FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Junior Natoya Goule sparked a scoring barrage by the Lady Tigers late in the meet with her historic victory in the women's 800-meter final while helping to lead the squad to a third-place team finish with 43 points scored at this year's NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Goule teamed with senior teammate and NCAA Indoor bronze medalist Charlene Lipsey in scoring 16 points in the 800-meter final as each raced to indoor personal records with two of the NCAA's Top 10 performances all-time as the Lady Tigers totaled 33 points on the final day of competition at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
It marks the fourth-straight season in which the Lady Tigers earned the third-place team trophy at the NCAA Indoor Championships with their 43 points for the weekend.
The Oregon Ducks defended their NCAA Indoor team championship once again for their fourth-straight victory at the NCAA Indoor Championships after posting 56 points on the scoreboard ahead of the 44 points by the second-place Kansas Jayhawks. The Arkansas Razorbacks also won a team trophy with their top-four finish while taking fourth place overall with 42.5 points.
The Tigers wrapped up the meet with an All-American performance in the 4x400-meter relay as they scored 15 points in two days of action for a 15th-place finish in the final men's team standings.
Arkansas snapped a seven-year drought by winning their first indoor national championship since 2006 while scoring 74 points on the weekend to snap a streak of three-straight team titles by Florida. The Gators trailed in second place with 59 points, while Wisconsin followed in third place with 33 points and Texas A&M trailed in fourth place with 30 points.
The Tigers saw an impressive streak of five-straight top-five finishes snapped at the NCAA Indoor Championships dating back to the 2008 season.
"Our teams really battled all the way through the end of the meet. I'm so very proud of the effort shown by our group here this weekend," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "We certainly had ups and downs today and not everything went our way, but I'm proud of the way our teams finished this championship. It says a lot about the character of the group we brought here to Fayetteville.
"You have to credit the Arkansas men and Oregon women. They have great teams this year and certainly showed that with their performance over these two days."
Goule and Lipsey were expected to score big points for the Lady Tigers as they entered the weekend as the two fastest 800-meter runners in the NCAA for the 2013 indoor season.
And they raced to new indoor personal bests in record-setting fashion in a historic 1-3 finish while scoring 16 points for the Lady Tigers in the championship final. Goule raced out to an early advantage she would not relinquish while crossing the finish line in 2 minutes, 2.00 seconds for the wire-to-wire victory. Lipsey set an indoor best of her own with a run of 2:02.47 to claim the bronze medal with her best career finish in three NCAA Indoor appearances while earning her fourth career All-America honor in the event.
Goule raced to a new indoor school record with her winning run of 2:02.00 as she became the sixth-fastest 800-meter runner indoors in NCAA history with her performance.
The Clarendon, Jamaica, native and product of South Plains College broke the previous indoor school record of 2:02.48 set by Lipsey in winning the SEC Indoor title only two weeks ago. She is just the third Lady Tiger in program history to be crowned the NCAA Indoor champion at 800 meters and the first since LaTavia Thomas in 2008. Marian Burnett won the first 800-meter title in 2002.
Lipsey followed Oregon's silver medalist Laura Roesler (2:02.32) in third place with an indoor PR of 2:02.47 to become the 10th-ranked 800-meter runner indoors in NCAA history.
Not only was Goule crowned the 800-meter champion, but she also anchored the Lady Tigers to an All-American fifth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay with a team-leading 52.99-second split. She was part of a team that also featured senior Siedda Herbert (54.13), junior Nikita Tracey (53.10) and sophomore Montenae Roye-Speight (53.87) that finished runner-up to Oregon's winning 3:30.22 in the first of three heats. The Lady Tigers finished in fifth place overall in the final relay standings.
The Ducks would take the 4x400 relay crown ahead of Arkansas (3:30.35), Texas (3:30.63) and Florida (3:31.54) running in the third heat of the final event of this year's championship.
Like Lipsey, junior teammate Jasmin Stowers won a bronze medal with her performance in Saturday's finale at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships as she earned a career-best third-place finish in her third career finals appearance in the 60-meter hurdles.
