Jackson's Hammer PR Highlights Day 2 at Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – In his first appearance since being crowned the NCAA Indoor Champion in the weight throw on March 11, LSU senior Johnnie Jackson returned to the ring Thursday at the 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays and threw a season-opening personal best of 222 feet, 9 inches in the hammer for sixth place in the competition.
Jackson, who stepped into the circle with a previous best of 217-1 from a year ago, raised the bar on his very first throw of the outdoor season with a mark of 222-9 to sit fifth through the first round.
While adding a second mark of 219-9 in the fifth round that also eclipsed his previous PR, Jackson settled into sixth place while following Southeastern Louisiana’s Alexander Young (235-5) in first place, Georgia’s Denzel Comenentia (233-8) in second, Georgia’s Alex Poursanidis (233-7) in third, Virginia’s Hilmar Orn Jonsson (230-8) in fourth and Northern Arizona’s Adam Keenan (225-7) in fifth.
Jackson’s season-opening 222-9 moved him up a spot on LSU’s all-time outdoor performance list as he jumped former All-American Dave Paddison (222-3) as the No. 3-ranked hammer thrower in school history.
The Cherry Hill, New Jersey, native is off to a fast start outdoors after wrapping up his indoor season three weeks ago as the NCAA Indoor Champion in the 35-pound weight throw. Jackson is a returning SEC scorer this season in the hammer throw and is sure to contend for his first career All-SEC and All-America honors outdoors in the event as an LSU Tiger.
The Lady Tigers were also fast out of the blocks in Thursday’s opening event on the track as seniors Ka’Lynn Jupiter and Bryiana Richardson and junior Kymber Payne were perfect in the qualifying heats in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Friday’s final is scheduled to run at 7 p.m. CT live on the Longhorn Network.
Payne was impressive in her season-opening race as she took the tape in the second heat with a time of 57.77 seconds for the third-fastest time of the day. Jupiter followed with a second-place finish for the third heat as she clocked a season-opening 57.78 for the fourth-fastest time of the day, while Richardson qualified seventh overall with a seasonal best of 58.33 for second place in the fifth prelim heat.
Each is set to run in her first career final at the Texas Relays despite Payne and Jupiter both qualifying in the preliminary round a year ago. They were scratches in the final due to weather at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Rounding out the nine finalists in the women’s 400-meter hurdles are Purdue’s Symone Black (57.06) as the top qualifier on the day, Boston University’s Toria Levy (57.41) in second, Baylor’s Kiana Hawn (57.93) in fifth, Prairie View A&M’s Deonca Bookman (57.98) in sixth, Missouri’s Valerie Thames (58.83) in eighth and TCU’s Lexi Aitken (58.86) in ninth.
Sophomore Dajour Braxton was less than three tenths of a second shy of history as he nearly became LSU’s first ever Texas Relays champion in the men’s 5,000 meters while finishing runner-up in the race.
Braxton joined the lead pack midway through the race and battled Georgia’s Sid Vaughn, UTEP’s Antony Kosgei and Texas A&M’s Austin Wells down the homestretch for the win. He crossed the finish line second with an 11-second personal best of 14 minutes, 15.70 seconds after Vaughn took home the title in 14:15.42. Kosgei was third with a time of 14:16.60, while Wells followed in fourth with a time of 14:17.97.
Braxton also finished the race just shy of LSU’s all-time Top 10 list in the 5k as he slashed his personal best from the time of 14:26.52 that he set during his freshman season with the Tigers in 2016.
Fellow sophomore Hollie Parker did climb the school’s performance list in the women’s 5,000 meters while clocking an 11-second PR of her own at 17:17.74 to become the seventh-fastest Lady Tiger in history. She took 15th place in the event while smashing her previous best of 17:28.15 set in winning the 5k at the Louisiana Classics two weeks ago.
Kelly Finishes Heptathlon
After capping the first day of the women’s heptathlon with 3,337 points for the second-highest Day 1 score of her collegiate career, sophomore Brittany Kelly finished off her appearance at the Texas Relays with a total score of 5,112 points for seven events for 14th place overall and 11th place among collegians in the field.
Kelly’s day was highlighted by throwing a more than 13-foot personal best in the javelin at 102-11 for 503 points in the event as she smashed her previous best of 89-9 that she set in her outdoor opener two weeks ago at the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette. She also jumped 17-8 ¾ (-0.4) in the long jump for 671 points and ended the heptathlon by running 2:37.54 in the 800 meters for 601 points.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will take to the track bright and early Friday morning as the 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays continues with 4x100-meter relay qualifying beginning at 9:35 a.m. CT. The women will qualify first in the sprint relay prelims before the men follow at 9:55 a.m. Friday’s afternoon session will be underway at 12:30 p.m. with the first relay finals scheduled to run in the evening session starting at 5:50 p.m.
Fans can watch LSU’s athletes in action throughout the day on Friday as the Longhorn Network will feature live coverage of the meet from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT in the morning and from 7-9 p.m. in the evening.