Friar Anchors Silver Medal Team USA Relay

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Friar Anchors Silver Medal Team USA Relay

BATON ROUGE – LSU’s sophomore All-American Nataliyah Friar wrapped up her trip to Gwangju, South Korea, by climbing onto the medal podium at the World University Games as she anchored the United States to the silver medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay during Sunday’s championship finale at Gwangju Universiade Main Stadium.

Teaming with Colorado’s Ana Holland, UCLA’s Kylie Price, and Notre Dame’s Jade Barber, Friar brought the baton home in 44.95 seconds to score the silver medal on the final day of the competition.

With winds swirling to 25 mph or more inside the stadium with typhoon Chan-hom approaching the Korean peninsula, the United States trailed only Kazakhstan across the finish line in the 4×100-meter relay final as the Eastern European nation struck gold with a winning run of 44.28 in challenging conditions. Thailand also climbed the medal podium as bronze medalists with a time of 45.03.

Friar also anchored the United States to a qualifying performance in Saturday’s preliminary round by turning in the fastest time of the day at 44.40. Rounding out the teams in Sunday’s final were New Zealand in fourth place with a time of 45.57, Slovakia in fifth place with a time of 46.01, China in sixth place with a time of 46.11 and Estonia in seventh place with a time of 46.80.

Friar’s silver-medal-winning performance in the 4×100-meter relay capped an outstanding week at this year’s World University Games after she also soared to a personal best in Thursday’s long jump final.

After qualifying with a mark of 20 feet, 7 inches on her third and final attempt of the preliminary round, Friar hit the board on her first jump in the final and soared to a lifetime personal best of 21-0 ¾ to claim fifth place in the event. Jumping into a slight headwind of -0.5 meters per second, Friar landed 21-0 ¾ to move up three spots into fifth place after stepping onto the runway for her fourth-round jump in eighth place overall.

That’s where the two-time Lady Tiger All-American would remain in a competitive final as Russia’s Iuliia Pidluzhnaia was crowned the World University Games champion with a winning leap of 22-3 ½ in the third round. Friar also followed Poland’s silver medalist Anna Jagaciak-Michalska (21-6 ¾), Australia’s bronze medalist Naa Adjeley Anang (21-6) and Cypress’ Nektaria Panayi (21-4 ¾) in the event.

Friar continued her impressive sophomore season as a Lady Tiger in which she earned All-American honors in both the long jump and triple jump for the first time in her career. She finished up the indoor season as the NCAA Indoor Bronze Medalist in the long jump before placing sixth nationally in the triple jump at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to cap her collegiate season.

Her personal-best mark of 21-0 ¾ on Thursday afternoon actually eclipsed her previous lifetime best of 21-0 she set on her sixth and final jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships to win the NCAA bronze medal.

Friar’s performance in Thursday’s final at the World University Games also cracked LSU’s all-time Top 10 list in the women’s long jump as she became the No. 10-ranked long jumper outdoors in school history with a PR of 21-0 ¾. She has also jumped a wind-aided personal best of 21-10 ¾ (+2.5) during her sophomore season when she scored the SEC Outdoor silver medal in an All-SEC performance back on May 15.