After opening the competition with back-to-back jumps of 25-1 ¾ and 25-2 ¾, Hicks soared to an impressive wind-legal mark of 25 feet, 4 inches on his third attempt of the preliminary round to take over second place heading into the final round of jumps.
Although Hicks could not overtake Alain Bailey of Arkansas (25-8 ¾) for the SEC long jump title, he earned All-SEC honors with a runner-up finish in the event for the second straight season.
The Houston native will head into the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in two weeks No. 2 in the NCAA this season with a top mark of 26-3. He is poised to wrap up his collegiate career as one of the most decorated jumpers in the history of the LSU program as he is also the reigning NCAA Indoor runner-up with his performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
While Hicks scored eight points for the Tigers with a runner-up finish in his specialty, junior Will Coppage added six points with a third-place finish in the long jump as he qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional for the first time this year with a wind-legal jump of 25-3 ¼.
Coppage, who entered the meet with a seasonal best of 23-8 ¼, moved from eight place into third on his fifth jump of the competition to secure a total of 14 points in the event for the Tigers.
“I felt pretty good today and I’m very proud of the way my team competed,” Hicks said. “There’s no doubt I wanted to win it, big second place is big because that’s eight points for my team. I was having a hard time getting set on the runway, even though I had a pretty good series. I’m glad we were able to pick up some much needed points in our event.
“I think we were motivated a lot by the way our javelin guys threw earlier. We wanted to take the momentum from that and score some more points in the long jump.”
Saturday was another banner day for the LSU throws group as redshirt freshman Anthony Martel led the way with an impressive All-SEC performance in the men’s javelin. While making his first ever appearance at the SEC Outdoor Championships, Martel set a new 12-foot personal best with a throw of 221-7 on his second attempt to score eight points for the Tigers as the SEC runner-up.
With his performance, Martel moved into the No. 8 spot on LSU’s all-time performance list in the javelin as he led a group of four LSU scorers in the event.
The Tigers racked up 15 points in the javelin competition as freshman Ryan Roubion scored four points with a fifth place finish and a new personal best throw of 210-10, while fellow freshman Aaron Moore (209-1) placed seventh and sophomore Mark DeBlanc (207-11) finished eighth.
LSU has certainly made its presence felt in the field events through two days of competition with a total of 46.5 points following Saturday’s action. The Tigers scored just 35 points in the field last season at the SEC Outdoor Championships as they will head into Sunday in third place.
“I’m very proud of the way our athletes have competed in both the jumps and the throws over the last two days to put themselves in the hunt,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “It’s important for us to do that if we hope to have a championship caliber team. Tomorrow is another track meet and we need to show that same competitive spirit if we hope to challenge for a team title.”
The Lady Tigers added six points to their team total thanks to a third-place finish in the long jump by sophomore Melissa Ogbourne, who sailed to a new wind-legal personal best of 20-4 ½ to earn her highest finish in SEC competition as a Lady Tiger.
The LSU women will enter Sunday’s competition in sixth place with 14 points, but have qualified a total of 20 entries into championship finals to be held on the last day of the meet.
The Lady Tigers added four additional qualifiers during Saturday’s preliminary action with junior Samantha Henry (11.36), sophomore Kenyanna Wilson (11.42) and junior Kristina Davis (11.65) each qualifying for the final of the 100-meter dash. Sophomore Tenaya Jones (13.68) is also set to run in the finals of the 100-meter hurdles after advancing through the preliminary round.
Senior Trindon Holliday led a group of five men that qualified for Sunday finals as he equaled the NCAA lead in the 100-meter dash with a qualifying time of 10.11 seconds in Saturday’s prelim.
Junior Armanti Hayes also shined for the Tigers on Saturday as he clocked a new personal best of 45.78 to qualify second for the 400-meter final, while he will be joined in the event by freshman Robert Simmons (46.88). Also qualifying for Sunday’s championship finals was freshman Barrett Nugent (14.09) in the 110 hurdles and sophomore Michael Florek (4:00.83) in the 1,500 meters.
Sunday’s championship action at the 2009 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships will kick off with the field events at 11 a.m. CT followed by the first events on the track at 4 p.m. The team champions will be crowned after the running of the 4x400-meter relays at 8 p.m.
2009 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Saturday at Percy Beard Track in Gainesville, Fla. (All race distances in meters)
1. Scott MacPherson, Arkansas, 8:44.08; 2. Luis Orta, Kentucky, 8:52.39; 3. Scott Novack, Auburn, 8:53.45; 4. Sean Blaney, Florida, 8:56.05; 5. Abraham Kutingala, Alabama, 8:58.82; 6. Elliott Rick, Arkansas, 9:08.53; 7. Michael Anderson, Florida, 9:12.07; 8. Daniel Simpkins, Mississippi State, 9:22.21.
