BATON ROUGE – The LSU Track & Field teams are ready to make their first of two trips to Albuquerque, N.M., this season when they step inside the Albuquerque Convention Center on Saturday to compete against many of the nation’s top teams as part of the New Mexico Team Invitational in their second-straight scored competition of the 2014 indoor season.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers continue their indoor campaign this weekend after taking home a pair of runner-up team finishes at the Texas A&M Triangular meet held in College Station last weekend.
LSU will square off against the likes of Air Force, Arizona State, Nebraska, New Mexico, Notre Dame, TCU, UCLA and Utah State in an elite scored meet as one of the highlights of the NCAA calendar this weekend. They will battle for the team title on both the men’s and women’s sides as the meet features a standard 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring format.
Joining LSU in the event are three other nationally-ranked teams as Arizona State is ranked No. 11 on the men’s side and No. 22 on the women’s side and the Nebraska men are ranked No. 9 nationally in the latest Top 25 power ranking released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association earlier this week.
Fans can watch the Tigers and Lady Tigers in action as New Mexico will provide live streaming video of the meet at http://golobos.com/video. Live results will also be available at http://liverunningresults.com/.
Fans can also receive live updates of those Tigers and Lady Tigers competing at the New Mexico Team Invitational this weekend by following @LSUTrackField on Twitter and liking LSU Track & Field on Facebook.
Not only will facing such a strong field pose a great challenge in itself, but LSU’s athletes face the additional challenge of competing at the New Mexico Team Invitational after only having two days of real training during the week. LSU’s campus was closed Tuesday and Wednesday and the Bernie Moore Track Stadium was covered in ice with a winter storm rolling through Baton Rouge this week.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers have also not been able to utilize the Carl Maddox Field House in training to this point of the season as the facility has not been cleared for use in their training due to ongoing renovations.
The teams are still looking forward to the opportunity of competing at the site of the 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships as the Albuquerque Convention Center will play host to the championship on March 14-15 to wrap up the indoor season. This season marks the first time that New Mexico will play host to the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“It’s certainly been a challenging week for all of our athletes, that’s for sure,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver while looking ahead to Saturday’s competition. “We’re approaching this meet as another opportunity to improve as a team. It’s not going to be so much about the times and marks we see, but how we compete and if we’re able to do the things we need to do to get just a little bit better.
“It’s an outstanding field that will be making the trip to New Mexico with us, so we’ll have the chance to really test ourselves against many of the athletes we’ll see here again at the NCAA Championships.”
Highlighting the competition for LSU Track & Field are four athletes who already rank among the nation’s Top 10 performers in their respective events in the early stages of the 2014 indoor season.
Senior Jasmin Stowers has taken the event title in the women’s 60-meter hurdles in each of her first two appearances of the season after opening with a seasonal best of 8.16 seconds at the Auburn Indoor Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., before following with an impressive 8.18 at the Texas A&M Triangular in College Station last weekend. Stowers is the NCAA’s No. 6-ranked 60-meter hurdler with her top time of 8.16 in 2014.
Stowers is joined in the Top 10 of the national rankings on the women’s side by fellow senior Denise Hinton, who unleashed a seasonal-best throw of 67 feet, 9 ½ inches in a runner-up finish at Texas A&M last week to rank No. 8 nationally in the women’s weight throw through just two meets of this indoor season.
Two Tigers opened up as NCAA Top 10 performers in the men’s 200-meter dash in their 2014 debut at Texas A&M last weekend as sophomore Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and freshman Tremayne Acy each raced to new indoor personal bests in the event. Mitchell-Blake opened at 20.98 to rank No. 8 and Acy opened at 21.03 to tie for No. 10 on the national list following their 200-meter debuts.
LSU’s athletes will feature in all but four events during Saturday’s action as they will only sit out the men’s high jump, women’s pole vault and both the men’s and women’s 3,000 meters.
After competing at the New Mexico Team Invitational on Saturday, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will head back to College Station, Texas, next weekend for the two-day Aggie Invitational running on Feb. 7-8 at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. It will be LSU’s second of three trips to College Station this season as Texas A&M will also play host to the 2014 SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships from Feb. 27-March 1.