2001 championships in Eugene, Ore., where the men's team was 10th. Although Auburn did not meet Coach Ralph Spry's pre-meet goal of both teams making the Top 10, it was the first time in school history that both the men's and women's teams finished in the Top 15 in the same season.
Sanjay Ayer led the Auburn men's team with a fourth place in the open 400 meters and he ran on the 4x400 relay team that finished sixth. Ayer's time was a personal best and the fourth best 400 meters time in AU history.
Elva Goulbourne, who won the long jump earlier in the week for AU's only first place finish, took fifth in the 100 meters on Saturday to lead the women's team on the final day of competition.
"Our kids competed hard," Spry said. "We had a couple of opportunities on both sides to score a few more points, but that is how the ball bounces sometimes. Finishing 11th and 14th is a great accomplishment for our kids and university and we will look to better those finishes next season."
Ayre, a junior, ran a time of 45.10 in a 400 dominated by SEC runners. Junior Gary Kikaya of Tennessee won the event in 44.53. Rickey Harris, a sophomore from Florida, was second in 44.93 and sophomore Pete Coley of LSU took third in 45.07. Ayre's fourth place finish scored five points for the Tigers. This is the second time he has scored at the NCAA Outdoors in the quarter-mile. As a freshman in 2000 at Durham, N.C., Ayre ran a 46.80 to take eighth place.
"It was very tough running out of lane eight," said Ayre. "You cannot see your competition so you have to go out hard and hope to hold on. I thought down the stretch that I had a chance at moving into third, but it didn't happen. Overall, I am very pleased with my race."
The 4x400-meter relay featuring Dean Griffiths, Fred Sharpe, Shameron Turner and Ayre ran their second fastest time of the season to finish sixth in 3:04.36.
Goulbourne, a junior, took a fifth place in the 100 meters. Angela Williams (11.29) of Southern Cal edged teammate Natasha Myers (11.30) for her fourth consecutive outdoor 100 meters title. Sophomore Muna Lee of LSU was third in 11.44 and senior Brianna Glenn of Arizona was fourth in 11.50.
Auburn's Shelly-Ann Gallimore scored three points with a sixth place finish in the triple jump. The junior's best leap was 43 feet, one and a half inch. Teresa Bundy, a senior from Florida State, won the event with a leap of 44 feet. Gallimore, the defending champion in the event, jumped 43 feet, seven and one-quarter inches to win in 2001. She was fourth at the NCAA Championships as a freshman.
Tennessee finished second in the men's comeptition with 57 points, seven behind LSU. Florida was fourth with 32 points, Arkansas was seventh with 28 points while Alabama and Georgia tied Auburn with 21 points in 11th place. Southern Cal also scored 21 points.
In the women's competition, South Carolina's 82 points outdistanced UCLA's total of 72. LSU was fourth with 43 and Florida was sixth with 29 points.