BATON ROUGE – Seniors Charlene Lipsey and Laura Carleton opened their outdoor season by running two of the NCAA’s fastest times in a 1-2 finish in the 1,500 meters and 10 athletes set outdoor personal records in Friday’s opening day of competition at the LSU Relays being held this weekend at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
In the wake of her bronze-medal-winning third-place finish in the 800-meter final at the 2013 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships two weeks ago, Lipsey opened her outdoor campaign Friday night with a strong performance in defending her 1,500-meter championship at the LSU Relays.
Lipsey raced to an NCAA-leading effort of 4 minutes, 21.78 seconds to take the tape ahead of Carleton in second place and emerge as the nation’s fastest 1,500-meter runner early in the 2013 outdoor season. Carleton followed with the NCAA’s No. 4-ranked performance early in the season at 4:24.00 to take the runner-up position.
Lipsey won the LSU Relays title in the 1,500 meters for the first time in her career with a season-opening time of 4:20.91 as a junior a year ago.
The Hempstead, N.Y., native is fresh off of an indoor season in which she claimed her fourth career All-America honor in the 800 meters with a career-best third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She ran the second-fastest time indoors in program history at 2:02.47 in the national final to take home the NCAA Indoor bronze medal. Lipsey is poised to contend for her first NCAA Championship in the 800 meters this spring after taking home the NCAA Outdoor silver medal with a lifetime PR of 2:01.40 last season.
Carleton is also coming off a history-making indoor campaign of her own in 2013 as she became the first Lady Tiger in program history to be crowned the SEC Indoor Champion in the 5,000 meters.
Sophomore Philip Primeaux made it a clean sweep of 1,500-meter titles for LSU during Friday’s action as he smashed his personal record in the first heat with a winning run of 3:56.27, breaking his previous PR effort by more than three seconds as he ran 3:59.37 at the LSU Relays during his freshman season a year ago.
Fellow sophomores Barrett Miller and Philip Dempsey also ran personal bests in the 1,500 meters on Friday night as Miller followed Primeaux in third place at 3:58.38 and Dempsey trailed in 10th place at 4:02.27.
While her teammates were sweeping 1,500-meter titles on the track, junior All-America hopeful Denise Hinton set a personal best after stepping into the hammer circle for the first time in the 2013 outdoor season.
A two-time NCAA Indoor Championships qualifier in the 20-pound weight throw, Hinton wasted no time in cracking the Top 5 of the NCAA rankings this spring as she uncorked a throw of 195 feet, 11 inches on her very first toss of the outdoor season to claim the No. 5 ranking on the national list. She finished runner-up to the winning mark of 202-1 by Akron’s Brittany Funk also set during the first round of throws.
Not only did Hinton crack the Top 5 of the NCAA rankings with her season-opening performance, but she also moved up one spot into the No. 5 position on LSU’s all-time outdoor performance list in the hammer event while passing the career-best of 195-9 by former Lady Tiger All-SEC performer Kim Williams by just two inches.
Hinton entered Friday’s season opener with a personal best of 191-5 set during the Arizona State Tri-Meet on April 14 of her sophomore season in 2012.
Also leading the way in the field events during Friday’s opener at the LSU Relays were senior Lacey Sanchez and junior Brianne Bergeron as each set lifetime personal records with their pole vault performance.
Sanchez cleared consecutive heights of 12-10 and 13-1 ¾ on her first attempt as she opened her outdoor season with a second-place finish to the winning clearance of 13-5 ¾ by Arkansas State’s Stephanie Foreman. It strengthened her position as the No. 3-ranked pole vaulter outdoors in Lady Tiger history while eclipsing her previous lifetime best of 13-1 ½ set during the 2010 season.
Bergeron climbed into the No. 7 spot in the school rankings with a PR performance of her own after clearing a height of 11-8 on her third attempt en route to an 11th-place finish in the competition.
Juniors Leigh-Ann Naccari and Laura Aleman wrapped up Friday’s events for the Lady Tigers by running personal records in the final of the women’s 5,000 meters as Naccari eclipsed her previous best my more than six seconds with a run of 17:42.22 for fourth place and Aleman broke her previous best by five seconds with a run of 18:11.54 for seventh place.
Junior William Wiesler then ended the night with his first collegiate victory as he took the men’s 5,000-meter title in 15:07.86 while slashing nearly 40 seconds off of his previous outdoor PR in the event. Wiesler had run a career-best of 15:46.35 in the 5k outdoors entering Friday’s race as he took home his first title as an LSU Tiger.
Fellow junior Roger Cooke also ran a personal best in the men’s 5,000 meters as he took third place overall with a run of 15:25.26 in the final event of the evening.
Saturday’s championship finals at the LSU Relays are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT following a brief opening ceremony at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium. A morning session is also ready to start at 10 a.m. with the field events followed by the first events on the track at 11 a.m. Live results of the event can be found online at the official website of LSU athletics at www.LSUsports.net.