Carter, Willie Shine at NCAA's; LSU Hunt for Team Title

LSU's Xavier Carter
LSU's Xavier Carter (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- A 2-3 finish by Tigers sprinters Xavier Carter and Kelly Willie in the 200 meters highlighted first-day action for the LSU track and field team at the NCAA Indoor Championships Friday.

Carter clocked a personal best and school record time of 20.30 seconds in the finals but was narrowly defeated by Florida State's Walter Dix at the tape as Dix secured the title in 20.27.

"Xavier wasn't in a good rhythm 5-10 meters out of the blocks and that's where Dix closed on him," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver.

The second-place showing did garner Carter the fourth All-America honor of his career and marked his best-ever individual finish at the indoor championships.

However, the 200 finish wasn't the only highlight of Carter's day as he turned in an equally impressive performance in the prelims of the 400-meter dash. The South Central Region Athlete of the Year recorded a personal-best and world leading-time of 45.53 seconds in topping all preliminary round competitors.

Willie, who earned the 15th All-America honor of his career for his personal-best time of 20.46 in the 200, is now the sole owner of the Tigers' all-time All-America awards record as he was previous tied with former LSU great Bennie Brazell with 14.

The 14 points scored by the Tigers' 2-3 finish leaves them in a tie for fifth-place with Tennessee in the team standings following one day of competition. Host Arkansas leads the pack with 24 points, followed by Oregon (20), Florida State (20) and BYU (16).

The Lady Tigers stand in a six-way tie for 14th in the women's team race with a six points earned off a 5-7 finish by sophomores Brooklynn Morris and Kelly Baptiste in the 200 meters.

Morris was exceptional in just getting into the finals, clocking the third fastest time in school history (22.84). She then added a 22.90 effort in the finals to earn the first individual All-America honor of her career.

Also picking up All-America accolades was Baptiste for her personal-best effort of 23.05.

In preliminary round competition, both Baptiste and Willie turned in exceptional efforts in the 60-meter dash.

Baptiste lit up the competition, posting the field's top qualifying time of 7.16 seconds. The time, a personal best, ranks as the second-fastest in school history and was just .01 seconds shy of the school record mark of 7.15 set by former LSU great Muna Lee in 2003.

Willie shattered his own school record of 6.68 seconds in the event, crossing the line in 6.66 to advance to tomorrow's final.

In the first day of the men's heptathlon competition, Tigers Darion Powell and Edwin Billot turned in exceptional performances, recording season-best point totals of 3,244 and 3,077, respectively.

Powell posted season-best efforts in the 60 meters (7.16), long jump (23-2 3/4) and high jump (6-5 ) and tallied the top mark of the field in the shot put (50-2 ) to finish the day in fourth place.

Billot will enter the second day of competition in eighth place after also posting season-best efforts in three of the four events. The 2006 SEC champion finished the 60 meters in 7.17 seconds and threw the shot put 40-6 , but it was his field-topping clearance of 6-9 in the high jump that provided the day's biggest highlight.

"I don't think there was anything else we could have done today," said Shaver. "I feel good about our position going into tomorrow's meet. I think we are still in it, we just have to come in and get it done."

Action from the NCAA Indoor Championships wraps up tomorrow evening with the crowning of the men's and women's team champions.

TEAM STANDINGS (After one day of competition and seven events scored. Top 10 plus LSU only.)
1. Arkansas, 24
2. Oregon, 20
2. Florida State, 20
4. BYU, 16
5. LSU, 14
5. Tennessee, 14
7. Baylor, 11
8. Nebraska, 10
9. Florida, 9
10. Texas A&M, 8
10. Iona, 8
10. Idaho, 8

1. Texas, 25
2. North Carolina, 20
3. Southern California, 19
4. Stanford, 18
4. Georgia, 18
6. Michigan, 12
6. Southern Illinois, 12
8. Arizona State, 11
8. Maryland, 11
10. South Carolina, 10
T14. LSU, 6



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