EUGENE, Ore. – Only 200 meters of Hayward Field track separated LSU senior Kimberlyn Duncan from history as she took her mark in her final race as a Lady Tiger looking to defend the her NCAA title while ending a truly legendary collegiate career during Saturday’s finale at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Duncan lined up with the opportunity to become the first sprinter in collegiate history – male or female – to claim three NCAA Outdoor titles in the 200-meter dash in a career following wins in 2011 and 2012.
The stage was set for a dramatic conclusion to this year’s championship in the wake of Friday’s 100-meter final in which Duncan sprinted to the finish line with a seasonal-best wind-legal time of 11.08 to take home the bronze medal behind Oregon’s English Gardner (10.96) and Central Florida’s Octavious Freeman (11.00). UCF’s Aurieyall Scott (11.14) followed in fourth place in the race.
Duncan returned to the track with her UCF rivals for Saturday’s 200-meter final as she lined up as the top seed in lane No. 4 with Freeman to her inside in lane No. 2 and Scott to her outside in lane No. 6.
It was surely the most competitive field Duncan had faced in any of her finals appearances as Texas A&M’s Kamaria Brown stood in lane No. 3 and Kansas’ Paris Daniels was in lane No. 5 looking to snap Duncan’s streak.
But as she has done throughout her collegiate career, Duncan took command of the race after running a strong curve and held a two-meter cushion over Brown coming down the homestretch in the race to the line. In true Duncan fashion, she ended her career by running the fastest 200 meters of her life as the Hayward Field scoreboard flashed 22.04 seconds to confirm her victory.
Despite sprinting with a tailwind of 3.5 meters per second that was over the allowable limit for record purposes, Duncan’s wind-aided personal best matched the fastest 200 meters under all conditions in NCAA history. She equaled the wind-legal collegiate record and NCAA Championships meet record fo 22.04 set by LSU great Dawn Sowell at the 1989 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Provo, Utah.
Brown scored the silver medal in 22.21w, followed by Scott with the bronze medal in third place at 22.48w and Daniels in fourth place at 22.52w in a fast final.
Rounding out the field were Clemson’s Dezerea Bryant in fifth at 22.54w, Auburn’s Kai Selvon in sixth at 22.65w, Freeman in seventh at 22.92w and Texas A&M’s Olivia Ekpone in eighth at 22.96w.
Not only did Duncan capture her third-straight NCAA Outdoor title in the 200-meter dash, but she also completed the NCAA sweep for the third year in a row as she also struck gold for the third-straight season indoors back on March 9 to finish her career as the only six-time NCAA 200-meter champion in collegiate history. While also anchoring the Lady Tigers to the NCAA crown in the 4x100-meter relay during her sophomore season, Duncan tied Lady Tiger great Muna Lee (2001-04) for LSU’s career record of seven NCAA event titles during her four-year career from 2010-13.
Duncan also claimed All-America honors while running the second leg for the Lady Tigers in the women’s 4x100-meter relay final as she teamed with senior Latoya McDermott, junior Takeia Pinckney and junior Toshika Sylvester in running 44.21 for a sixth-place finish. The Lady Tigers followed Texas A&M (42.88), Central Florida (43.36), Clemson (43.76), Oregon (43.80) and Kansas (43.92) across the finish line.
Duncan was LSU’s leading scorer for the third-straight year as she accounted for 16.75 points for the week to guide the Lady Tigers to a fourth-place finish with 40 points in the final women’s team standings.
The No. 1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks won their first ever national championship after racking up 60 points in four days of competition at Hayward Field. The Texas A&M Aggies followed with the second-place trophy with 44 points for the week, followed by Oregon in third place with 43 points and LSU in fourth place with 40 points.
“Probably this one, since this is the last one. I went out with the win,” Duncan said when asked about which victory she will remember most. “That was my goal coming out here today. I was just trying to score as many points as possible for my team. I’m very satisfied right now, I’m just trying to hold back tears. I’m so happy to be here running for LSU and to finish my career here the way that I did.”
One look at the numbers tells the story of how Duncan has put her name alongside the greatest sprinters to ever line up at the collegiate level, regardless of gender.
The Katy, Texas, native will soon embark on a professional career after winning seven NCAA event titles, 12 SEC event titles and 14 All-America honors in her four seasons in Baton Rouge from 2010-13. Duncan will look to retain The Bowerman trophy she won as a junior in 2012 as the premier athlete in all of collegiate track and field.
Not only does Duncan’s seven NCAA titles tie Lee’s LSU career record, but her 12 SEC titles also ties the team record for a career held by Lee and former Lady Tiger great Peta-Gaye Dowdie (1997-2000).
She is the low-altitude collegiate-record holder in the 200-meter dash with a personal-best wind-legal time of 22.19 set in the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago, while her wind-legal PR of 10.96 in the 100 meters set in the SEC Outdoor final in 2012 puts her as the No. 3-ranked sprinter in collegiate history in the event.
Her performance in the 200 meters is unmatched by any other sprinter in NCAA history as she ends her career having won 24 of her last 25 collegiate finals in the event since her sophomore season indoors in 2011.
Duncan turns her attention to the USA Outdoor Championships running June 20-23 in Des Moines, Iowa, as she looks to qualify for her first World Championships team for the United States in the 200 meters. The 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics head to Moscow, Russia, this summer as the world’s best track and field athletes are set to compete from Aug. 10-18.
“Really, I have no words for it right now,” Duncan said looking back on what she has accomplished in her four seasons as a Lady Tiger. “I’m just so happy to have been here to run and do what I love to do. I’m so looking forward to going pro now to see how that goes. I’m looking forward to going to World trials, and hopefully making the World team in a few weeks.”
