Track & Field Climbs Rankings This Week

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Track & Field Climbs Rankings This Week

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Track & Field teams have firmly positioned themselves among the nation’s top teams in the wake of the SEC Relays as the Lady Tigers moved up a spot to No. 3 and the Tigers held onto their position at No. 6 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association power rankings.

The SEC Relays saw a number of LSU athletes and relay teams improve their seasonal-best performances and solidify their qualifying position for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds to be held later this month.

Junior Aleia Hobbs certainly stole the show with her performance as she anchored the Lady Tigers to a collegiate-record-tying 42.12 seconds in the women’s 4×100-meter relay before claiming the women’s 100 meters with the second-fastest time in NCAA history at 10.85 (+2.0) later in the day.

Hobbs teamed with junior Mikiah Brisco, sophomore Kortnei Johnson and senior Jada Martin to equal Oregon’s collegiate record of 42.12 set earlier this season as the two teams emerged from the weekend at No. 1 in the NCAA rankings for 2017. Hobbs’ 10.85 also moved her past Oregon’s Deajah Stevens (11.00) for the NCAA’s No. 1 ranking in the women’s 100-meter dash this spring.

Hobbs was honored Tuesday for her performance as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I Women’s National Athlete of the Week for the second time this season and the SEC Women’s Runner of the Week for the fourth week in a row.

Senior Ka’Lynn Jupiter took advantage of her opportunity to compete at the SEC Relays on Saturday as she dropped her seasonal best to 57.13 to win the women’s 400-meter hurdles with the nation’s 12th-fastest time during the 2017 season. Following Jupiter in third place in the race was fellow senior Bryiana Richardson, who ran a seasonal best of her own at 58.26 to move up to No. 26 nationally in the event.

Cracking the NCAA’s Top 20 in the long jump with a seasonal-best performance was senior Nataliyah Friar, who soared to No. 19 on the national list with a wind-legal jump of 20 feet, 11 ¼ inches (+1.4) for her top mark in the event since the 2015 season. Freshman Nickolette Dunbar threw a big outdoor personal best of 53-7 ¾ in the shot put to move up to No. 30 in the nation in the event, while sophomore Rachel Misher also moved into NCAA qualifying position in the 200 meters with a top-50 time nationally this spring with a windy 23.22.

The Tigers were led by their 4×400-meter relay team that slashed nearly a second and a half from their previous seasonal best with the second-fastest time nationally this spring at 3 minutes, 2.80 seconds.

Senior LaMar Bruton, sophomore Jaron Flournoy, senior Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and senior Michael Cherry crossed the finish line second in the race with the NCAA’s No. 2-ranked time this season. Their 3:02.80 with their performance at the SEC Relays was well ahead of their pace from the Mt. SAC Relays where they clocked their previous best of 3:04.19.

Opening their outdoor seasons in the 100-meter dash at the SEC Relays were senior Tremayne Acy and sophomore Donte Jackson as Acy clocked a wind-aided 10.13 (+2.9) to rank No. 12 nationally and Jackson sprinted to a wind-legal personal best of 10.22 (+1.6) to tie for No. 28 nationally in the event.

Also improving their seasonal-best performances at the SEC Relays this past weekend were senior Tinashe Mutanga with a wind-aided time of 20.85 in the 200-meter dash and redshirt sophomore Da’Quan Bellard and freshman Rayvon Grey with matching wind-aided jumps of 25-0 in the long jump to crack the NCAA’s Top 50 in the event this season.

USTFCCCA Top 25

MEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Texas A&M (320.36) 1
2. Florida (297.78) 2
3. Texas Tech (251.33) 4
4. Georgia (216.40) 3
5. Alabama (200.09) 5
6. LSU (178.98) 6
7. Arkansas (170.35) 15
8. Southern California (168.95) 7
9. Texas (163.97) 8
10. Virginia (141.55) 9
11. Colorado State (134.88) 12
12. Oregon (134.44) 13
13. Ole Miss (131.58) 17
14. Baylor (130.50) 10
15. Nebraska (129.02) 19
16. Kansas (126.95) 11
17. Penn State (123.27) 16
18. UCLA (120.15) 18
19. South Carolina (118.45) 22
20. Auburn (118.07) 14
21. Kentucky (104.42) 20
22. Mississippi State (97.94) 31
23. Tennessee (97.18) 21
24. Oklahoma State (91.88) 24
25. Houston (89.56) 34

WOMEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Texas A&M (309.14) 1
2. Oregon (288.64) 2
3. LSU (279.94) 4
4. Arkansas (275.82) 3
5. Southern California (269.94) 5
6. Kentucky (238.56) 8
7. Florida (222.42) 6
8. Texas (190.86) 7
9. Georgia (167.17) 9
10. Alabama (151.59) 10
11. Baylor (137.39) 12
12. Auburn (127.49) 13
13. Kansas State (121.05) 11
14. Florida State (112.07) 16
15. Stanford (111.13) 14
16. Purdue (107.19) 15
17. Ole Miss (105.30) 17
18. Miami, Fla. (100.23) 25
19. Notre Dame (99.87) 19
20. BYU (99.36) 18
21. Arizona State (97.69) 21
22. Penn State (87.59) 22
23. Washington (86.62) 24
24. Missouri (85.10) 28
25. Tennessee (84.71) 23