Sprinter Vernon Norwood carves niche with LSU track greats _lowres

Photo by Bryan Wayne/LSU Sports Information -- LSU sprinter Vernon Norwood savors the moment after anchoring the Tigers 4x400-meter relay team that finished first at the NCAA Championships on Friday in Eugene, Ore.

EUGENE, Ore. — Even though he competed only two seasons for LSU, quartermiler Vernon Norwood will embark on his professional career as one of the most decorated sprinters in school history.

Norwood, a junior college transfer from South Plains (Texas) College, capped his short career with the Tigers by winning the 400 meters and anchoring the 4x400-meter relay team to victory in the men’s finals on Friday evening.

That gave the Morgan City native a total of four NCAA wins — two individual and two relay titles — and eight All-America certificates.

The four NCAA victories tied Norwood for fifth in school history, just three behind co-leaders Kelly Willie and Xavier Carter. Norwood also leaves the school tied for 10th with his eight All-America honors.

Norwood joined Carter as the only two LSU male athletes to win the 400 at the NCAA outdoor championships. Carter won in 2006.

Closing in on 50

The victories by Norwood and the Tigers’ 4x400-meter relay team gave LSU a total of 49 wins all-time at the NCAA championships, which were contested for the 94th time this week.

That puts LSU fifth all-time in wins behind Southern Cal (116), Oregon (69), UCLA (62) and Arkansas (50).

The Lady Tigers did not have a win this season but still lead the women’s list with 57 victories all-time in the 34-year history of the championships.

Another 4x100

The LSU women’s team qualified for the 4x100-meter relay final, which was held Saturday, for the 30th time in the past 31 seasons.

The Lady Tigers’ unit of Rushell Harvey, Aleia Hobbs, Jada Martin and Mikiah Brisco finished fifth with a time of 43.69 seconds.

In that 31-year span, LSU has won the sprint relay title 13 times, which included six consecutive wins from 1992 to 1997.

Brown closes career

Texas A&M sprinter Kamaria Brown, a Baton Rouge native, closed out her college career with three more All-America honors on Saturday.

The McKinley High grad failed to defend the 200 meters title she won last year when she took third in 22.24 seconds, but earned All-America status in that event and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays that placed second and seventh.

Brown finished her career with 16 All-America certificates — 10 outdoors and six indoors — tying her for second-most all-time at the school.

Get used to it

Next year’s NCAA championships, which are scheduled for June 8-11, will be at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field for the fourth year in a row.

Actually, this year’s meet was the first of a seven-year contract awarded to TrackTown USA, with the deal set to run through 2021.

The USA championships will be held here in two weeks and the venue will also be the site of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in July 2016.

Packing them in

The four-day NCAA championships drew a total of 42,544 fans.

Attendance on Saturday was 11,734, with 9,627 coming through the gates Wednesday, followed by 10,015 on Thursday and 11,168 on Friday.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.