Track and Field to Hold Annual LSU Alumni Gold
BATON ROUGE – The history and tradition of the LSU Track & Field program will be on display this weekend when the Tigers and Lady Tigers play host to this year’s LSU Alumni Gold as 11 former All-Americans and 11 current athletes ranked among the NCAA’s Top 10 in their events are among those ready to compete Saturday at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
The afternoon session at this year’s LSU Alumni Gold meet is slated to begin at 1:20 p.m. CT following a brief opening ceremony at 1:15 p.m. and is set to run through the 4×400-meter relays at 4:05 p.m.
The morning session of Saturday’s competition starts bright and early at 8:30 a.m. CT with the first field events of the day in the men’s and women’s javelin followed by the “B” section finals on the track at 9:45 a.m.
The Tigers are the No. 4-ranked men’s team nationally and the Lady Tigers are tabbed the No. 14-ranked women’s team in the country in this week’s Top 25 power rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday. The No. 16-ranked Penn State men and Nittany Lion women highlight a field that also features the likes of Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa State and Wisconsin making the trip here to Baton Rouge to compete at Saturday’s LSU Alumni Gold meet at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Rounding out the collegiate field at this year’s meet include in-state programs such as Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, New Orleans, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane, as well as visiting teams from Hillsdale College, Hinds Community College, Maine, Meridian Community College, Southern Mississippi, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Texas State.
Delta Timing will provide live results from the event as fans can follow all the action online at http://deltatiming.com. Fans can also receive live updates of the Tigers and Lady Tigers competing on Saturday afternoon by following @LSUTrackField on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsutrackfield and Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsutrackfield and by liking LSU Track & Field on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lsutrackfield.
The LSU Alumni Gold attracts a world-class field year in and year out, and this year’s meet is no exception as many elite college and professional athletes will headline the action at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Senior Rodney Brown is the top-ranked Tiger on tap to compete on Saturday as the NCAA’s leading discus thrower heading into the weekend. Brown is the only discus thrower in the collegiate ranks this year to eclipse the 200-foot mark on the men’s side with a national-leading mark of 209-8 to his credit in taking the title at the Texas Relays. Not only is Brown the only discus thrower to eclipse 200 feet this season, but he has done so in each of his three appearance in wins at the Louisiana Classics (207-11) and Battle on the Bayou (203-3) in recent weeks.
Brown’s national-leading seasonal best of 209-8 is nearly 12 feet clear of the rest of the NCAA as he leads No. 2-ranked top mark of 197-10 recorded this season by Sam Mattis of the University of Pennsylvania.
The meet features a rematch of the women’s shot put final at last year’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships as Lady Tiger senior and reigning NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor silver medalist Tori Bliss takes on Iowa State’s defending NCAA Outdoor Champion Christina Hillman. Bliss opened her outdoor season by breaking her own outdoor school record with the NCAA’s No. 3-ranked mark at 57-5 ½.
Lining up as the NCAA’s No. 4-ranked performer in the men’s 110-meter hurdles this season is Tiger senior Joshua Thompson, who has already run a wind-legal personal best of 13.68 at the Texas Relays. Ranking at No. 6 in their events heading into Saturday’s meet are junior Chanice Chase (57.13) in the women’s 400-meter hurdles and sophomore Rebekah Wales (176-5) in the women’s javelin.
Two other Lady Tigers are set to compete this weekend ranked No. 8 nationally in their respective events as sophomore Nataliyah Friar has jumped a wind-aided 20-9 ¼ in the long jump and freshman Daeshon Gordon has run a wind-aided 13.09 in the 100-meter hurdles as two of the NCAA’s top performers outdoors in 2015.
LSU’s vaunted relay teams will also be on display as both the Tigers (38.93) and Lady Tigers (43.23) feature the NCAA’s No. 2-ranked 4×100-meter relay teams to this point in the season. Both teams are coming off of an impressive weekend at Arizona’s Jim Click Shootout on April 11 when the men ran 38.95 and the women clocked a seasonal best of 43.23 to set a pair of Roy P. Drachman Stadium records.
Each of LSU’s teams also posted seasonal-best times in the 4×400-meter relay at the University of Arizona last weekend as the Tigers clocked the sixth-fastest time at 3 minutes, 6.18 seconds and the Lady Tigers added the seventh-fastest time at 3:32.97 in the NCAA rankings for the 2015 outdoor season. All four of LSU’s relay teams will be in action once again this weekend.
Two Tiger seniors will also make their much-anticipated debuts this outdoor season on Saturday as Aaron Ernest lines up in the 100 meters and Vernon Norwood takes his mark in the 400 meters during the meet.
Norwood is the reigning NCAA Indoor Champion in the men’s 400-meter dash after clocking an indoor personal record of 45.31 in his last 400-meter race at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship back in March. Ernest, a two-time NCAA Outdoor finalist in the men’s 100-meter dash in his collegiate career, is set to run his first 100-meter race this outdoor season on Saturday.
Three former NCAA Champions headline the program’s celebrated alumni joining the Tigers and Lady Tigers in action at Saturday’s LSU Alumni Gold event. Three-time Olympic silver medalist and 2008 NCAA 100-meter champion Richard Thompson will race again the likes of Ernest in the men’s 100 meters before also lining up in the men’s 200 meters later in the day. The 2012 NCAA 400-meter hurdles champion Cassandra Tate will set up in the women’s 400 meters, while 2013 NCAA long jump champion Damar Forbes will also take flight in the men’s invitational.
The meet also features three former NCAA silver medalists during their collegiate careers at LSU as Rebecca Alexander (200 meters), Charlene Lipsey (800 meters) and Jasmin Stowers (100 hurdles) are all in action.
Other former Tiger and Lady Tiger All-Americans during their career with the LSU Track & Field program who are also on tap to compete as part of Saturday’s LSU Alumni Gold meet include Kyron Blaise (long jump), Keri Emanuel (triple jump), Denise Hinton (hammer throw), Gabriel Mvumvure (100 meters, 200 meters) and Nikita Tracey (800 meters) in the meet.
After playing host to the LSU Alumni Gold meet on Saturday, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will make their annual trip to Philadelphia next weekend to compete in the 121st running of the Penn Relay Carnival to go off April 23-25 at historic Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. They will then wrap up the 2015 regular season the following weekend when they play host the LSU Invitational on Saturday, May 2.