LSU's Kelly Willie
Photo by:Bryan Wayne, Special to LSUsports.net
Track & Field Teams Sweep NCAA Mideast Regional Titles
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Published: May 27, 2006, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:21 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Three individual titles and sweep of the meet’s relay events catapulted the LSU men’s and women’s track and field teams to a pair of team victories Saturday at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships at Tennessee’s Tom Black Track.

The win marked the third in four years for the Lady Tigers and the first ever for the Tigers, who dethroned three-time defending champion, Arkansas. With the two wins, LSU became the first program in the four-year history on the Mideast Regional to sweep the team titles.

“It was a great meet,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver after winning his first team championships at the helm of the program. “As a group I saw people watching the scoreboard and really caring about what others were doing. We had some people really step it up at this meet and it made a difference in the team standings.”

Both teams handily came away with the victories as the women tallied 95.50 points to runner-up Auburn’s 77 and the men scored 71 points to Tennessee’s 52.25.

LSU began its winning ways with a pair of regional crowns in the men’s and women’s 4x100-meter relays.

The Lady Tiger foursome of Sherry Fletcher, Brooklynn Morris, Jessica Ohanaja and Kelly Baptiste escaped with a narrow 43.68-43.73 victory over conference foe Auburn as anchor-leg Baptiste chased down the Tigers’ Kerron Stewart on the final straightaway.

Time

Event

Athlete

Finish

Time/Mark

Pts.

2 p.m.

Shot Put (M)

Ricky Jean-Francois

11

55-9

--

4 p.m.

4x100 Relay Finals (W)

LSU

1

43.68

10

4:10 p.m.

4x100 Relay Finals (M)

LSU

1

39.12

10

4:40 p.m.

100 Hurdles Final (W)

Jessica Ohanaja

DNF

--

--

100 Hurdles Final (W)

Angel Boyd

2

13.28

8

5:05 p.m.

800 Final (W)

Meisue Francis

5

2:06.41

4

5 p.m.

Triple Jump (W)

Andrea Linton

5

41-10

4

5:25 p.m.

100 Final (W)

Brooklynn Morris

6

11.76

3

100 Final (W)

Kelly Baptiste

3

11.36

6

100 Final (W)

Sherry Fletcher

5

11.71

4

5:35 p.m.

100 Final (M)

Xavier Carter

1

10.22

10

100 Final (M)

Kelly Willie

FS

--

--

5:45 p.m.

Javelin (M)

Chad Radgowski

7

211-1

2

5:55 p.m.

400 Hurdles (M)

Isa Phillips

3

49.49

6

6:05 p.m.

400 Final (W)

Deonna Lawrence

2

51.75

8

400 Final (W)

Cynetheia Rooks

4

52.51

5

6:15 p.m.

400 Final (M)

Xavier Carter

1

44.84

10

400 Final (M)

Melville Rogers

6

46.40

3

400 Final (M)

Reggie Dardar

4

45.88

5

6:25 p.m.

200 Final (W)

Kelly Baptiste

1

22.73

10

200 Final (W)

Brooklynn Morris

2

23.05

8

200 Final (W)

Sherry Fletcher

7

23.78

2

6:35 p.m.

200 Final (M)

Kelly Willie

1

20.48

10

7:35 p.m.

4x400 Final (W)

LSU

1

3:28.93

10

7:50 p.m.

4x400 Final (M)

LSU

1

3:02.30

10

  Team Total (M) LSU Men
1
71
  Team Total (W) LSU Women
1
95.5
The Tigers cruised to their eighth straight short relay victory as Richard Thompson, Xavier Carter, Marvin Stevenson and Kelly Willie handily toppled the competition in 39.12 seconds to remain undefeated on the year.

Those relay finishes proved to be the catalyst for several outstanding individual efforts throughout the day.

Carter, who remains undefeated in individual events this year, went on to capture regional titles in both the 100 and 400 meters. The Palm Bay, Fla., native edged Wisconsin’s Demi Omole at the line in the 100, finishing in 10.22 to Omale’s 10.24.

Despite the impressive finish for Carter, the beginning of the race wasn’t without some drama as the field was taken out of blocks at the start and then once realigned teammate Kelly Willie was called for a false start and disqualified from the competition.

“I felt like my back was up against the wall,” said Carter of his feelings after Willie’s false start. “I knew I would be the only one that could now score for us. I felt like I had to represent my brother (Willie).”

