Track & Field Maintains Top-10 Rankings

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Track & Field Maintains Top-10 Rankings

BATON ROUGE – After wrapping up their 2015 regular season with a sweep of the team titles at the second-annual LSU Invitational on Saturday, the Tigers have held their position at No. 2 and the Lady Tigers have strengthened their grip at No. 8 in the latest power rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday.

It marks the second week in a row for the Tigers to be ranked No. 2 in the men’s power rankings and the Lady Tigers to be ranked No. 8 in the women’s power rankings published by the USTFCCCA.

The highlight of Saturday’s LSU Invitational was certainly the performance of Lady Tiger senior Tori Bliss as she became the NCAA’s leading shot putter for the 2015 season by uncorking a more than three-foot seasonal best of 60 feet, 8 inches to win her fourth-straight women’s shot put title of this outdoor season. Bliss smashed her own outdoor school record of 57-5 ½ set at Arizona’s Jim Click Shootout earlier this spring and the 32-year-old Bernie Moore Track Stadium record of 59-2 set by Arizona’s Meg Ritchie way back in 1983.

By throwing her lifetime personal best of 60-8 in the shot put on Saturday afternoon, she not only etched her name in LSU’s record books as the school-record and stadium-record holder in the event, but she became the No. 9-ranked shot putter outdoors in NCAA history with her effort as a true national championship contender in 2015.

The reigning NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor silver medalist in the shot put, Bliss overtook Southern Illinois’ Raven Saunders (59-9 ¾) and Missouri’s Jill Rushin (57-9 ¾) for the NCAA’s No. 1 ranking in 2015.

Bliss set her previous lifetime best of 60-7 ¼ in the event in a silver-medal-winning performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships back in March, ending her final indoor season as the No. 8-ranked collegian in history indoors. She has now eclipsed the 60-foot mark on four occasions in her final season with the Lady Tigers.

Bliss was one of four LSU Track & Field athletes on the afternoon either improving their position in the Top 10 of the NCAA rankings this season or entering the NCAA’s Top 10 for the first time in 2015, while also leading the Tigers and Lady Tigers to a sweep of the men’s and women’s team titles at the second-annual LSU Invitational in their regular-season finale.

Sophomore Morgan Schuetz raced to the ninth-fastest time nationally this season with her winning run of 2 minutes, 3.12 seconds to take the tape in the women’s 800 meters. Schuetz slashed nearly four seconds from her previous outdoor PR of 2:06.86 set at the Jim Click Shootout and moved into the No. 8 spot on LSU’s all-time performance list with her second victory of 2015.

Senior Julian Parker and sophomore Blair Henderson followed with PRs of their own in the men’s 800 meters as Henderson posted the NCAA’s No. 9-ranked time at 1:47.03 and Parker added the NCAA’s No. 13-ranked time at 1:47.33 to finish in third place and fourth place, respectively, in the event. Alabama’s Alex Amankwah (1:45.91) and Ole Miss’ Craig Engels (1:46.13) claimed the top two spots in the race.

The Tigers have featured many of the NCAA’s leading 400-meter runners throughout the 2015 outdoor season and they were among the top performers once again at the LSU Invitational. Tiger senior Quincy Downing edged Alabama’s Steven Gayle (45.77) at the tape with his lifetime personal best of 45.70 with the seventh-fastest time nationally in the event. Also racing to a personal best in the 400-meter dash on Saturday was LSU junior Fitzroy Dunkley, who turned in a PR of 45.92 to move to the No. 11 spot in the national rankings this spring.

The No. 8-ranked Lady Tigers defended the team title they won at the inaugural LSU Invitational a year ago while racking up 146 points in 18 events contested during the meet. The No. 20-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide finished runner-up with 134 points, followed by the No. 3-ranked Florida Gators in third place with 93 points, the Miami Hurricanes in fourth place with 87 points and Ole Miss Rebels in fifth place with 84 points.

After finishing runners-up a season ago, the No. 2-ranked Tigers tallied 158 points on the afternoon to win the men’s team title, while No. 9-ranked Alabama followed closely behind in second place with 148 points and No. 3-ranked Florida trailed in third place with 105 points. Rounding out the men’s team scoring were Ole Miss in fourth place with 75 points and Miami in fifth place with 48 points.

USTFCCCA Top 25 (as of May 4)

MEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Texas A&M (331.61) 1
2. LSU (284.77) 2
3. Florida (265.60) 3
4. Southern California (243.13) 4
5. Oregon (238.56) 5
6. Texas (181.46) 7
7. Texas Tech (172.20) 6
8. Arkansas (168.92) 12
9. Baylor (139.19) 11
10. Georgia (138.95) 10
11. Alabama (137.19) 9
12. Penn State (132.15) 15
13. Virginia (126.91) 8
14. BYU (123.74) 16
15. Florida State (112.53) 20
16. TCU (108.49) 23
17. Illinois (98.44) 17
18. Mississippi State (96.73) 13
19. Syracuse (96.22) 21
20. Kansas State (91.81) 45
21. South Carolina (83.98) 14
22. Tennessee (83.39) 18
23. Akron (76.95) 25
24. Oklahoma State (71.89) 57
25. Stanford (71.34) 47

WOMEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Arkansas (314.22) 2
2. Southern California (296.09) 1
3. Florida (268.33) 3
4. Texas (259.80) 7
5. Kentucky (241.98) 4
6. Georgia (234.17) 5
7. Oregon (212.09) 6
8. LSU (200.95) 8
9. Texas A&M (189.32) 9
10. Kansas State (150.42) 10
11. Baylor (144.43) 11
12. Michigan State (123.78) 13
13. Stanford (120.82) 28
14. Florida State (115.15) 18
15. Texas Tech (105.70) 12
16. Alabama (98.31) 20
17. Oklahoma State (96.57) 21
18. Clemson (94.93) 15
19. Mississippi State (92.52) 22
20. North Carolina (91.56) 14
21. Kansas (90.49) 17
22. Iona (88.41) 36
23. Notre Dame (86.21) 16
24. Virginia Tech (85.05) 19
25. Missouri (82.25) 24