Track & Field Signees Dominate State Meets
BATON ROUGE – As the Tigers and Lady Tigers prepare to wrap up the 2013 season next week at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., we take a look at LSU’s future stars who will look to make their mark on the program starting in 2014 after wrapping up their prep careers at recent state meets.
Prospective Tigers and Lady Tigers from across the Southeast have combined to win 10 state titles this outdoor season in such states as Georgia, Missouri, Texas and Louisiana.
Note: LSU’s high school recruits mentioned below are listed alphabetically.
LSU’s lone junior college signee in the Class of 2013, Vernon Norwood recently wrapped up his two-year stint at South Plains College with a silver-medal-winning finish in the 400-meter dash at the 2013 National Junior College Athletics Association Outdoor Track & Field Championships held two weekends ago in Hutchinson, Kan.
Norwood, who opened his 2013 outdoor season by running a lifetime personal record of 45.56 seconds in a victory at the UTEP Invitational on April 13, claimed the NJCAA Outdoor silver medal for the second season in a row with his run of 45.75 in his last 400-meter race of the junior college season to finish runner-up to West Texas College’s champion Omar Johnson (45.55).
Norwood also anchored the Texans to a defense of their NJCAA Outdoor title in the 4×400-meter relay with a nearly five-second victory at the NJCAA Outdoor meet with a run of 3:05.93 in the national final.
A native of Morgan City, La., and product of Morgan City High School, Norwood wraps up his junior college career as a four-time NJCAA champion and six-time NJCAA All-American as one of the emerging talents in the 400-meter dash in the United States.
An emerging middle distance talent in the state of Florida, Danielle Avery has slashed more than two seconds off of her personal best in the 800 meters since signing with the Lady Tigers in February.
Avery took third place in the girl’s 800-meter final at the Florida Relays earlier this spring while running a lifetime personal record of 2:12.84 in the event held at the University of Florida. She then wrapped up her career at Naples High School by winning the Florida Class 3A silver medal as the state runner-up in her final appearance at the state championship.
Avery has also received her share of accolades for her academic performance this spring as the recipient of the 24th-annual Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award on the night of May 22, while being chosen among the 12 finalists as the high school student in Collier County reflecting the highest standards of sportsmanship and academic achievement.
Avery has maintained a stellar 4.76 cumulative grade-point average during her prep career at Naples High School while also earning nine varsity letters in soccer, track and cross country.
A member of LSU’s heralded football recruiting class in 2013, Jeryl Brazil recently wrapped up his prep career on the track by winning his seventh career state championship with a successful defense of his Class 3A title in the 100-meter dash at the 2013 Louisiana High School Athletics Association Class 3A Outdoor State Track & Field Championships held May 4 at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Brazil sprinted to a seasonal-best wind-aided time of 10.64 in the final to win his second-straight Class 3A crown and third-straight state title dating back to the 2011 season when he captured the Class 2A title in the 100 meters in his state championship debut for Loranger High School. Brazil capped his prep career with by defending his state title despite battling through an injury-plagued senior season this spring.
Brazil, a four-star prospect as one of the nation’s top football recruits, is one of the most decorated sprinters in state history as he prepares to join LSU Football’s offseason program later this summer.
One of the premier sprinters in the state of Texas for the Class of 2013, Beaumont Ozen product Bealoved Brown will wrap up her prep career as the reigning Class 4A state champion in the 200-meter dash following an impressive win at the 2013 University Interscholastic League Class 4A State Championships held earlier this month at the University of Texas.
Brown captured her fifth career Class 4A state title and her second in the 200 meters after sprinting to the finish line with a winning time of 24.37 (+0.6) in the state final in her final state championship. She also won the Class 4A 200-meter crown during her sophomore season in 2011 while establishing herself as one fo the state’s top prospects.
Brown has run 2013 seasonal bests of 11.92 in the 100 meters and 24.30 in the 200 meters while sweeping Region 3-4A sprint titles while earning her return trip to the state meet this spring.
Wentzville High School (Mo.) product Nataliyah Friar will join the Lady Tigers as one of the nation’s top triple jump recruits after finishing one of the most decorated prep careers in the state of Missouri.
Despite battling through a hip flexor injury that has limited her progress for much of her senior season outdoors in 2013, Friar did manage to defend her Missouri Class 4A state championship in the triple jump after she jumped a wind-legal seasonal best of 39 feet, 1 ½ inches in the state final. She will arrive on LSU’s campus after winning three-straight Missouri Class 4A state titles in the triple jump from 2011-13.
Friar also earned a fourth-place finish in the long jump and a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter dash in her final appearance for Wentzville High School at the Class 4A state meet this spring.
One of the breakout stars of LSU’s Class of 2013, future Lady Tiger Rushell Harvey wrapped up her high school career as a double sprint champion in the 100 meters and 200 meters in her final appearance for Houston’s Fort Bend Bush High School at the UIL Class 5A State Championships held at Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium earlier this month.
Harvey swept Class 5A state titles with winning wind-aided times of 11.57 in the 100-meter final and 23.58 in the 200-meter final to cement her legacy as the most dominant sprinter in the state’s top classification in her senior season outdoors in 2013. It marked the first time in her prep career that Harvey was crowned state champion after taking fourth in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters as a junior in 2012.
While Harvey won the Class 5A crown in the 100 meters with a windy 11.57, she owns a seasonal-best wind-aided time of 11.55 set in winning the Region 3-5A championship earlier this spring.
