Xavier CarterLSU Track & Field – 2006 Corbett Award Winner
The first athlete since Jesse Owens … Those six words express just how rare an accomplishment LSU sprinter Xavier Carter achieved in 2006. He was named both the NCAA Division I indoor and outdoor Male Track Athlete of the Year as well as the Southeastern Conference Male of Athlete of the Year in all sports. As significant as those titles are, it’s still that “first athlete since Jesse Owens” moniker that best captures what Carter managed to do in a four-day period at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
During those 72 hours on a June weekend in Sacramento, Calif., Carter ran nine races and won or was part of a winning relay in eight of them. He won titles in the 100 meters and 400 meters, making him the first athlete in the 86-year history of the NCAA Championships to capture the 100-400 double. Carter also was part of LSU’s victorious four-by-one hundred and four-by-four hundred relay teams.
No athlete had won four championships at an NCAA meet since 1936 when Jesse Owens did it in for the second year in a row. Owens’ victories came in the 100- and 220-yard dashes, the 220-yard hurdles, and the long jump. That’s the same year that Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics.
Owens’ legacy was injected into the storyline of last year’s NCAA meet as Carter’s remarkable weekend unfolded. After running second leg on the Tigers’ victorious 400-meter relay team on Friday, Carter came back the next day and won the 100 and 400 meters, with just a 38-minute break in between the finals. He finished his virtuoso performance and a whirlwind two hours by anchoring LSU’s 1,600-meter relay team to victory.
Carter became the first LSU male athlete to win an NCAA title at 100 meters, breaking his school record of 10.12 seconds with a time of 10.09, despite running against a slight headwind. He became the first Tiger to win the NCAA outdoor 400 in 72 years, doing it in a personal best of 44.53 seconds.
LSU placed second to Florida State in the team standings as Carter supplied 25 of the Tigers’ 51 points, 10 points shy of a team title.
A native of Palm Bay, Fla., Carter wrote his name throughout the LSU record books in just two seasons. He tied a school record by winning seven NCAA titles and earned 10 All-America honors. He also has four individual school records as he recorded top marks in the 100 (10.09) and 200 (20.02) during the outdoor season and the 200 meters (20.30) and 400 meters (45.28) during the indoor season.
In addition, he anchored LSU to a collegiate record time of two minutes, fifty-nine point nine seconds in the outdoor 4×400 meter relay and a new school record time of three minutes, four point zero one seconds in the indoor 4×400 meter relay.
He did all this while splitting his athletic calendar in half between track season and playing wide receiver for the Tigers football team. During two falls he scored four touchdowns in spot duty.
Among those who marveled at Carter’s NCAA performance was University of Alabama coach Harvey Glance, a former Olympian and three-time NCAA outdoor spring champion at Auburn. Glance said Carter accomplished “some impossible things” and said the LSU sprinter “takes you back to old-school track.” In fact, all the way back to 1936 and Jesse Owens.