EUGENE, Ore. — First, it was Oregon in the NCAA West preliminary rounds.
On Thursday, it happened to LSU in the national semifinals.
The showdown between the two fastest 4x100-meter relay teams in women’s collegiate track and field history never materialized when both Oregon and LSU — who each clocked a time of 42.12 seconds earlier this season — suffered the same fate: Disqualification for passing the baton out of the zone.
In the first race of the day Thursday, LSU did what Oregon did two weeks ago when Mikiah Brisco and Kortnei Johnson couldn’t connect on the first exchange and the Lady Tigers lost a chance to defend their title.
It was just the start of a bad day for No. 3 LSU, which came into the meet with the hope of perhaps challenging Oregon for the national title after the Ducks’ mishap last month.
LSU got only five of their 15 scoring opportunities they had on the track Thursday through the semifinals — counting the 4x400 relay that advanced to wrap up a disappointing day.
"I wouldn't say the whole day was disappointing; the only big, real disappointment was the 4x100 relay," coach Dennis Shaver said. "The other people that we thought would make it through were able to make it through.
"It was like the men (Wednesday), they kind of pushed through it ... they just didn't look good doing it," he added. "The relay should have been in the final and they probably would have won it, but it's just one of those things that can happen in a volatile event like that."
It spread even to the field where Rebekah Wales, who was aiming to win an NCAA title with the second-longest throw in the nation this spring, took fifth with a best of 180 feet, 2 inches — giving the Lady Tigers their first four points of the meet.
But the miscue on the sprint relay seemed to unsettle LSU, which had set the table well in the NCAA East preliminary rounds to make at least a top-four run here.
Brisco, Johnson, Jada Martin and Aleia Hobbs got the baton around in 42.76 seconds, which was the fastest time of the semifinals until they were bumped down after a protest by Shaver was diasallowed.
“At first, we were all down,” Hobbs said. “But we all had another race to get ready for and we just had to think about that at the time.”
Brisco got off to a fast start coming out of the blocks, but she encountered a problem coming off the curve while Johnson started taking off from her starting spot in anticipation of getting the stick.
“I stumbled coming out of the curve and I had to slow down,” Brisco said. “After that, I couldn’t get the baton to Kortnei. She did her job … she was getting out hard and she was expecting me to catch her.”
Said Hobbs, who watched from the top of the stretch as the mistake unfolded: “It was a simple mistake. Mikiah stumbled and Kortnei didn’t realize it, so she was just doing what she is supposed to do.”
“It happens,” Brisco added. “That’s the first time that’s happened to me and it’s unfortunate that it happened at the national championships. We really can’t change the outcome, so the only thing we can do is move forward.”
Hobbs, Brisco and Johnson had only an hour to get ready for the 100 and only Brisco and Hobbs managed to get to the final.
They went 1-2 in their semifinal heat with Brisco clocking a time of 11.19 seconds, the third-fastest of the day, while Hobbs came in at 11.28. Johnson ran 11.37 and didn’t get through.
“It was still on my mind, but you can’t let one race affect you the rest of the meet,” Brisco said.
Later, Kymber Payne picked up another spot when she won her heat of the 400-meter hurdles in 56.05 seconds, which was the fourth-fastest time of the semifinals.
Martin made the most of her two races later as she clocked a time of 23.00 seconds in the 200 and made it into the finals before helping the Lady Tigers cap the strange day in the 4x400 relay.
Rachel Misher, Martin, Payne and Travia Jones got the stick around in 3 minutes, 32.26 seconds to finish second in their heat and advance to the final automatically. Their time was the seventh-fastest of the semifinals.