For all intents and purposes, the LSU track and field teams are at the halfway point of their outdoor regular season.
With three meets down and three to go, the Lady Tigers and Tigers know they have to get some things done in the next three weeks — particularly the next two — to be where they want to be going into Southeastern Conference Championships and NCAA Championships.
The next two weekends will provide a good test for both teams, who will also have the luxury of competing in Bernie Moore Track Stadium, beginning Saturday with the third annual Battle on the Bayou.
The women’s field includes fifth-ranked LSU, No. 8 Arizona State, Penn State and Mississippi State. The men have No. 10, 13th-ranked Mississippi State, No. 17 Arizona State, 19th-ranked Penn State and Connecticut.
The scored meet will begin at 10 a.m. with the field events, while track events are set to start at 1:45 p.m.
An alternate scoring format of 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for first- through eighth-place finishes, with only the top two athletes for each school earning points will be used in individual events. Relay points will be distributed on a 9-7-6-5 basis, with only one relay per team allowed to score.
LSU swept the team titles last season. The Tigers piled up 1741/2 points, while the Lady Tigers totaled 1571/2 in the 19 events contested.
“It’s going to be a good meet, and it should be fun for the athletes because of the scoring,” said LSU coach Dennis Shaver, whose teams went 3-1 last weekend in a double-dual scoring meet at UCLA.
“The good thing about this meet is the size of it,” he added. “The field events all have only one flight and the running events will go off in a little more than two hours. That’s what we were shooting for in this meet.”
The best part for the Lady Tigers and Tigers is they don’t have to travel for a few weeks after competing in the Texas Relays and going to the West Coast for the UCLA meet.
After the Battle on the Bayou, Shaver’s teams will host the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational on April 20 before the Penn Relays wrap up the regular season April 25-27.
“It’s going to be nice to spend the next two weeks at home,” Shaver said. “That’s why we want to get some things done the next couple of weeks. You don’t get a lot of things done with a full team at the Penn Relays. So we’re looking to do some things this week and next week, to be sure.”
Shaver said most of the athletes on his teams will participate in some shape or form, although some of them may compete in events other than their specialty — which is normal for this time of the season.
“The outdoor season always seems to fly by, so the goal right now is to show a little improvement each week. If we get some fairly good conditions, we could approach the marks that we’ve already posted on the (NCAA’s) descending order lists.
“It seems like each week we’ve been able to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish, so we’ll be looking for that again this week.”