Carter represented in that race and again later in the 400 meters where he clocked a blistering time of 44.84 in winning the title. With the time, which marked a new PR and third fastest time in school history, Carter became just the fifth Tiger to ever crack 45 seconds in the event.

Despite his earlier disappointment in the 100 meters, Willie did rebound in the 200 meters to claim the regional title in 20.48 seconds.

“It wasn’t going to be good enough to just qualify, I wanted to win it,” said Willie.  “I am happy with it, it’s a win, but I know going into NCAAs I have some work to do.”

Joining Carter and Willie at the NCAA meet will be two other Tigers in junior Isa Phillips and sophomore Reggie Dardar.

Phillips shattered his PR in the 400 hurdles, placing third overall with a time of 49.49 seconds. His time ranks as the fourth fastest in school history.

Dardar advanced with a fourth-place showing in the 400 meters, turning in the second-best performance of his career at 45.88 seconds.

For the women, sophomore Kelly Baptiste highlighted the Lady Tigers individual efforts as she successfully defended her 200-meter title and finished third in the 100 meters (11.36). Baptiste claimed her second straight regional crown with a personal-best effort of 22.73 seconds, a time that ties as the ninth fastest in Lady Tiger history.

Joining Baptiste in the short sprints at the NCAA meet will be Morris in the 200 meters and Fletcher in the 100 meters. Morris was just off personal record pace in earning runner-up honors with a time of 22.05, while Fletcher grabbed the field’s fifth and final spot in 11.71 seconds.

In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Angel Boyd advanced to the championship meet after turning in a second-place showing (13.28).

Despite Boyd’s solid individual effort the Lady Tigers’ did suffered an unfortunate incident in the event as sophomore Jessica Ohanaja was unable to finish the race after falling to the ground after the seventh hurdle.
With what would later be determined as a bruised hip, Ohanaja will not be eligible for an at-large bid to the NCAA meet. The Houston native had entered the competition ranked seventh in the nation and second in the Mideast region with a season-best time of 13.10 seconds.

Following the short hurdle events, action on the track resumed with the 800 meters. Junior Meisue Francis recorded a personal best for the second straight day to earn her first trip to the NCAA meet. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native secured the bid after finishing fifth overall with a time of 2:06.41.

Sophomore Deonna Lawrence and Cynetheia Rooks then earned their own national bids after posting a pair of personal best in the 400 meters.
Lawrence recorded the seventh fastest time in school history (51.74) in earning runner-up honors, while Rooks placed fourth in 52.51 seconds.

In the field, LSU was once again well represented by Lady Tiger Andrea Linton. The junior who qualified to the NCAA meet in the long jump just a day ago returned to the runway where she picked up a second berth to the national meet by virtue of a fifth-place finish in the triple jump (41-10).

The Tigers and Lady Tigers then capped the weekend with a pair of victories in the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relays.

The Tigers, anchored by Dardar’s 44.45 final-leg split, ran to a meet record time of 3:02.30 with the help of Siraj Williams, Melville Rogers and Marvin Stevenson.

“That was a pretty unbelievable performance,” said Shaver of his relay squad who clocked the second fastest time in the NCAA this season.

The women also established a new meet record as Rooks, Francis, Juanita Broaddus and Lawrence combined to finish in 3:28.93.

In all, LSU automatically advanced 14 athletes and all four of its relay teams into the national meet.

“With the exception of Kelly Willie in the 100 meters I think we did everything in this meet that we could do,” said Shaver. “I think the number of opportunities we’ll have to score at the NCAA meet will rank right up there with the other teams. And obviously the more bullets you have to fire the better opportunity you’ll have there,” said Shaver.

Up next, LSU will close out the 2006 season at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 7-10, in Sacramento, Calif.

TEAM RESULTS (Top 10 only)
Men
1. LSU, 71
2. Tennessee, 52.25
3. Arkansas, 41
4. Louisville, 38
5. Missouri, 36
6. Indiana, 34
7. Kentucky, 33
8. Middle Tennessee State, 29
9. Akron, 28.50
10. Southeastern Louisiana, 25

Women
1. LSU, 95.50
2. Auburn, 77
3. Tennessee, 64
4. Alabama, 59
5. Michigan, 36
6. Southern Illinois, 35
7. Illinois, 26.50
8. Purdue, 23
9. Missouri, 22
10. Arkansas, 19.50

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