Stowers, who followed a sixth-place finish as a freshman in 2011 with an eighth-place finish as a sophomore in 2012, crossed the finish line in 8.08 seconds to score the first six points of the night for LSU in her third-place finish in the event. Stowers is now a four-time All-American in the hurdles following her fifth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles outdoors a year ago.
Clemson's Brianna Rollins finished just one one-hundredth of a second off of her collegiate record in taking the title in 7.79, followed by Baylor's Tiffani McReynolds in second place with a time of 7.96.
Juniors Keri Emanuel and Lynnika Pitts added five points for the team with their performance in the triple jump as Emanuel scored three points with a sixth-place finish and Pitts added two points with an impressive seventh-place finish while earning their first career All-America honors as Lady Tigers. Emanuel saved her best jump for last as she wrapped up the event with a jump of 43 feet, 3 ¾ inches and moved past Pitts into sixth place overall. Pitts followed in seventh place with her opening jump of 43-3 ¼ in the first round.
Kansas' Andrea Geubelle won the women's triple jump with a top mark of 46-6 ¼ to outdistance San Diego State's Shanieka Thomas by more than one foot as Thomas scored the silver medal with a jump of 45-4 ¼. Florida's Ciarra Brewer took home the bronze medal with her series-best mark of 44-11.
Just one day after making history while defending her NCAA Indoor crown in the 200 meters, senior Kimberlyn Duncan earned her 11th career All-America honor on Saturday night as she sprinted through the finish line in 7.40 for seventh place in the championship final of the 60-meter dash. Duncan improved from her eighth-place finish in the event a year ago.
Central Florida's Aurieyall Scott (7.13) took down Oregon's English Gardner (7.15) for the 60-meter crown, while Central Florida's Octavious Freeman (7.16) followed with the bronze medal in the event.
Duncan made history on Friday night as the first sprinter in collegiate history - male or female - to win three-straight NCAA Indoor championships in the 200-meter dash.
"Our women scored in almost all of the event areas here this weekend, and that speaks to the kind of team we have this year," Shaver said. "We feel like we're a little more balanced this season, which is what you need to be able to contend in a meet like this. We expect similar contributions when we go outdoors."
The Tigers totaled four points with their effort in Saturday's championship finale as they matched the Lady Tigers with a fifth-place finish and a seasonal best in the men's 4x400-meter relay final.
While running with a team of sophomore Quincy Downing (47.99), senior Caleb Williams (46.21), freshman Cyril Grayson (46.79) and freshman Darrell Bush (46.33), the Tigers won the first section with the time 3:07.31 ahead of Baylor's 3:07.59, Illinois' 3:07.86 and Houston's 3:08.18. LSU's time held up as the fifth-fastest of the night while adding four points to the team score.
Arkansas broke the indoor collegiate record and set a new NCAA Indoor Championship meet record of 3:03.50 to win the men's 4x400-meter relay crown. Florida followed in second place overall with the third-fastest indoor time in collegiate history at 3:03.71, while Florida State won bronze with a run of 3:05.13 in the final.
"I'm really proud of the effort our men showed in maximizing their three scoring opportunities in this meet. They really did a great job of making those chances count this weekend," Shaver said. "We are used to being in the mix for a team trophy on the men's side, and that just wasn't realistic for our guys coming there this weekend. We look forward to getting back in that mix in the future, and are really excited to go outdoors because we know we'll have a much better team in the outdoor season."
While Duncan and Goule were crowned NCAA Indoor event champions with their performance this weekend, the Tigers and Lady Tigers also combined to win one silver medal, two bronze medals and 17 All-America honors with their performance in two days of competition at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
With the 2013 indoor season now in the books, the teams will open up the outdoor season next weekend with their annual trip to Lafayette, La., to compete at the Louisiana Classics meet that is slated to run Saturday, March 16, at Louisiana-Lafayette's Ragin' Cajuns Track Stadium.