Carter, Willie Win Sprint Titles in Final Day of SEC Track Championships
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tigers Xavier Carter and Kelly Willie captured individual conference titles in the sprints Sunday evening at the SEC Outdoor Championships as the fourth and final day of competition came to an end for the LSU track and field team at Vanderbilt Track.
The two individual crowns coupled with the Tigers’ second-place finishes in both the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays helped the LSU squad to 76 points and a fifth-place team showing.
Arkansas won their third consecutive men’s outdoor conference crown scoring 169 points to runner up Florida’s 116 points.
South Carolina won the women’s team race for the first time since 2002, scoring 145.20 points to outlast runner-up Arkansas who finished second with 123.20 points. The Lady Tigers tallied 84 points to place sixth overall.
Individually, Carter provided the highlights for one of the most exciting races of the day as the freshman phenom knocked off defending NCAA champion and current world leader Wallace Spearmon of Arkansas to claim the 200 meter title.
Running just his second open 200 of the season, Carter shattered the school and stadium records, crossing the line in blazing 20.16 speed. The time, which bettered the previous school record of 20.21 set by NCAA champion Rohsaan Griffin in 1996, ranks as the third fastest in the world this season.
“Honestly, that wasn’t expected,” said Shaver. “I asked him not to overdo it in the race, but he was feeling pretty good, his posture was better, he ran relaxed and he was able to do it.”
Willie gave the Tigers their other title of the night, successfully defending his 400-meter crown. The Olympian and 11-time All-American crossed the line in 45.51 to become just the sixth man in conference history to win back-to-back SEC titles in the event.
“I told Kelly that because of the weather it wasn’t a good day to run real fast,” said Shaver. “I asked him just to position himself to win the race. I thought he ran smart and was able to comfortably win the race.”
Carter and Willie also helped the Tigers’ to runner-up honors in both the short and long relays as the 4×100 finished in 39.31 and the 4×400 posted the eighth fastest time in school history, 3:02.95.
Helping on both those relays was senior Bennie Brazell. He also placed third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 49.70.
For the Lady Tigers, All-SEC accolades for sophomore Tanya Osbourne in the 800 meters as well as a trio of third-place finishes highlighted the final day of competition on the track.
Osbourne put her name in the LSU record books, clocking the eighth-best time in school history and a personal best time of 2:05.12 in earning conference runner-up honors.
Freshman Deonna Lawrence clocked a personal best 52.95 in finishing third in the 400 meters before helping Brittany Harris, Brooklyn Morris and Tanya Osbourne to another third-place showing in the 4×400 relay (3:35.18).
Earlier in the day, sprinter Kelly Baptiste turned in a pair of top-six performances, placing third in the 100 meters (11.41) and sixth in the 200 meters (23.79).
The Lady Tigers also had two scorers in the 110-meter hurdles as freshman Jessica Ohanja finished fourth (13.53) and RaNysha LeBlanc followed in fifth (13.65).
In addition, LSU had two get on the scoreboard in the 1,500 meters. Senior Andrew Huston finished sixth for the men with a personal best time of 3:49.46 and senior Ruth Nanyinza placed eighth for the women in 4:30.87.
In the field, freshman Amanda Harmata garnered All-SEC accolades for the Lady Tigers, throwing 152-7 in the javelin to place second overall. Milene Miranti also scored for LSU in the event, placing eighth with a distance of 126-3.
Just missing all-conference honors were freshman Andrea Linton and senior Willie Bradley in the triple jump. Linton turned in a season-best distance of 41-10 3/4 on her final jump of the afternoon, while Bradley’s season-best leap of 52-2 came on his third attempt of the day.
Freshman Nedra Gross also turned in an impressive performance on the women’s side, recording a personal best leap of 40-6 3/4 to place eighth overall.
Also scoring in the field were seniors Brandon Racca and Matt Vincent. Racca placed fifth in the javelin with a distance of 198-1 and Vincent was seventh in the shot put with an outdoor personal best of 57-0.
Up next, LSU will take a weekend off before traveling to Bloomington, Ind., for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, May 27-28.
1. Arkansas, 169
2. Florida, 116
3. Tennessee, 109
4. Georgia, 99
5. LSU, 76
6. Auburn, 68
7. Mississippi State, 57
8. Alabama, 39
9. South Carolina, 29
10. Kentucky, 28
10. Ole Miss, 28
1. South Carolina, 145.20
2. Arkansas, 124.20
3. Tennessee, 108.33
4. Georgia, 196.20
5. Auburn, 81.50
6. LSU, 78
7. Alabama, 54
8. Florida, 32.17
9. Kentucky, 31
10. Ole Miss, 26.40
11. Vanderbilt, 12
11. Mississippi State, 12