Carter Powers Track to Team Title at New Balance Invite

LSU's Xavier Carter (Photo by Robert Black)
LSU's Xavier Carter (Photo by Robert Black) (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

NEW YORK -- Tiger sprinter Xavier Carter proved he was more than just a 200-meter threat Saturday at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, winning the 400-meter dash and anchoring the 4x400 relay team to gold at the Armory Track and Field Center.

Carter, who was running in just the second indoor open quarter of his career, recorded the fastest time by a United States athlete this season, crossing the line in 46.40. The time, an indoor personal record, also ranks as the sixth fastest in Tiger school history.

Carter returned to the track just two hours later where he teamed with Marvin Stevenson, Melville Rogers and Reggie Dardar to win the 4x400 relay with a season-best and NCAA-leading time of 3:07.41.

The two wins coupled with a first-place finish and school record setting performance by the men's distance medley relay team spearheaded the Tigers to the team championship as they scored 68 points to runner-up Texas' 60.5 points.

The team title marks the third straight for the Tigers at the New Balance Invitational as they also picked up victories in 2004 and 2005.

"It's all about balance," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "We scored in a lot of different event areas and that's what it takes to be successful as a team."

In the women's team competition, the Lady Tigers just missed winning their fifth straight New Balance Invitational title scoring 72 points to North Carolina's 73.5 points.

"I think losing by a point and a half makes them aware of how important each scoring opportunity is," said Shaver. "That's a big lesson learned today. I think each one of them realizes where they could have helped pick up a point here or a point there."

Scoring eight points each for their respective second-place finishes were Kelly Willie and Kelly Baptiste in the men's and women's 200 meters, respectively.

Willie turned in the third-fastest time in the NCAA this season, 20.93, in earning runner-up honors. The mark also provisionally qualified him for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Baptiste improved on her personal best in the event, crossing the line in 23.31. The time, which ranks No. 2 in the NCAA this season, is the ninth-fastest time in Lady Tiger history.

Joining Baptiste in the 60-meter final was sophomore Brooklynn Morris. Morris finished third with a time of 23.72, but turned in her best performance of the day during the prelims where she clocked a personal-best 23.61.

Winning consolation finals and also picking up points toward the team totals were Trindon Holliday (6.78) and Sherry Fletcher (7.50) in the men's and women's 60 meters.

In the field events, junior Tina Harris earned a second-place finish in the women's triple jump (39-10) just one day after winning the meet's long jump title.

For the men, Rabun Fox shattered his PR in the weight throw and climbed to No. 6 on the Tigers' all-time list on the event with his toss of 59-5 1/4.

Other notable performances in included junior Drew Haro in the 5,000 meters and Patrick Gavin and Michael Hendry in the mile. Haro recorded the eighth-fastest time in school history in the 5K, finishing with a personal-best effort of 14:41.29.

Gavin and Henry also notched PRs, clocking 4:05.49 and 4:06.90, respectively in the mile, times that rank sixth and ninth all-time at LSU.

Up next, LSU closes out a two-meet road swing with a trip to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational, Feb. 10-11.




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