STARKVILLE, Miss. — LSU long jumper Nataliyah Friar has had a flair for the dramatic this season, producing big jumps in her final attempt at the Southeastern Conference and NCAA indoor championships.
She didn’t have to wait that long at the SEC outdoor meet.
Friar had a wind-legal personal-best of 20 feet, 8½ inches on her first attempt, then popped a wind-aided 21-10¾ — the longest of her career under any conditions — on her fifth try to finish second in the event.
While Friar was upset the tailwind on her fifth attempt was 2.5 meters per second and won’t count for record-keeping purposes, she was still pleased to get the personal best on her first try and also score the first eight points of the meet for the Lady Tigers a while later.
Her performance highlighted another big day at the SEC championships for LSU, which added 13 more qualifiers to the nine the second-ranked Tigers and eighth-ranked Lady Tigers picked up on the first day of the meet Thursday.
LSU advanced 11 men and 11 women in six running events in the first two days and, along with two highly ranked relay teams on both sides, will try to convert them into big points Saturday when the meet ends.
The Tigers are 13th with four points, and the Lady Tigers are tied for 10th with 12, but the totals will grow after setting the table Thursday and Friday.
“I think we advanced everybody I thought we’d advance based on the (SEC) rankings coming into the meet,” coach Dennis Shaver said. “Plus, I think we qualified a couple we didn’t think would get through. It’s been a good couple days for us.”
Friar certainly got LSU off to a fast start Friday, taking second in the long jump while her teammates were piling up the qualifiers in the 100 and 400 meters and the high hurdles.
“It was a really good start,” Friar said. “I’ve been wanting to get off to a better start because in the NCAAs (preliminary rounds), you only get three jumps instead of six. So it was great to get an outdoor PR on my first one.”
Friar also was trying to catch her old friend from summer track, Alabama’s Quanesha Burks, after she posted a 22-5¼.
“When I got that first jump in, I felt it was OK to go after her,” Friar said, noting the pressure was off at that point. “When I got to the fifth jump, it was like, ‘Let’s go get something.’
“I’m used to doing it late, so I got out and just kept flying,” she said. “I’m just so happy.”
So was LSU hurdler Jordan Moore. He was one of six Tigers and Lady Tigers among the 13 who qualified on the track to race to personal bests.
Moore, who transferred to LSU in January after playing football for TCU for three years, won his heat of the 110 hurdles in 13.58 seconds.
“I feel like myself now,” said Moore, who noted it took him a little while to adjust to a new school and shed about 10 pounds from football. “It was a pretty long football season, and you have to give your body some time to recover. You always want to do more, but Coach Shaver reminds us to take it one step at a time.”
The Lady Tigers had five of the six personal bests recorded by LSU athletes Friday.
Freshmen Aleia Hobbs and Mikiah Brisco had PRs in the 100 with times of 11.26 and 11.31, while Jada Martin had a wind-aided time of 11.39 seconds.
Chanice Chase and Daeshon Gordon, another freshman, posted wind-legal times of 13.13 and 13.21 in the 100 hurdles and Travia Jones joined the PR list in taking the final qualifying spot in the 400 in 54.10 seconds.
On the men’s side, Joshua Thompson made the final when he ran second in his heat of the 110 hurdles with a wind-aided 13.54 seconds. That was the second-fastest of the day, while Moore had the third-fastest.
The Tigers also got three sprinters into the 400 as national leader Vernon Norwood won his heat in 45.55 seconds, while Fitzroy Dunkley and Darrell Bush advanced with times of 46.63 and 46.81.
Aaron Ernest and Tremayne Acy, who both advanced in the 200 meters prelims Thursday, both got into the 100 final with wind-aided times of 10.09 and 10.12 seconds.