Fourth-ranked LSU track teams take part in competitive SEC Championships

LSU track and field coach Dennis Shaver FILE PHOTO

The fourth ranked LSU women’s and men’s track and field squads are set to begin postseason action this Thursday through Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi, at the SEC Championships. The three-day meet will be hosted at the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex.

LSU is bringing 51 athletes (26 men, 25 women) with the first two days and the early action on Saturday being streamed on SEC Network+. The most loaded portion of Saturday’s events from 5-9 p.m. will air live on the SEC Network.

LSU officially gets the meet underway on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. when Jake Norris competes in the hammer throw. He’s scored in this event for the Tigers in all three years he’s contested it, including a runner-up finish in 2021. Thursday and Friday’s action on the track will mostly be qualifying as athletes have intentions on making it to Saturday’s finals.

Event finals on Thursday and Friday include the women’s/men’s 10,000 meters, men’s javelin, men’s long jump, women’s high jump, women’s shot put, women’s long jump, men’s shot put, and the women’s/men’s 3,000 meter steeplechases.

The rest of the event finals will be contested on Saturday. As always, you can view LSU’s full competition guide linked above.

SEC Primer

The LSU women come are the favorites to win the meet over Florida and Kentucky according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Ratings Index labels.

The Tigers will be led by sprinter Favour Ofili, the collegiate record holder in the 200, who faces a possible six races over a three-day span. She’ll have to run the preliminary heats of both the 200 meters (Thursday night) and 100 meters (Friday night) before a potential four event day on Saturday and faces a pair of signature races with Kentucky’s Abby Steiner at 6:25 Saturday in the 100 and an hour later in the 200.

Distance ace Katy-Ann McDonald is enterted in the 800 and 1,500, a pair of even which she ranks No. 1 in the SEC. She’ll run the 800 prelims Thursday night and then the 1,500 meter prelims on Friday night. On Saturday, the two races are an hour and 25 minutes apart with the 1,500 meters coming first.

Alia Armstrong (100m hurdles) and Lisa Gunnarsson (pole vault) will also enter the meet as the favorites. Armstrong has the fastest time in the SEC and NCAA this year with a wind-aided time of 12.33 seconds and is also entered in the 200. Gunnarsson (lifetime best clearance of 15-3) is the heavy favorite in the pole vault.

LSU’s women’s relays enter the meet seeded second in the 4×100 and sixth in the 4×400. The 4×100 meter relay, which LSU is trying to win its sixth straight conference event title in the event, has a season best of 42.69 behind Kentucky’s SEC leading 42.46.

Thelma Davies projects to score in both the 100 meters and 200 meters while also running the anchor leg for LSU’s 4×100 meter relay. Tionna Beard-Brown will also be a prime candidate to advance to the finals of the 100 meters for LSU while also aiding the 4×100 meter relay to a fast time on Saturday.

LSU’s distance corps will be in contention to score in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters with freshman Michaela Rose entered with the fourth fastest time in the 800 meters (2:02.74).

LSU has three women – Nyagoa Bayak, Abigail O’Donoghue, Morgan Smalls – in the high jump that are ranked No. 5, No. 6, and No. 6 in the conference.

Smalls will also be in action in the long jump where she ranks sixth in the conference. Serena Bolden will have a chance to add points to the Tigers’ total in both the long jump and triple jump.

LSU has three men considered to be pre-meet favorites in Eric Edwards Jr., Apalos Edwards, and Tzuriel Pedigo, a graduate of Parkview Baptist. Edwards Jr., the 2022 SEC champion in the 60-meter hurdles, will look to make it a sweep of the hurdle conference titles this year. Pedigo, the 2021 NCAA champion in the javelin, will be looking to win his first SEC title with the stick – his best throw of the season, 253-9, leads the conference by almost two feet.

Edwards will be contesting the triple jump for the Tigers and his season best wind-aided mark of 53-4 1/2 leads the conference. Teammate Sean Dixon-Bodie, the 2022 SEC indoor champion in the event, owns the third best mark in the SEC this year with a mark of 53’ 0.25” (16.16 meters). This event could lead to upwards of 15 points for the Tigers.

Scotlandville High graduate Dorian Camel’s entered in the 100 and 200 meters and also run relays. He ran a personal best of 20.00 in the 200 to move up to the No. 3 spot in the SEC; he also ranks No. 7 in the 100 meters. LSU will look to advance three men to the finals of the 100 with Da’Marcus Fleming and Godson Oghenebrume competing as well.

Throws wise, John Meyer, Jake Norris, and Eli Gaughan are all capable of scoring with Meyers owning a lifetime best of 67-3 1/4 in the shot put which is also the school record.

The LSU men’s 4×100 meter relay crew will be Godson Oghenebrume, Dorian Camel, Da’Marcus Fleming, and Kenroy Higgins II. LSU ran its season best of 38.85 as the regular season closed out at the LSU Invitational two weeks ago. The men’s 4×400 meter relay ranks fifth in the league with a season best of 3:02.97.

Zachary’s Sean ‘Squirrel’ Burrell, the 2021 NCAA champion in the 400 meter hurdles, ranks as the 12th fastest in the conference this year in the hurdles.

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Tiger Rag News Services

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