COLUMBIA, Mo. – LSU senior Kimberlyn Duncan proved to be the class of the Southeastern Conference once again with a historic sprint double by defending her conference titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes to highlight five event wins by the Tigers and Lady Tigers during Sunday’s finale at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Duncan earned three All-SEC honors on the afternoon as she also led the Lady Tigers to a silver-medal-winning runner-up finish in the women’s 4x100-meter relay to score 22 points for the day. That effort won her the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy as the top individual point scorer and premier athlete of this year’s championship.
It proved to be a historic day for the senior from Katy, Texas, in her final SEC Championships as she tied LSU’s school record with her 11th and 12th career SEC event championships at Missouri’s Walton Stadium.
Duncan teamed with junior Natoya Goule, the SEC Outdoor 800-meter champion, to lead the Lady Tigers to a runner-up finish in the final women’s team race as they tallied 112 points on the weekend.
The Lady Tigers saw their run of three-straight SEC Outdoor team championships come to an end as the Texas A&M Aggies took the title in their first SEC Outdoor Championships with a winning score of 117 points here this weekend. Arkansas followed the Lady Tigers in third place with 109 points, while Florida took fourth place with 106 points and Georgia followed in fifth place with 87 points.
The Tigers won two SEC titles during Sunday’s finale as they sprinted to a seasonal best in winning the 4x100-meter relay and sophomore Rodney Brown snapped a 20-year drought as the first LSU Tiger to claim the SEC discus crown since the 1993 season. The LSU men scored 72.5 points in four days of competition at the University of Missouri to lock up a fourth-place finish in the final men’s team standings.
The Arkansas Razorbacks scored 152.5 points to defend their men’s team title, followed by Florida in second place with 123 points, Texas A&M in third place with 118 points and Georgia in fifth place with 56 points.
“This was a very competitive SEC Championship all the way down to the final events of the weekend. It’s exactly what we expected coming here to the University of Missouri,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “This was a great weekend for both of our teams. Our women came up a little bit short today, but I’m very proud of the effort they gave all the way through to the (4x400-meter) relay.
“I really have to commend our men’s team for the way they competed. I thought coming in that if they could score may 50 points or so and challenge for that fifth spot, then that would be a great meet. For our guys to score over 70 points and get fourth place shows how well they competed and how they really stepped it up as a team. I’m very proud of their effort.”
Duncan is poised to end her collegiate career as the most decorated sprinter in the history of the Lady Tiger program as she now prepares for her final NCAA Championships in the purple and gold.
Duncan has matched Lady Tiger greats Peta-Gaye Dowdie and Muna Lee as a 12-time SEC champion with a successful defense of her sprint double on Sunday afternoon. She claimed the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy for the second time this season as she was also the top women’s point scorer at the SEC Indoor Championships.
She first stepped onto the track to run the second leg for the Lady Tigers in the 4x100-meter relay final as she joined with senior Latoya McDermott, junior Takeia Pinckney and junior Toshika Sylvester to secure All-SEC honors with a runner-up finish. The Lady Tigers crossed the finish line with their second-fastest time of the season at 43.81 seconds for the silver medal behind the relay champions from Texas A&M (43.43).
Duncan then returned to the track just over an hour later to defend her SEC crown in the 100-meter dash in a field that also featured Pinckney in her second career SEC final.
Duncan left no doubt in the minds of her competitors as to who would take the title as she grabbed the early lead in the race and sprinted to the finish line in 11.32 (+0.4) to defend her 100-meter title. Texas A&M true freshman Jennifer Madu scored the silver medal in 11.41 with Pinckney taking home the bronze medal in 11.45 as the Lady Tigers scored 16 points in the event.
The only thing that separated Duncan from history was 200 meters of track at Audrey J. Walton Stadium as her final race as a Lady Tiger at the SEC Championships came in the 200-meter final on Sunday afternoon.
With the team title still hanging in the balance, Duncan sprinted into the record books as she ran a strong curve and separated from the field on the homestretch while crossing the finish line with a seasonal-best effort of 22.35 (+1.3) to claim the top spot in the NCAA rankings for 2013 and tie the 14-year-old SEC Championships meet record previously set by Georgia’s Debbie Ferguson in 1999. Texas A&M’s Kamaria Brown was second to Duncan in 22.58, while fellow Aggie Ashton Purvis rounded out the medal positions in third place at 23.07.
