Track & Field Continues to Improve at Tiger Invitational
BATON ROUGE — Senior Kelly Baptiste and junior Nickiesha Wilson each clocked NCAA leading times in their respective events to lead 15 new regional qualifiers for the LSU track and field teams during Saturday’s action at the Tiger Invitational.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers have now combined for 49 individual qualifying marks and four qualified relay teams to the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships to be held May 30-31.
“This was really the first time this season where we’ve been able to focus all of our attention on regional qualifying performances,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “This was a chance for our athletes to really step up their performances, and I’m happy with their effort today.”
Baptiste lined up in the 200 meters for the first time this season and crossed the finish line with the fastest time in the NCAA and second fastest time in the world at 22.96 seconds. Baptiste is poised for a breakout year as she also boasts the world’s fastest time in the 100 meters at 11.06.
Wilson followed minutes later with her season debut in the 400-meter hurdles and blew away the competition with an opening time of 55.83, which was more than six seconds faster than her nearest competitor. Wilson also improved by more than one second from her opening time a year ago when she clocked a 56.99 in her first race at the LSU Tiger Classic in 2007.
“The wind we had on the backstretch made it really difficult to run the oval today, but I thought Nickiesha ran about as good a 400 hurdle race as she could have for the first time,” Shaver said. “She’s much further along at this stage of the game than she was at this time last year. I was very impressed with the way she ran that race when there really wasn’t any competition.”
Henry finished runner-up to Baptiste in the first heat of the women’s competition as she equaled the No. 2 time in the NCAA with an impressive opening time of 23.14. Thompson followed in the first heat of the men’s 200 with the nation’s third-fastest time at a windy 20.74.
Two other Lady Tigers punched their ticket to the regional meet in the 200 meters for the first time this season as senior Juanita Broaddus finished the race in 23.41 and junior Monique Cabral clocked a new overall personal best of 23.54.
In addition to the Lady Tigers’ performance in the 200, Shaver said it was also important for the team’s 800-meter runners to break the qualifying standard this weekend. They did just that as junior Kayann Thompson won the event with a time of 2 minutes, 6.11 seconds, while freshman Brittany Hall crossed the finish line with a new overall personal record of 2:06.79.
“We really wanted our women in the 200 and the 800 to get something done at this meet,” Shaver said. “I thought Kelly and Samantha did an outstanding job of running the 200, and Brittany stepped up with a big personal best in the 800. You can’t ask for much more than that.
“We already know what Richard can do in the 100, but he is someone who is really going to help us out if he can run the 200 with some consistency. He’s sprinting with a lot of confidence right now, and he’s really learning how to run that race with better results.”
In addition, seven other LSU athletes posted their first regional qualifying marks of the season, including Will Coppage (100 meters, 10.53w), Mark DeBlanc (javelin, 212-5), Josh Dominguez (pole vault, 16-10 ?), Armanti Hayes (400 meters, 46.72), John Kosgei (1,500 meters, 3:42.98), Melissa Ogbourne (triple jump, 40-6) and LaTavia Thomas (400 meters, 53.17).
Fox improved his previous best of 212 feet, 6 inches by more than three feet with a throw 215-11 on his sixth and final throw of the competition to finish in third pace behind Auburn All-Americans Cory Martin (239-9) and Jake Dunkleberger (225-5). His effort also ranks No. 7 in the NCAA of all marks entering this weekend’s action.
Williams set a new personal record of her own with a mark of 184-5 to take third place in the women’s competition, improving from her previous best of 183-0 set in LSU’s outdoor opener at the Willie Williams Classic in Tucson, Ariz., back on March 21.
Junior Chad Radgowski continued LSU’s momentum in the throws as he wrapped up the meet with a 10-foot improvement on his seasonal best in the javelin competition. The native of Liberty, Pa., won the event title with the sixth best throw in the country this season at 237-2.
Other LSU athletes who improved their already established regional qualifying marks at the Tiger Invitational include senior Ryan Fontenot (110 hurdles, 13.51w), senior Brooklynn Morris (400 meters, 53.19), freshman Tenaya Jones (100 hurdles, 13.58w), freshman Zedric Thomas (triple jump, 50-2) and freshman Kenyanna Wilson (100 meters, 11.42).
