LSU's Carter wins unprecedented 100-400 sprint double
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Xavier Carter can claim one of the greatest performances in the history of college track, one so good that it rivals none other than Jesse Owens.
The LSU sophomore became the first person to win the 100 and 400 meters at the NCAA track and field championships Saturday, running down the competition in races just 31 minutes apart.
He finished his day as the anchor of the winning 1,600-meter relay team. Combined with the winning 400 relay team the previous night, he had a share of four NCAA event titles.
According to meet officials, Carter is the first to achieve four NCAA victories since Owens won both short sprints, the 220-yard low hurdles and long jump for Ohio State in 1935 and '36.
"It's really not going to hit me until a few weeks later," Carter said. "Jesse Owens, he's a legend. He's the one who started track and field. I feel honored just being put in the same sentence as Jesse Owens."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore, who also plays football for the Tigers, had personal bests in both individual events -- a school-record 10.09 seconds in the 100, followed by a 44.53 in the 400.
"I pretty much had a good day," he said.
Carter's magnificent one-man show wasn't enough to prevent deep and talented Florida State from winning its first men's team title with 67 points. LSU was second with 51 -- 40 of them thanks to Carter. Texas was third with 36. Auburn won its first women's crown with 57 points. Southern California was second with 38½ and South Carolina third with 38.
Carter had intended to run the 200 and 400, but changed his plans because of the crowded meet schedule.
Carter burst through over the final 30 meters to beat defending champion Walter Dix of Florida State in the 100. He broke out of the blocks slowly and was well behind Dix halfway through the race, but his late burst gave him the victory. Dix, also a sophomore, was second. Demi Omole of Wisconsin was third in 10.21.
His half-hour break went by in a hurry.
"That was tough," Carter said. "My trainer set up outside of my sign-in tent. I just got rubbed out there, and when it was time for me to go, I jumped off the table and got my hip number and got in the blocks."
In the 400, Carter appeared to be laboring on the final turn, but still had enough left to kick ahead of the competition. Ricardo Chambers of Florida State was second at 44.71.
When he crossed the finish line, Carter crossed his arms in a triumphant "X" for Xavier. Later, he professed equal love for track and football, and said he wasn't ready to give either of them up.
That means another year of college battles with Dix.
The Florida State sophomore, bothered by injuries all season, came back to win the 200 in 20.30, then vowed to return for another year of college.
"I've got some records I want to break," he said.
Florida State, which had 14 athletes in the competition, won the first men's title for an ACC school and is only the second non-SEC team to win it since 1988.
"Sixty points in two hours," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "That's pretty cool."
The Seminoles recovered from a major opening-day setback when their 400 relay team was disqualified for a baton pass out of the exchange zone.
"All the athletes at FSU are just like a big family," said triple jump champion Rafeeq Curry. "If a person falls, we'll pick them up and just come back together. We had a little meeting to discuss everything and make sure everybody handles it right and make sure everybody goes through what they're supposed to do."
Auburn coach Ralph Spry said the stage was set with the unexpected victory for Jovanee Jarrett in the long jump on Thursday night.
"Our long jumper wasn't ranked in the top eight coming in," Spry said. "That really got us off and running."
In an extremely close women's 100, South Carolina sophomore Amberly Nesbitt surprised herself with a victory in 11.34. Kerron Stewart of Auburn was second in 11.36 and Carol Rodriguez of Southern California was third at 11.38. Less than one-tenth of a second separated the top five finishers on a sunny day at Sacramento State's Hornet Field.
Nesbitt missed a month of competition and training with a right hamstring injury. That left her wondering about her chances at the NCAAs.
"I knew I had the ability to do it. I knew I could do it if I put it all together," she said. "But my struggle has been putting it all together. Either I was really good at the end of the race or my beginning would be very good. But I just hadn't had that complete package. Today was a really good day to do it."
Defending champion Marshevet Hooker of Texas missed the NCAA meet with a hamstring injury.
In other action Saturday, Oregon freshman Rebekah Noble won the women's 800 in a personal-best 2 minutes, 2.07 seconds, running down another freshman, Heather Dorniden of Minnesota, at the finish. Dorniden was second in 2:03.02. The third top freshman in the event, Geena Gall of Michigan, was fourth behind third-place sophomore Alysia Johnson of California.
Ryan Brown of Washington won the men's 800 in 1:46.29.
Texas' hopes for a second straight team title already had vanished, but a top three finish was still possible before the 400 hurdles. Texas' Melanie Walker apparently won the event but was disqualified for going around the sixth hurdle with her lead leg.
Her departure left a 1-2 finish for Auburn. Markita James was first at 54.47 and Josanne Lucas second in 55.29.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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