Duncan made history as the SEC’s first female sprinter to win three-straight SEC Outdoor titles in the women’s 200-meter dash. She also became just the third sprinter in SEC history to complete the SEC sprint sweep in the 100 meters and 200 meters in back-to-back seasons, joining the likes of LSU’s Esther Jones (1990-91) and Ferguson (1998-99) as the most dominant sprinters in meet history.
She is now the 10th sprinter all-time to win back-to-back SEC 100-meter titles and the first to accomplish the feat since Auburn’s Kerron Stewart in 2006-07.
“Winning both is awesome,” Duncan said following her victory in the 200 meters. “All these things that people are telling me I’ve done, I never thought I would be able to do. It’s hard to believe this is it for me at SECs. I have enjoyed my time here, and will always be proud of what I was able to do with my teammates during my career.”
“I’m very excited with my 200 today,” Duncan added about her final race. “I had a big improvement in my time, so that was great to see. That has me really focused for nationals. It wasn’t my best 100 today, but having those 10 points was the most important thing. That was my main focus coming into today with my races.”
The Tigers were the first to step onto the track for Sunday’s finals at the SEC Championships as the fourth-ranked team in the field in the men’s 4x100-meter relay with a seasonal best of 39.24 entering the meet.
But as the defending NCAA Champions in the event, LSU’s men knew they had the talent and chemistry to run with the best relay teams in the country. They did just that as they broke 39 seconds for the first time this season to take down the two fastest teams in the NCAA this season to win the SEC crown.
With senior Damar Forbes running leadoff, sophomore Aaron Ernest on the second leg and freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake on the third leg, junior Shermund Allsop got the stick on the anchor leg in a dead heat for the title with Dushane Farrier of Alabama and Prezel Hardy, Jr. of Texas A&M. Allsop won the race to the finish line as he took the tape in 38.98 with the third-fastest time in the collegiate ranks this year, while Alabama followed in second place with a time of 39.08 and Texas A&M trailed in third place with a time of 39.11 in the relay final.
It marked LSU’s eighth victory in the men’s 4x100-meter relay in the history of the SEC Championships, and their first sprint relay title at the conference meet since the 2008 season.
“I’m much better over my last 50 (meters), so I knew I had a shot if I was with them with 50 to go,” Allsop said. “I felt them right there beside me, and it was a race after that. That’s the best we’ve passed it all season in the race. We pretty much focus on getting the stick around clean, just keeping it moving all the way through. That’s what won it for us today.”
After guiding the Tigers to the win in the 4x100-meter relay, Ernest and Mitchell-Blake combined for seven points in the men’s 200-meter final as Ernest took fourth place in 20.88 and Mitchell-Blake was seventh with a wind-legal personal best of 21.03. Ernest scored 10 points with two fourth-place finishes on the day as he also finished just off the medal podium in the 100-meter dash with his run of 10.20 in the final.
The Tigers then added 10 big points when Brown captured the men’s discus title, snapping a 20-year drought as LSU’s first SEC champion in the men’s discus since Derrick Farrell during the 1993 season.
Brown’s path to the title was not without adversity as he found himself in eighth place with a best of just 166 feet, 10 inches through the first two rounds of the competition. But when he stepped into the ring for a last preliminary throw, Brown put the competition out of reach when he unleashed a mark of 203-1 to take the lead by nearly nine feet over Kentucky’s defending champion Andrew Evans at 194-4.
That mark held up as the best of the day as Brown took the crown from Evans while becoming LSU’s 13th winner of the men’s discus at the SEC Championships all-time. He also ended a streak of five-straight seasons of the Kentucky Wildcats winning the event while becoming the first SEC champion to eclipse the 200-foot mark since Auburn’s Gabor Mate threw 205-5 back in 2001.
Brown has All-America aspirations as he turns his attention to the NCAA Championships as the nation’s No. 3-ranked discus thrower with a seasonal-best mark of 206-3 on the year.
Brown improved his mark by nearly 30 feet from a year ago when he threw 173-9 for sixth place in the discus final in his SEC Championships debut as a freshman at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium in 2012.
“It feels really good. It just shows the difference a year can make,” Brown said following his victory. “I’m so much more confident with my throws right now. My technique has been the key for me all year. Even when I didn’t throw those first two very well, I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself. I knew I had it in me to make a good throw, and that’s what I did.”
