SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Jeremy Hicks put the Tigers on the scoreboard Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships by earning his first career All-America honor with a seventh-place finish in the long jump at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.
Hicks, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, hit a jump of 24 feet, 3 inches into a stiff headwind on his third jump of the preliminary round, and that was good enough to carry him to a seventh-place finish and score two points for the Tigers in the team race.
“I didn’t come into the final feeling my best because my knee wasn’t feeling good after the prelim,” Hicks said. “It was sprained a little bit, but I fought through it and competed hard. I’m proud of myself for being an All-American, and I want to come back and finish higher next year.”
LSU head coach Dennis Shaver said that Hicks’ performance on Thursday could go a long way in determining whether the Tigers have a shot to win the team title when they line up on Saturday.
“Jeremy’s two points could be huge for the men in the long run,” Shaver said. “He wasn’t projected to score coming into the meet, and he stepped up big for the team tonight. We’ll know a lot more where we stand when Trindon (Holliday) and Richard (Thompson) line up in the 100 final tomorrow night.”
Senior Sherry Fletcher and freshman Samantha Henry also lined up in Thursday’s semifinal of the 200-meter dash knowing that they needed to qualify for Saturday’s final after the Lady Tigers suffered a bit of misfortune earlier in the afternoon.
Henry clocked back-to-back 200-meter times under 23 seconds as she crossed the finish line in 22.85 seconds in the first round of qualifying followed by a time of 22.92 to finish fourth in her semifinal heat and qualify automatically for the event final.
Fletcher was equally as impressive on the afternoon as she led off with a 22.97 in the first round of qualifying, while she finished third in her semifinal heat with a time of 23.01.
Fletcher and Henry have given the Lady Tigers two additional chances to score after freshman LaTavia Thomas was unable to advance from the semifinals of the 800-meter run earlier in the afternoon after finishing the meet in 11th place.
Thomas – the reigning SEC indoor and outdoor champion in the 800 meters – entered the meet with the seventh-fastest time in the country in her specialty, while neither of LSU’s participants in the 200 meters was projected to score at the NCAA meet.
“I think with LaTavia not making it, we knew that we had to pull together and pick up the pieces,” Fletcher said. “It was important for us to step up and keep on going. We did that. I just wanted to qualify and finish in the top four. My race was alright. I’m happy to finish third in my heat and to have a chance to score for my team.”
Henry agreed that it was important for both she and Fletcher to advance to the final of the 200 in order to give the Lady Tigers an opportunity to score valuable points in an event where they were not projected to add to their total coming into the meet.
“It’s important for others to make up for it when one of us falls down,” Henry said. “I was just trying to make sure I got into the final. It was great for me because I’m an underdog. Some didn’t think I would make it, and I had to rise to the occasion. I did that today.”
LSU also advanced both of its 1,600-meter relay teams into Saturday’s final round as the Tigers and Lady Tigers qualified automatically by winning their respective heats.
The men’s squad of senior Marvin Stevenson, senior Melville Rogers, junior Reggie Dardar and freshman Armanti Hayes automatically qualified with a time of 3 minutes, 3.65 seconds, while the women’s foursome of junior Brooklynn Morris, senior Cynetheia Rooks, Thomas and junior Deonna Lawrence crossed the finish line in 3:30.13.
In addition to those who advanced to the final round of competition, senior Isa Phillips and sophomore Nickiesha Wilson qualified automatically for Friday’s semifinal round of the 400-meter hurdles. Phillips qualified fifth with a 51.01, while Wilson advanced ninth at 57.85.
“The meet is half over, and we’ve got several events where we’ve put people in scoring position in the final on the track,” Shaver said. “It’s important for us to also try to scratch out some points in the field events on both sides. We’ll have a better idea of where we stand tomorrow night.”
Friday’s action starts in the field with the final of the women’s hammer throw at 1 p.m. CDT. Junior Andrea Linton will kick things off for LSU as she is set to compete in the qualifying round of the women’s triple jump at 5:15 p.m., while the Tigers and Lady Tigers get underway on the track in the finals of the 4x100-meter relays beginning at 6:30 p.m.
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Results
Thursday at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif. (All race distances in meters)
1. Shadrack Songok, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 28:55.83; 2. Galen Rupp, Oregon, 28:56.19; 3. Josh McDougal, Liberty, 28:58.28; 4. Sean Quigley, La Salle, 28:59.29; 5. Tim Nelson, Wisconsin, 29:00.75; 6. Stephen Samoei, UTEP, 29:08.30; 7. Jeremy Johnson, New Mexico, 29:09.01; 8. Josh Rohatinsky, BYU, 29:12.64.
1. Dashalle Andrews, Northridge, 25-2 ½; 2. Tone Belt, Louisville, 25-2 ½; 3. Norris Frederick, Washington, 25-0 ½; 4. Eric Babb, Kansas, 24-10 ½; 5. Barrett Saunders, Kansas, 24-7; 6. Juan Walker, Middle Tennessee State, 24-3; 7. Jeremy Hicks, LSU, 24-3; 8. Dermillo Wise, Oklahoma, 24-2 ½.
1. Jake Arnold, Arizona, 8,215; 2. Joe Detmer, Wisconsin, 7,963; 3. Jangy Addy, Tennessee, 7,808; 4. Neil Hines, Iowa State, 7,664; 5. Raven Cepeda, Northern Iowa, 7,648; 6. Chris Helwick, Tennessee, 7,633; 7. Brandon Hoskins, Liberty, 7,561; 8. Chris Caine, Kent State, 7,394.
TEAM STANDINGS (3 events scored)
1. Wisonsin, 12; t2. Cal State-Northridge, 10; t2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 10; t2. Arizona, 10; t5. Tennessee, 9; t5. Kansas, 9; t7. Oregon, 8; t7. Louisville, 8; t7. Liberty, 8; 10. Washington, 6; t16. LSU, 2.
1. Sally Kipyego, Texas Tech, 32:55.71; 2. Melissa Grelli, Georgetown, 33:01.56; 3. Aine Hoban, Providence, 33:04.32; 4. Amy Hastings, Arizona State, 33:08.27; 5. Stephanie Rothstein, UC-Santa Barbara, 33:23.33; 6. Whitney McDonald, BYU, 33:26.33; 7. Diane Kukuri, Iowa, 33:30.29; 8. Jill Steffens, Georgia, 33:43.56.
1. Rhonda Watkins, UCLA, 22-10; 2. Brittney Reese, Ole Miss, 22-0 ¼; 3. Erica McLain, Stanford, 21-5 ¼; 4. Tisifenee Taylor, Monmouth, 21-5 ¼; 5. Funmi Jimoh, Rice, 21-1 ¼; 6. Janay DeLoach, Colorado State, 21-0 ¾; 7. Amy Seward, Miami, 21-0 ½; 8. Jeomi Maduka, Cornell, 20-6 ½.
TEAM STANDINGS (2 events scored)
t1. Texas Tech, 10; t1. UCLA, 10; t3. Georgetown, 8; t3. Ole Miss, 8; t5. Stanford, 6; t5. Providence, 6; t7. Arizona State, 5; t7. Monmouth, 5; t9. Rice, 4; t9. UC-Santa Barbara, 4.