World-Class Athletes in Action at LSU Alumni Gold
BATON ROUGE – LSU greats and Olympic veterans Lolo Jones, Muna Lee and Richard Thompson will join the likes of NCAA champions Kimberlyn Duncan and Walter Henning in a world-class field ready to compete Saturday at the LSU Alumni Gold being held at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
The LSU Alumni Gold seems to attract a world-class field year in and year out, and this year’s meet is not an exception as many top college and professional athletes are scheduled to compete on Saturday.
In addition, reigning World Champion Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados will join a host of LSU greats as part of a star-studded field that also features Olympian Neisha Bernard-Thomas of Grenada and former NCAA champion and 2012 Olympics hopeful LaTavia Thomas in the competition.
The afternoon session of this year’s LSU Alumni Gold is set to begin following an opening ceremony and alumni recognition at 2 p.m. CDT. The 4×400-meter relays are scheduled to run at 5:10 p.m.
Saturday’s opening ceremony features a dedication of the renovation for the Bernie Moore Track Stadium and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the finish line, led by Senior Associate Athletics Director Verge Ausberry and LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. In keeping with the theme of the LSU Alumni Gold meet, all alumni in attendance will be recognized on the infield as part of the opening ceremony.
Among the 21 alumni competing on Saturday afternoon are 13 former All-Americans that is sure to create an electric atmosphere celebrating the team’s history and tradition.
Fans who are unable to make it out to the Bernie Moore Track Stadium have the opportunity to follow the action by liking LSU Track & Field on Facebook or by following @LSUTrackField on Twitter. Fans who wish to join in the conversation on Twitter are asked to use the hashtag #LSUAlumniGold.
“We look forward to hosting this meet each year because it really gives us a chance to showcase our team and our program in ways that maybe we don’t get to the rest of the year,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “We always look forward to having many of our alumni come back to compete. Some of them are opening up their outdoor season for the first time this weekend, which is very exciting for us to see.”
The men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays will be ready to run beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT following the opening ceremony to kick off the afternoon’s festivities.
Shaver plans to run new lineups for both the Tigers and Lady Tigers in the 4×100-meter relay on Saturday as the men will feature junior Keyth Talley, junior Horatio Williams, senior Tristan Walker and senior Gabriel Mvumvure, and the women will feature the relay order of senior Kenyanna Wilson, junior Semoy Hackett, junior Rebecca Alexander and sophomore Kimberlyn Duncan.
Both the Tigers and Lady Tigers already rank No. 2 in the NCAA this season in the 4×100-meter relay, as the men have run 38.78 seconds and the women have run 43.44 for their seasonal bests.
Perhaps the most anticipated championship finals of the afternoon session include the men’s invitational long jump at 2:45 p.m., the women’s 100-meter hurdles at 3:20 p.m., the men’s 110-meter hurdles at 3:30 p.m., the women’s 800-meter run at 3:35 p.m., both the men’s and women’s 100-meter dash at 3:50 p.m., the women’s 200-meter dash at 4:15 p.m. and the men’s hammer throw at 4:30 p.m. Each event features a wide array of LSU stars past and present as they compete in the team’s home finale.
Among the LSU stars in action this weekend are Duncan and Henning as each will compete in events that have made them national champions during the past year.
Duncan, who enters the meet as the national leader and the No. 3-ranked performer worldwide in the 200-meter dash with a seasonal best of 22.76 set in her outdoor debut on April 2, will line up in the event for the second time this season as she is aiming for an NCAA sweep after taking this year’s indoor crown.
Henning, the defending NCAA champion in the hammer throw, will step into the ring for the third time in the event this spring as he looks to improve upon his seasonal best of 216 feet, 9 inches that he also set for the LSU Invitational on April 2. Henning has already defended his NCAA Indoor championship in March in the 35-pound weight throw as he remains a strong contender for the Bowerman Award.
Junior Barrett Nugent will have an opportunity to race against Brathwaite in the men’s 110 hurdles in one of the most anticipated events of this year’s LSU Alumni Gold.
Nugent, a two-time NCAA Championships runner-up and current national leader with a season best wind-aided time of 13.19, has already taken down the defending NCAA champion Andrew Riley of Illinois and title hopefuls Omo Osaghae of Texas Tech, Oscar Spurlock of USC and Keiron Stewart of Texas in 2011. Brathwaite, who owns a PR of 13.14, is the reigning World Champion in the 110-meter hurdles.
In what might be the most exciting race of the afternoon, former LSU All-Americans Claston Bernard and Ryan Fontenot will also line up in the field for the men’s 110-meter hurdles.
The Alumni Gold will mark the 2011 outdoor debut for Jones in the 100-meter hurdles as she prepares for a busy summer with an eye on qualifying for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics being held this August in Daegu, South Korea. She actually set the Bernie Moore Stadium record of 12.71 in her debut in 2010 when she took the women’s title at the LSU Alumni Gold.
A two-time World Indoor champion and American record holder in the 60-meter hurdles (7.72), Jones has also set an impressive personal record of 12.43 in the 100-meter hurdles during her career. Lining up with Jones in the event will be a pair of LSU standouts in senior Tenaya Jones and freshman Jasmin Stowers.
Jones and Lee will also team with Lady Tiger alums Juanita Broaddus and Brooklynn Morris for a team at the 4×100-meter relay as they look to push LSU for top honors on Saturday afternoon.
Like Jones, Richard Thompson will also open his outdoor season this Saturday at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium as he lines up in both the 100 meters and 200 meters for the first time in 2011.
After being crowned the Olympic silver medalist in both the 100-meter dash and 4×100-meter relay in 2008, Thompson followed with a 2009 season in which he anchored Trinidad’s sprint relay to a silver medal and finished fifth in the 100-meter finals at the World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Lady Tigers alums Neisha Bernard-Thomas and LaTavia Thomas will headline a strong field in the ladies 800-meter run, as will run against senior All-American Brittany Hall and sophomore All-America hopeful Charlene Lipsey. Bernard-Thomas, a 2008 Olympian from Grenada, set the Bernie Moore Stadium record at 2:01.32 in the meet last year. Thomas is a former 800-meter national champion at LSU.
Other former LSU All-Americans scheduled to compete for the alumni include Armanti Hayes in the 400-meter dash, Jamaal James in the 800 meters and Jeremy Hicks and Will Coppage in the men’s long jump.
In addition, 16 seniors will be recognized during the competition as this will be their final home meet as a member of the LSU program. They include, Hall, Henning, Brittani Carter, Mark DeBlanc, Michael Florek, Tenaya Jones, Tim Landry, Gabriel Mvumvure, Melissa Ogbourne, Kyle Rose, Ross Roubion, Lauren Saucier, Alan Sticker, Zedric Thomas, Tristan Walker and Kenyanna Wilson.