Carter Pulls Off Rare Double; Track Teams 4th at SEC's

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

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- LSU sophomore Xavier Carter wouldn't be denied on Saturday at the SEC Outdoor Championships as he picked up two individual conference titles and helped the men's 4x100 to a third on the final day of competition from Arkansas' John McDonnell Field.

Carter again placed himself among elite company, becoming just the third man in conference history to win both the 200 and 400 meter titles in the same year. He joins Georgia's Denny Jackson (1958) and LSU's own Al Coffee who was the last to accomplish the feat in 1970.

“That's not an easy feat in any way, but I felt he could do it,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver.

While Carter would close out his day with a pair of individual victories, he kicked of his winning ways by helping the Tigers to their first conference title in the 4x100 relay since the 1998 season. Carter joined with Richard Thompson, Marvin Stevenson and Kelly Willie to claim gold in 39.35 seconds.

The victory kept the foursome undefeated in the event this season as they ran their unbeaten streak to seven straight races with the win.

Following the short relay, Carter returned to the track just over an hour later where he handily won the men's 400-meter title in 45.26 seconds.

Carter then capped the day by successfully defending his 200-meter title in 20.30 seconds. Teammate Kelly Willie challenged him throughout the entire race, but it was Carter who pulled out the victory in the end by a .12 second margin.

For his second-place finish Willie picked up his second individual all-conference honor of the day. Earlier, the Houston native was edged at the line by Alabama's Chauncey Harris in the 100 meters, despite posting a personal best of 10.19 seconds.

“I'm not satisfied,” said Willie of the second-place finish. “But you take it as it comes. This is just the first of three big meets. I'll go back to the drawing board and fix some things so I can win a title at NCAAs.”

Despite his individual disappointment, Willie's performance was still quite notable as his time moved him into sole possession of the seventh position on the Tigers' all-time performance list in the event.

“Kelly really did have a good meet,” said Shaver. “In both races he made one mistake that cost him the race, but I am glad it happened here and not down the road. Now there are things that he can work on and fix for the regional meet and NCAAs.”

The Tigers capped the day by winning the 4x400 relay in 3:05.98. Siraj Williams, Reggie Dardar, Marvin Stevenson and Melville Rogers combined to keep the Tigers' undefeated in the event this season, winning their seventh straight meet title, and their first outdoor conference crown since 2001.

While Carter, Willie and the relay squads accumulated 56 points alone on the final day of competition, the Tigers had several others that contributing significant points towards the team total; including Reggie Dardar in the 400 meters (3rd, 46.41), Isa Phillips in the 400 hurdles (3rd, 50.46), Michael Hendry in the 800 meters (4th, 1:50.37) and Chad Radgiwski in the javelin (4th, 203-0).

The 83 final-day points landed the Tigers in fourth in the overall team standings with 109 points over the four days of competition.

Arkansas won its 22 men's outdoor conference title with 136 points, while Tennessee (126.5) and Florida (110) rounded out the top three.

“Coming in I felt like if the men scored 100 points they would have had a good meet and if they scored 120 points it would have been a great meet,” said Shaver. “We came up a little short in the team race, but honestly I am not that disappointed because we just don't quite have the numbers we need spread across all the event areas to be successful in a meet like this.”

On the women's side, the Lady Tigers finished fourth in the overall standings after tallying 75 points on the final day of competition to finish with 81 overall.

“We should have scored more points,” said Shaver. “We had too many instances where we came in ranked second or third and finished seventh or eighth.”

Georgia nipped Auburn for the women's team title with 136 points to AU's 135. South Carolina rounded out the top three with 86.5 points.

Turning in 10 big points for the Lady Tigers was junior Tanya Osbourne who won the first SEC title of her career, taking home top honors in the 800 meters. Osbourne was shoulder-to-shoulder with Tennessee's Leslie Treherne down the entire final straight away and eventually edged her at the line 2:06.26 to 2:06.28.

“Boy she fought then off, she really went after it,” said Shaver of Osbourne's narrow victory. “I am happy to see her be able fight them off and win in this type of situation.”

The Lady Tigers had another two athletes and its 4x400 team pick up all-conference honors for their runner-up efforts.

Sophomore Jessica Ohanaja was the first to do so on the day, finishing secind in the 100 hurdles. The Houston native clocked a wind-aided time of 13.10 to finish just behind meet champion Josanne Lucas of Auburn (12.98).

Also impressive in the women's hurdles final was Angel Boyd. The sophomore posted a season-best for the second-straight day, clocking in 13.14 in placing fourth overall.

Sophomore Kelly Baptiste picked up league honors in the 100-meter dash after recording a personal best effort of 11.08 seconds. The time, the sixth fastest in Lady Tiger history, also ranks as the second-fastest in the NCAA and the fourth fastest in the world this season.

The Lady Tigers' 4x400 wrapped up the meet with a second-place showing in the long relay. Cynethia Rooks, Meisue Francis, Tanya Osbourne and Deonna Lawrence combined to finish in 3:31.44.

Others finishing in the top five for the Lady Tigers included the 4x100-meter relay team of Sherry Fletcher, Brooklynn Morris, Jessica Ohanaja and Baptiste (44.43), Francis in the 800 meters (3rd, 2:07.31), Lawrence in the 400 meters (4th, 52.80) and Morris (4th, 23.03) and Baptiste (5th, 23.05) in the 200.

Up next, the LSU track and field team travels to Knoxville, Tenn., for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, May 26-27.

1. Arkansas, 137.5
2. Tennessee, 126.5
3. Florida, 110
4. LSU, 109
5. South Carolina, 77
6. Alabama, 67.5
7. Kentucky, 58
8. Georgia, 52.5
9. Auburn, 31
9. Ole Miss, 31
11. Mississippi State, 19

1. Georgia, 136
2. Auburn, 135
3. South Carolina, 86.5
4. LSU, 81
5. Tennessee, 78
6. Alabama, 72.5
7. Arkansas, 68
8. Kentucky, 45
9. Florida, 38
10. Vanderbilt, 28
11. Mississippi State, 27
12. Ole Miss, 24



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