Tigers Finish Eighth at NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore. – The LSU men’s track and field team scored 17 points on the final day of the men’s competition at the 2018 NCAA Championships to finish in a tie for eighth place with a total of 28 points on Friday night at Hayward Field. The eighth-place finish for the Tigers extends their streak of top-10 finishes at the NCAA meet to 21.
“I thought we had another great day at the track,” head coach Dennis Shaver said. “Jaron (Flournoy) has certainly had a great season and he split 44.05 on the anchor leg to bring us home tonight. And then you look at Damion (Thomas), he was right in his race (110 meter hurdles) and almost came away with a national title in the event.
“It’s just such a competitive meet. Several collegiate records went down tonight, so I’m proud of the way the guys competed for us tonight.”
Freshman Damion Thomas was the first scorer of the night for the Purple and Gold in the 110 meter hurdles. After getting out of the blocks a little slow, the Sunrise, Fla., native recovered and dashed down the track and had himself back in position to take the crown with two hurdles left. In what was almost a photo finish, Thomas finished in third with a time of 13.45 behind the reigning champion, Grant Holloway of Florida, by two hundredths of a second and only one hundredths of a second behind the runner up in David Kendziera (Illinois). Thomas ends his freshman campaign as a two-time First Team All-American and the second-fastest hurdler in LSU history with a personal best of 13.44 that he clocked on Wednesday; next up for the freshman will be a trip to Finland for the 2018 IAAF U20 World Championships in July.
Jaron Flournoy pulled double duty on Friday night competing in the 200 meter dash and 4×400 meter relay. In his solo appearance, the junior from Detroit, Mich., dashed to a time of 20.43 seconds to place fourth and earn his second-career first-team individual All-America honor. He returned as a member of the 4×400 meter relay to close out the event. Jahnoy Thompson, Correion Mosby, Renard Howell and Flournoy combined to clock the third-fastest time in program history with a readout of 3:00.55 to garner bronze as a squad. USC won the 4×400 meter relay on its way to taking down LSU’s collegiate record of 2:59.59 ran by Reggie Dardar, Kelly Willie, Bennie Brazell and Xavier Carter in 2005 with readout of 2:59.00 on Friday night.
Of LSU’s 28 points scored at the NCAA meet, 26.5 of those will be back in the Purple and Gold in 2019. The Tigers received two big scoring performances from freshman at the meet – Jake Norris (hammer throw/third place) and the aforementioned Thomas.
“We’ve got some work to do, but the reality of it is, we have all of our points from this meet returning next year with the exception of Renard (Howell – 4×400 meter relay). We’re excited about the finish we had today and we are really excited about what we have going forward with this men’s squad.”
Freshman JuVaughn Blake closed out his sensational freshman year with a tie for 13th place in the high jump with a clearance of 2.08 meters (6-9.75) to garner Second Team All-America honors.
Georgia won the team title with 52 points.