Track & Field Turns Up Heat at Purple Tiger
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Track & Field teams turned up the heat inside the Carl Maddox Field House as Aleia Hobbs and Jaron Flournoy swept 60-meter titles and Tonea Marshall and Damion Thomas each won the 60-meter hurdles with some of the NCAA’s top times Friday afternoon at the Purple Tiger Invitational.
Marshall, a sophomore from Arlington, Texas, turned in her fastest time as a Lady Tiger in winning the women’s 60 hurdles as she edged senior teammate Mikiah Brisco at the finish line for the win with a blistering 8.14 seconds. Brisco scored the silver medal in 8.24 after opening her season with the top time in qualifying at 8.20 earlier in the day.
Marshall is well ahead of her season-opening time of 8.29 to win the hurdles in her collegiate debut at the Purple Tiger Invitational a year ago. She arrived at LSU last season as the high school national-record holder for the 60-meter hurdles with a personal best of 8.02 run during her senior season at Arlington’s Juan Seguin High School.
The Lady Tigers swept the top five spots in the women’s hurdle final as sophomore Brittley Humphrey rounded out the medalists in third place at 8.33, while freshman Milan Young followed her teammates in fourth in the final with a personal best of 8.34 and freshman Jurnee Woodward finished fifth in 8.39.
Freshman Damion Thomas carried that momentum into the men’s 60-meter hurdles as he emerged victorious as one of the fastest hurdlers in the history of the Tiger program with a winning time of 7.84.
Arguably the nation’s No. 1 hurdle recruit in the Class of 2017 from Northeast High School in Sunrise, Florida, Thomas wasted no time in making his presence felt in his collegiate debut as he cracked LSU’s all-time top 10 performance list as the No. 8 hurdler in school history with his title-clinching 7.84 in the men’s final. He beat Tramaine Maloney (8.00) for the win, while LSU junior Arthur Price followed back in fourth place at 8.27.
Hobbs stepped into the starting blocks in Friday’s prelims as the reigning SEC Indoor Champion and NCAA semifinalist in the 60-meter dash from a season ago when she set her personal best of 7.18 in the event. She came close to that mark in her very first race of 2018 as she qualified first with a season-opening run of 7.24 to win the second preliminary heat.
Hobbs was later first to the finish line in the final as she posted a winning time of 7.27 on the day while picking up the win over junior teammate Kortnei Johnson, who ran back-to-back times of 7.29 for the silver.
The Lady Tigers were again dominant as they featured the top-six finishers in the women’s 60 meters with junior All-American Rachel Misher blowing away her previous personal best of 7.43 with a time of 7.33 and the bronze medal. Sophomore Cassondra Hall was fourth in 7.39, while junior Zakiya Denoon placed fifth with a season-opening 7.48 and junior Shayna Yon trailed in sixth at 7.54.
Flournoy made it a clean sweep of the dash and hurdles for LSU’s teams when he sprinted to the finish line in a personal best of 6.71 in the final, blowing away his previous PR of 6.78 entering the meet. Running on the inside in lane No. 1 in the final, Flournoy was crowned champion ahead of Southeastern Louisiana’s Cliff Resais and U.S. Express’ Charles Jackson, Jr. in second and third place, respectively, with times of 6.72.
Junior college transfer Correion Mosby from Hinds Community College also posted a PR in his first meet for the Tigers with a career-best 6.85 in the final to round out the field in seventh place overall.
Freshman Alicia Stamey was crowned the women’s 3,000-meter champion in her collegiate debut as she dusted the field with a 12-second win, running 10 minutes, 24.82 seconds. Stamey’s winning time converts to an impressive 10:19.51 on a banked track. Sophomore Monica Guillot also medaled in the event with a third-place finish with a converted time of 10:33.90.
LSU’s other medalists from the Purple Tiger Invitational include silver medalists Jonathan Nelsen (15-3) in the men’s pole vault and Oksana Lawrence (1:15.65) in the women’s 500 meters and bronze medalist Christian Boyd (1:04.88) in the men’s 500-meters.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will be back in action next weekend with a trip to Lubbock, Texas, to compete at the Corky Classic hosted by Texas Tech University on Saturday, Jan. 13. They follow with a trip to Iowa City for an appearance at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational running Jan. 19-20 at Iowa’s Recreation Building.