In a meet that rewards teams for quality rather than quantity, the NCAA indoor track and field championships are about another key thing: consistency.
LSU coach Dennis Shaver hopes that holds true, especially for his fifth-ranked men’s team, when the two-day national meet begins Friday in Birmingham, Alabama.
Shaver has gotten consistent results throughout the two-month indoor season, which has produced good scoring opportunities for the Tigers in the five events they’re entered in.
“We’ve had some really consistent performances at a high level this indoor season,” Shaver said. “That’s what you need at this point in the season.”
LSU will have three individuals who rank among the top two nationwide in their events, in addition to a 4x400-meter relay team that’s in position to score some quality points.
Leading LSU into the meet is Jordan Moore, who is tied for the fastest time in the nation in the 60-meter hurdles after winning the title in the Southeastern Conference championships two weeks ago.
Moore, a junior, posted a personal-record time of 7.60 seconds in racing to a victory at the SEC meet; he is ready for a shot at a national title along with two other Tigers who could be in the mix for individual championships.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, who won the 200 meters at the SEC meet, ranks second, and Michael Cherry has the second-fastest time in the 400.
Cherry also teams up with Cyril Grayson, LaMar Bruton and Fitzroy Dunkley for the 4x400 relay, which has the fourth-fastest time this season.
“The key is, you have to perform at the highest level at this meet,” Shaver said, “but they’ve done that most of this season.”
Dunkley will also vie for points when he lines up in the open 400, where he’s posted the seventh-fastest time this winter.
Shaver had to scratch two other qualifiers because of minor injuries.
Johnnie Jackson, who ranked 14th in the weight throw, and freshman Donte Jackson, who had the 10th-fastest time in the nation in the 60 meters at 6.63 seconds, were medical scratches Tuesday.
Still, Shaver is hopeful of a top-four team finish on the men’s side.
“I think it’ll be a low-scoring meet,” he said. “(Top-ranked) Oregon is the clear favorite, but we’re hoping to be in the top three or four — maybe even second.”
On the women’s side, the 10th-ranked Lady Tigers have a handful of potential scorers as well among their seven chances to pick up points.
Sophomore Mikiah Brisco, who swept the SEC titles in the 60 meters and 60 hurdles, ranks second in the nation in the open 60 with a time of 7.18 seconds and has the fourth-fastest time in the hurdles at 8.05 seconds.
Jada Martin ranks third in the 200 and Daeshon Gordon is sixth in the 60 hurdles.
Morgan Schuetz, who joins Hollie Parker, Travia Jones and Hannah Deworth on the distance medley relay that ranks 12th, has the 10th-fastest time in the 800, while All-American Nataliyah Friar is 16th in the long jump.