BATON ROUGE -- The LSU track and field teams put the finishing touches on their preparation for the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a Tuesday practice as the four-day meet kicks off Wednesday at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark.
The University of Arkansas will play host to this year’s NCAA Championships as the meet opens Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. CT. This year’s outdoor national champions and top-four team finishers will be crowned following the conclusion of Saturday’s competition.
LSU fans nationwide will have the opportunity to watch the squads in action as the CBS College Sports Network will air live coverage of the meet on Friday from 6-9 p.m.
CBS is also scheduled to broadcast live coverage of Saturday’s dramatic conclusion to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships from 12-2 p.m.
Fans can receive real-time updates from Fayetteville by following the LSU track and field program on Twitter. LSU’s Twitter profile can be accessed at www.LSUsports.net/twitter, which gives fans the opportunity to sign up to receive text-message length updates on their cell phone or from the Internet. Updates will be made by Associate Sports Information Director Will Stafford.
In order to become a follower of @LSUTrackField, fans must first create their very own Twitter account, which is free at www.twitter.com.
As is the case each season, the teams enter the meet ranked among the nation’s premier programs as the Lady Tigers are ranked No. 3 and the Tigers are ranked No. 5 in the final power ranking of 2009 released by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday.
“Both of our teams have come a long way from where we were at the start of the indoor season in January. They have worked very hard to put themselves in a position to compete for the team title this week at the NCAA Championships,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “It is going to be a very competitive meet on both sides and is sure to come down to the final day once again.
“We try to approach a meet like this that’s spread out over four days as a different meet each day. We want our athletes to stay focused and do what is necessary where we can line up on Saturday with a chance to win the team title on both the men’s and women’s sides.”
The Lady Tigers continued their dominance of collegiate track and field a season ago by winning their 14th NCAA Outdoor team championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
The LSU women earned a dramatic 67-63 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils for the team title in a race that came down to the final event of the meet. The Lady Tigers and Sun Devils were deadlocked at 59 points apiece heading into the 4x400-meter relay with the team crossing the line first winning the team title. LSU took second in the race with Arizona State finishing in fifth.
With the win, the Lady Tigers added their 25th NCAA team championship all-time including both the indoor and outdoor seasons, while it marked the 31st NCAA team championship in the storied history of the LSU track and field program as the men have added six NCAA team titles all-time.
And the Lady Tigers will have an opportunity to defend their NCAA Outdoor crown this week as they have a total of 17 scoring opportunities, which ranks second among all teams in the field.
Leading the way for the Lady Tigers will be the performance of their relay teams as they enter the meet ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in the 4x400 relay with a seasonal best effort of 3 minutes, 31.53 seconds and No. 2 in the NCAA in the 4x100 relay with a seasonal best time of 43.39 seconds.
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.
“That was a special group of young ladies with nine seniors leading us to a national championship a year ago. I’m very proud of how far our women’s team has come this year in filling those shoes and putting itself in a position to defend their crown,” Shaver said. “It is truly remarkable to think of where we were at the beginning of the indoor season and where we are today.”
The Tigers are also in position to earn a top-five finish at this year’s NCAA Championships while they enter the meet with three-straight NCAA runner-up performances since 2006.
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 on May 30.
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.
“I also like the progress that our men’s team has made this year,” Shaver said. “We surprised a lot of people by finishing fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and I think we can have a kind of meet where we can compete for one of those top spots again this weekend.”
Live results for the 2008 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships can be found online by logging on to www.flashresults.com.
LSU’s Qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Athlete, Event, Time/Mark
Will Coppage, Long Jump, 25-3 ¼
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
Kayann Thompson, 800 meters, 2:03.64
Kenyanna Wilson, 200 meters, 11.30
Cabral, Tate, Henry, Wilson; 4x100 Relay; 43.39
Tate, Hall, Thompson, Thomas; 4x400 Relay; 3:31.53