Track & Field Ready for Run at NCAA Indoor Title

LSU head coach Dennis Shaver
LSU head coach Dennis Shaver (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The LSU men's and women's track and field team's put the finishing touches on their preparations for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships with a final workout at the Randal Tyson Track Center Thursday afternoon.

LSU brings a pair of top 10 teams into the competition as the men are listed at No. 3 in the women are tied for sixth in the Trackwire 25 standings.

The Lady Tigers have won a total of 10 indoor national titles in the program's storied history, including three in the last four years.

The Tigers have won two indoor national crowns (2001 and 2004) and finished among the top 10, seven of the last 10 seasons.

In addition, LSU is the only program in NCAA history to ever sweep the team titles at the indoor championships, accomplishing the feat in 2004.

The Tigers have qualified just four athletes and its 4x400 relay team into the championships, but have the opportunity to put up a substantial amount of points in the team race.

"We don't have a lot of numbers but we do have quality guys that are ready to get out there and go," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver at Thursday's pre-meet press conference. "I know we are looking forward to the challenge."

Headlining the Tigers' efforts will be standout sprinters Xavier Carter and Kelly Willie.

Carter, a three-time All-American, enters the meet ranked No. 1 in the country in both the 200 and 400 meters. He will go after an unprecedented double this weekend as he attempts to become the only athlete in NCAA history to win both the indoor 200 and 400 meters titles in the same season.

Carter is undefeated in the 400 meters this year and owns the nation's top time at 45.89 seconds. He has also posted the country's third fastest time in the 200 meters (20.74), despite having run just one competitive race this year.

Willie will also be pulling double duty this weekend, running in both the 60 and 200-meter dashes. The 14-time All-American owns the nation's second-fastest time in the 200 meters (20.64) and is coming off an SEC title in the event. He also brings a season best and school record time of 6.68 into the 60-meter competition.

Both Carter and Willie are also key contributors on the Tigers' top-ranked 4x400-meter relay that enters the meet with a NCAA-best time of 3:05.28.

The Lady Tigers also bring a No. 1-ranked 4x400 relay squad into the championship meet. LSU is undefeated in the event this season and has posted an NCAA-leading time of 3:30.43.

The Lady Tigers will look to the track to score the majority of their team points this weekend as nine of their 11 scoring opportunities come on the oval.

"We're here, we're healthy and we have 11 chances to score," said Shaver. "We are still young, but it's exciting to see the progress this team has made. I feel they are more prepared than they were last year when they were all freshmen. The key for them is going to be doing what they did to get to this meet."

Highlighting the list of Lady Tigers competitors are sophomores Kelly Baptiste and Brooklynn Morris who are each slated to run in both the 60 and 200-meter dashes.

Baptiste, a three-time All-American, has posted the NCAA's third-best 200-meter time (23.07) this season and the seventh-best 60 mark (7.26).

Morris, also a member of the Lady Tigers' 4x400-meter relay team, comes into the competition having posted the field's fifth-best 200-meter time (23.35) and 17th-best 60-meter time (7.33).

Action from the NCAA Indoor Championships gets underway tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the men's heptathlon competition. The field events will start at noon and the running events will follow at 4:30 p.m.



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