Brisco Opens Weekend with Impressive Double
BATON ROUGE – It was quite the 90 minutes for Lady Tiger junior Mikiah Brisco during Friday’s opener at the Tyson Invitational as she smashed her personal best with a winning 7.98 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles and nearly took down one of the nation’s best to win the 60-meter dash at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Brisco has certainly emerged as an NCAA-title threat in both events in her junior season as she lined up with seasonal bests of 7.19 in the 60 meters and 8.14 in the 60 hurdles set in each of the last two weeks.
She first slashed nearly a full tenth of a second off of her seasonal best in the sprint hurdles with a heat-winning 8.05 in the first section firing off at 4:30 p.m. CT that proved to be the fastest of the round. She returned to the track 45 minutes later for the final and broke eight seconds for the first time in her career with a time of 7.98 to edge Purdue’s Devynne Charlton (8.02) for the win.
The women’s 60-meter hurdles at this year’s Tyson Invitational featured a loaded field of finalists with two other top-10 hurdlers in the NCAA this season in Kentucky’s No. 4-ranked Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and USC’s No. 6-ranked Dior Hall. Camacho-Quinn nipped Hall at the finish line for third place as both recorded times of 8.08 in the final.
Brisco’s 7.98 in the final was just a split-second shy of Jasmin Stowers’ school record of 7.96 and moved her into a tie for the No. 2 spot in the national rankings this season with Illinois’ Pedrya Seymour. She eclipsed her previous personal best of 8.04 set in a fifth-place finish in the final at the NCAA Indoor Championships a season ago.
If that weren’t enough, Brisco came back at 5:33 p.m. to win the second semifinal heat of the 60-meter dash in 7.26 ahead of LSU sophomore Kortnei Johnson before the two teammates ended the night with a narrow 2-3 finish in the final. Brisco was second to Kentucky’s Javianne Oliver (7.19) with her second-fastest time of the season at 7.22, while Johnson took third with a 7.24 personal best to rank No. 6 nationally in 2017, as well as move into a tie for the No. 10 spot on LSU’s all-time list in the event.
Rounding out the field were Texas’ reigning NCAA Indoor Champion Teahna Daniels (7.27) in fourth, USC’s Deanna Hill (7.28) in fifth, Kentucky’s Kianna Gray (7.31) in sixth and USC’s Ky Westbrook (7.32) in seventh.
A local product from Baton Rouge High School, Brisco is showing the best form of her collegiate career as she looks to follow up her performance from a season ago when she was crowned the SEC Indoor Champion for events while finishing as the NCAA Indoor Bronze Medalist in the 60 meters and fifth place nationally in the 60 hurdles to cap her sophomore season.
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Tiger senior Michael Cherry ran his season-opening 400 meters on the 200-meter oval at the Randal Tyson Track Center two weeks ago when he defended his event title in 45.91 at the Razorback Invitational.
He returned Friday to win the men’s invitational event at the Tyson Invitational with the second-fastest time in the NCAA as he led wire-to-wire in the second heat before crossing the finish line in 45.84, finishing more than three tenths of a second ahead of the 46.16 turned in by Arkansas’ Obi Igbokwe for second place. Eric Janise of Arkansas took third overall with a time of 46.29 to win the first heat. LSU senior LaMar Bruton ended up eighth overall with a time of 47.17 in the first heat.
Only a world-leading 45.02 by Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley at the Tiger Paw Invitational at Clemson earlier in the day separated Cherry from the top of the NCAA rankings as he ended Friday’s action as the No. 2 400-meter runner in the country this season. Cherry, the reigning NCAA Indoor Bronze Medalist in the event, owns an indoor personal best of 45.61 in the 400 meters.
Cherry wasn’t LSU’s only 400-meter sprinter to shine on the opening day of competition at the Tyson Invitational as senior Travia Jones broke 53 seconds for the first time in her collegiate career and turned in a lifetime PR of 52.92 to finish fifth in the field of the women’s Olympic Development final in the team’s last event of the day.
Jones, who held a previous indoor best of 53.40 and outdoor best of 53.08 from her junior season, closed strong in the final 100 meters to finish third to Sparkle McKnight (52.65) and Dominique Blake (52.91) in the first heat. Texas’ Chrisann Gordon (51.71) and Nike athlete Chrishuna Williams (52.02) finished 1-2 in the second heat as the top two finishers in the event.
Jones put herself squarely in contention for NCAA Championship qualification with her 52.92 personal best on Friday as she now ranks No. 11 in the NCAA this season and No. 9 on LSU’s all-time indoor list.
Two other Lady Tigers also turned in new indoor personal records in the early sections of the 400 meters in the team’s opening event of the meet as junior Kymber Payne posted 53.83 for second place and sophomore Rachel Misher clocked 53.85 for third place in the event. Payne broke her previous indoor best of 54.45, while Misher smashed her indoor best of 55.09 by more than one full second.
Other LSU athletes enjoying personal-best performances in Friday’s opener at the Tyson Invitational were senior Keane Bland with a time of 7.89 for ninth place in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, freshman Cassondra Hall with a time of 7.35 for 10th place in the women’s 60-meter dash and sophomore Brittany Kelly with a jump of 19 feet, 9 ½ inches in the long jump after matching her PR of 8.48 in the 60 hurdles earlier in the day.
LSU’s long jumpers headlined a host of other athletes setting seasonal bests as freshman Rayvon Grey won the men’s college division with a best this year of 24-11 ¼ before senior Nataliyah Friar added a second-place finish in the women’s college division with a seasonal-best mark of 20-2 ½. Junior Da’Quan Bellard also added nearly one foot to his 2017 best with a jump of 23-7 ¼.
Other seasonal bests of note were turned in by seniors Tremayne Acy (6.69) and Rushell Harvey (7.39) in the men’s and women’s 60-meter dash and junior Danielle Phillips (8.41) in the women’s 60-meter hurdles.
Senior Johnnie Jackson continued his march toward the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday as he highlighted five LSU athletes competing on the opening day of the Iowa State Classic in Ames by winning his fourth-straight weight throw title this season with a series-best throw of 73 feet, 1 ¼ inches.
Jackson led from his very first throw after opening the second flight with a mark of 71-8 ¼ in the first round. He improved to 72-0 ¼ in the second round to take a nearly four-foot lead into the final round of throws. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey, native let fly his farthest throw of the day at 73-1 ¼ on his sixth and final throw of the day to finish well ahead of Wisconsin’s Riley Budde (70-8) in second place.
Jackson has been unstoppable to open his senior season as his win in Ames follows wins at the Auburn Indoor Invitational (77-3 ¾), Razorback Invitational (71-8 ¾) and Bayou Bengal Invitational (74-7 ¾). Jackson’s four-meet winning streak in the men’s weight throw is the longest by an LSU Tiger since former NCAA Champion Walter Henning won 11-straight weight throw titles between the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Sophomore Jordan McClendon was the top Lady Tiger in Friday’s women’s weight throw as she threw 64-8 ¾ for fourth in the event, while junior Marvalyn Vernon posted a PR of 58-9 ½ for 13th place overall.
Rounding out Friday’s competition at the Iowa State Classic were sophomore Hollie Parker in the women’s mile and sophomore Dajour Braxton in the men’s invitational 3,000 meters. Parker ran a seasonal-best time of 4 minutes, 51.60 seconds for 16th place overall, while Braxton came up just shy of his best of 2017 at 8:13.62 for 27th place in the final event of the day.