With the Southeastern Conference track and field championships being held a week later than usual this year because of the way the calendar fell, a 20-day layoff wasn’t appealing to LSU coach Dennis Shaver.
The same thing occurred several years ago and Shaver was ready for when it happened again with the goal of keeping his athletes sharp going into the championship portion of the schedule.
Thus, with his teams one week removed from the Penn Relays, Shaver wanted to host a small scoring competition that will allow coaches and athletes to work on some things before the SEC championships begin May 15 with the multi-events.
So, on Saturday, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will host the LSU Invitational — bringing league foes Texas A&M, Florida and Ole Miss along with Miami to Bernie Moore Stadium. Field events begin at 9:30 a.m. track events at noon.
The top six finishers in individual events will earn points on a 10-8-6-4-2-1 basis. Relays will score on a 10-8-6-4-2 basis with only one relay from each school allowed to collect points.
“This happened a few years ago, where we had an extra week off in the schedule between Penn and conference,” said Shaver. “So we wanted to get just a few teams in to try and keep the athletes fresh. If they weren’t in this meet, they would be practicing.
“That (20-day period) is a long time to go without a competition,” he noted. “You just can’t create the same intensity level in training sessions as you can when they’re competing.”
The idea, Shaver said, was to get schools that are in concentrated study period ahead of final exams and have them compete. Another goal was to have the meet finish in a timely fashion where teams can possibly get back to their respective campuses late Saturday to continue preparing for finals.
At the same time, Shaver wants to get something out of the competition.
Which is why the meet will feature top-ranked Florida and No. 2 Texas A&M, who tied for the NCAA men’s outdoor title last June, as well as No. 10 LSU and 16th-ranked Ole Miss. The Florida women are second, while Texas A&M and LSU are third and seventh, respectively.
While it should make for strong competition, Shaver said the meet’s coaches won’t over-extend their athletes.
“The main thing for this meet is the approach that everybody is taking,” Shaver said. “Coaches will be using this meet to look at things they need to try and get done before they go to the conference meet.”
Shaver and his staff will also honor 13 LSU seniors making their final collegiate appearance at Bernie Moore.
Among those to be honored are Shermund Allsop, Roger Cooke, Keri Emanuel, Karen Henning, Denise Hinton, Jaora Johnson, Michelle Mobley, Lynnika Pitts, Annie Simoneaux, Jasmin Stowers, Toshika Sylvester, Nikita Tracey and William Wiesler.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate