2013 Track & Field Season Preview: Men's Hurdles
The Tigers featured a balanced attack while finishing just two points shy of a national championship at the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships as they scored 48 points for a runner-up finish in the team race in an exciting conclusion to the college season a year ago. Leading the way were 12 All-Americans scoring in events ranging from the sprints, hurdles and relays, to the jumps and throws as the Tigers again proved themselves among the best teams in all of collegiate track and field.
They will look to follow that formula for success in 2013 as they again feature one of the more balanced rosters in the country featuring All-America candidates across each of the event areas. With three-time NCAA long jump silver medalist Damar Forbes leading the way and emerging sprint star Aaron Ernest contending for NCAA titles on the track, the team boasts a host of returning firepower and an infusion of talent with one of the nation's top recruiting classes that is sure to lead LSU the pinnacle of collegiate track and field again this spring.
Second in a 10-part series previews a youthful group of men's hurdlers competing during the 2013 season.
The 2012 season witnessed the end of an era for the LSU Track & Field program as Barrett Nugent hung up his spikes as the most decorated sprint hurdler to ever wear the purple and gold. In four seasons with the Tigers, Nugent captured a pair of NCAA event titles, as well as four SEC titles and 10 All-America honors as one of the true greats in team history.
And Nugent went out with a record-breaking senior season a year ago when he shattered both of his own school records in the 60-meter hurdles indoors and 110-meter hurdles outdoors as an All-American in each event.
Nugent won the NCAA Indoor bronze medal with a school-record run of 7.55 in the national final before finishing in fourth place nationally in his final hurdle race for the Tigers at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2012. He then followed the collegiate season by winning the silver medal in the 110 hurdles for the United States when he again broke his own school record with an effort of 13.32 at the North American, Central American & Caribbean Under-23 Championships held in Mayaguez, Mexico.
The 2011 NCAA champion in the 110 hurdles, Nugent also made history in defending his conference title in the event at the SEC Outdoor Championships held at LSU's Bernie Moore Track Stadium a year ago. Nugent dominated the SEC final with a run of 13.40 to claim his third-straight SEC Outdoor title in the event, becoming the first LSU Tiger in team history to earn three SEC Outdoor gold medals in the sprint hurdles in a career.
While it is impossible to fill the shoes left behind by Nugent's departure, the Tigers welcome two of the nation's premier prep hurdlers into the program this spring as Rashad Hulbert (Crete, Ill.) and Joshua Lamers (Shreveport, La.) helped form a heralded Class of 2012.
Hulbert is a talented dual hurdler who joined the program with personal bests of 13.99 in the 110 hurdles and 36.91 seconds in the 300 hurdles set during his senior season at Crete-Monee High School. He ranked No. 10 nationally among prep performers in the 300 hurdles as a high school senior a season ago. Hulbert also set a PR of 54.01 in the 400 hurdles during his prep career.
Lamers signed with the Tigers during a record-setting senior season at Calvary Baptist Academy as one of the elite sprint hurdlers in the United States. Lamers actually broke Nugent's Louisiana Division II Indoor state meet record with a personal best of 7.30 to take the 55-meter hurdles at the Division II state championships in 2012. He also broke the Class 2A state meet record in the 110 hurdles outdoors with his prep best of 13.86 to rank No. 8 nationally in the event.
Check back Friday as Part 3 of LSU Track & Field's 2013 season preview will feature the men's middle distance and distance runners.