GUANAJUATO, Mexico - Lady Tiger senior Rebecca Alexander struck gold with a meet-record performance in the women's 400-meter final on Saturday night at the Paralympic Track Stadium to lead a haul of three medals by LSU's athletes during the second day of action the 2012 North American, Central American & Caribbean Under-23 Championships.
While Alexander smashed the NACAC Championships record to win the gold medal in the women's 400-meter dash, junior teammate Kimberlyn Duncan anchored the United States to the gold medal in the women's 4x100-meter relay while senior Barrett Nugent broke his own LSU school record to win a silver medal in the men's 110-meter hurdles to highlight Saturday's competition.
Alexander, who won her semifinal heat in 53.43 seconds on Friday night, lined up in Saturday's final as a gold medal favorite with a seasonal-best time of 51.20 to her credit in 2012.
In a heated race with Haiti's Marlena Wesh, Alexander crossed the finish line in 51.13 to become the first LSU Track & Field athlete crowned NACAC champion in the 400-meter dash in the meet's history. Wesh won the silver medal in 51.32 as the Clemson junior followed Alexander across the line. Mississippi State junior and Jamaican international Jodi-Ann Muir won the bronze medal in 52.44.
Not only did Alexander eclipse her previous PR of 51.20 in winning the NCAA Outdoor silver medal this season, but she also broke the previous NACAC U-23 Championships meet of 51.15 run by gold medalist Shana Cox of the United States at the 2006 event held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Alexander was not the only Lady Tiger to win a gold medal during Saturday's action as Duncan anchored the United States to an easy victory in the women's 4x100-meter relay.
As Duncan teamed with Pittsburgh's Cambrya Jones and Central Florida's duo of Octavious Freeman and Aurieyall Scott, the United States carried the stick around the track in 43.58 to win gold by more than two seconds ahead of the silver medalists from the Bahamas (45.71). Mexico scored the bronze medal on their home track with a run of 47.85 in the 4x100-meter relay final.
Duncan is the third Lady Tiger to win the NACAC U-23 Championship gold medal in the 4x100 relay for the United States as she joins Brooklynn Morris in 2006 and Kenyanna Wilson in 2010.
In one of the more exciting races of the day, Nugent broke his own school record while winning the silver medal in the final of the men's 110-meter hurdles. While finishing the race with a personal-record time of 13.32, Nugent came within a split-second of winning LSU's third gold medal of the night as Texas Tech's Shane Brathwaite crossed the finish line in 13.31 to strike gold for Barbados.
Nugent, the 2011 NCAA Outdoor champion, broke his 2-year-old school record of 13.35 that was run in a fifth-place finish at the 2010 USA Championships during the summer of his sophomore season. His 13.32 on Saturday was run with a legal tailwind of 1.8 meters per second.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers have now combined to win 24 medals all-time at the NACAC Championship, which includes nine gold medals, seven silver medals and eight bronze medals since 2000. The teams will likely add to their medal count at the NACAC U-23 Championships in Sunday's finale as Duncan races in the 200-meter final and Alexander will join fellow senior Cassandra Tate in the 4x400 relay.
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