FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — With 11 events left to be contested after the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, LSU coach Dennis Shaver liked the position his team was in.
The top-ranked Lady Tigers, who were seeking their first NCAA indoor title since 2004, were well-positioned to get the job done. At the same time, Shaver knew things could change in a hurry at a high-stakes meet.
Oregon proved it Saturday night as the fourth-ranked Ducks, who had just 12 points with nine events remaining, used a 44-point barrage to claim their fourth consecutive NCAA indoor title at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Oregon wound up piling up 56 points to overtake both second-ranked Kansas, the early second-day leader, and No. 1 LSU. Kansas had 44 points, while LSU finished with 43, while No. 3 Arkansas was fourth with 421/2.
On the men’s side, host Arkansas won its 20th NCAA indoor championship — and first since 2006 — with 74 points, ending a three-year run by Florida, which was second with 59. The Razorbacks were followed by Wisconsin and Texas A&M with 33 and 30 points, respectively.
LSU finished 15th with 15 points.
“You have to credit Arkansas and Oregon,” Shaver said. “They have great teams this year and they certainly showed that with their performance over these two days.”
While the men’s race was clinched when Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell finished second in the next-to-last event, the 3,000 meters, the women’s title went down to the 4x400 relay — which Oregon won in 3 minutes, 30.22 seconds.
LSU, which got a win Friday night from Kimberlyn Duncan in the 200 meters, started the second night of the meet well when Jasmin Stowers finished third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.08 seconds.
That came just after Oregon scored just one point in the mile run and stood in ninth place with 12 points.
But Oregon wasn’t finished.
While Kansas was picking up wins in the triple jump and pole vault, Oregon got second-place finishes from English Gardner in the 60 (7.15 seconds) and Laura Roesler (2 minutes, 02.32 seconds) to offset a 1-3 finish by LSU’s Natoya Goule (2:02.00) and Charlene Lipsey (2:02.47) in the 800.
The time by Goule was a school record, topping the 2:02.48 Lipsey clocked in winning the Southeastern Conference title on the same track two weeks earlier.
Goule went to the front early and powered her way to the victory in the four-lap race after Lipsey, who set another personal best in chasing her teammate to the finish line, set the pace at the SEC meet.
“I felt strong and I felt like I could just go, and I was victorious,” said Goule, a junior who was a three-time national junior college champion in the 800 at South Plains (Texas) College. “It means so much because it’s my first time at NCAAs. I felt so good about it.”
Just before Goule and Lipsey stepped on the track, the Lady Tigers took a hit in the 60 meters when Duncan, who had the second-fastest time in the nation at 7.16 going into the meet, didn’t get a clean break out of the blocks.
She finished seventh (7.40) for only two team points, while Gardner took second and teammate Jenna Prandini was fifth (7.38) for 12 team points.
Oregon’s Jordan Hasay came away with another second-place finish in the 3,000 meters (9:06.61), while LSU’s Keri Emanuel and Lynnika Pitts were finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in the triple jump with marks of 43 feet, 33/4 inches and 43-31/4 as the meet wound down.
LSU did claim fifth place in the 4x400 relay as the team of Siedda Herbert, Nikita Tracey, Montenae Roye-Speight and Goule clocked a 3:34.07, but Oregon finished things off with a victory as Gardner, Roesler and Phyllis Francis, the fourth-place finisher in the open 400, turned in a time of 3:30.22.
The LSU men had only one scoring opportunity on Saturday, but the Tigers were able to get points out of it as the 4x400 relay team of Quincy Downing, Caleb Williams, Cyril Grayson and Darrell Bush took fifth place with a season’s-best time of 3:07.31.
“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,” Shaver said. “It says a lot about the character of the group we brought here to Fayetteville.
“Our teams really battled all the way through the end of the meet.”
Copyright © 2015, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved