With three former LSU track and field standouts already qualified to represent Trinidad & Tobago and Zimbabwe in the Olympic Games next month, many others will try to earn tickets to Rio de Janeiro in the USA and Jamaican national championships next.
The U.S. Olympic track and field trials begin Friday and run through July 10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, while the Jamaica Senior championships began Thursday and conclude Sunday in the nation’s capital of Kingston.
Twenty-two current and former LSU athletes are expected to compete in the USA nationals, while 10 more will line up and try to earn spots on Jamaica’s Olympic team.
They’ll try to join sprinters Richard Thompson and Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who qualified at the Trinidad & Tobago championships last weekend, and fellow sprinter Gabriel Mvumvure, who earned a spot for his native Zimbabwe by meeting the Olympic qualifying standard in the 100 meters in April.
LSU’s top hopes to make the U.S. team lie with Vernon Norwood in the 400 meters and Cassandra Tate in the 400-meter hurdles.
After sweeping the 2015 NCAA indoor and outdoor titles at 400 meters, Norwood won a gold medal with the 4 x400-meter relay team at the World Championships last August and also took gold in the relay at the World indoors in March.
Tate, who missed earning a spot in the 2012 Olympics by two places in her signature event, qualified for the World Championships last summer and won the bronze medal.
LSU will also have two former Team USA members from the World Championships in the mix at the Olympic trials.
Kimberlyn Duncan, who was the 2013 USA champion at 200 meters, will compete in both the 100 and 200 meters, and Rodney Brown, who made the USA team for the World championships last summer, will try to make his first Olympic team in the discus.
Other former LSU athletes set to compete are Quincy Downing (400 hurdles), Keri Emanuel (triple jump), Aaron Ernest (200), Ryan Fontenot (110 hurdles), Jeremy Hicks (long jump), Tenaya Jones (100 hurdles), Charlene Lipsey (800), Julian Parker (800), Lynnika Pitts (triple jump), Jasmin Stowers (100 hurdles), LaTavia Thomas (800) and Joshua Thompson (110 hurdles).
Two-time Olympian Lolo Jones ended her bid to make it for the third consecutive time when she scratched out of the 100 hurdles on Tuesday.
Current LSU athletes entered are Mikiah Brisco and Jada Martin, who formed half of the Lady Tigers’ 4x100 relay team that won the NCAA title at Hayward Field on June 11. Brisco will line up in the 100 and Martin is in the 200.
Also competing are Rebekah Wales, who placed sixth in the javelin, and Kymber Payne, who was a semifinalist in the 400 hurdles.
On the men’s side, Michael Cherry, who finished third in the 400 meters and ran on LSU’s winning 4x400 relay team, will compete with Norwood. Also in the 110 hurdles field is Jordan Moore, who was eighth at the NCAA meet.
In Kingston, five former LSU athletes -- Damar Forbes, Samantha Henry-Robinson, Riker Hylton, Isa Phillips and Nickiesha Wilson -- will be trying to make a return trip to the Olympics:.
They’ll be joined by 2016 LSU team members Fitzroy Dunkley and Renard Howell and former Lady Tigers standouts Jonique Day, Natoya Goule and Nikita Tracey.
Dunkley was second in the NCAA 400 meters last month in Eugene and anchored the Tigers’ winning 4x400 relay teams at the indoor and outdoor nationals this season. Howell also ran a leg on the winning 4x100 relay team.
Henry-Robinson, a 15-time All-American at LSU, won a silver medal in her Olympics debut in 2008 in London in the 4x100 relay. She will run in the 100 and 200 this weekend.
Wilson, the 2008 NCAA 400 hurdles champion and 100 hurdles runner-up, will be going for her third consecutive berth in the Summer Games.