Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
Phillips, Women's 4x400 Win Titles; Track & Field Teams Second
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Published: June 09, 2007, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:25 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- LSU senior Isa Phillips kicked off the day by winning a national title in the 400-meter hurdles, while the women’s 4x400-meter relay team wrapped up the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a title of its own Saturday at Hornet Stadium.

This 1-2 punch on the final day of the competition earned LSU a pair of national runner-up finishes as the Tigers scored 48 points to finish behind Florida State (54) and the Lady Tigers totaled 53 points for the meet to take second behind Arizona State (60).

For the Lady Tigers, it was their best finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships since earning a runner-up finish in 2004, while the Tigers have not placed outside the nation’s Top 10 since 1997.

“This was really a great track meet for both the men and the women,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “I’m proud of both teams for what they did, and it was the best combined finish for any program in the country. The teams that were picked to win ahead of us just did what they had to do to come out on top today.”

Phillips a native of Kingston, Jamaica was the first to step on the track as he lined up in the final of the intermediate hurdles having never broken the 49-second barrier in the event in his two year career in the purple and gold.

But he became the first LSU athlete to win a NCAA title in the 400 hurdles since Billy Hardin in 1964 as Phillips shattered his personal best by .80 seconds after crossing the finish line in 48.51 on Saturday. Phillips set his previous personal record in Friday’s national semifinal with the fastest time of the afternoon at 49.31.

“I knew from the start that I was going to win because I believed that I was going to,” Phillips said. “All champions think like that. It’s all about competing, and I love to get out and compete with the best. Running under 49 seconds has been a goal of mine, and it was a joy to actually see it pop up on the board. I knew I had it in me all the time.”

With the win, Phillips completed a rare triple crown for a collegiate athlete as he won a national title in the event at the NAIA level while competing for Waylon Baptist University in 2004 followed by a junior college national title in 2005 as a hurdler for South Plains Junior College.

Phillips now has his sights set on competing in this summer’s IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan, from Aug. 25-Sept. 2. He boasts the fifth-fastest time in the world this season and the top time by a Jamaican athlete.

“That’s the goal,” Phillips said of representing his home country at the World Championships. “I’m going to get back and keep training to stay at top condition. I’m looking forward to the trials for the World Championships, and I think I’ve got a great chance to make. I’m running well and with a lot of confidence in myself right now.”

While Phillips opened the final day of the competition with a bang, the Lady Tigers’ 1,600-meter relay team ended it by successfully defending its NCAA title by outrunning the meet favorite and the nation’s No. 1-ranked foursome from South Carolina to the finish line.

Sophomore Nickiesha Wilson, senior Cynetheia Rooks, freshman LaTavia Thomas and junior Deonna Lawrence combined for a seasonal-best time in the meet’s final event on the oval as they carried the stick around the track in 3 minutes, 28.07 seconds.

Lawrence, a native of nearby Elk Grove, Calif., stunned the hometown crowd by anchoring the Lady Tigers to their sixth outdoor national title in the event with an impressive 51.16 split while holding off the No. 1-ranked women’s 400-meter runner in the world in South Carolina’s Natasha Hastings in the last 100 meters of the race.

“Our girls ran a seasonal best to win the relay, but a big part of that was how the race unfolded,” Shaver said. “Louisiana Tech ran really well today, and I think that was the first time that Natasha Hastings has gotten the stick on the anchor and had to go around somebody to catch us. It takes a lot of energy to do that, and Deonna was able to hold on for the win.”

Wilson (53.21) was the only member of the women’s long relay to run a split of more than 52 seconds after finishing as the national runner-up in the women’s 400 hurdles earlier in the day.

She became just the second Lady Tiger in program history to earn All-America honors in both the 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles at the same NCAA meet after finishing second in the 400 hurdles on Saturday with a time of 55.68. LSU great Schowanda Williams also accomplished the feat in 1987 and 1988.

“I was in the seventh lane, and I felt kind of tight in both legs,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t too pleased with my time because I wanted to run a personal best. But the time doesn’t matter as much as the place. I finished second, so I guess I’ll have to settle for that. I still have World Championships.”

In addition, three other LSU athletes earned All-America honors on the final day of the meet, including senior Sherry Fletcher as she followed her win in the 100 meters on Friday by finishing fourth in the 200 with a new PR of 22.67, which ranks No. 8 on the school’s all-time list.

Junior Andrea Linton equaled her fifth-place performance in the triple jump from a year ago as she hit a mark of 43 feet, 10 inches to earn her second career All-America honor, while senior Siraj Williams placed eighth in the 400 meters with a new personal best time of 45.77 for his first career individual All-America honor in the open quarter.

