Rebekah Wales leads Tigers in qualifying at NCAA regional _lowres

LSU's Rebekah Wales leads the nation in the women's javelin this season with a throw of 188 feet going into Saturday's Alumni Gold meet (Photo provided by Bryan Wayne/LSU Athletic Communications).

The LSU Alumni Gold meet is always a special weekend for coach Dennis Shaver, one he looks forward to each year when making the schedule for his Tigers and Lady Tigers.

In addition to another competition that will be used to sharpen up his teams for the postseason, many of LSU’s past track and field stars will be on hand — some competing alongside current athletes — after the annual recognition banquet Friday night.

Saturday’s meet in Bernie Moore Stadium will be extra special in Shaver’s eyes because it’ll honor 30 women from the Lady Tigers’ “Decade of Dominance” which actually stretched 11 years from 1987 to 1997 and produced 19 national team titles — eight indoors and 11 outdoors.

“We’ve tried to honor at least one national championship team each year, but there are so many and a lot of the athletes overlapped in winning three or four titles,” Shaver said. “A lot of the women were still involved in the sport and had other obligations, so we decided to honor that decade all together.”

In addition to the 30 women returning from that productive 11-year span, another 53 alums are expected to be on hand Saturday.

The afternoon session begins at 1:20 p.m. following an opening ceremony at 1:15 p.m. and runs through the 4x400-meter relays at 4:25 p.m. Alumni recognition will take place at 3:30 p.m. during the women’s 5,000.

“It’s always a special week for us because we have a lot of alumni returning,” Shaver said. “But this one is extra special because of that ‘decade’ dynasty.”

Alumni that will be present combined for 34 NCAA titles, 54 Southeastern Conference titles and 99 All-America honors at LSU.

Tops among them will be reigning Olympic silver medalist Fitzroy Dunkley, former Olympic finalists Damar Forbes and Muna Lee, as well as Natoya Goule and Isa Phillips, who also have Olympic experience.

Reigning world champion Vernon Norwood, World Championships bronze medalist Cassandra Tate and Jasmin Stowers, one of the world’s fastest 100-meter hurdlers of all-time, will also be on hand.

They’ll line up against the current teams that feature two NCAA leaders and 10 other individuals and relay teams currently ranking among the nation's top 10.

The fourth-ranked Lady Tigers and sixth-ranked Tigers will go against Texas, Mississippi State and Clemson as well as athletes from Southern, Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, New Orleans, Nicholls State and Northwestern State — among others.

LSU’s 4x100-meter relay teams will be in the featured races of the afternoon although Shaver will make some substitutions on the women’s side.

After the team of Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Jada Martin and Aleia Hobbs broke the school record and ran the second-fastest time in collegiate history at 42.14 seconds last weekend in finishing second at the Mt. SAC Relays, Shaver will mix it up to get other sprinters ready.

The men’s team of Donte Jackson, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Tremayne Acy and Jaron Flournoy posted a nation’s-best time of 38.57 seconds.

Jackson will run the leadoff leg in the sprint relay at 1:30 p.m., before making his way across the street to take part in the football team’s spring game Saturday night.

LSU’s other national leader is Rebekah Wales, who actually has the two longest throws by a collegian in the javelin this year with a best of 188 feet.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.