Tigers Climb in Latest T&F National Rankings

+0
Tigers Climb in Latest T&F National Rankings

BATON ROUGE – The Tigers moved up three spots to No. 3 in the national rankings on the strength of their three NCAA-leading performances at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on Saturday, while the Lady Tigers held firm in the Top 10 at No. 6 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association power rankings released Monday.

This marks the first time during the 2015 outdoor season that the USTFCCCA national power rankings have been calculated using only seasonal-best performances recorded by athletes across the country this spring. In previous weeks, the USTFCCCA’s weekly rankings considered an athlete’s seasonal-best performance from 2014 if that time or mark was an improvement on this season.

Junior sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and both the Tigers’ 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays are among the NCAA-title contenders in the wake of their national-leading performances this past weekend.

The Tigers kicked off the afternoon session at the LSU Alumni Gold by dropping their NCAA-leading time to 39.84 seconds in the 4×100 relay as Mitchell-Blake anchored the squad also featuring junior Tinashe Mutanga, freshman Jaron Flournoy and junior Tremayne Acy. Mitchell-Blake later ran an NCAA-leading time under all conditions this season with a winning run of 20.14 (+3.6) in his outdoor debut in the event.

Mitchell-Blake also owns the fastest wind-legal 100 meters in the NCAA this season with his personal best of 10.09 from the Texas Invitational last weekend, which also ranks No. 4 nationally under all conditions.

The Tigers then ended the meet with a record-setting performance in the 4×400-meter relay as junior LaMar Bruton, junior Michael Cherry,  senior Cyril Grayson and senior Fitzroy Dunkley ran the second-fastest relay in school history at 3 minutes, 0.38 seconds to beat Mississippi State (3:05.48) to the line by more than five seconds.

They broke UCLA’s 29-year-old Bernie Moore Track Stadium record of 3:00.55 set at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 1987 to sit nearly two full seconds clear of No. 2 Texas (3:02.18) at the top of the NCAA rankings in the event. Only LSU’s collegiate record of 2:59.59 from the 2005 NCAA final separates the 2016 Tigers from the top of the school-record books in the event.

Cherry ran his first 400-meter dash outdoors on Saturday and tied for the No. 2 spot in the NCAA rankings this season with a personal-best time of 45.17 to finish as the top collegian in the field. Dunkley ran a new PR of his own with a season-opening 45.52 to follow Cherry with the No. 8-ranked time in the country this spring.

The Lady Tigers were also impressive with their performance at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on Saturday afternoon as they turned in two top-five and five top-10 times nationally on the track during the competition.

Junior Morgan Schuetz led the way with a big personal best in the women’s 800 meters as she slashed nearly one full second off of her previous PR with a seasonal-best run of 2:02.29 for the NCAA’s No. 2-ranked time in 2016. Junior Mikiah Brisco also tied for the No. 3 spot in the NCAA’s all conditions ranking in the 100-meter dash with a career-best wind-aided time of 11.17 (+3.5), while junior teammate Jada Martin cracked the Top 10 of the national rankings in a tie for No. 8 with a wind-aided best of her own at 11.24.

Martin also joined junior Travia Jones, freshman Rachel Misher and senior Chanice Chase in running a seasonal best of 3:31.66 in the women’s 4×400-meter relay for the seventh-fastest time this season.

Sophomore All-American Daeshon Gordon saw her first action this outdoor season on Saturday and broke 13 seconds in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a season-opening wind-aided time of 12.99 (+2.7) to come in at No. 7 in this week’s national rankings in the event. Gordon competed in both hurdle events on Saturday as she also opened her season with a time of 57.99 in the 400-meter hurdles.

USTFCCCA Top 25 (as of April 25)

MEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Texas A&M (337.81) 1
2. Florida (261.30) 2
3. LSU (242.67) 5
4. Arkansas (193.48) 7
5. Georgia (179.19) 8
6. Texas (178.85) 4
7. Oregon (150.18) 3
8. Alabama (149.58) 9
9. Texas Tech (139.84) 10
10. Virginia (123.74) 6
11. Minnesota (117.93) 36
12. Syracuse (115.11) 29
13. Virginia Tech (108.57) 22
14. Penn State (102.31) 12
15. Mississippi State (100.76) 31
16. UCLA (93.67) 23
17. South Carolina (86.58) 11
18. Houston (84.98) 41
19. TCU (84.96) 25
20. Ole Miss (82.93) 51
21. Middle Tennessee State (82.05) 20
22. Iowa (81.11) 35
23. Southern California (80.21) 15
24. Pennsylvania (79.71) 26
25. Florida State (79.50) 39

WOMEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Arkansas (295.85) 2
2. Kentucky (284.02) 8
3. Oregon (283.85) 1
4. Texas (259.07) 7
5. Florida (247.38) 9
6. LSU (234.81) 4
7. Southern California (227.40) 3
8. Kansas State (206.88) 10
9. Tennessee (170.05) 16
10. Harvard (166.63) 14
11. Stanford (165.46) 12
12. Texas A&M (162.81) 5
13. Georgia (154.73) 6
14. Mississippi State (131.82) 11
15. Miami, Fla. (125.91) 13
16. Oklahoma (116.75) 15
17. Baylor (115.40) 17
18. Arizona (106.60) 23
19. Wisconsin (85.90) 27
20. Auburn (81.53) 24
21. Oklahoma State (77.66) 21
22. New Mexico (77.51) 19
23. Nebraska (77.10) 29
24. Ole Miss (76.42) 34
25. Michigan State (73.12) 26