Williams also ran the leadoff leg on the men’s All-American 1,600-meter relay team that finished third with a seasonal best time of 3:02.97. The foursome of Williams, Phillips, freshman Armanti Hayes and junior Reggie Dardar finished behind just Baylor (3:00.04) and Texas A&M (3:01.07).

LSU enjoyed an outstanding week on the track and in the field at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento as the teams combined to win NCAA titles in three events with an additional three national runners-up, while they also received All-American performances from 13 individuals and each of their four relay teams.

“I’m proud of our kids with the way they competed each day of the track meet,” Shaver said. “It was a great effort all the way around. The staff worked extremely hard to prepare the kids, and we competed extremely well all the way around. Sure, we would have liked to win, but you can’t be that upset when the athletes perform the way ours did this week.”

NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Results
Saturday at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif. (All race distances in meters)

Men’s

200
1. Walter Dix, Florida State, 20.32; 2. Rubin Williams, Tennessee, 20.72; 3. Orlando Reid, Middle Tennessee State, 20.75; 4. Brent Gray, Long Beach State, 20.96; 5. Evander Wells, Tennessee, 21.03; 6. Reggie Witherspoon, 21.03; 7. Scott Wims, Nebraska, 21.05; 8. Ahmad Rashad, USC, 23.97.

400
1. Ricardo Chambers, Florida State, 44.66; 2. Lionel Larry, USC, 44.68; 3. Erison Hurtault, Columbia, 45.40; 4. Lesiba Masheto, Illinois, 45.51; 5. Michael Bingham, Wake Forest, 45.57; 6. LeJerald Betters, Baylor, 45.66; 7. Calvin Smith, Florida, 45.74; 8. Siraj Williams, LSU, 45.77.

800
1. Andrew Ellerton, Michigan, 1:47.48; 2. Elias Koech, UTEP, 1:47.70; 3. Ryan Brown, Washington, 1:47.77; 4. Golden Coachman, Mississippi State, 1:47.96; 5. Tim Bayley, Iona, 1:48.04; 6. Shaun Smith, Oral Roberts, 1:48.09; 7. Duane Solomon, USC, 1:48.53; 8. Larry Brooks, UT-San Antonio, 1:53.77.

1,500
1. Lopez Lomong, Northern Arizona, 3:37.07; 2. Leonel Manzano, Texas, 3:37.48; 3. Russell Brown, Stanford, 3:37.56; 4. Vincent Rono, South Alabama, 3:37.96; 5. Kurt Benninger, Notre Dame, 3:39.80; 6. Max Smith, Providence, 3:39.93; 7. Garrett Heath, Stanford, 3:40.14; 8. Ben True, Dartmouth, 3:40.17.

400 hurdles
1. Isa Phillips, LSU, 48.51; 2. Brandon Johnson, UCLA, 49.02; 3. Justin Gaymon, Georgia, 49.43; 4. Joe Greene, Albany, 49.92; 5. Thomas Hilliard, South Carolina, 49.93; 6. Andrew Peresta, Hampton, 50.85; 7. Bryan Scott, Texas Tech, 51.01; 8. Hamza Deyaf, Texas, 51.24.

4x400
1. Baylor, 3:00.04; 2. Texas A&M, 3:01.07; 3. LSU, 3:02.97; 4. Mississippi State, 3:03.49; 5. Georgia, 3:04.13; 6. Northern Iowa, 3:04.78; 7. South Carolina, 3:05.03; 8. Florida, 3:06.04.

Triple Jump
1. Ray Taylor, Cornell, 53-8 ; 2. Andre Black, Louisville, 53-0; 3. Jonathan Jackson, TCU, 52-9 ; t4. Zuheir Sharif, Texas A&M, 52-8 ; t4. James Jenkins, Arkansas State, 52-8 ; 6. Nkosinza Balumbu, Arkansas, 52-5 ; t7. Muhammad Halim, Cornell, 52-4 ; t7. Carjay Lyles, Tennessee, 52-4 .

Shot Put
1. Noah Bryant, USC, 65-9; 2. Mitchell Pope, NC State, 64-9 ; 3. Milan Jotanovic, Manhattan, 64-5 ; 4. Ryan Whiting, Arizona State, 63-7; 5. Kevin Bookout, Oklahoma, 62-9 ; 6. Justin Clickett, Virginia Tech, 62-8 ; 7. Cory Martin, Auburn, 62-7 ; 8. Kimani Kirton, Maryland-Eastern Shore, 61-11 .

FINAL TEAM STANDINGS (21 events scored)
1. Florida State, 54; 2. LSU, 48; 3. Auburn, 34; 4. Tennessee, 30.5; 5. USC, 27; 6. North Carolina, 26; t7. Louisville, 22; t7. Wisconsin, 22; 9. UCLA, 21; t10. Oregon, 20; t10. Stanford, 20.

