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|Duncan wins NCAA title|
LSU sophomore Kimberlyn Duncan said there was no added pressure running before hometown fans at the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in College State, Texas.
Duncan grew about 100 miles south of College Station in Katy, Texas.
"It was actually more relaxing and more of a relief to run in front of a lot of hometown people," said Duncan, who is the daughter of Ferriday High graduates Antonne Duncan, Jr. and Schrylean Nix- Duncan. "I treated it as another race and knew I just had to do what I did to get there."
Duncan certainly gave the home folks something to cheer about as the Lady Tiger won the NCAA Indoor 200-meter championship.
After opening with an easy 22.97-second performance in winning her preliminary heat, Duncan qualified for Friday's two-section NCAA final along with Lady Tiger teammate (23.05).
That's when Duncan made sure that her homecoming would be one to remember as she cruised to the finish line in 22.85 ahead of Baylor's Tiffany Townsend (22.90) in the first finals section.
She then celebrated her 200-meter national championship after watching Texas A&M standout Jeneba Tarmoh win the second section with a second-place time of 22.88.
With her victory Friday night at Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium, Duncan snapped a drought of eight seasons without an NCAA Indoor 200-meter title by the Lady Tigers as LSU great Muna Lee was the last to accomplish the feat with back-to-back championships for the Lady Tigers in 2002 and 2003.
Duncan is actually the fourth Lady Tiger sprinter in the program's storied history to take home the NCAA Indoor 200-meter crown as she also joins the likes of Dawn Sowell (1989) and Peta-Gaye Dowdie (1999).
Duncan won the SEC Indoor Track championship last month.
"This overtakes everything," Duncan said. "This was awesome."
Antonne Duncan Jr., said he and his wife were LSU fans growng up in Ferriday, but the decision to go to the Baton Rouge school was totally Kimberlyn's.
"She actually talked about going to LSU when she was a sophomore in high school," Antonne said. "That's always been her dream. We were glad to see her choose them because they have a strong track program."
"I could never have imagined something like this at the beginning of the season,"Kimberlyn said. "I've worked so hard here this season, and I'm just so thankful to my coaches who have helped put me in this position. I really wasn't even nervous watching the second race. It took a lot out of me with my race that I wasn't even thinking about it. I knew I ran the best race that I could run tonight.
"When you get to this level, everyone is capable of winning it. You just have to go out there and run what you did to get here to put yourself in that position. That's something that Coach (Dennis) Shaver is telling us all the time. I knew I was ready and prepared to do that Saturday night."
Duncan really proved herself as an emerging star in the 200-meter dash as she broke the 23-second barrier for the first time in her career indoors or outdoors with her gold-medal winning performance in the events final at the SEC Indoor Championships. That's when she clocked the world's leading time this season and the world's fastest indoor 200-meter time in three years with a personal record of 22.78.
"Competing at the SEC Championships really gets you ready as an athlete to perform at your best here for the NCAA Championships. I think that has had a lot to do with my success," Duncan said. "When you are running at SECs, you know you're competing against the same people you'll run against at this meet."
Duncan is now preparing for the outdoor track season.
"The only real difference is the banks are much steeper," Duncan said. "And you have two curves and two straightaways indoors. This was only my second year to run indoor. I ran much better this year than I did last year and this gives me a lot of confidence going into the outdoor season. You run faster outdoors than indoors, so I'm real excited about the outdoor season."
Duncan said she plans on continuing to train hard.
"There's always someone out there working just as hard, so it pushes me to keep working harder," she said.
Kimberlyn wasn't the only Duncan in the spotlight over the weekend. Younger sister Kiersten Duncan won the 200-meter dash on Saturda at the New Balance Indoor Track Nationals in New York City.
Kiersten ran the race with a time of 24.2 with that being the fastest high school time in the nation.
She is a junior at Cypress Springs High School in Katy, Texas.
Kiersten also ran the Girls Emerging Elite 60m dash that same day getting 3rd place with a time of 7.74.
Antonne said Kiersten loved to swim while Kimberlyn was running track when they were younger.
"We never really pushed either of them, but one year Kiersten said she wasn't going to swim so we told her she needed to do something," Antonne said. "She went out to the track and was running just as fast as the other girls. She was running middle distances and was not even tired when she finished, which probably had a lot to do with her swimming."
Antonne played one year of basketball his sophomore season at Ferriday High.
"I wish I would have had my head more into it," he said. "That's one reason we tell them to never stop what they are doing. It certainly keeps us going every summer."
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