FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The night certainly belonged to Tiger senior Damar Forbes as he followed a personal-best performance in the 60-meter dash with the NCAA's third-best mark of the season to win the Tyson Invitational long jump crown to highlight Friday's action at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
After sprinting to a personal record of 6.73 seconds in the 60-meter semifinal, Forbes took flight in the long jump and soared to a new seasonal-best of 26 feet, ¾ inches on his very first attempt to lock up his second long jump title in as many weeks with the No. 3-ranked mark in the NCAA for the 2013 season.
Forbes was joined on the winner's podium by Lady Tiger junior Denise Hinton, who finished just one inch shy of her own school record mark with a winning 69-8 ¾ to capture her fourth weight throw title in five meets this season by a comfortable three feet on the afternoon.
And it was senior Takeia Pinckney turning in perhaps the breakthrough performance of the night for the Lady Tigers as she earned herself a third-place finish in the women's 60-meter dash championship while cracking the Top 5 of the NCAA rankings after sprinting to a seasonal-best time of 7.28 in the final round.
LSU Track & Field emerged from Friday's competition with 11 individual performance and two relays ranking among the NCAA's Top 10 for the 2013 season.
"It was a great finish to the day for both our teams, that's for sure," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "We saw some today who really positioned themselves well for a run in the postseason. This is the time of year where you really have to start showing that consistency week-to-week. There are some who are showing that, and even taking their performance to the next level.
"That's exactly what we've seen from both Damar and Denise throughout the season. It was great to see Takeia really step up her game tonight and show what she can do."
Forbes qualified for the semifinal round of the men's 60-meter dash with an opening run of 6.83. And while warming up for the start of the men's invitational long jump, he jogged over to the start line to run in the second of three semifinal heats. That's when he fired out of the blocks and sprinted through the finish line in 6.73 for a new personal best in taking 12th place overall. Forbes smashed his best of 6.77 entering the meet while finishing just outside of the 6.72 cutoff needed to crack the Top 10 of LSU's all-time performance list in the event.
Forbes set a personal best in the semifinals along with Tiger freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, who took 18th place overall with his top time of the season at 6.79.
Forbes then returned to the long jump runway and soared 26-0 ¾ from the board on his very first attempt, taking an early lead and never looking back in locking up his second long jump title in as many weeks. He even posted jumps of 25-9 ¾ on his second attempt, 25-11 on his fourth attempt and 26-0 on his sixth and final attempt for a strong series.
Forbes emerged from the competition as the No. 3-ranked long jumper in the NCAA with his performance on Friday night.
"I kind of underestimated what it would take for me to do those events at the same time," Forbes said after wrapping up the long jump title. "I think running fast will translate to better jumps for me. I'm confident about my speed now. That's one of the things that I've needed to improve to get to the next level.
"It was pretty exhausting today, but it shows what kind of condition I'm in to be able to jump 26 feet on a day like today. I'm really confident with what I can do this year."
After Forbes raced to a personal best in the men's semifinal, Pinckney lined up for the women's championship final in the 60-meter dash after clocking a seasonal-best of 7.32 in her semifinal heat.
Pinckney, who entered the meet with a best of 7.40 in 2013, was the first out of the blocks among the six finalists and held the lead midway through the race. Despite being overtaken by Central Florida's Octavious Freeman (7.20) and Oklahoma Baptist's Jura Levy (7.25) near the finish line, Pinckney scored the bronze medal with a run of 7.28 to emerge as an All-America threat in the event.
That performance moved Pinckney into the No. 5 position in the NCAA rankings this season as she looks to regain the All-America form she showed as a freshman in 2010. Pinckney earned her first career All-America honor as a rookie while taking seventh place in the national final and posting a personal best of 7.24 in her first season in the program.
"It was great to see Takeia run with confidence and have a breakthrough performance like that tonight," Shaver said. "She's battled some injuries during her career here, but she has really persevered to be where she is right now. We look for her to continue to improve and really help our team this season."
Hinton also continued her impressive form in taking home her fourth weight throw championship of the season.
After tying her own school record with a seasonal-best of 69-9 ¾ in a runner-up finish at the Armory Collegiate Invitational a week ago, Hinton returned to the top spot on the podium on the strength of a series in which she took the lead with a throw of 68-9 ¼ in the third round and improved to 69-3 ¼ and 69-8 ¾ on consecutive throws in the fourth and fifth rounds en route to the victory. She finished the competition three feet clear of the 66-8 ¾ by silver medalist Erin Atkinson of Baylor.
Hinton is poised for an All-America season as she currently ranks No. 6 nationally in the event with her seasonal-best of 69-9 ¾.
A trio of quartermilers raced to indoor personal bests to highlight Friday's afternoon session at the Randal Tyson Trace Center with junior Nikita Tracey, sophomore Montenae Roye-Speight and freshman Darrell Bush each improving upon their top collegiate times in the 400-meter dash.
Bush ran an indoor PR for the fourth-straight 400-meter race as he clocked 47.21 for second place in the third heat and fourth place overall in the men's college event. He trailed only seniors Kyle Clemons of Kansas (46.85) and Anton Kokorin of Arkansas (46.88) and freshman Brandon McBride of Mississippi State (47.02) in the final standings.
The Woodbury, N.J., native has been a welcomed addition to the Tiger sprint squad during his rookie season as he is currently the fifth-fastest freshman in the NCAA this season while lowering his best in the event with races of 47.66 at the Razorback Invitational, 47.37 in qualifying and 47.26 in the final at the Armory Collegiate Invitational and 47.21 in Friday's sections.
Roye-Speight and Tracey slashed nearly one full second off of their indoor PRs in the 400 meters while leading the Lady Tigers in the women's college event.
Roye-Speight cut more than eight tenths of second off of her previous indoor best of 55.58 as she took the eighth section with the eighth-fastest time of the day at 54.73. Tracey followed Roye-Speight in 10th place overall with a run of 54.90 for third place in the sixth section as she smashed her previous indoor PR of 55.80 by nine tenths of a second.
Other Lady Tigers turning in indoor personal-best performances on Friday afternoon were senior Charlene Lipsey with a run of 55.43 in the 400 meters, junior Laura Aleman with a time of 5 minutes, 16.41 seconds in the mile and redshirt freshman Andria Aguilar with a 2:14.41 clocking in the 800 meters.
The Tigers also featured four milers setting PRs on Friday, including sophomores Barrett Miller (4:14.73) and Philip Primeaux (4:16.78) and juniors Roger Cooke (4:23.05) and William Wiesler (4:26.08).
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will return to the Randal Tyson Track Center on Saturday for the finale for this year's Tyson Invitational as the action continues with the start of the field events at 11 a.m. CT and the first events on the track at 1 p.m. Flash Results will provide live results of Saturday's competition and can be found online at www.flashresults.com.