The LSU track and field teams will have 15 athletes vying for national honors in the NCAA Indoor championships on Friday and Saturday in College Station, Texas.
The fourth-ranked Lady Tigers will have nine competitors and nine scoring chances in four events for the two-day meet. The Tigers will have six athletes and six scoring opportunities in five events.
Coming off a solid fourth-place finish in the Southeastern Conference indoor championships two weeks ago, coach Dennis Shaver’s women’s team will be aiming for a top-five finish at nationals.
“Finishing in the top five at the NCAA meet is always a challenge and a goal we annually strive to achieve,” Shaver said. “I’m confident if we stay healthy throughout the meet, it’ll be a very close team race for a top-five finish.”
Specifically, the Lady Tigers hope to score big points in three sprint events — the 60 and 200 meters and 60-meter hurdles — as well as the 4x400 relay. They have four entrants in the 60 and two each in the 200 and hurdles.
The key is the quality Shaver’s team has in sprinters Mikiah Brisco, Aleia Hobbs, Kortnei Johnson and Cassondra Hall; hurdlers Tonea Marshall and Brittley Humphrey; and the mile relay.
Brisco and Hobbs rank 1-2 in the country in the 60 with times of 7.10 and 7.12 seconds while Johnson is fourth at 7.18. In the 200, Brisco is ranked second (22.81 seconds) and Johnson is sixth (22.88).
Marshall is seventh in the hurdles with a best of 8.04 seconds, and the relay is ranked fourth after wrapping up the SEC meet with a surprising win in 3 minutes, 30.85 seconds.
“Our team had several breakthrough performances at the SEC meet, which helped our overall team confidence level,” Shaver said. “We’re ready to go.”
On the men’s side, LSU is in rebuilding mode.
The Tigers, who were 11th at the SEC meet, have only one entry inside the top eight in the nation — the seventh-ranked 4x400 relay (3:04.92).
The other qualifiers are Jaron Flournoy and Correion Mosby in the 200, Damion Thomas in the 60 hurdles and JuVaughn Blake in the high jump and triple jump.
Thomas, who has a top time of 7.75 seconds, was named Wednesday as the SEC men’s freshman runner of the year by the league’s coaches.