BATON ROUGE – With their preseason preparation now in the books, the LSU Track & Field teams will kick off the indoor season with a trip to Birmingham, Ala., for the third-straight season as they compete against a strong season-opening field at the Auburn Indoor Invitational being held Saturday at the Birmingham Crossplex.
This year’s Auburn Indoor Invitational is set to begin at 10 a.m. CT with the field events and 11:30 a.m. with the first events on the track during the morning session. The meet’s afternoon session follows at 1:25 p.m. on the track and 3 p.m. in the field as the competition culminates with the running of the 4x400-meter relays beginning at 8:10 p.m.
Fans can follow all the action with live updates from the Birmingham Crossplex throughout the meet by following @LSUTrackField on Twitter and liking LSU Track & Field on Facebook.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers are ready to start their march toward the 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships as they now have just eight weeks to prepare for the national meet. The University of New Mexico will play host to this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center on March 14-15.
The Lady Tigers took their place on the medal podium at the NCAA Indoor Championships once again to highlight the 2013 season while taking home a third-place team finish for the fourth-straight season as one of the nation’s top women’s teams. The Tigers also earned a strong finish with 15th place in the final men’s team standings at the NCAA Indoor meet a year ago.
As is the case each season, LSU Track & Field enters a new year ranked among the premier programs in the country as the Lady Tigers are No. 8 and the Tigers are No. 25 in the preseason Top 25 power rankings put out for the first time by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday.
Saturday’s Auburn Indoor Invitational welcomes an impressive 12-team field to open the season with five men’s teams and three women’s teams ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 25 preseason power rankings.
The 25th-ranked Tigers will compete against the likes of No. 7 Florida State, No. 13 Georgia, No. 16 Ole Miss and No. 24 Alabama, as well as Auburn, Clemson, Middle Tennessee State, Samford and Southern Mississippi. Joining the No. 8-ranked Lady Tigers are No. 5 Georgia, No. 19 Florida State, Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Ole Miss, Samford, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt.
Among those competing in LSU’s season opener are three returning All-Americans who will be opening up their seasons in their specialty events.
Leading the way for the Lady Tigers will be senior All-Americans Jasmin Stowers in the 60-meter hurdles and Lynnika Pitts in the triple jump as each looks to add to their All-America resumes in their final college season. Stowers is a true national championship contender in the women’s 60 hurdles as the reigning NCAA Indoor bronze medalist and three-time defending SEC Indoor champion in the event.
Junior Aaron Ernest will line up in the men’s 60-meter dash as he looks to lead the squad in Saturday’s season opener. Ernest is the reigning SEC Indoor champion and returning All-American in the 200-meter dash with an eye on adding postseason honors in the 60-meter sprint indoors during his junior season with the Tigers.
Also opening up the defense of her SEC Indoor championship is Lady Tiger senior Denise Hinton, who will compete in the women’s 20-pound weight throw after claiming the conference crown in 2013.
After competing at the Auburn Indoor Invitational on Saturday, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will head back on the road next weekend with a trip to College Station, Texas, to compete at the Texas A&M Triangular in their first scored meet of the 2014 season. This year’s Texas A&M Triangular will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Gilliam Indoor Track stadium.