EUGENE, Ore. — LSU All-America sprinter Kimberlyn Duncan had too much on her mind to stop and think about her last race for the Lady Tigers on the final day of the NCAA track and field championships Saturday at Hayward Field.
For all her honors and accolades, which includes winning The Bowerman as the nation’s top college track and field athlete a year ago, Duncan knew her final race wouldn’t be a cakewalk.
With history just 200 meters away, Duncan zeroed in on what would be a Lady Tigers record-tying seventh career NCAA title and then blew away a strong field.
“I knew that I had to stay focused,” she said. “They had a lot of girls in this race that were going to push me all the way. So the only thing I could think about was executing my race to the best of my ability.”
That she did. Blasting out of the blocks, Duncan made up the stagger quickly on Kansas’ Paris Daniels to her right and cruised to an NCAA record third consecutive 200-meter title in 21.04 seconds. She’ll put it alongside the three titles she won at that distance at the NCAA indoor meet.
Before Duncan’s double-triple, no man or woman had won three 200 meters titles in a row — outdoors or indoors.
Her time, helped by a 3.2 meters-per-second tailwind, equaled the fastest collegiate mark ever in any conditions. But Duncan said she’ll take the time — and the team points.
“I was looking to go 21-something, but it didn’t happen,” a smiling Duncan said. “I lowered my time in my last college race, so I’m very excited about that. Those girls were coming up, and they made me work harder. Four of them were in the 100 final, so I told myself, ‘This is the last one. … You have to go.’ ”
Duncan outlasted Texas A&M’s Kamaria Brown to take the title. Brown, a McKinley High graduate, was second with a lifetime best of 22.21 seconds.
Duncan’s win gave the Lady Tigers 10 points and helped them to a fourth-place finish. Top-ranked Kansas won with 60 points; Texas A&M (44), Oregon (43), LSU (40) and Central Florida (35) followed.
On the men’s side, Florida and Texas A&M tied for the title with 53 points after a wild finish. Arkansas was third (461/2), while Oregon (44) and Southern Cal (42) rounded out the top five. LSU was seventh with 27.
A&M led Florida by nine points going to the 4x400-meter relay and needed only a seventh-place finish to clinch. But the Aggies’ Ricky Babineaux and Aldrich Bailey Jr. botched the first exchange, and A&M went on to finish eighth while Florida won in 3 minutes, 1.34 seconds.
Earlier, Duncan teamed with Latoya McDermott, Takeia Pinckney and Toshika Sylvester for a sixth-place finish in the 4x100 relay in 44.21 seconds as Brown and A&M won with a 42.88.
Also, LSU’s Jasmin Stowers finished seventh in the 100-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 13.00 seconds, and the 4x400 relay team of Siedda Herbert, Nikita Tracey, Latoya McDermott and 800-meter champion Natoya Goule finished seventh in 3:33.51.
On the men’s side, the sixth-ranked Tigers had only three scoring opportunities Saturday. They converted two of them — both relays — into a pair of fourth-place finishes.
The team of Damar Forbes, Aaron Ernest, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Shermund Allsop clocked a season-best 38.78 to take fourth in the 4x100. Then Quincy Downing, Darrell Bush, Cyril Grayson and Caleb Williams raced to a fourth-place finish in the 4x100 in 3:04.62.
“I was extremely pleased with the efforts we got from all our athletes this week,” LSU coach Dennis Shaver said. “It was a fantastic meet, and it was pretty close on both sides, except for Kansas winning the women’s title. ...
“Kim doing what she did, Damar Forbes winning the long jump the other night and Natoya Goule winning the 800 were big for us. The men’s 4x100 relay ran their two fastest times of the season in the semis, so I can’t complain about any of that.”