1. Alain Bailey, Arkansas, 7-1 ½; 2. Ryan Fleck, Auburn, 7-0 ¼; 3. Kevin Dickson, Georgia, 6-10 ¾; T4. Brenard Wilson, Tennessee, 6-8 ¾; T4. Tyler Campbell, Alabama, 6-8 ¾; 6. Josh Tucker, Mississippi State, 6-8 ¾; 7. Brent Rosson, Arkansas, 6-8 ¾; T8. Allen Cassell, Mississippi State, 6-6 ¾; T8. Brian Knight, Ole Miss, 6-6 ¾.
1. Joseph Berry, Tennessee, 17-7 ¾; 2. Elliott Haynie, South Carolina, 17-5 ¾; 3. Eric Foran, Florida, 17-3 ¾; 4. Brad Holtz, Tennessee, 16-10 ¾; 5. Marvin Reitze, South Carolina, 16-10 ¾; 5. Adam Sarafian, Georgia, 16-10 ¾; T7. Josh Dominguez, LSU, 16-6 ¾; T7. Michael Ayers, Tennessee, 16-6 ¾.
1. Alain Bailey, Arkansas, 25-8 ¾; 2. Jeremy Hicks, LSU, 25-4; 3. Will Coppage, LSU, 25-3 ¼; 4. Mychael Stewart, Arkansas, 25-1 ¾; 5. Tarik Batchelor, Arkansas, 25-1 ¼; 6. Kevin Dickson, Georgia, 24-8 ½; 7. Christian Taylor, Florida, 24-8 ½; 8. Wale Odetunde, Florida, 4-4 ½.
1. Jason Cook, South Carolina, 63-4 ¾; 2. Rashaud Scott, Kentucky, 62-2 ¼; 3. Kemal Mesic, Florida, 61-9 ½; 4. Beau Burroughs, Florida, 58-4; 5. Derek McGuire, Ole Miss, 58-0 ¼; 6. Nick Panezich, Tennessee, 57-4 ¾; 7. Geno Atkins, Georgia, 56-11 ½; 8. Chase Madison, Kentucky, 56-8 ¾.
1. Chris Hill, Georgia, 261-4; 2. Anthony Martel, LSU, 221-7; 3. Erik Heymann, South Carolina, 220-1; 4. Ben Davies, Florida, 215-8; 5. Ryan Roubion, LSU, 210-10; 6. Colin Moleton, Ole Miss, 210-8; 7. Aaron Moore, LSU, 209-1; 8. Mark DeBlanc, LSU, 207-11.
TEAM SCORES (9 events scored)
1. Arkansas, 53; 2. Georiga, 52; 3. LSU, 46.5; 4. Florida, 41; 5. Tennessee, 35; 6. Auburn, 32; 7. South Carolina, 31; 8. Alabama, 18.5; 9. Kentucky, 18; 10. Mississippi State, 15.5; 11. Ole Miss, 8.5.
1. Genevieve LaCaze, Florida, 10:26.92; 2. Julie Northrup, Florida, 10:31.59; 3. Megan Jackson, Arkansas, 10:37.61; 4. Beatrice Biwott, South Carolina, 10:48.77; 5. Amber Riley, Auburn, 10:53.30; 6. Sara Vaughn, Alabama, 11:03.50; 7. Ilana McQuinn, Georgia, 11:13.86; 8. Cali George, Arkansas, 11:22.32.
1. Shara Proctor, Florida, 21-1 ½; 2. Wendy Copeland, Mississippi State, 20-5 ¾; 3. Melissa Ogbourne, LSU, 20-4 ½; 4. Danielle Sampley, Kentucky, 19-11 ¾; 5. Etienne Chaplin, Arkansas, 19-4 ¼; 6. Whitney Jones, Arkansas, 19-4; 7. Marrissa Harris, Mississippi State, 19-3 ½; 8. Rachel Jenkins, Ole Miss, 19-0 ½
1. Ashley Muffett, Kentucky, 182-0; 2. Annie Alexander, Tennessee, 180-5; 3. Emilee Strot, Kentucky, 166-2; 4. Josipa Jelicic, Georgia, 165-11; 5. Mary Angell, Kentucky, 157-6; 6. Keely Medeiros, Florida, 154-4; 7. Amiee Kodat, South Carolina, 154-3; 8. Christina Octavien, Alabama, 152-2.
TEAM SCORES (6 events scored)
1. Florida, 46; 2. Arkansas, 45; 3. Kentucky, 39; 4. Mississippi State, 22; T4. Alabama, 22; 6. LSU, 14; 7. Tennessee, 11; T8. Georgia, 9; T8. South Carolina, 9; T8. Auburn, 9; 11. Ole Miss, 8.