In the end Saturday night, Dennis Shaver’s pre-NCAA championships prediction that 10 points would separate the top six women’s track and field teams was almost right on the money.
So close was it that only two points separated champion USC from third-place Stanford when all the points were added up on a soggy and chilly fourth and final day at Oregon’s Hayward Field.
Shaver’s LSU team finished sixth with 41 points, just 12 points behind USC, after the Lady Tigers had pulled to within five points of an ever-changing leaderboard with just a few events left.
While he turned out to be two points off, the outcome seemed to justify what Shaver thought about the women’s team race going into the national semifinals and finals: It was going to be close.
“I knew it was going to be tough because points don’t come easy here,” Shaver said Saturday night. “Teams just don’t beat themselves; it was very competitive all the way through. Nobody knew what was going to happen with four events left, so it was as close and exciting as it gets.”
What wasn’t close was his team’s two event wins.
EUGENE, Ore. — The LSU women's track and field team needed just more than 42 seconds Saturday afternoon to erase a year of agony.
In a span of 50 minutes, the Lady Tigers wowed the crowd of 12,998 when the 4x100-meter relay team won by more than eight-tenths of a second — the largest margin of victory at nationals in eight years — and Aleia Hobbs crushed her competition in winning the 100.
After LSU set a meet record with a time of 42.09 seconds in the semifinals Thursday night, the possibility of breaking the collegiate record of 42.05 it set in May and perhaps dipping below the 42-second mark was real.
But while a rain-slickened track and a temperature of 52 degrees likely kept them from doing that, Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Rachel Misher and Hobbs didn’t disappoint.
They got the baton around in 42.25 seconds, the sixth-fastest time in collegiate history, and easily bested the 43.06 run by Oregon, whose fans were delighted with a second-place finish.
“I just made sure I did my part since I knew the conditions weren’t going to be up to par,” Brisco said. “I just made sure I got my team to a good position. Our exchange was really good, so I felt like we started the race off really well.”
It was almost over by the time Johnson finished her leg and handed off to Misher. By the time Hobbs got the stick at the top of the home stretch, it was.
EUGENE, Ore. — Even though they hold the collegiate record, the LSU women’s sprint relay team wasn’t thinking about putting up a real fast tim…
Considering Hobbs has posted the second-, third- and fourth-fastest wind-legal times in collegiate history in the 100, there was no chance of catching her.
“That was a great effort from the 4x100, really good,” said Shaver, whose team has five of the top six times and six of the top eight times in collegiate history. “Dominating and winning by that much is unheard of at this meet.”
Hobbs came back to speed away from the other seven sprinters in the 100 in her final collegiate race.
Despite being pelted by heavy rain, which made it difficult to see, she was clear of the field just 25 meters into the race and easily won in 11.01 seconds.
“The whole race, I really couldn’t see anything … I was just running,” Hobbs said. “I couldn’t even see where the finish line was, so I just kept running until I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m done.’ ”
“I’ve been coming to this meet for more than 20 years, and that was absolutely the best executed 100 meters under those conditions I’ve ever seen,” Shaver said.
“The rain was coming down, the temperature, running into a slight headwind — all of it. That was just spectacular.”