Friar Wins Triple Jump at Mt. SAC Relays
TORRANCE, Calif. – Senior All-American Nataliyah Friar captured the women’s triple jump title at the 59th Mt. SAC Relays with a seasonal-best performance, while senior Rebekah Wales won the women’s javelin and senior Johnnie Jackson won the men’s hammer throw at the nearby Beach Invitational on Friday afternoon.
Friar finished more than two feet ahead of the field in the triple jump competition at Murdock Stadium with a wind-legal 42 feet, 11 inches (+1.2) to eclipse her seasonal best of 42-9 ¾ entering the meet.
After fouling her first attempt, Friar took the lead with a mark of 42-1 ½ (+1.6) in the second round before posting her series-best of 42-11 in the third round to climb into the No. 11 spot in the NCAA rankings this spring which is up two spots from her position at the start of the day. Friar closed out her victory with a wind-aided jump of 42-8 ¾ (+3.5) on her sixth and final attempt.
The two-time All-American has certainly performed as one of the NCAA’s top jumpers in her senior season as she also ranks No. 15 nationally in the long jump with a seasonal-best mark of 20-6 ¼ this spring.
Jackson picked up right where he left off from Thursday’s third-place finish in the men’s invitational hammer throw at the Mt. SAC Relays where he uncorked a personal best of 231-2 for the No. 7-ranked performance in the NCAA this season. He threw a best of 227-3 on Friday to take home the title from the Beach Invitational hosted by Long Beach State.
Jackson actually turned the tables on Ole Miss’ Dempsey McGuigan as the Rebel standout finished runner-up at the Beach Invitational with a throw of 225-5 after edging Jackson for second place as the top collegian on Thursday at the Mt. SAC Relays with a seasonal best of 231-5.
Wales, the NCAA’s leading javelin thrower this season with a best of 188-0, added her first victory of the campaign at the Beach Invitational where she threw a series-best of 183-2 to finish nearly nine feet in front. The West Monroe native now owns the two best collegiate throws this season as she leads the NCAA’s No. 2-ranked performance of 182-5 by Stanford’s Mackenzie Little.
LSU’s jumpers continued to headline those setting seasonal bests during Friday’s action at the Mt. SAC Relays as Da’Quan Bellard posted a best of 24-0 ¾ (+0.1) for 2017 to finish runner-up in the men’s long jump.
On the track, sophomore Rachel Misher set the pace for the Lady Tigers in the women’s 200-meter dash with a season-opening time of 23.33 (-0.1) to win the first heat and finish second overall in the open event. Also clocking seasonal bests in the 200 meters were freshman Cassondra Hall with a time of 23.49 (-0.1) and senior Rushell Harvey with a time of 23.63 (-0.1) for third place and seventh place, respectively.
Junior distance runner DC Lipani got the ball rolling at the Beach Invitational as he stepped onto the track in the morning session and slashed 17 seconds from his personal-best time in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14 minutes, 56.85 seconds for sixth place in the men’s event. Lipani finished well ahead of the pace of his previous PR of 15:13.98 set a season ago.
Sophomore Jordan McClendon enjoyed a personal-best performance of her own at the Beach Invitational as she took her turn in the hammer circle and unleashed a throw of 180-6 to become the 10th-ranked hammer thrower in school history. She soared past her previous PR of 165-8 while placing 34th overall and 24th among collegians in the field.
Two other medalists highlighted Friday’s action at the Mt. SAC Relays as sophomore Hollie Parker opened the day with a bronze-medal-winning third-place finish in the women’s open 1,500 meters after running a time of 4:28.88 and freshman Brittley Humphrey followed in the afternoon with a silver-medal-winning second-place finish in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.77 (-1.0).
Junior Danielle Phillips pulled double duty as she scored a sixth-place finish in the long jump with a mark of 19-4 (+2.4) along with a 13th-place finish behind Humphrey in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.21 (-1.9).
Senior Michael Cherry nearly matched his wind-legal PR with a sprint of 21.14 (+1.6) as the 11th-place finisher in the men’s 200 meters, while senior LaMar Bruton followed his teammate in 15th place with a time of 21.26 (+1.1). Junior Jack Wilkes placed ninth overall in the men’s open 800 meters running 1:51.05, and sophomore Erika Lewis placed 18th in the women’s 800 meters with a time of 2:11.01.
Saturday’s finale at the 59th Mt. SAC Relays gets underway for LSU’s athletes at 3 p.m. CT in the field events and 3:10 p.m. with the first finals on the track. FloTrack will provide live coverage of the final day for the meet as fans can catch the action at http://www.flotrack.org. Events at the Beach Invitational are also set to begin at 10:30 a.m. in the field and 11:53 a.m. on the track.