BATON ROUGE -- The NCAA Selection Committee released its list of athletes accepted to compete at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Tuesday, and LSU will be well-represented once again as the men and women have combined to qualify a total of 27 individuals and four relays into the meet.
The race to be crowned this year’s national champion will begin June 10 as the four-day event is set to run at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Both the Tigers and Lady Tigers are among the national leaders in total qualifiers for the NCAA Outdoor Championships once again this season as the women look to defend their national crown with 17 scoring opportunities, while the men enter the competition with 14 scoring opportunities.
This marks the third-largest contingent of LSU athletes that will be making the trip to the NCAA meet since the NCAA instituted the regional format in 2003. LSU sent 33 entries to the meet two years ago in 2007 before it sent 32 entries a year ago.
The Lady Tigers were crowned national champions in 2008 while capturing the 31st NCAA team championship in program history, while the Tigers earned a runner-up finish in the team race.
“There are a number of teams that will be competing in this meet and have a legitimate chance to come away with a national championship,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “One thing that will give us a chance to compete is the number of scoring chances that we have. While that won’t guarantee us any points, our athletes can’t score if they’re not at the meet.
“We’re very pleased with the progress that both teams have made over the course of the spring to get to this point. This is a great reward for all of their hard work in preparing for this meet.”
The squads have the opportunity to score big points across all event areas as seven athletes and three relay teams enter the meet ranked among the top five performers in the NCAA this spring in their respective events, including two that currently sit atop the NCAA performance list.
As he has done all season long, senior Trindon Holliday will lead the Tigers’ effort as he lines up in the 100-meter dash for the final time at the NCAA Championships. Holliday ranks No. 1 in the country with a seasonal-best and personal-best time of 10.01 seconds as he seeks his first national championship in the event in his brilliant career at LSU.
Holliday has earned All-America honors in the event in each of the last two seasons with a runner up finish in 2007 followed by a third-place finish in the NCAA final a year ago.
The Tigers also look to score big points in the hammer throw as sophomore Walter Henning kicks off the meet ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with a seasonal-best throw of 235 feet, 11 inches. In fact, Henning is a true national title contender after knocking off the nation’s No. 1 hammer thrower in Missouri’s Chris Rohr to win the NCAA Mideast Regional title this past weekend.
In addition, senior Jeremy Hicks is ranked No. 3 nationally in the long jump, while junior Richard Jones (800 meters) and the Tigers’ 4x100-meter relay team are each ranked No. 4 in the NCAA in their respective events. LSU’s sprint relay team enters the meet as the reigning NCAA champion.
If the Lady Tigers are to successfully defend their national crown, they will do so on the strength of their powerful relay teams as they are ranked No. 1 in the 4x400-meter relay with a top time of 3 minutes, 31.53 seconds and No. 2 in the 4x100-meter relay with a top time of 43.39.
Not only that, but junior Samantha Henry has the opportunity to score in two individual events as she ranks No. 3 in the NCAA in the 200 meters and No. 8 in the NCAA in the 100 meters.
The Lady Tigers are also strong once again in the middle distance as they have qualified a NCAA best three competitors into the 800-meter field. Three-time 800-meter All-American LaTavia Thomas, who scored eight big points with a runner-up finish in the event a year ago at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, leads the way once again with the nation’s fourth-best time at 2:02.77.
LSU’s Qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Athlete, Event, Time/Mark
Rabun Fox, Hammer Throw, 205-4
Armanti Hayes, 400 meters, 45.67
Walter Henning, Hammer Throw, 235-11
Jeremy Hicks, Long Jump, 26-3
Trindon Holliday, 100 meters, 10.01
Jamaal James, 800 meters, 1:48.86
Richard Jones, 800 meters, 1:47.70
Patrick Lee, 400 hurdles, 50.90
Aaron Moore, Javelin, 220-3
Gabriel Mvumvure, 200 meters, 20.72
Barrett Nugent, 110 hurdles, 13.66
Robert Simmons, 400 meters, 46.01
Hayes, Coppage, Mvumvure, Holliday; 4x100 Relay; 38.86
Simmons, Alleyne-Forte, Howard, Hayes; 4x400 Relay; 3:04.75
Athlete, Event, Time/Mark
Monique Cabral, 100 meters, 11.45
Brittani Carter, High Jump, 6-0
Kristina Davis, 100 meters, 11.56
Brittany Hall, 800 meters, 2:03.68
Samantha Henry, 100 meters, 11.19
Samantha Henry, 200 meters, 22.80
Tenaya Jones, 100 hurdles, 13.28
Rachel Laurent, Pole Vault, 14-1 ¼
Anna Lyons, Javelin, 168-11
Melissa Ogbourne, Triple Jump, 43-2 ¼
Katelyn Rodrigue, Pole Vault, 13-6 ¼
Cassandra Tate, 200 meters, 23.68
LaTavia Thomas, 800 meters, 2:02.77 #4
Kayann Thompson, 800 meters, 2:03.64
Kenyanna Wilson, 100 meters, 11.30
Cabral, Tate, Henry, Wilson; 4x100 Relay; 43.39
Tate, Hall, Thompson, Thomas; 4x400 Relay; 3:31.53