Past, Present Track & Field Athletes Head to USA Outdoors
EUGENE, Ore. -- Historic Hayward Field will play host to the 2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend as the nation’s premier athletes converge on “Track Town, USA” to earn the right to represent their country at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics to be held in Berlin, Germany, later this summer.
The meet is scheduled to get underway Thursday at the University of Oregon as competition will last four days before coming to a conclusion on Sunday afternoon.
This year’s USA Outdoor Championships will be broadcast to a national television audience from 7-9 p.m. CT on Friday and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturday as part of ESPN’s coverage of the meet, while NBC is slated to carry the action on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.
Athletes will earn the right to represent the United States at the IAAF World Championships with a top-three finish in their respective events, provided that each has achieved the applicable IAAF “A” qualifying standard for that event and meets all other qualifications.
The LSU track and field program will be well-represented this weekend in Eugene as a total of 12 current and former athletes scheduled to compete in the meet.
Among those are four athletes who earned NCAA All-America honors during the 2009 campaign, including senior Trindon Holliday (100 meters), senior Jeremy Hicks (long jump), junior LaTavia Thomas (800 meters) and sophomore Walter Henning (hammer throw).
Holliday is the reigning NCAA champion in the 100-meter dash after winning his first individual national title June 12 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., with the fifth-fastest time in the world this season at 10.00 seconds. Not only that, but Holliday anchored LSU’s 4x100-meter relay team to a runner-up finish at the NCAA meet that same day.
This marks the second time that Holliday will compete at the USA Championships as he finished runner up to Tyson Gay in the 100-meter dash to qualify for the World Championships in 2007.
Hicks earned a pair of All-America honors for the Tigers this season after finishing as the NCAA runner-up in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships back in March before taking fifth place in the event NCAA Outdoor Championships nearly two weeks ago. Hicks enters the meet at 26 feet, 3 inches as his seasonal-best mark in the event this season.
Henning also took NCAA Outdoor runner-up honors in the hammer throw this season as he opens the USA Championships with a seasonal-best of 235-11, while Thomas was also an All-American during the outdoor season with a third-place finish in the NCAA final of the 800 meters.
Former Lady Tigers Lolo Jones and Muna Lee headline the list of former LSU athletes scheduled to compete this weekend after representing the United States at the Olympic Games last summer.
Jones is the world’s premier sprint hurdler after finishing the 2008 season with the world’s fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles at 12.43 and winning the event title at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. Lee was also an Olympic Trials champion in the 100-meter dash a year ago as she will run both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the USA Championships this weekend.
Joining Lee in both sprint races will be former Lady Tiger teammate and All-American Stephanie Durst, who also competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene last summer.
Among the former Tigers slated to compete at this year’s USA Outdoor Championships are greats Xavier Carter (200 meters, 400 meters), Walter Davis (triple jump), Jeffrey Fisher (800 meters), Ryan Fontenot (110 hurdles) and Kelly Willie (200 meters).
Willie is the lone Olympic medalist of the group after winning gold in the 4x400-meter relay back in 2004 at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Davis is a former IAAF World Champion in the triple jump after winning the title in 2005, while he also won the bronze medal in the last meet in 2007. Davis also represented the United States in the event at the Olympic Games in 2004.
Carter made his mark at LSU by becoming only the second athlete in NCAA history to capture an impressive four NCAA titles in a since NCAA Championships with wins in the 100 meters, 400 meters, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay in 2006.
The 2009 IAAF World Championships in Athletics will be held in Berlin, Germany, beginning on Aug. 15 with the meet running through Aug. 23 at Olympic Stadium.