AUSTIN, Texas – After winning a single-season meet record of four relay titles a season ago, the Lady Tigers scored their first relay victory of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Thursday night by running away with the women’s 4x800-meter relay for their fourth win in the event in six seasons at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Tiger junior Thomas Reinecke also smashed his lifetime personal record to defend his Texas Relays crown in the B section of the men’s pole vault finals, while junior Karen Henning and sophomore Jeremy Tuttle added personal-best performances with fifth-place finishes in the hammer throw to lead the way in the field events during the second day of action at this year’s Texas Relays.
The Lady Tigers have dominated the 4x800-meter relay at the Texas Relays in recent years, and added to their trophy case with Thursday’s victory for their fourth win in the last six seasons.
Led by a split of 2 minutes, 5 seconds on the anchor leg by NCAA Indoor champion Natoya Goule, the Lady Tigers cruised to victory in 8:41.25 while finishing nearly five seconds ahead of the runner-up team from Illinois crossing the finish line in 8:46.08. Goule brought home the victory following strong legs by senior Laura Carleton (2:12), senior Charlene Lipsey (2:08) and sophomore Samantha Levin (2:16) in the race.
The Baylor Bears finished well back in third place at 8:46.77, followed by the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in fourth place at 8:58.42 and UCLA Bruins in fifth place at 8:59.53.
The Lady Tigers have featured one of the nation’s strongest 4x800-meter relay teams in recent years as they claimed their fourth victory at the Texas Relays in six seasons on Thursday night following titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011. They have now won five Texas Relays titles in the event all-time while capturing their inaugural victory in 1985.
While the Lady Tigers claimed LSU’s first event title at this year’s Texas Relays, Reinecke defended his crown in the B section of the men’s pole vault while eclipsing his lifetime best by nearly five inches.
Reinecke was strong throughout the event as he cleared the bar at 17 feet, 1 inch on his first attempt, 17-5 on his third attempt and 17-9 on his first attempt before fouling out of the meet with three misses at 18-1. He actually set his previous PR of 17-4 ½ in winning the B section at the Texas Relays during his sophomore season a year ago. With his career-best clearance of 17-9 on Friday, Reinecke is now tied as the No. 5-ranked pole vaulter outdoors in the program’s storied history.
Reinecke was one of three competitors clearing 17-9 in the pole vault, but took the crown based on the number of misses in the competition. He cleared 17-9 on his first attempt along with Texas A&M freshman Chase Wolfle, but earned the victory with only five misses during the competition to the six total misses by Wolfle.
It also proved to be a memorable day for two LSU hammer throwers as Henning and Tuttle each earned a fifth-place finish in their respective finals while setting matching personal records during the competition.
Henning wasted no time in smashing her career best with an opening mark of 201-0 on her first throw of the day as she locked up a fifth-place finish in the women’s university hammer throw. Henning moved up a spot into the No. 3 position on LSU’s all-time list while eclipsing her previous PR of 197-2. Winning the women’s hammer throw at 236-9 was professional Amanda Bingson of Nike, followed by UCLA’s Ida Storm (217-1) in second place, Baylor’s Erin Atkinson (211-5) in third place and Akron’s Brittany Funk (204-9) in fourth place overall.
Fellow junior Denise Hinton followed Henning in eighth place in the women’s final with a series-best throw of 187-3 on her sixth and final attempt of the competition.
Tuttle matched Henning’s effort with a PR of his own at 201-0 in the third round of throws en route to a fifth-place finish in the men’s university hammer throw. UCLA’s Alec Faldermeyer (228-10) took home the men’s crown, followed by Oregon’s Greg Skipper (216-5) in second place, Abilene Chirstian’s Baptiste Kerjean (213-8) in third place and Florida’s Kyle Strawn (204-7) in fourth place.
Tuttle cracked the LSU’s Top 10 list for the first time in his collegiate career as the No. 8-ranked hammer thrower in school history as he broke his previous PR by more than seven feet. He opened the season with a top mark of 193-6 at the Louisiana Classics back on March 16.
“What a great way for both of our teams to open up the meet today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “When you see so many personal bests being set this early in the season, it shows the competitive mindset of those athletes in making this trip and the potential they have to keep improving over the course of the outdoor season.
“We hope this is the start of another great weekend for our teams at the Texas Relays. It’s a great opportunity for us to show some improvement as a team here this weekend.”
Lady Tiger freshman Therese Jernbeck finished in eighth place in her first collegiate heptathlon as she ended Thursday’s action with 5,261 points in seven events over two days of competition at the Texas Relays.
After opening the day by scoring 603 points with a series-best jump of 16-11 ¼ in the long jump, Jernbeck threw a seasonal best of 119-6 for 599 points in the javelin before clocking her new lifetime personal record of 2:14.67 for the fastest time of the day and an additional 897 points in the first heat of the 800-meter run.
Jernbeck eclipsed her previous 800-meter PR of 2:15.98 set in her collegiate debut in the pentathlon at the Razorback Invitational during the indoor season. She actually set two lifetime bests in her first heptathlon as a Lady Tiger as she also cleared a career-best height of 5-7 ¾ in Wednesday’s high jump en route to a Day 1 score of 3,162 points.
A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Jernbeck was just 63 points shy of her personal-best score of 5,324 points set as a member of Team Sweden at the 2011 European Junior Athletics Championships.
Mississippi State sophomore and reigning NCAA Indoor pentathlon champion Erica Bougard took the heptathlon title at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays with a national-leading score of 5,649 points in her two days of competition. Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas followed in second place with 5,578 points, while Makeba Alcide of Arkansas trailed in third place with 5,576 points.
The Lady Tigers first took to the track in the qualifying round of the 400-meter hurdles as junior Nikita Tracey earned her spot in the final with a seasonal-best performance during Thursday’s preliminary action.
While running in the last of 11 qualifying heats, Tracey posted a seasonal-best time of 58.76 seconds to finish runner-up to Texas’ Danielle Dowie (58.22) in the race as the sixth-fastest qualifier of the day. She earned a spot in the championship final that is scheduled to run at 6:45 p.m. CT on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
The 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays continues Friday morning with the field events at 9:30 a.m. CT before the Tigers and Lady Tigers take to the track for the first relay prelims of the morning session at 9:35 a.m. LSU is set to start the afternoon session is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., followed by the evening session at 5:30 p.m. with the field events and 6 p.m. with the first relay finals on the track.