Tigers Lead Track & Field in National Polls

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Tigers Lead Track & Field in National Polls

BATON ROUGE – As the LSU Track & Field teams prepare to play host to their annual LSU Twilight meet at the Carl Maddox Field House on Friday, the Tigers and Lady Tigers find themselves ranked among the NCAA’s elite teams once again with Monday’s release of the latest U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Top 25 power rankings.

Led by six of the NCAA’s Top 10 performers in their respective events this season, the Tigers are squarely in the NCAA team trophy hunt as they are the No. 6-ranked men’s team nationally with just one week to go in the regular season. The Lady Tigers have cracked the Top 20 as the No. 18-ranked women’s team this week.

This week’s release of the USTFCCCA Top 25 power rankings marks the first time this season that the organization is using only performances recorded during the 2015 indoor season for its calculation.

The Tigers have been led by their sprints and hurdles group throughout the 2015 indoor season with their defending national champion 4×400-meter relay team headlining the squad again this year. The squad of junior Darrell Bush, senior Quincy Downing, junior Cyril Grayson and senior Vernon Norwood have run the third-fastest relay time in the country at 3 minutes, 4.28 seconds as they look to defend their NCAA Indoor crown.

Norwood and Downing also find themselves ranked among the NCAA’s Top 10 400-meter sprinters this season as Norwood has run the fourth-fastest time among collegians at 45.56 in his one and only appearance and Downing has clocked the ninth-fastest time on the NCAA’s updated performance list at 46.27. Norwood is the reigning NCAA Indoor silver medalist in the event.

The Tigers also feature two of the 10 fastest 200-meter sprinters in the country this season as senior All-American Aaron Ernest checks in at No. 5 nationally with a seasonal-best time of 20.73 and sophomore Tremayne Acy follows at No. 9 nationally with a lifetime personal best of 20.85 set earlier this season.

Senior Joshua Thompson is fresh off his victory in the 60-meter hurdles at the Tyson Invitational on Friday night as he raced to a big personal best of 7.73 to take the title at Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Track Center, which is also the host site for the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships to be held March 13-14. Thompson’s time of 7.73 is the No. 5-ranked performance among collegians this season.

The Lady Tigers have been led throughout the 2015 indoor season by senior NCAA-title contender Tori Bliss, who has thrown a lifetime best and indoor school record of 57 feet, 4 ¾ inches to rank No. 2 in the country in the women’s shot put as it stands. She is a perfect 5-for-5 while taking the title in each of her five appearances in the shot put during this season.

Also cracking the Top 10 of the NCAA rankings in 2015 is sophomore sprinter Jada Martin, who is also coming off a personal-best performance at the Tyson Invitational this past weekend when she posted her indoor PR of 23.30 in the 200-meter dash on Saturday afternoon. That performance moved Martin into the No. 10 spot on the NCAA’s updated performance list in the women’s 200 meters.

The Tigers and Lady Tigers have one final opportunity to prepare themselves for the championship season as they play host to the LSU Twilight meet on Friday at the Carl Maddox Field House in Baton Rouge.

USTFCCCA Top 25 (as of Feb. 16)

MEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Florida (190.52) 2
2. Oregon (154.05) 1
3. Arkansas (128.21) 3
4. Texas A&M (126.08) 4
5. Texas (100.49) 9
6. LSU (87.72) 6
7. Georgia (84.22) 8
8. Penn State (78.80) 5
9. Oklahoma State (70.17) 17
10. Virginia Tech (66.17) 12
11. Alabama (62.79) 15
12. Tennessee (59.76) 13
13. Texas Tech (59.38) 14
14. Akron (46.47) 19
15. Wisconsin (46.21) 18
16. Kansas State (44.47) 29
17. Baylor (43.19) 16
18. Nebraska (42.51) 7
19. Iowa State (38.69) 27
20. Southern California (38.06) 31
21. TCU (37.92) 26
22. Florida State (34.61) 21
23. Illinois (33.99) 49
24. South Carolina (33.88) 58
25. Washington (33.40) 60

WOMEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Arkansas (207.52) 3
2. Georgia (163.56) 1
3. Florida (159.97) 2
4. Texas (132.00) 6
5. Oregon (127.34) 5
6. Kansas State (113.44) 10
7. Texas A&M (100.33) 4
8. Kentucky (83.00) 7
9. Baylor (66.77) 27
10. Wisconsin (64.51) 18
11. Southern California (62.32) 17
12. Stanford (60.07) 9
13. Southern Illinois (58.83) 25
14. Texas Tech (49.64) 12
15. Clemson (48.57) 22
16. Akron (48.22) 14
17. Mississippi State (45.23) 24
18. LSU (45.07) 35
19. Florida State (43.35) 13
20. Providence (42.58) 8
21. Georgetown (41.53) 11
22. Alabama (41.39) 30
23. Miami, Fla. (38.84) 31
24. Washington (38.18) 55
25. Missouri (37.87) 16