BATON ROUGE -- The indoor season will come to a dramatic conclusion this weekend as the top teams from around the country gather in College Station, Texas, to battle one another for the national crown at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships beginning Friday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
Live coverage of the two-day meet can be found online at www.ESPN360.com, while the meet is set for a nationally televised tape-delay broadcast by ESPN2 on Monday, March 23, at 1:30 p.m.
The Lady Tigers are among this year’s national title contenders as they enter the weekend ranked No. 3 nationally, while the Tigers are poised for a big meet as they are ranked No. 6 in the final power ranking released by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“This is certainly the meet that we’ve been looking forward to and preparing for all season long,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “It has been our plan for the last two months to have our athletes ready to reach their peak performance this weekend. We feel like we have an opportunity to come here are compete at the highest level, and we look forward to doing that tomorrow.”
LSU will feature 16 entries at the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend. The Lady Tigers will have one of the nation’s largest contingents as nine athletes will be competing in 10 different events, while the Tigers will have a total of six entries of their own.
Both teams will bring some firepower to the NCAA meet as six LSU athletes rank among the top four performers in the country in their respective events.
Junior LaTavia Thomas will line up at this year’s meet with a chance to defend her NCAA Indoor title in the 800 meters that she won as a sophomore in 2008. Thomas set an indoor personal best of 2 minutes, 4.27 seconds in a runner-up finish at the SEC Indoor Championships on March 1 to rank No. 3 in the NCAA in the event heading into the national meet.
Junior sprinter Samantha Henry is the only LSU athlete entered in two individual events. She will line up in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes at the meet for the second-straight season.
Henry is a strong national title contender as she enters this year’s NCAA meet ranked No. 2 in the country in the 60-meter dash with a seasonal-best time of 7.19 seconds. In addition, she ranks No. 5 nationally in the 200 meters with a top time of 23.30 this season.
Like Thomas, freshman Rachel Laurent also ranked No. 3 nationally in her specialty event as the SEC Indoor champion enters the meet with the nation’s No. 3 mark in the pole vault at 14-0 ½.
The Tigers feature a trio of NCAA title contenders of their own as junior Trindon Holliday (60 meters), sophomore Walter Henning (weight throw) and freshman Robert Simmons (400 meters) each rank among the nation’s top four performers in their respective specialty events.
Holliday is looking to win his first career individual NCAA championship after finishing as the national runner-up at 60 meters a year ago. The Zachary native, who clocked a personal-best time of 6.54 to finish behind teammate Richard Thompson (6.51) in the NCAA final a year ago, is the nation’s No. 2 performer in the event in 2009 with a seasonal-best time of 6.56.
Likewise, Henning ranks No. 2 nationally in the 35-pound weight throw with a top mark of 74-5 ½ set while capturing the SEC Indoor title on March 1. Henning trails the national leader by only two centimeters as Chris Rohr of Missouri is on top with a mark of 74-6 ¼.
Simmons has already established himself as one of the nation’s premier 400-meter runners during his freshman season as he ranks No. 4 in the NCAA with an overall personal-best time of 46.22.
Other LSU athletes who will compete include Brittani Carter (high jump), Brittany Hall (800 meters), Tenaya Jones (60 hurdles), Andrea Linton (triple jump), Kayann Thompson (800 meters) and Kenyanna Wilson (60 meters) for the Lady Tigers; as well as both Will Coppage and Jeremy Hicks in the long jump and the 4x400-meter relay team for the Tigers.
The Arizona State Sun Devils are the defending NCAA Indoor champions on both the men’s and women’s sides after sweeping national titles at the NCAA Indoor Championships a year ago.
LSU is the only other program in the country to accomplish the impressive sweep as the men and women were the first to do so at the NCAA Indoor meet in 2004. The Lady Tigers just missed an indoor title with a runner-up finish to the Arizona State women a year ago, while the Tigers were the fourth-place finishers to the Sun Devils last season.
The first day of the competition is scheduled to begin Friday with the women’s pentathlon at 10 a.m. followed by the day’s first events on the track and in the field at 4 p.m. Saturday’s action is set to feature the conclusion of the men’s heptathlon at noon, while the field events begin at 3:30 p.m. followed by the meet’s final events on the track at 5 p.m.
2009 NCAA INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center
Texas A&M University ~ College Station, TX
Friday-Saturday, March 13-14
- DAY ONE -
Friday, March 13
10:00 a.m. 60m Hurdles W Pentathlon
est. 10:50 a.m. High Jump (2 pits) W Pentathlon
12:00 p.m. 60m Dash M Heptathlon
est. 12:40 p.m. Long Jump (2 pits) M Heptathlon
est. 12:45 p.m. Shot Put (2 rings) W Pentathlon
est. 1:45 p.m. Long Jump (2 pits) W Pentathlon
est. 1:45 p.m. Shot Put (2 rings) M Heptathlon
est. 2:45 p.m. High Jump (2 pits) M Heptathlon
est. 2:45 p.m. 800m Run W Pentathlon
4:00 p.m. Weight Throw W Trials & Final
4:15 pm Long Jump W Trials & Final
4:30 pm Pole Vault M Final
6:30 p.m. High Jump W Final
6:40 p.m. Long Jump M Trials & Final
6:50 p.m. Shot Put M Trials and Final
3:55 p.m. National Anthem
4:00 p.m. Mile Run W Prelim
4:15 p.m. Mile Run M Prelim
4:30 p.m. 60m Hurdles W Prelim
4:45 p.m. 60m Hurdles M Prelim
5:00 p.m. 400m Dash W Prelim
5:15 p.m. 400m Dash M Prelim
5:30 p.m. 60m Dash W Prelim
5:45 p.m. 60m Dash M Prelim
6:00 p.m. 800m Run W Prelim
6:15 p.m. 800m Run M Prelim
6:30 p.m. 200m Dash W Prelim
6:45 p.m. 200m Dash M Prelim
7:05 p.m. 5,000m Run W Final
7:30 p.m. 5,000m Run M Final
8:00 p.m. 200m Dash W Final (2 section final)
8:10 p.m. 200m Dash M Final (2 section final)
8:20 p.m. DMR W Final
8:40 p.m. DMR M Final
- DAY TWO -
Saturday, March 14
12:00 p.m. 60m Hurdles M Heptathlon
est. 12:45 p.m. Pole Vault (2 pits) M Heptathlon
est. 3:15 p.m. 1,000 m Run M Heptathlon
3:30 p.m. Triple Jump W Trials & Final
3:45 pm Shot Put W Trials and Final
4:00 p.m. Pole Vault W Final
4:15 p.m. High Jump M Final
4:30 pm Triple Jump M Trials & Final
5:00 pm Weight Throw M Trials & Final
4:55 p.m. National Anthem
5:00 p.m. Mile Run W Final
5:10 p.m. Mile Run M Final
5:20 p.m. 60m Hurdles W Final
5:30 p.m. 60m Hurdles M Final
5:40 p.m. 400m Dash W Final (2 section final)
5:50 p.m. 400m Dash M Final (2 section final)
6:00 p.m. 60m Dash W Final
6:10 p.m. 60m Dash M Final
6:20 p.m. 800m Run W Final
6:30 p.m. 800m Run M Final
6:40 p.m. 3,000m Run W Final
6:55 p.m. 3,000m Run M Final
7:10 p.m. 4 x 400m Relay W Final (2 section final)
7:25 p.m. 4 x 400m Relay M Final (2 section final)
7:50 p.m. Awards Ceremony