Goule also won her first career SEC title in Sunday’s finale as she ran away with the women’s 800-meter title in a time of 2 minutes, 1.12 seconds that was just off the 9-year-old meet record of 2:01.00 set by Mississippi State’s Tiffany McWilliams. Goule finished more than two seconds clear of Georgia’s Megan Malasarte (2:03.23) in second place and more than four seconds ahead of senior teammate Charlene Lipsey (2:05.62) in third place as the Lady Tigers added 16 points to their team total in the 800-meter final.
Goule was the team’s second-leading scorer on the afternoon behind Duncan as she totaled 12.5 points while also appearing in the finals of the 1,500 meters and anchoring LSU’s 4x400-meter relay team.
She raced to a personal best of 4:20.35 to nab one point with an eighth-place finish in the 1,500-meter final before splitting 51.52 on the anchor leg for the Lady Tigers in a bronze-medal-winning third-place finish during the 4x400-meter relay in the final event of the championship. Goule’s PR of 4:20.35 ranks her No. 6 on LSU’s all-time performance list in the 1,500 meters.
Goule teamed with senior Siedda Herbert, junior Nikita Tracey and sophomore Montenae Roye-Speight for a third-place finish in the mile relay as they clocked a seasonal-best time of 3:31.94 in the final race of the day on Sunday. The Lady Tigers followed Arkansas (3:30.06) and Florida (3:31.44) across the finish line for their final six points of the meet.
It was Tracey’s second bronze medal of the afternoon as she also scored six points for the team with a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Tracey nearly matched her seasonal best with a run of 56.69 during the event to finish behind only Arkansas’ champion Sparkle McKnight (55.71) and Florida’s silver medalist Ugonna Ndu (56.12) in the race for the 400-meter hurdles title.
Senior Laura Carleton became just the second Lady Tiger in program history to score in both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the SEC Championships with a pair of fourth-place finishes on the weekend.
After racing to a fourth-place finish in her first career 10,000-meter race on Friday night, Carleton matched that performance with a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 meters on Sunday afternoon as she turned in her time of 16:14.65 to add five points to LSU’s team total. Former Lady Tiger Lisa Reed was second in the 5k and third in the 10k at the SEC Championships in 1988.
Other SEC scorers for the Lady Tigers on Sunday afternoon were junior Keri Emanuel (42-2) with sixth place in the triple jump, junior Jasmin Stowers (13.45) in sixth place and sophomore Chanice Chase (14.03) in eighth place in the 100-meter hurdles, freshman Doren Welch (145-8) with sixth place in the javelin throw and sophomore Tori Bliss (51-10) with seventh place in the shot put final.
Another big event for the Tigers in Sunday’s finale was the pole vault as they tallied 9.5 points with senior Thomas Reinecke clearing 17-3 for fourth place, senior Joseph Caraway matching that effort by clearing 17-3 for sixth place and sophomore Andreas Duplantis clearing 16-9 ¼ to tie for seventh place overall.
Sophomore Quincy Downing scored six points of his own on the afternoon as he took sixth place in the 400 meters (46.67) and seventh place in the 400 hurdles (54.14) in a difficult double this weekend.
Also scoring for the Tigers were freshman Fitzroy Dunkley as he cleared a lifetime PR of 6-10 ¾ for fourth place in the high jump and sophomore Philip Primeaux as he ran 3:54.08 for eighth place in the 1,500-meter run. Dunkley also jumped a wind-legal PR of 49-8 ¼ (+1.7) for 10th place in the triple jump in his SEC Championships debut for the Tigers.
The Tigers then wrapped up the meet with another strong performance in the men’s 4x400-meter relay final as Downing led off the team that also featured senior Caleb Williams, freshman Cyril Grayson and freshman Darrell Bush. They took fifth place in 3:05.96 behind Texas A&M (3:03.14), Florida (3:04.46), Arkansas (3:04.68) and Mississippi State (3:05.59).
“We did a lot of good things as a team here this weekend, but we know the most important part of our season is still to come,” Shaver said. “We have two weeks of training ahead of us when we get back before we go out to Greensboro for the start of our NCAA Championships. That will be the first step for both of our teams as we hope to compete for a national championship.”
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will return to action in two weeks as they begin their march toward a national championship at the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary Rounds being held May 23-25 at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro. The semifinal and final rounds of the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships follow on June 5-8 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.