Kimberlyn Duncan’s goal once was to just be in the presence of the best collegiate sprinters in the country. Today, she is one.
Duncan, an LSU junior, won the 200-meter indoor national title this spring and has continued her success onto the outdoor season.
At the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships, Duncan blew away the competition in the 100-meter dash with a meet-record and personal best of 10.96 seconds – the NCAA’s No. 2-ranked low-altitude time in history. There’s more.
Duncan turned in a career-best 22.12 in the 200 meters. It not only won that title, but was the No. 3 time in history and her 17th consecutive collegiate victory in the event against college competition. Of the 10 fastest all-condition times in NCAA history, Duncan has run four of them (22.12w, 22.18w, 22.24 and 22.37w).
“The 200 is my best because I have run it the longest,” Duncan said. “The 100 I still don’t consider myself a 100-meter runner. That’s the event I’ve been struggling with the most. It is more technical than the 200. A lot of times in the 100 it is the start. My start is not my strongest part in the race. Since the start is the most important part of the race I struggle with it. Pretty much that is how it has been with me.”
The 100-meter result just shows how gifted and how hard Duncan has worked to become the supreme talent she is. That race was out of her comfort zone. But the 200 has always been her sweet spot.
“When I am getting ready to run the 200, it is the one I am most comfortable with,” Duncan said. “It is my event. I just try to stay comfortable. If I do that, I am confident everything will work out.
“Everything felt normal. I went out there and just ran and tried to execute my race the way the coach had been helping me do all week. I went out there and ran to the best of my ability.”
Her ability has helped LSU become the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Individually, she also has been named the SEC’s Co-Women’s Runner of the Year, along with Florida distance runner Genevieve LaCaze.
In addition to the 100 and 200, Duncan anchors LSU’s 4×100 relay, which is also No. 1 in the nation along with Texas A&M.
She’ll be competing in all three events later this week at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds Thursday through Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.
“The main goal is just make it through each round, and get to nationals and help my teammates win the national title,” Duncan said. “Our team is healthy. We are able to score points in a lot of events. I feel we will be ready to go with everybody on the team – sprinters, runner, throwers, and jumpers. We want it. Coming to LSU there were a lot of goals I have already accomplished. This [national title] is the only one left.”
Getting to LSU was a no brainer for this Katy, Texas, native. She watched former LSU star Muna Lee and her teammates dominate a track meet Duncan attended and she was sold.
“I don’t remember many of them, but I remember Muna Lee,” Duncan said. “I always wanted to go to LSU from watching her at the track meet and the other girls. “I told my mom, ‘I want to go with those girls. Those girls are winning!’ and I thought going there would help me. I figured if I wasn’t winning I would still be among the top athletes there. I felt that was a good program for me to go to.”
Duncan needed the challenge LSU presented her. She really had not had a lot of technical training and wanted to be pushed. She knew being there would make her better.
“I always thought the way to get better is to keep training,” Duncan said. “Keep training and staying confident in what I am doing. I think I can get better and things will just fall into place. They have worked out here just like that.”
She wants things to work out a few weeks longer. After Jacksonville, there is the NCAA outdoor championships in Des Moines, Iowa, and then on to Eugene, Ore., for the Olympic trials.
“I’m ready to go,” Duncan said. “I am healthier this year than I was last year and really excited. There is still a lot to do and hopefully we can keep going.”