Lett earns top conferece honor

NASHVILLE -- A solid second-day performance helped Tiger sophomore Alleyne Lett to all-conference honors in the decathlon Friday, highlighting competition for the LSU track and field team at the SEC Outdoor Championships.

Lett added 3,580 points over the final five events to finish second overall with a two-day total of 7,550. The total, which automatically qualifies him for the NCAA Championships next month in Sacramento, Calif., marked a personal best and ranks as the seventh best in LSU school history.

"This is just the third decathlon ever for Alleyne and it is by far the best performance he has had," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "I know (assistant) coach Boo (Schexnayder) put some pressure on him because he wants him to believe in himself as a decathlete. He handled that, came into the SEC meet and had a personal best, so we have to be happy about that."

Lett's top performances of the day came in the 110-meter hurdles and the discus where he handily topped the field with a time of 13.88 and a distance of 163-7, respectively. He also turned in a season-best of 191-8 in the javelin.

The Tigers had two others gather points towards the team total in the decathlon as sophomore Gavin Fleming finished seventh (6,365) and Kwami Roberts placed eighth (6,301).

Also boosting the Tigers' team total was Sam Mwape in the 10,000 meters. The senior from Chingola, Zambia, turned in a personal-best 29:54.16 to finish fourth overall.

In the women's heptathlon, junior Megan Akre got the Lady Tigers on the scoreboard, finishing fifth with a two-day total of 5,002 points.

In qualifying round action, the Tigers and Lady Tigers combined to advance four athletes into Sunday's finals.

Running in his first open 200-meter race of the season, freshman Xavier Carter easily reached the NCAA regional qualifying standard while advancing to the finals in 20.35. The time, the fastest by a Tiger athlete since the 1997 season, ties as the third fastest in school history.

In the women's 200 meters, freshman Kelly Baptiste also moved on to the finals, winning her heat in 23.27 to get the automatic berth.

"I thought Kelly looked real good today. She ran well and looked comfortable," said Shaver.

Also advancing for LSU were senior Bennie Brazell in the 400 hurdles and Lady Tigers Tanya Osbourne and Meisue Francis in the 800 meters.

Brazell coasted to a 50.44 second finish to win his heat with the field's third fastest time of the day.

"Bennie brings a lot of experience to this team with his Olympic experience and being a senior," said Shaver. "The plan with him today was just to advance. He knew all he had to do was win his heat and he did that."

Osbourne won her preliminary round heat in the half mile, finishing with a season best of 2:07.50. Francis placed third in her heat and advanced on time after clocking a personal-best 2:08.41.

Action from the SEC Championships and Vanderbilt Track continues tomorrow. Competition is slated to begin at 1 p.m. with the field events. Running events follow at 7 p.m.

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