Tate wins hurdles, LSU Track teams in title contention on Day 3

Posted: June 9, 2012 at 5:12 am

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From LSU Sports

DES MOINES, Iowa Lady Tiger senior Cassandra Tate kicked off Friday's finals by taking home the NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best performance to lead a point barrage by the Lady Tigers as they totaled 40 points with their five scoring opportunities on the third day of the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships being held at Drake Stadium.

Senior Rebecca Alexander and juniors Kimberlyn Duncan and Charlene Lipsey also enjoyed silver-medal winning performances in their respective events, while senior Semoy Hackett captured a bronze medal for her effort as the Lady Tigers wrapped up the day in a 40-40 tie with the Oregon Ducks.

LSU and Oregon have emerged as the leading contenders for the women's team title this weekend as they head into Saturday's NCAA Championships finale at Drake Stadium.

The Tigers have also positioned themselves for a run at the men's team championship on the strength of a bronze-medal finish by senior Kyron Blaise and the scoring efforts by senior Michael Lauro and freshman Aaron Ernest to highlight Friday's final-round action at the NCAA Championships.

The Tigers have tallied 23 points in three days of competition as they will head into Saturday's finale with the fourth spot in the team standings, trailing Florida (36), Virginia Tech (28) and Arizona (24).

"This group really understands what it means to make a run at the national championship," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "They had an attitude about it today to go out there and get it done. I am proud with the way both of our teams competed again today. They went out there and did exactly what they had to do to give themselves an opportunity to compete for the team title tomorrow.

"To have Cassandra Tate go out there in the very first event and win the (400) hurdles was huge. That just sparked our team today. The other girls in the warm up area getting ready to compete saw it and really got even more excited to go out there and run themselves. What a great way to start the day."

Tate led off with a bang as she became the fourth Lady Tiger all-time to be crowned the NCAA champion in the 400-meter hurdles as she sprinted past UCLA's Turquoise Thompson over the final hurdle and set a new personal record of 55.22 seconds to take the title. Thompson finished as the NCAA runner-up to Tate with a time of 55.28, while Tennessee's Ellen Wortham took third place in 55.82.

While running in Lane 4, Tate ran strong down the backstretch and overtook Wortham in Lane 6 at the 250-meter mark before pulling even with Thompson to her outside in Lane 5 down the homestretch. That is when she outlasted Thompson over the final hurdle in a sprint to the finish line to take the victory.

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Tate wins hurdles, LSU Track teams in title contention on Day 3

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June 9th, 2012 at 5:12 am