GREENSBORO, N.C. – Three members of LSU’s talented 2013 recruiting class won medals at the recent USA Track & Field Junior Olympic National Championships as Lady Tiger recruits Bryiana Richardson and Rebekah Wales each scored silver medals and Nataliyah Friar won a bronze medal in the event held at North Carolina A&T University.
Richardson cracked the Top 10 of the national rankings while setting a personal record of 59.64 seconds in a silver-medal-winning performance in the girl’s 400-meter hurdles, while Wales claimed the silver medal in the girl’s javelin and Friar took home the bronze medal in the girl’s long jump while competing at the 17-18 age group.
A New Orleans native, Richardson emerged as one of the nation’s top prep prospects in the intermediate hurdles with her performance during her senior season at Helen Cox High School.
Richardson broke the one-minute mark in the 400-meter hurdles for the first time in her prep career in the national final on Sunday when she crossed the finish line in 59.64 to claim the silver medal behind the winning run of 58.91 by gold medalist Shaelyn Grant of St. Louis, Mo. She eclipsed her previous best of 1 minute, 0.07 seconds set in the summer following her junior season in 2012.
After running 1:01.12 in the first round and 1:00.09 in the semifinals, Richardson clocked 59.64 for the No. 9-ranked time at the prep level and the nation’s No. 5-ranked time by a member of the Class of 2013.
Joining Richardson in the final of the 400-meter hurdles was fellow Lady Tiger recruit and Donaldsonville native Ka’Lynn Jupiter, who trailed in sixth place with a time of 1:01.30 after running a personal best of 1:00.97 as a semifinalist. Jupiter also broke her PR in the 100-meter hurdles in back-to-back races at this year’s USATF Junior Olympic National Championships after opening with a time of 14.22 (+0.9) in the first round and running a wind-legal 14.07 (-0.9) in the semifinals before taking seventh place overall in the final with another wind-legal run of 14.11 (+0.5).
Wales captured the USATF Junior Olympics silver medal in the 17-18 age group of the girl’s javelin for the second-straight season after throwing a series-best of 142 feet, 4 inches on her third throw of the event. Wales also posted marks of 141-7 in the second round and 141-5 in the fourth round to finish runner-up to the winning mark of 152-11 by gold medalist Megan Glasmann in Saturday’s final.
A product of West Monroe High School in West Monroe, La., Wales is the nation’s No. 5-ranked javelin thrower at the prep level with a personal best of 158-3 set as a senior with the Rebels during the 2013 season.
After being crowned the girl’s triple jump champion with a seasonal-best leap of 40-4 the USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships held in St. Louis nearly one month ago, Friar added a bronze medal in the long jump at the USATF Junior Olympics on Thursday with her series best of 18-6 (-0.4). Friar followed gold medalist Lisa-Anne Barrow (18-9) and silver medalist Tierra Williams (18-9) for the bronze medal.
Friar followed with an appearance in the triple jump final on Friday while jumping a series-best of 39-0 ½ (-0.3) for eighth place overall in the 17-18 age group.
Another future Lady Tiger also competed at this year’s USATF Junior Olympics National Championships as Rowlett, Texas, native Travia Jones wrapped up the meet with an eighth-place finish in the 400-meter final that was run as part of Sunday’s finale. After breaking 55 seconds with a run of 54.93 in Saturday’s semifinal round, Jones crossed the finish line in 55.60 for eighth place in Sunday’s championship final.
Jones enjoyed a strong senior season at Rowlett High School highlighted by winning the Texas Class 5A bronze medal in the 400 meters before kicking off her summer schedule with a lifetime PR of 54.40 in a third place at the Star Athletics Sprint Series meet held in Montverde, Fla., back on June 8.