Kimberlyn DuncanLSU Track & Field - 2010-11 Corbett Award Winner
In 2011, LSU sprinter Kimberlyn Duncan gave proof to the theory that college athletes make a large improvement from their freshman to their sophomore seasons.
After a freshman year in which she finished 13th in national qualifying for her specialty, the 200 meters, Duncan made a huge leap forward this season and became the first Lady Tiger in 22 years to sweep the 200 at the NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field championships.
For her stellar sophomore campaign, Duncan has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the James J. Corbett Award, representative of the outstanding amateur female athlete in Louisiana.
The Katy, Texas, native becomes the third LSU women's track star to win the Corbett, joining Peta-Gaye Dowdie (2000) and Esther Jones (1990).
Duncan's dominant sophomore season added her name to the long line of female sprint champions to wear the purple and gold, a list that includes some of the sport's greats over the last three decades - Jones, Dowdie, Sheila Echols, Dawn Sowell, D'Andre Hill and Muna Lee, just to name a half-dozen.
At the NCAA outdoor meet in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 11, Duncan won the 200 in 22.24 seconds - the fastest time in the world this year. It was Duncan's eighth consecutive win in a 200-meter final during the 2011 indoor and outdoor seasons.
"It's just a huge improvement from last year to this year," Duncan said following her NCAA outdoor win. "I'm not just dropping my times, but I'm better and more efficient in how I run the race."
Said LSU coach Dennis Shaver, "She is running with a lot of confidence right now and believes that she can win every race she runs."
Duncan's work wasn't limited to the 200 meters. Less than 40 minutes prior to the 200 final, Duncan anchored LSU's winning 4 x 100-meter relay team. The previous night, Duncan finished second in the 100 meters, giving her a hand in 28 of the Lady Tigers' 43 1/2 points at the national meet. LSU finished third behind Texas A&M and Oregon.
Three months earlier, Duncan (pictured right, with her family at banquet) established her position on the national track scene by winning the 200 at the NCAA indoor meet in College Station, Texas. Duncan posted a 22.85 in the first heat, then sat back and watched as her time held up.
LSU's women also finished third overall at the indoor meet.
Duncan's indoor-outdoor sweep in the 200 is the second in Lady Tiger history. Sowell accomplished the double in 1989 - two years before Duncan was born. Coincidentally, Duncan's wind-aided time of 22.18 at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on April 23 was the fastest time in the 200 by a collegian, wind-aided or legal, since Sowell's 22.04 in 1989.
Duncan also swept the 200 titles at the Southeastern Conference indoor and outdoor championships. She also anchored the title-winning 4x100 relay team at the SEC outdoor meet.
Story submitted by Lenny Vangilder of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.