Indoor Track & Field Athletes Set for 'Last Chance'
BATON ROUGE - LSU Track & Field athletes who have yet to solidify a berth in the 2013 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will have one "last chance" to do so this weekend by competing in two last chance meets at LSU's NCAA Indoor Qualifier and Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
LSU's NCAA Indoor Qualifier will be held Friday at the Carl Maddox Field House as the competition is set to begin with the afternoon session at 2 p.m. CT followed by the evening session at 6:10 p.m.
Six athletes are also making the trip to South Bend, Ind., this weekend to compete at the Alex Wilson Invitational being held Friday and Saturday at Notre Dame's Loftus Sports Center.
The Top 16 performers in each individual event and the Top 12 relay teams in both the 4x400-meter relay and distance medley relay that declare for entry in the 2013 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will make the trip to the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., to compete for a national championship on March 8-9 in this year's indoor finale.
A number of LSU's field event athletes are looking to improve their NCAA standing during Friday's action in Baton Rouge.
Leading the way will be junior Keri Emanuel in the women's long jump and sophomore Andreas Duplantis in the men's pole vault as each currently ranks among the Top 16 nationally in their event as they look to solidify their NCAA qualification at LSU's NCAA Indoor Qualifier. Duplantis has cleared a lifetime personal record of 17 feet, 9 ¼ inches to tie for No. 13 nationally in the pole vault, while Emanuel has jumped a lifetime PR of 20-5 ¾ to rank No. 16 nationally in the long jump entering the weekend.
Two other Lady Tigers are also looking to earn a spot in the women's long jump field at the NCAA Championships as senior Brittany Porter must improve upon her seasonal-best mark of 20-0 ½, and junior Lynnika Pitts hopes to raise her lifetime PR from a best of 19-8 in the event this season.
Lady Tiger sophomore Tori Bliss is also on the cusp of a Top 30 NCAA ranking in the shot put this season after throwing a lifetime personal best of 52-11 in a fifth-place finish at the SEC Championships over the weekend. Bliss must near the 55-foot mark in the event to crack the NCAA's Top 16 in the event for 2013.
One of the keys for the Tigers traveling to Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational will be to improve its national ranking in the 4x400-meter relay.
The Tigers currently rank No. 9 in the NCAA in the relay with a seasonal-best run of 3 minutes, 7.74 seconds as senior Caleb Williams, sophomore Quincy Downing and freshmen Darrell Bush, Cyril Grayson and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake will be in the relay pool on Saturday afternoon when the race is scheduled to run at 3:35 p.m. CT.
Williams, the fifth-place finisher in the 400-meter final at the NCAA Indoor meet a year ago, looks to improve his standing in the two-lap race as he has run the 27th-fastest time nationally this year at 46.78 seconds. Bush (47.16) and Grayson (47.89) will join Williams in the 400-meter dash on Saturday at 12:35 p.m.
Mitchell-Blake will run the 200 meters at Notre Dame on Saturday as he currently ranks No. 33 nationally with a lifetime PR of 21.08. Downing looks to improve his time of 1:50.96 in the 800 meters.
Senior SEC champion Laura Carleton hopes to add her name to the NCAA roster for the Lady Tigers as she is also set to run the women's 5,000 meters at Notre Dame on Friday night at 7 p.m. Carleton has run a seasonal-best time of 16:11.58 to rank No. 27 in the country and is the SEC Indoor champion in the event for 2013.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will wrap up the indoor season next weekend with a return trip to the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., as they compete for the 2013 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships being held March 8-9 at the University of Arkansas.