LSU Gold

Track & Field’s Women Advance 14 Student-Athletes to NCAA Outdoor Championship

by Braydin Sik
Track & Field’s Women Advance 14 Student-Athletes to NCAA Outdoor Championship

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The LSU track and field women’s team finished their second and final day of action at the NCAA East First Round, hosted by Kentucky at the UK Track & Field Complex.

Live Results

There were many highlights throughout the day for the Tigers, but the women’s sprint teams may have taken the torch.

Starting off the running for the women on Saturday was the 4×100-meter relay team consisting of Brianna Lyston, Thelma Davies, Leah Phillips and Tima Godbless. The team didn’t have the prettiest of exchanges throughout the race, but that didn’t stop them from taking second in their heat with a time of 42.75 seconds. Their time is a little bit off of their season best of 42.49 seconds they set a couple weeks ago at the SEC Outdoor Championships.

Those four sprinters from the 4×100 team went on later in the day to compete in both the 100 meter and 200 meter as individuals. Three of the four punched their second and third tickets on the day in those two events. Godbless had a breakout weekend with an Olympic-standard and a personal-best time of 11.03 seconds in the 100m, along with a new PR of 22.63 seconds in the 200m that was just off of the Olympic standard. Lyston clocked 10.99 seconds in the 100m to go along with her 22.82 seconds in the 200m. Davies finished with 11.02 seconds in the 100m and 22.70 seconds in the 200m. The freshman Bigam punched the very first ticket of her collegiate career in the 200m with a new personal-best time of 22.96 seconds.

Senior Estel Valeanu got the day started for the Tigers as she advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the women’s discus throw. The Israel native launched a throw of 54.74 meters (179’ 7”) on her first toss, clinching the 12th and final spot to advance. Valeanu beat out the next best thrower in the East by a total of five inches.

Next up to bat on Saturday was the senior Morgan Smalls, who had already punched her first ticket of the week on Thursday in long jump. Smalls finished with a clearance of 1.84 meters (6’ 0.5”), tying her NCAA East First Round record from last season. Her clearance in high jump was also a season best.

Later in the day Smalls punched her third ticket of the weekend in triple jump and was joined by freshman Taylor Fingers who punched her very first ticket in college. Smalls reached a distance of 13.16 meters (43’ 2.25”) to finish fourth in the East, while Fingers reached a distance of 12.86 meters (42’ 2.25”) to finish 12th and punch the final ticket of the event.

One of the biggest moments of the day for the Tigers came in the women’s 1500 meter as senior Lorena Rangel Batres rewrote her LSU record. Rangel Batres got out fast and stayed in the top-three qualifying spots throughout the entire race, finishing with 4:09.06. Her time makes her the first Tiger to ever go sub-4:10 in the 1500m, and shaved well over two seconds off her previous PR of 4:11.61 from earlier this year.

The hurdle duo of Phillips and Shani’a Bellamy got the job done on Saturday in both the 100-meter hurdle and 400-meter hurdle quarterfinals. Phillips led the Tigers in the 100mh with a time of 12.84 seconds, while Bellamy was second for the Tigers with a time of 12.86 seconds to sweep the top-two spots of their heat. Bellamy went on to lead the way for the Tigers in the 400mh with a season-best time of 55.71 seconds, while Phillips qualified by time with her 56.56.

Sophomore Ella Onojuvwevwo took the win in her 400-meter heat on Saturday with a time of 50.77 seconds. This was the Nigerian’s second time dipping under the 51-second mark in the 400m, last doing it at the SEC Outdoor Championships where she set the LSU record of 50.57 seconds.

As it is expected every time she touches a track, Michaela Rose won the 800 meter with a commanding lead in her heat. Rose clocked a time of 1:59.05 to lead all runners in the East First Round. This was her sixth sub-two minute race and her third top-four performance in collegiate history. No other runner in collegiate history has gone sub-two minutes more than three times.

To close the day in the women’s 4×400-meter relay, the team of Onojuvwevwo, Bellamy, Rose and Garriel White punched the 22nd and final ticket. The Lady Tigers finished second in the first heat to punch the ticket with a time of 3:27.49.

Women’s NCAA Championship Qualifiers | 22 entries, 14 student-athletes

100 (3) Brianna Lyston, Thelma Davies, Tima Godbless
200 (4) Thelma Davies, Brianna Lyston, Tima Godbless, Aniyah Bigam
400 (1) Ella Onojuvwevwo
800 (1) Michaela Rose
1500 (1) Lorena Rangel-Batres
100h (2) Leah Phillips, Shani’a Bellamy
400h (2) Shani’a Bellamy, Leah Phillips
4 x 100 Brianna Lyston, Thelma Davies, Leah Phillips, Tima Godbless (Aniyah Bigam)
4 x 400 Ella Onojuvwevwo, Shani’a Bellamy, Michaela Rose, Garriel White (Brianna Lyston)
HJ (1) Morgan Smalls
LJ (1) Morgan Smalls
TJ (2) Morgan Smalls, Taylor Fingers
DT (1) Estel Valeanu
JT (1) Trinity Spooner

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