Women’s

200
1. Kerron Stewart, Auburn, 22.42; 2. Simone Facey, Texas A&M, 22.64; 3. Ebonie Floyd, Houston, 22.65; 4. Sherry Fletcher, LSU, 22.67; 5. Virgil Hodge, TCU, 22.70; 6. Shareese Woods, Charlotte, 22.74; 7. Alexandria Anderson, Texas, 23.23; 8. Gloria Asumnu, Tulane, 23.44.

400
1. Natasha Hastings, South Carolina, 50.15; 2. Shana Cox, Penn State, 51.27; 3. Ashlee Kidd, Georgia Tech, 51.61; 4. Jessica Cousins, Arkansas, 51.92; 5. Clora Williams, Texas A&M, 52.03; 6. Kineke Alexander, Iowa, 52.13; 7. Trish Bartholomew, Alabama, 52.17; 8. Kenyata Coleman, Ole Miss, 52.75.

800
1. Alysia Johnson, California, 1:59.29; 2. Katie Erdman, Michigan, 1:59.35; 3. Heather Dorniden, Minnesota, 2:01.05; 4. Fatimoh Muhammed, UTEP, 2:01.89; 5. Geena Gall, Michigan, 2:02.24; 6. Morgan Uceny, Cornell, 2:02.33; 7. Temeka Kincy, Texas, 2:02.57; 8. Rebekah Noble, Oregon, 2:04.79.

1,500
1. Brie Felnagle, North Carolina, 4:09.93; 2. Susan Kuijken, Florida State, 4:11.34; 3. Arianna Lambie, Stanford, 4:12.29; 4. Mable Kunihira, Oral Roberts, 4:13.82; 5. Dacia Barr, Arkansas, 4:14.24; 6. Jessica Eldridge, Oklahoma, 4:17.08; 7. Nicole Edwards, Michigan, 4:17.33; 8. Natalie Picchetti, Georgia, 4:18.07.

400 hurdles
1. Nicole Leach, UCLA, 54.32; 2. Nickiesha Wilson, LSU, 55.68; 3. Queen Harrison, Virginia Tech, 55.81; 4. Latosha Wallace, Arizona State, 56.35; 5. Krystal Cantey, South Carolina, 56.49; 6. Naim Yisrael, Florida International, 56.98; 7. Carlene Robinson, Illinois, 57.11.

4x400
1. LSU, 3:28.07; 2. South Carolina, 3:28.48; 3. Louisiana Tech, 3:28.90; 4. UCLA, 3:30.46; 5. Texas, 3:31.06; 6. Texas A&M, 3:31.09; 7. Florida State, 3:31.10; 8. Arizona State, 3:35.96.

Triple Jump
1. Yvette Lewis, Hampton, 45-0 ; 2. Erica McLain, Stanford, 44-10 ; 3. Michelle Vaughn, Auburn, 44-7 ; 4. Decontee Kaye, San Diego State, 44-4 ; 5. Andrea Linton, LSU, 43-10 ; 6. Alyce Williams, Florida State, 43-2 ; 7. Brenda Faluade, Miami, 43-2 ; 8. April Williams, Toledo, 42-9 .

Shot Put
1. Jessica Pressley, Arizona State, 59-0 ; 2. Abigail Ruston, Texas State, 57-2 ; 3. Sarah Stevens, Arizona State, 57-1; 4. Kacey Onwuchekwa, Texas A&M, 56-11 ; 5. Michelle Carter, Texas, 56-6 ; 6. Mariam Kevkhishvilli, Florida, 55-2; 7. Rachel Jansen, Northern Iowa, 54-7 ; 8. Shernelle Nicholls, Missouri, 54-5 .

Javelin
1. Lindsey Blaine, Purdue, 182-3; 2. Erma Gene Evans, UTEP, 179-9; 3. Krista Woodward, Georgia, 174-8; 4. Anna Raynor, UNC-Wilmington, 174-6; 5. Rachel Yurkovich, Oregon, 170-0; 6. Mallory Webb, Fresno State, 169-9; 7. Kim Heinz, Long Beach State, 169-4; 8. Carolee Gutierrez, Eastern Michigan, 161-10.

FINAL TEAM STANDINGS (21 events scored)
1. Arizona State, 60; 2. LSU, 53; 3. Michigan, 36; 4. Texas A&M, 34; 5. UCLA, 30; 6. Texas, 29; 7. USC, 27; 8. California, 26; 9. Georgia, 24; t10. Stanford, 23; t10. Texas Tech, 23.

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