Much will be written heading into the 2014 season about which Lady Tigers will step up to fill the void left behind by the departures of such program greats as Kimberlyn Duncan, Natoya Goule and Charlene Lipsey from last year’s squad. After all, Duncan swept NCAA titles in the 200 meters, Goule swept NCAA titles in the 800 meters and Lipsey added All-America honors in the 800 meters during both the indoor and outdoor seasons a year ago.
But the Lady Tigers return six All-Americans from a team that earned a third-place finish indoors and a fourth-place finish outdoors at the NCAA Championships, while welcoming one of the nation’s top recruiting classes as they look to reload for another championship run in 2014.
Ninth in a 10-part series previews a deep and talented stable of jumpers who look to lead the Lady Tigers during the 2014 season.
Women's Jumps & Multis
The Lady Tigers have built a strong tradition in the jumps featuring some of the nation’s premier performers at the collegiate level, and they will be led once again by one of the top triple jump tandems nationwide in 2014 with the return of seniors Keri Emanuel and Lynnika Pitts.
Each is sure to be among the team’s leading point scorers in the championship meets this season in the wake of a pair of All-American campaigns as juniors a year ago.
A native of North Charleston, S.C., Emanuel signed with the Lady Tigers in the Class of 2012 as the top jumper in the junior college ranks during her two-year career at South Plains College. She made an immediate impact for the Lady Tigers while earning All-SEC honors as the SEC Indoor silver medalist and All-America honors as the sixth-place finisher at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships with her performance in the triple jump.
Emanuel eclipsed the 44-foot mark for the first time in her career at the SEC Indoor meet when she jumped a lifetime best of 44 feet, 2 inches as the runner-up in her championship debut with the Lady Tigers. She became the No. 6-ranked triple jumper indoors in program history with that performance to highlight her junior season.
An NCAA Championship qualifier in both the long jump and triple jump outdoors a year ago, Emanuel also jumped a lifetime best of 20-5 ¾ in the long jump in her debut season with the Lady Tigers during the 2013 campaign.
Pitts joined her teammate in earning her first All-America honor during the indoor season a year ago as she followed Emanuel with a seventh-place finish nationally in the triple jump finals at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She jumped 43-3 ¼ on her very first jump of the event for a point-scoring performance for the Lady Tigers during their indoor finale.
A native of Prairieville, La., Pitts ended the 2013 campaign with a lifetime PR of 43-9 for a fifth-place finish at the SEC Indoor Championships last February. She also set an impressive PR of 5-10 in the high jump while competing in her secondary event during the outdoor season.
Shanice Hall also returns to the squad as one of the team’s top recruits from a year ago as she owns a personal best of 6-0 ¾ in the high jump. The Jamaican international made her debut in the high jump at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds as a freshman last spring to cap a successful rookie campaign. She looks to raise the bar on her performance as a sophomore in 2014.
The Lady Tigers are also a scoring threat in the multi-events as Therese Jernbeck makes a return as one of the SEC’s top performers in the pentathlon and heptathlon from last season.
A product of Stockholm, Sweden, Jernbeck returns for her sophomore season after taking home a sixth-place finish in the pentathlon in her debut at the SEC Indoor Championships with an indoor personal best of 3,864 points to rank No. 8 in school history in the event. She then finished in ninth place in the heptathlon at the SEC Outdoor Championships to highlight her rookie season after scoring 5,261 points for her seasonal best at the Texas Relays.
Jernbeck owns a personal-best score of 5,324 points in the heptathlon that was set in 2011 while competing for Sweden at the European Junior Athletics Championships.
Competing as a Lady Tiger for the first time this season is Wentzville, Mo., product Nataliyah Friar, who signed with the Lady Tigers in the Class of 2013 with personal bests of 19-4 ¾ in the long jump and 40-9 ¾ in the triple jump. Friar was a USA Track & Field Youth Outdoor champion and USATF Junior Olympics champion in the triple jump during her prep career.