BATON ROUGE -- The LSU track and field teams are set to host the LSU Relays this weekend, and head coach Dennis Shaver was on hand at Walk-On’s Bistreaux on Tuesday to preview his team’s first home meet of the 2009 outdoor season as part of LSU’s weekly media luncheon.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will play host to the seventh-annual relay event Friday and Saturday at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium as the meet will feature athletes of all ages competing in races ranging from tiny tots and bantam age groups, to the high school, college and masters levels.
Friday’s events will start in the field at 10 a.m. CT followed by the first events on the track at 3 p.m., while Saturday’s action begins in the field at 9 a.m. and on the track at 11 a.m.
Shaver said that he expects as many as 2,800 athletes alone to compete this weekend, which is by far a meet record for the LSU Relays as it enters its seventh season.
“We’re really kind of kicking things off this weekend with the LSU Relays,” Shaver said. “The relays are just slowly each year growing in size, but this year it’s grown a lot in size. We’re going to have probably around 2,800 athletes with the high school division, and we’re introducing some age group races where we’re going to run some tiny tot 100s, bantam 100s and masters 100 races.
“But while we’re doing that, what’s going to be great about it is that we’re also going to run some races around the oval at the same time because we have the capabilities of getting the electronic timing running around the oval and on the straightaway at the same time. It will be great from the standpoint of the spectators because there will always be something going on for them to see.”
Among the 2,800 athletes scheduled to compete this weekend, approximately 1,800 will be a part of the high school competition from such states as Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.
“The high school division is growing rapidly, much like I thought it would over the last few years with this meet,” Shaver said. “We have high school from four different states that are going to be competing, and it’s just grown quite a bit. It’s exciting for us to get those kids here to compete.”
The action at the collegiate level is sure to be just as exciting as LSU welcomes such programs as Baylor and TCU to the meet for the first time.
In addition, many former LSU stars are scheduled to open up their outdoor seasons this weekend, including U.S. Olympian Lolo Jones in the 100 hurdles and two-time Olympic silver medalist for Trinidad and Tobago, Richard Thompson, in the 4x100-meter relay.
“We’re excited about getting the outdoor season kicked off with the LSU Relays,” Shaver said. “I think everybody on our team is going to be running in some capacity at the meet, but I think it is worth mentioning that some of our former athletes are entered and will be running in some events and some relays, like Lolo Jones and Richard Thompson. Almost all of the athletes will be here in some form or fashion competing. It will be very exciting for both of our teams.”
Shaver went on to say that senior All-American Trindon Holliday will only run on LSU’s 4x100-meter relay this weekend after spending last week at spring practice with the LSU football team.
“Trindon Holliday will be competing just on the relay. We’re not going to try to ask him to do too much,” Shaver said. “He’ll wait and open up in the 100 meters when we get to the Texas Relays. So, he will not run the 100 this week, but he will be running on our 4x100 relay.”