BATON ROUGE - Seven members of the LSU Track & Field program have made the trip to Guanajuato, Mexico, to represent their countries at the 2012 North American, Central American and Caribbean Under-23 Championships beginning Friday at the Paralympic Track Stadium.
The bi-annual event will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as athletes aged 20-22 will be representing 32 nations from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Following its inaugural season in 2000, the NACAC U-23 Championships has served the region's athletes making the transition from youth athletics to the next level. Many are expected to represent their countries at the Olympic Games in 2012 in London, England, and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Assistant coach Derek Yush has earned the honor of serving as the men's throws coach for Team USA for the 2012 NACAC U-23 Championships as he joins six Tigers and Lady Tigers in Guanajuato for the meet this weekend. He arrived as part of the LSU Track & Field contingent on Wednesday afternoon.
The United States will be represented by a decorated group of Tigers and Lady Tigers, as seniors Rebecca Alexander (400 meters, 4x400 relay), Barrett Nugent (110 hurdles) and Cassandra Tate (4x400 relay) will compete alongside juniors Kimberlyn Duncan (100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 relay) and Charlene Lipsey (800 meters) during the event. In addition, Tiger sophomore Shermund Allsop will compete for his nation of Trinidad & Tobago as he lines up in both the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay.
Duncan nearly earned her trip to London for the 2012 Olympic Games after claiming a fourth-place finish in the women's 200-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. She will line up as the favorite to capture a pair of NACAC sprint titles for the United States with the best time in the field in both the 100 meters (10.96) and 200 meters (22.19) entering the weekend.
The reigning NCAA 200-meter champion could also add to her collection in the 4x100-meter relay as she leads arguably the top team at the NACAC Championships in the United States.
Tate joins Duncan as a fellow U.S. Olympic Trials finalist after earning a fifth-place finish in the finals of the women's 400-meter hurdles on Sunday afternoon. While capturing the NCAA crown in the 400-meter hurdles with a PR of 55.22 seconds, Tate earned a spot in the 4x400-meter relay this weekend.
Alexander will also run with Tate as a member of the favored 4x400-meter relay from the United States in the wake of her semifinals appearance in the 400-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The 2012 NCAA Outdoor silver medalist has shown tremendous form during her senior season, highlighted by a best run of 51.20 in the 400-meter final at the NCAA Championships on June 8.
Lipsey rounds out the group of Lady Tigers competing at the NACAC U-23 Championships this weekend as she lines up in the women's 800-meter run. She booked her trip to Mexico on the strength of her efforts at the NCAA meet when she ran a personal best of 2 minutes, 1.40 seconds for the silver medal.
Nugent is a gold-medal contender in the men's 110-meter hurdles with a seasonal best of 13.36 run during the collegiate season, while also advancing to the U.S. Olympic Trials semifinal this past weekend.
Allsop is also set to compete following his appearance at the 2012 Sagicor National Open Championships in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on June 23-24, where he sprinted to a new personal best in the 100-meter dash. Allsop posted back-to-back times of 10.29 in the semifinal and final rounds to earn his eighth-place finish in the final. He will compete in both the 100 meters and 4x100 relay this weekend.
LSU Track & Field boasts one of the proudest traditions of any program at the NACAC Championship as the Tigers and Lady Tigers have combined for 21 medals in their six previous appearances.
That includes a team record eight NACAC medals during the summer of 2010 when the event was held in Miramar, Fla. LSU athletes have won seven gold medals, six silver medals and eight bronze medals at the NACAC U-23 Championships since its inaugural season in 2000.
LSU's Medal History at the NACAC U-23 Championships
Athlete, Country, Medal Event
Ade Alleyne-Forte, Trinidad & Tobago, Bronze, 4x400 Relay
Walter Henning, United States, Silver, Hammer Throw
Samantha Henry, Jamaica, Silver, 100 Meters
Samantha Henry, Jamaica, Silver, 4x100 Relay
Rachel Laurent, United States, Bronze, Pole Vault
Melissa Ogbourne, Jamaica, Bronze, Triple Jump
Kenyanna Wilson, United States, Gold, 4x100 Relay
Kenyanna Wilson, United States, Bronze, 100 Meters
Samantha Henry, Jamaica, Silver, 4x100 Relay
Samantha Henry, Jamaica, Bronze, 100 Meters
Nickiesha Wilson, Jamaica, Gold, 400 Hurdles
Nickiesha Wilson, Jamaica, Gold, 4x400 Relay
Reggie Dardar, United States, Silver, 4x400 Relay
Deonna Lawrence, United States, Gold, 4x400 Relay
Brooklynn Morris, United States, Gold, 4x100 Relay
Isa Phillips, Jamaica, Bronze, 400 Hurdles
Richard Thompson, Trinidad & Tobago, Bronze, 4x100 Relay
Lolo Jones, United States, Gold, 100 Hurdles
Lolo Jones, United States, Silver, 4x100 Relay
LeJuan Simon, Trinidad & Tobago, Bronze, Triple Jump
Russ Buller, United States, Gold, Pole Vault