BATON ROUGE -- The LSU track and field teams wrapped up competition at the seventh-annual LSU Tiger Relays on Saturday afternoon by capturing a pair of relay titles and adding three new NCAA regional qualifiers to their postseason rosters at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
This year’s LSU Tiger Relays proved to be a successful one for the Tigers and Lady Tigers with a total of 12 individuals and four relays punching their ticket to the NCAA Mideast Regional.
“We really got a lot done at this track meet. We’re making some progress,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “The meet was designed for us to be able to run a quality competition to get each person on our team on the track multiple times on both days. We want our athletes to compete in an environment that will help them improve, and we certainly got that this weekend.”
The Tigers’ 4x100-meter relay team kicked off the days’ festivities with a bang by beating Baylor to the finish line by the slimmest of margins to capture the event title.
While running with a foursome of senior Jeremy Hicks, junior Will Coppage, sophomore Gabriel Mvumvure and senior Trindon Holliday, LSU won its first sprint relay title of the season with a time of 39.70 seconds in the final after qualifying with a regional qualifier of 39.36 on Friday.
The race was a battle to the finish line between two of the nation’s premier sprinters. Holliday got the stick on the anchor leg in a dead heat with Baylor All-American Trey Harts as they ran neck and neck down the straightaway to the tape. In the end, Holliday earned the victory over Harts by one one-thousandth of a second, 39.696 to 39.697.
The Tigers are looking to defend their NCAA crown in the 4x100-meter relay after taking the title at the Texas Relays, Penn Relays, SEC Championships and NCAA Championships in 2008.
“We really wanted to find out where we were at this point in the season,” Holliday said. “It was a good competition. It was really our first time putting it together this season. I think we did a good job putting down our marks and getting the stick around the track. We knew it wasn’t going to be as fast because of the wind, but we were happy with it for the most part.
“We didn’t have a very good exchange there at the end, so I had a little bit of ground to make up. I just gave it everything I had to get the win for my teammates.”
The Tigers followed their performance in the 4x100 relay by winning the 4x200 relay with a team of freshman Robert Simmons, junior Armanti Hayes, Mvumvure and junior Tristan Walker. They carried passed the baton around the track in 1:23.55 to finish just ahead of TCU (1:23.66).
Not only did the LSU men win a pair of relay titles Saturday, but both of LSU’s 4x400 relays set qualifying times for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships on the meet’s final day.
The men’s foursome of Hayes, Jamar Howard, Jamaal James and freshman Ade Alleyne-Forte set an NCAA regional qualifying time of 3 minutes, 8.83 seconds to take third behind Baylor (3:04.93) and TCU (3:08.63). The Lady Tigers also finished third in the event as Cassandra Tate, Brittany Hall, LaTavia Thomas and Kayann Thompson qualified with a time of 3:36.06.
LSU also competed in such relay events as the 4x800-meter relay, the sprint medley relay and the distance medley relay over the course of two days of competition at the LSU Tiger Relays.
“A meet like this gives us a chance to run some of those relays that we normally do not get to run, so we always treat this as a bit of a dress rehearsal for meets like the Texas Relays next weekend and the Penn Relays later this spring,” Shaver said. “It’s important for us to really work on our exchanges and tinker with the order in a lot of the relay events. I’m pleased with our results.”
Sophomore Mark DeBlanc led the way for three individual NCAA regional qualifiers on the day by finishing in third place in the men’s javelin competition with a new personal best of 216 feet, 4 inches. Junior Reggie Haslom qualified in the triple jump with a mark of 49-5 ½, while freshman Rachel Laurent opened her outdoor season with a regional clearance of 12-7 ½ in the pole vault.
With the outdoor season now in full swing, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will return to action at the 82nd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays next weekend as they make their annual trip to Austin, Texas, for the three-day meet scheduled to run April 2-4 at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
LSU’s Qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships (as of March 28)
Name, Event, Mark/Time
Chris Bless, Hammer Throw, 189-4
Mark DeBlanc, Javelin, 216-4
Rabun Fox, Hammer Throw, 189-6
Reggie Haslom, Triple Jump, 49-5 ½
Jeremy Hicks, Long Jump, 26-1 ½
Michael Lauro, Hammer Throw, 200-9
Barrett Nugent, 110 hurdles, 14.13
Gabriel Mvumvure, 100 meters, 10.43w
Gabriel Mvumvure, 200 meters, 21.15
Zedric Thomas, Long Jump, 24-9 ¾
Hicks, Coppage, Mvumvure, Holliday; 4x100 Relay; 39.36
Hayes, Howard, James, Alleyne-Forte; 4x400 Relay; 3:08.83
Name, Event, Mark/Time
Brittani Carter, High Jump, 6-0
Samantha Henry, 100 meters, 11.37
Tenaya Jones, 100 hurdles, 13.69
Rachel Laurent, Pole Vault, 12-7 ½
Anna Lyons, Javelin, 157-3
Katelyn Rodrigue, Pole Vault, 13-1 ½
Cassandra Tate, 200 meters, 23.96
Kim Williams, Hammer Throw, 187-3
Kenyanna Wilson, 100 meters, 11.40
Davis, Tate, Henry, Wilson; 4x100 Relay; 43.84
Tate, Hall, Thomas, Thompson; 4x400 Relay; 3:36.06