TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In the 39 seasons since the Southeastern Conference switched to metric distances at the league’s track and field championships, only 14 times had a male swept the short sprints.
LSU junior Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake became the 15th to do it when he won the 100 meters and returned just an hour later to take the 200 title Saturday on the final day of the meet.
Mitchell-Blake, who came into the meet as the SEC leader in both events and the national leader in the 200, claimed a win in the 100 in 10.16 seconds before blistering the Sam Bailey Stadium track in claiming the 200 title in 19.95 seconds.
He became the second LSU athlete to break the 20-second barrier in the 200 — joining Xavier Carter, who raced to a school-record time of 19.63 in 2006.
Mitchell-Blake is the fourth LSU male athlete to sweep the short sprints at the SEC outdoor meet since 1977.
The others are Chris Cummings (1997), Byron Logan (1998) and Richard Thompson (2008).
The LSU women won the 4x100-meter relay to start Saturday’s running events, marking the 34th time in the last 35 years the program has brought home at least one title from the SEC outdoor meet.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers actually had at least one win in 32 consecutive league meets from 1982 to 2013 before the streak was finally snapped in 2014.
LSU, which had three wins a year ago, wound up with six this weekend with the men winning the 4x100 and 4x400 to go with Mitchell-Blake’s 100-200 double and Jordan Moore’s victory in the 110 hurdles.
With a total of six individual and relay wins Saturday, LSU has now captured 424 event titles at the SEC outdoor championships.
The Tigers have piled up 286 titles in the 84-year history of the men’s meet and the Lady Tigers have 138 in the 36 years the women’s meet has been held.
Duplantis’ mark falls
The Sam Bailey Stadium pole vault record of 18 feet, 4 inches, which was set by former LSU All-American Greg Duplantis, fell Saturday when Tennessee’s Jake Blankenship soared 18-6½ to win the title.
Duplantis, who won SEC outdoor pole vault titles in 1982 and ’86, set the facility record in 1988 — two years after completing his collegiate eligibility.
Former Alabama coach Dick Booth, who moved into the role of director of operations and special events this year, was recognized for his more than 40 years as a college coach Saturday.
Booth, a 2012 inductee into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, is retiring at the end of the season. Booth was also the head coach at UL-Lafayette from 1985 to 1988.
One of the top jumps coaches in the nation, Booth coached 49 NCAA champions in stops at Arkansas (twice), UL-Lafayette, Florida and Alabama.
The 2017 SEC championships will be held in Columbia, South Carolina, for only the second time since South Carolina joined the league for the 1991-92 academic year. The only other time it was held there was in 2001.