Junior teammate Jasmin Stowers followed Duncan’s historic victory in the 200-meter final with an appearance in the national final of the women’s 100-meter hurdles for the second year in a row.
And Stowers added two points toward LSU’s team score with a seventh-place finish as she crossed the finish line with a seasonal-best wind-legal run of 13.00. After earning her lane in the final with the eighth and final qualifying spot in Thursday’s semifinal round, Stowers reached All-America status in a loaded championship final.
Clemson’s Brianna Rollins set the collegiate record for the second time this week as she blew away the field by nearly a half second with her winning time of 12.39 (+1.7), breaking her own collegiate record of 12.47 she set in the semifinal round on Thursday evening. Virginia Powell owned the previous collegiate record of 12.48 set at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Stowers also followed Stanford’s Kori Carter (12.79), Texas A&M’s Donique’ Flemings (12.85), Texas’ Morgan Snow (12.88), Clemson’s Kendra Harrison (12.88) and Arkansas State’s Sharika Nelvis (12.92) to the finish.
Stowers has certainly proven herself as one of the premier sprinter hurdlers at the collegiate level during her three seasons as a Lady Tiger as she is now a five-time All-American with her performance in the 60 hurdles indoors and 100 hurdles outdoors following her seventh-place finish on Saturday afternoon. She earned a career-best fifth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor meet a year ago.
The 2013 NCAA Indoor bronze medalist claimed All-America honors during an injury-plagued outdoor season as she was held out of action for nearly one month while nursing a hamstring injury in April and May.
“Jasmin has done a tremendous job this outdoor season for getting herself back into form to make a run at another NCAA final,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “That’s a testament to her work ethic in her training and her ability to get herself mentally prepared to compete through the rounds. She just gave us a great effort throughout this postseason.”
The Lady Tigers ended the meet with a seventh-place finish in the women’s 4x400-meter relay final as senior Siedda Herbert (54.30), junior Nikita Tracey (53.29), McDermott (53.90) and junior Natoya Goule (52.03) had a run of 3 minutes, 33.51 seconds in their final relay race of the season.
Arkansas won the women’s 4x400 relay in 3:27.09 as they edged Texas A&M (3:27.49) and Texas (3:27.98) for the title. The Lady Tigers also earned a seventh-place finish behind the likes of Oregon in fourth place in the time of 3:28.24, Illinois in fifth place with a time of 3:29.28 and Kansas in sixth place with a time of 3:32.74 in the final women’s event of the championship.
The Tigers wrapped up their scoring at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with All-America performances in both the men’s 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays.
Their youthful men’s squad totaled 27 points for the week to take home a seventh-place finish in the final team standings. The defending NCAA Outdoor champion Florida Gators and Texas A&M Aggies ended up with a share of the men’s team championship while scoring 53 points apiece, followed by Arkansas (46.5), Oregon (44), Southern California (42), Texas (32) and LSU (27) in the final team race.
They relinquished their NCAA crown in the 4x100-meter relay with a fourth-place finish in this season’s final as senior Damar Forbes, sophomore Aaron Ernest, freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and junior Shermund Allsop slashed nearly two tenths of a second from their seasonal-best time with a run of 38.78 after clocking 38.94 in Wednesday’s semifinal round.
The Tigers joined their SEC rivals in a race to the finish line as Allsop took the stick on the anchor leg in a dead heat with Florida’s Dedric Dukes, Alabama’s Dushane Farrier and Auburn’s Keenan Brock. Allsop crossed the finish line in fourth place while anchoring the Tigers to their fastest time of the year at 38.78, while Dukes edged Farrier at the finish line to give Florida (38.53) the victory over Alabama (38.54). Auburn took third overall as Brock anchored the Tigers to a bronze-medal-winning time of 38.69.
After being crowned the NCAA Outdoor champion in the men’s long jump on Thursday night, Forbes returned to the track to earn his second All-America honor of the weekend.
Ernest, the seventh-place finisher in the men’s 100-meter final on Friday night, also won his second All-American honor of the meet and sixth of his young collegiate career while to finish up his sophomore season with the Tigers. Allsop earned his second career All-America honor as the anchor of LSU’s 4x100-meter relay, while Mitchell-Blake reached All-America status for the first time in his career.
The Tigers then ran a gutsy race in the final of the men’s 4x400-meter relay as they earned All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the finale of the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
While entering the meet not even seeded among the top eight teams in the 24-team field in the mile relay, the Tigers earned their spot in the final when racing to a new seasonal best of 3:04.08 in the semifinal rounds on Thursday night. Sophomore Quincy Downing (45.99), freshman Darrell Bush (45.76), freshman Cyril Grayson (45.99) and senior Caleb Williams (46.90) took fourth place in the final with a time of 3:04.62.
The Tigers improved upon their fifth-place finish from the NCAA Indoor Championships as they took fourth place behind Florida (3:01.34), Arkansas (3:02.89) and Oregon (3:03.61) in the mile relay final.
“We brought a very young group of Tigers with us to Eugene this week, and I couldn’t be more proud with the kind of effort they gave us throughout the meet,” Shaver said. “To get another top-10 finish with our men is a sign of great things to come for our program in the coming seasons. We expect some talented guys back with us to come back here and make another run at it again next year.”
In LSU’s only field-event action of the afternoon, Tiger freshman Fitzroy Dunkley finished in 23rd place in his NCAA Championship debut in the men’s triple jump after posting a series-best wind-aided jump of 50 feet, 3 ½ inches (+2.6) in the third round of the first flight. Dunkley eclipsed the 50-foot mark for the second-straight meet after jumping a PR of 51-5 at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds two weeks ago.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers enjoyed an outstanding week of competition at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships as they combined to win three NCAA event titles and 25 All-America honors on the weekend en route to a pair of top-10 finishes in the team standings.