With her seasonal bests, Harvey is the nation’s No. 3-ranked sprinter under all conditions with a best of 23.58w in the 200 meters and the nation’s No. 8-ranked sprinter under all conditions with a best of 11.55w during her senior season at Fort Bend Bush High School.
After setting a Class 4A meet record of 1:51.16 to win his first career state title in the 800 meters during his junior season a year ago, Blair Henderson defended his crown earlier this month with a dominating effort with his final appearance for St. Louis Catholic High School at the LHSAA Class 4A Outdoor State Championships.
Henderson, who inked a National Letter of Intent with the Tigers during the February signing period with his PR of 1:51.16, raced to new personal bests in back-to-back meets during the 2013 outdoor season with a pair of times of 1:50.90 at the B.S. Walker Relays and 1:50.47 at the Lagrange Toyota Gator Relays at the start of his final prep campaign.
While running a new lifetime best of 1:50.47 earlier this year, Henderson cracked the Top 10 of the national rankings as the No. 8-ranked prep 800-meter runner in the United States for the 2013 outdoor season.
The Lady Tigers have actually signed three sprint prospects from the state of Texas as part of their Class of 2013 as Travia Jones will arrive on campus as a two-time Texas Class 5A bronze medalist in the 400-meter dash.
After winning her first career Class 5A bronze medal during her junior season a year ago with a lifetime PR of 54.53, Jones clocked an outdoor seasonal best of 55.05 in a bronze-medal-winning performance yet again in 2013 at the UIL Class 5A Outdoor State Championships.
A product of Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Lithonia, Ga., Jada Martin has enjoyed a resurgence as one of the nation’s premier sprint recruits with her performance as a senior during the 2013 campaign.
Martin enjoyed a stellar senior season in 2013 while winning her second career Georgia Class 5A state championship in the 200-meter dash with a winning time of 23.88 (+0.3) in the state final, following up with her first career state championship as a sophomore in 2011. She also raced to a wind-legal 11.76 (+1.1) to score the silver medal in the 100-meter dash at the Class 5A state meet earlier this month.
Martin sprinted into the Top 10 of the national rankings in the prep 200 meters with her victory in the high school invitational at the Atlanta Grand Prix on May 17 with a seasonal-best wind-legal time of 23.75 (-0.4) for a performance that ranks No. 8 nationally under all conditions among sprinters in the Class of 2013.
While his future teammates were earning their spot in the NCAA semifinals while competing at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds last weekend, future Tiger standout Jonathan Pitt earned his spot in the state finals of the boy’s triple jump last Saturday while leaping to a new outdoor PR of 49-5 for the win at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Section 4 Championships.
Despite battling through injuries for much of the 2013 outdoor season, Pitt is now a favorite to win his first career New Jersey state title as the top seed in Group 4 at the 95th NJSIAA Track & Field Championships set for Friday and Saturday at Silver Eagle Stadium at Egg Harbor Township High School in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
The 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals triple jump silver medalist during his senior season at South Brunswick High School, Pitt is currently the nation’s No. 8-ranked triple jumper at the prep level in the 2013 season as he prepares to wrap up his high school career in the coming weeks.
Bryiana Richardson has emerged as one of the nation’s top-ranked intermediate hurdlers at the prep level in this year’s senior class in the wake of her final season at Helen Cox High School in New Orleans.
She set personal bests in the 300-meter hurdles in back-to-back meets earlier this spring with a time of 42.73 at the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans and 42.69 at the Mobile Challenge of Champions in Mobile, Ala., to currently rank No. 17 nationally at the prep level in the 300 hurdles among recruits in the Class of 2013.
Richardson has since defended her Louisiana Class 4A state championship in the 300 hurdles with a winning time of 43.21 while also claiming the state silver medal in the 100 hurdles in her final appearance at the LHSAA Class 4A Outdoor State Championships held back on May 4. She ends her career with three-straight state titles in the 300 hurdles, including a Class 3A title in 2011 and a Class 4A title in 2012.
One future LSU Tiger who has been crowned a state champion for the first time in his prep career this spring is St. Paul’s High School product Cameron Robichaux, who dominated the boy’s pole vault final at the LHSAA Class 5A Outdoor State Championships held on LSU’s campus on Saturday, May 4.
The Mandeville native matched his outdoor seasonal best in his final prep campaign in 2013 with a clearance of 15-6 to take the Class 5A state title by six inches over his nearest competitor. Robichaux was also crowned the Region 2-5A champion with a clearance of 15-6 en route to a berth at the LHSAA Class 4A Outdoor State Championships for the second-straight season.
It was Robichaux’s first career state championship after winning the Class 5A silver medal with a runner-up finish at the state meet during his junior season at St. Paul’s High School a year ago.
After winning her first career Class 5A state crown in the javelin throw with a meet record of 152-6 at the LHSAA Class 5A Outdoor State Championships a season ago, West Monroe High School product Rebekah Wales matched her effort with a winning throw of 152-6 to defend her state title as a senior this spring while establishing herself as one of the nation’s top recruits in the event.
Wales is now the No. 4-ranked javelin thrower at the prep level nationally and the No. 3-ranked member of the Class of 2013 with her seasonal and personal record of 158-3 set on her season opener at West Monroe’s Van Leigh Relays held back on March 9.