“I feel like we got a lot of things done at this meet, particularly in the throws,” Shaver said. “That group just keeps getting better with each meet. They’re beginning to show a lot more consistency, especially Rabun. It seems like he’s setting a new personal best in the hammer every week.”
Two LSU pole vaulters also enjoyed new personal best performances during Saturday’s action as junior Mallory Thompson cleared 12-1 ? for a new overall PR in the event, while freshman Kyle Rose broke the 16-foot barrier for the first time in his career with a clearance of 16-0 ?.
The squads return to action next weekend as the play host to the LSU Alumni Gold on April 19 before making their annual trip to Philadelphia to compete in their regular season finale at the 114th Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field. The championship season kicks off May 15-18 at the 2008 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Auburn, Ala.
LSU’s Qualifiers for the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships (as of April 12, 2008)
Athlete, Event, Time/Mark
Preston Chatham, Javelin, 227-5
Will Coppage, 100 meters, 10.53w
Reggie Dardar, 400 meters, 46.85
Mark DeBlanc, Javelin, 212-5
Josh Dominguez, Pole Vault, 16-10 ?
Ryan Fontenot, 110 hurdles, 13.51w
Rabun Fox, Hammer Throw, 215-11
Armanti Hayes, 200 meters, 21.28
Armanti Hayes, 400 meters, 46.72
Trindon Holliday, 100 meters, 10.20
Ricky Jean-Francois, Shot Put, 59-1 ?
John Kosgei, 1,500 meters, 3:42.98
Patrick Lee, 110 hurdles, 14.29
Patrick Lee, 400 hurdles, 50.94
Gabriel Mvumvure, 100 meters, 10.37
Gabriel Mvumvure, 200 meters, 21.23
Chad Radgowski, Javelin, 237-3
Zedric Thomas, Triple Jump, 50-2
Richard Thompson, 100 meters, 10.0
Richard Thompson, 200 meters, 20.74w
Adam Wilcox, Shot Put, 56-0
Hayes, Thompson, Mvumvure, Holliday; 4×100-meter relay; 38.74
Twijukye, E. Kosgei, Hayes, Dardar; 4×400-meter relay; 3:04.33
Athlete, Event, Time/Mark
Kelly Baptiste, 100 meters, 11.06
Kelly Baptiste, 200 meters, 22.96
Angel Boyd, 100 meters, 11.71
Angel Boyd, 100 hurdles, 13.04w
Juanita Broaddus, 200 meters, 23.41
Monique Cabral, 100 meters, 11.54w
Monique Cabral, 200 meters, 23.54
Brittani Carter, High Jump, 5-8 ?
Kathy Coleman, Long Jump, 19-10 ?
Kristina Davis, 100 meters, 11.67w
Nedra Gross, Triple Jump, 40-11 ?w
Brittany Hall, 400 meters, 54.26
Brittany Hall, 800 meters, 2:06.79
Samantha Henry, 200 meters, 23.14
Tenaya Jones, 100 hurdles, 13.58w
Deonna Lawrence, 400 meters, 53.44
Andrea Linton, Triple Jump, 42-4 ?
Anna Lyons, Javelin, 158-8
Brooklynn Morris, 400 meters, 53.19
Melissa Ogbourne, Triple Jump, 40-6
Jessica Ohanaja, 100 hurdles, 13.21
Katelyn Rodrigue, Pole Vault, 13-1 ?
LaTavia Thomas, 400 meters, 53.17
Kayann Thompson, 800 meters, 2:06.11
Kim Williams, Hammer Throw, 184-5
Kenyanna Wilson, 100 meters, 11.42
Nickiesha Wilson, 100 hurdles, 12.85
Nickiesha Wilson, 400 hurdles, 55.83
Ohanaja, Henry, Broaddus, Baptiste; 4×100-meter relay; 43.10
Morris, Wilson, Thomas, Lawrence; 4×400-meter relay; 3:29.72