E ugene , Ore. — Like the men’s team that piled up qualifiers on the track Wednesday, the LSU women made their marks early in the semifinals of the NCAA championships Thursday night.
They did it late, too.
On a cool, misty evening, the fourth-ranked Lady Tigers claimed six spots for Saturday’s finals at chilly and rainy Hayward Field.
Dual hurdler Chanice Chase, a senior, led the way for LSU in earning two of the individual finals berths as well as helping her team claim a spot in the 4x400-meter relay, which brought the second day of the four-day championships to a close.
A strong carry by Chase on the anchor leg of the mile relay gave the Lady Tigers another scoring opportunity for Saturday just about the time Rebekah Wales was giving LSU its first points with a sixth-place finish in the javelin.
Getting the 4x400 relay to the final when Chase ran a sizzling 51.56-second split to bring her team back from fourth to a second-place finish in 3 minutes, 32.24 seconds was big after LSU’s 4x100 relay got the Lady Tigers off to a good start in the first race of the day.
After Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Jada Martin and Rushell Harvey easily raced to a victory in its semifinal heat with a time of 43.24 seconds — the third-fastest of the semifinals — Chase went to work in her final NCAA competition.
She placed third in her heat of the 100-meter hurdles semifinal in 12.94 seconds and advanced to the final as one of two timed qualifiers.
An hour later, Chase returned to the track and topped that in the 400 hurdles. She won her heat in 55.94 seconds, which turned out to be the fourth-fastest time of the semifinals.
“I just tried to do what I was asked to do by my coaches,” Chase said of advancing in two individual events and the relay. “It’s a pretty tough double, but at the end of the day I do train for this.
“I was prepared coming in to make both finals,” she said. “We’ve had a great few weeks of practice since the SEC meet, so my coaches prepared me well to do just that.”
Chase’s hurdles teammate, Brisco, was disappointed when she didn’t make the100 hurdles final, taking fourth in her heat in 13.13 seconds.
But she made up for it, shaking it off and returning just 15 minutes later to earn a spot in the open 100.
Brisco automatically earned a spot in the 100 final when she was second in her heat in 11.24 seconds. The wind-legal time was a personal record, erasing her old career best of 11.31.
The Lady Tigers added two more qualifiers when junior Morgan Schuetz made the 800 meters final with second-place finish in her semifinal heat in 2:03.39 before Chase locked up her second finals spot in the 400 hurdles.
In the 4x400, LSU lagged behind Tennessee, Florida and Alabama until Chase ran down Alabama and Tennessee for the eighth and final spot in the final in teaming with Travia Jones, Jada Martin and Rachel Misher.
“The relay was a struggle, I fought to the end,” Chase said. “I really wanted it for my team, so I just took the responsibility and I ran for the other girls. We needed to get at least second, and we did that.”
Wales put the first three points on the scoreboard for the Lady Tigers when she threw 177 feet to finish sixth in the javelin.
“Our women scrapped and clawed for everything they got today,” LSU coach Dennis Shaver said. “It was great to see Rebekah put some marks out there that had her in the position to score the first points for our team. That was big for us today.
“I thought we maybe left a couple of chances out there on the track, but we had a good day of qualifying overall.”