Tigers No. 2 in Rankings After SEC Outdoors

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Tigers No. 2 in Rankings After SEC Outdoors

BATON ROUGE – On the strength of winning five SEC event titles and turning in two NCAA-leading performances in Saturday’s finale at the 2016 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the LSU Tigers are closing on the top spot in the national rankings this week as the No. 2-ranked men’s team in the latest power rankings released Monday.

The Lady Tigers also emerged from the championship among the top-10 women’s teams in the country at No. 8 in the rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Junior sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake proved to be the star of the meet as he won the SEC Commissioners Trophy as the top men’s scorer in the championship with 22.5 points as a three-time SEC Champion for the weekend. He not only anchored the Tigers to a meet record in winning the men’s 4×100-meter relay, but he also completed the sprint sweep of 100-meter and 200-meter titles on Saturday.

Mitchell-Blake teamed with freshman Jaron Flournoy, junior Renard Howell and junior Tremayne Acy to lower their NCAA-leading time in the event to 38.33 to set a new SEC meet record in the sprint relay. He later ran a wind-legal 10.16 (+1.0) to be crowned the SEC Champion in the 100-meter dash before ending the meet in style with a personal best sub-20-second time of 19.95 (+0.4) to win the 200 meters.

Mitchell-Blake emerged as one of the top-10 200-meter sprinters in collegiate history as his 19.95 personal best tied for the No. 7 spot on the NCAA’s all-time list. LSU’s meet-record time of 38.33 also cracked the NCAA Top 10 list all-time as the No. 8-ranked collegiate team in history, smashing Texas A&M’s previous meet record of 38.50.

Howell also earned All-SEC honors with a runner-up finish to Mitchell-Blake in the men’s 200-meter final when he ran a big wind-legal PR of 20.15 for second place and the No. 3-ranked time in the NCAA this spring.

Junior hurdler Jordan Moore completed the SEC-title sweep in the sprint hurdles during the 2016 season with his win in the 110-meter hurdles on Saturday as he edged South Carolina’s Dondre Echols (13.54) at the line for the win with a seasonal best of 13.53 (+1.2). Moore, who also won the SEC Indoor title in the 60 hurdles back in February, cracked the NCAA’s Top 10 this season at No. 7 in the national rankings.

Also emerging from the championship as one of the NCAA’s Top 10 performers in his event was senior Fitzroy Dunkley, who ran a two-tenth-of-a-second personal best of 45.34 in the 400-meter dash to earn an All-SEC honor as the SEC Outdoor Bronze Medalist in the event. That time ranked Dunkley No. 8 nationally in the event following conference championship weekend.

Dunkley later anchored the Tigers to an SEC Outdoor Championships meet record and gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay as he split 45.16 on the last leg of a team that also featured junior LaMar Bruton (45.89), junior Michael Cherry (44.28) and senior Cyril Grayson (45.16) that ran its second-fastest time of the season at 3 minutes, 0.48 seconds. The Tigers again eclipsed an SEC Championship relay record of 3:01.19 that was held by a Texas A&M team that set both marks two years ago in 2014.

The Lady Tigers opened Saturday’s finals on the track by capturing their 19th SEC title all-time in the women’s 4×100-meter relay when sophomore Mikiah Brisco, freshman Kortnei Johnson, junior Jada Martin and junior Rushell  Harvey combined for a winning seasonal best of 42.77 to beat Texas A&M (42.94) to the finish line. They climbed two spots to No. 2 in the national rankings with their performance in the relay final.

Johnson was the top scoring Lady Tiger on the meet’s final day as she totaled 15.5 points thanks to an All-SEC runner-up finish in the women’s 100-meter dash followed by a fourth-place finish in the 200 meters later in the day. She actually finished just one one-hundredth of a second behind Florida’s Kyra Jefferson (11.28) as the SEC Silver Medalist in the 100-meter final with a wind-legal PR of 11.29 (-0.2).

Martin clocked a wind-legal PR of her own in an All-SEC third-place finish in the 200 meters as she ran 22.60 (-1.3) into a strong headwind to finish as the SEC Outdoor Bronze Medalist. Martin’s 22.60 also moved her into the No. 8 spot in the NCAA rankings in the women’s 200 meters for the 2016 outdoor season.

USTFCCCA Top 25 (as of May 16)

MEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Texas A&M (356.62) 1
2. LSU (245.09) 3
3. Florida (237.16) 2
4. Oregon (222.13) 7
5. Arkansas (217.54) 4
6. Georgia (166.43) 6
7. Alabama (150.53) 9
8. Texas (142.86) 5
9. Houston (128.56) 19
10. Texas Tech (126.96) 8
11. Virginia (126.70) 11
12. Tennessee (120.58) 33
13. Minnesota (116.55) 14
14. Stanford (115.86) 17
15. Virginia Tech (115.18) 10
16. Purdue (105.48) 26
17. Washington (101.48) 36
18. Syracuse (98.13) 12
19. Missouri (95.23) 35
20. Nebraska (94.08) 45
21. Florida State (92.49) 29
22. Mississippi State (91.10) 13
23. Northern Arizona (89.59) 18
24. UCLA (81.63) 16
25. Kansas (81.08) 23

WOMEN
Team (Points) Last Week
1. Arkansas (341.00) 2
2. Kentucky (340.94) 1
3. Oregon (253.52) 3
4. Southern California (211.34) 4
5. Kansas State (208.27) 9
6. Texas (206.62) 5
7. Florida (203.66) 6
8. LSU (194.40) 7
9. Texas A&M (191.43) 10
10. Stanford (173.02) 8
11. Georgia (172.13) 11
12. Tennessee (159.76) 13
13. Oklahoma (132.27) 15
14. New Mexico (126.25) 12
15. Miami, Fla. (124.77) 17
16. Mississippi State (124.24) 16
17. Harvard (113.67) 14
18. Wisconsin (97.52) 21
19. Texas Tech (94.76) 19
20. Oklahoma State (91.02) 18
21. Florida State (86.39) 39
22. Washington (85.12) 26
23. Baylor (81.76) 20
24. Nebraska (81.67) 23
25. Alabama (81.19) 28