Much will be written heading into the 2014 season about which Lady Tigers will step up to fill the void left behind by the departures of such program greats as Kimberlyn Duncan, Natoya Goule and Charlene Lipsey from last year’s squad. After all, Duncan swept NCAA titles in the 200 meters, Goule swept NCAA titles in the 800 meters and Lipsey added All-America honors in the 800 meters during both the indoor and outdoor seasons a year ago.
But the Lady Tigers return six All-Americans from a team that earned a third-place finish indoors and a fourth-place finish outdoors at the NCAA Championships, while welcoming one of the nation’s top recruiting classes as they look to reload for another championship run in 2014.
Seventh in a 10-part series previews a talented stable of women’s hurdlers who look to contend for NCAA titles during the 2014 season.
While the Lady Tigers must replenish their depth in the sprints and relays this season, the squad is blessed with a talented stable of hurdlers that is sure to make its mark on the national stage and score its share of points at the SEC and NCAA Championships.
Jasmin Stowers headlines the group as a national championship contender in both the 60-meter hurdles indoors and 100-meter hurdles outdoors as she returns for her senior season as one of the elite sprint hurdlers at the collegiate level. A native of Pendleton, S.C., with career bests of 8.03 in the 60 hurdles and 12.88 in the 100 hurdles, Stowers is one of the most decorated hurdlers in program history as a five-time All-American and five-time SEC champion since 2011.
Stowers is coming off a junior season in 2013 in which she won her third-straight SEC Indoor crown in the 60 hurdles, joining Lolo Jones as the only two Lady Tigers in program history to accomplish that feat, before earning her best finish at the NCAA Championships with a bronze-medal-winning third-place finish to wrap up the indoor season.
She then followed with another All-American outdoor season in which she took home a seventh-place finish nationally in the 100 hurdles after suffering a hamstring injury in the regular season that sidelined her for more than one month. She returned to action at the SEC meet, where she came up short in defending the back-to-back SEC Outdoor crowns she won in 2011 and 2012.
While Stowers returns as one of the nation’s elite sprint hurdlers, the Lady Tigers also return some firepower in the 400-meter hurdles after senior Nikita Tracey earned seventh place in the national final in her NCAA Championships debut during the 2013 outdoor season.
The Jamaican international ran a top time of 56.51 during the collegiate season before she dropped her personal record to 56.08 in the qualifying round of the women’s 400 hurdles with her performance at the Jamaican Championships during the summer. That effort moved Tracey to the No. 5 position on LSU’s all-time performance list in the event.
Also returning to the squad this season is NCAA qualifier Chanice Chase as she earned a place in the NCAA quarterfinals in the 400 hurdles and NCAA first round in the 100 hurdles with her sophomore season last spring. Chase set personal bests of 13.39 wind-aided in the 100 hurdles and 58.72 in the 400 hurdles a year ago.
The Lady Tigers feature a strong recruiting class that provides tremendous depth for their hurdles group with the likes of junior transfer Mariah Georgetown and freshmen Ka’Lynn Jupiter and Bryiana Richardson competing for the first time in 2014.
Georgetown, a converted heptathlete, will line up for the first time with a personal best of 13.50 in the 100-meter hurdles as a former NCAA qualifier in the event in back-to-back seasons at McNeese State University as a freshman in 2011 and as a sophomore in 2012. Richardson joins with personal bests of 14.36 in the 100 hurdles and 59.64 in the 400 hurdles, while Jupiter has run bests of 14.07 and 1:00.97, respectively, in the two hurdle events.