2014 Track & Field Preview: Men's Distance
The Tigers featured a balanced attack while earning yet another top-10 team finish with seventh place overall at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to finish off the 2013 season. Leading the way were nine All-Americans scoring in events ranging from the sprints and relays to the jumps and throws as the Tigers again established their position as one of the premier teams in all of collegiate track and field.
They will follow that formula for success again in 2014 as they return seven of their nine All-Americans from last year while welcoming one of the nation’s top recruiting classes to Baton Rouge to help fuel a national championship run this season. Led by the likes of Aaron Ernest, Rodney Brown and their powerful relay teams as NCAA event contenders, the pieces are in place for the Tigers to contend for their first national championship in 10 years.
Third in a 10-part series previews the men’s middle distance and distance runners during the 2014 season.
Men's Middle Distance & Distance
The Tigers have built a strong tradition in the middle distance events over the years, and they will compete during the 2013 season with a pair of 800-meter runners who will look to make their mark on the program in senior Julian Parker and freshman Blair Henderson.
Parker proved to be one of the SEC’s top performers in his first season with the Tigers a year ago after running a seasonal best of 1 minute, 50.98 seconds in his first 800-meter race in an LSU uniform at the LSU Relays early in the 2013 outdoor season. He owns a lifetime best time of 1:50.32 that he set during the 2012 season as a freshman at South Plains College.
The Tigers are also excited to welcome one of the nation’s top 800-meter recruits from a year ago as Henderson joins the program following a brilliant prep career at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, La. Henderson set PRs of 1:52.22 indoors and 1:50.47 outdoors and was the No. 8-ranked high school performer nationally during the 2013 outdoor season.
Henderson captured back-to-back Louisiana Class 4A state championships during the outdoor season in the 800 meters, including a state-meet-record run of 1:51.16 as a junior in 2012 where he emerged as one of the nation’s top young talents at St. Louis Catholic High School.
Headlining LSU’s distance crew is junior standout Philip Primeaux, who is a returning point scorer at the SEC Outdoor Championships after advancing to his first career conference final in the 1,500-meter run a year ago. The Baton Rouge native raced to a PR of 3:52.87 with his performance in the qualifying round at the SEC Championships before taking eighth place overall in the final and scoring one point for the Tigers at the conference meet.
A 1,500-meter specialist outdoors, Primeaux is also one of the team’s leading performers in the mile and 3,000 meters during the indoor season during the 2014 season.