DMR School Records Fall at Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – LSU’s distance medley relays made the trip to the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday looking to position themselves for NCAA Championship qualification by cracking the Top 12 of the national rankings, and they did just that while shattering both indoor school records at Notre Dame’s Loftus Sports Center.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers turned in two of the fastest times in the country this season with the two fastest DMRs in school history while running in a traditionally loaded field at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
LSU’s women set their previous school record in the same meet at Notre Dame a season ago when they ultimately earned the 12th and final qualifying spot into the NCAA Championships with a 2016 seasonal best of 11 minutes, 5.34 seconds. It marked the first time in program history for the Lady Tigers to compete in the women’s distance medley relay at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Three members of that team returned to the Loftus Sports Center on Saturday as seniors Travia Jones and Morgan Schuetz and sophomore Hollie Parker joined freshman newcomer Ruby Stauber in running the No. 4-ranked time in the NCAA this season at 10:57.66. They combined to run nearly eight seconds faster than their top time from a season ago.
Stauber led off on the 1,200-meter leg before Jones took the baton for the 400-meter carry and Parker strengthened LSU’s position running the 800 meters. Schuetz, who was fresh off running an indoor personal best of 2:03.01 in the 800 meters at the Iowa State Classic last week, anchored the team to third place behind only Indiana (10:55.94) in first and BYU (10:56.93) in second. Two other teams posted sub-11-minute times in the event with Arkansas (10:57.93) finishing fourth and Michigan (10:58.02) rounding out the Top 5 in fifth.
The Tigers were not to be outdone as they followed by a setting a four-second school record in the men’s DMR as they placed fourth in the first heat sixth overall at the Alex Wilson Invitational with a time of 9:31.66.
Senior Blair Henderson (1,200 meters), sophomore Jaron Flournoy (400 meters), junior Jack Wilkes and sophomore Dajour Braxton (mile) teamed to destroy LSU’s 9-year-old school record in the men’s DMR of 9:35.31, which was last set during the 2008 season. That also marked the last time the Tigers qualified for the NCAA Championships in the relay event.
The Tigers moved into the Top 12 of the national rankings this season in the No. 12 spot as of Saturday afternoon’s results across the country as they look to make their return to the NCAA meet. They were sixth in the overall men’s DMR standings at the Alex Wilson Invitational while following Indiana (9:28.14), Stanford (9:28.72), Oklahoma State (9:28.83), Minnesota (9:30.48) and Georgetown (9:31.26).
The day wasn’t over for Flournoy as he returned to the oversized track at the Loftus Sports Center in the afternoon and won the men’s 200-meter dash with an indoor personal best of 21.01 to tie for the No. 26 spot in the NCAA rankings following the meet. Jones was also crowned an individual event champion during Saturday’s competition as she won the women’s 400 meters with her second-fastest time of her career at 52.97.
Henderson was ninth in the men’s mile with a time of 4:10.20, while Schuetz (4:43.88) was seventh and Parker (5:03.08) was 16th in the women’s mile. In the men’s 800 meters, Wilkes finished sixth overall with a run of 1:51.50 followed by Braxton in eighth place with a time of 1:51.97.
LSU’s teams are now ready for the start of the championship season next week as they make their return trip to the Vanderbilt Multipurpose Facility for the second time this season to compete for the 2017 SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships running Feb. 24-25. They also appeared at Vanderbilt’s Commodore Invitational held Jan. 13-14 earlier this season.