Harrison, Pedigo deliver first national championships to ignite LSU’s pursuit of an NCAA team title

LSU junior JuVaughn Harrison captured his fifth career NCAA title Wednesday with a 27-1 3/4 effort to win the long jump competition in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of LSU athletics.

The LSU men’s top-ranked track team began its for a national championship, picking up a pair of individual titles Wednesday to take the early lead for the NCAA outdoor championship.

Junior JuVaughn captured his fifth career NCAA title with a win in the long jump, while freshman Tzuriel Pedigo won his first title in the javelin at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

The Tigers (24 points) lead Mississippi State (17) and Kansas (13.5) with competition for the men resuming Friday.

LSU’s top-ranked women’s team begins competition today and Saturday.

Harrison started out with a leap of 26 feet, 10 ½ inches in round one before landing his winning jump of 27-1 ¾ in the second round. He became the male to win back-to-back NCAA outdoor long jump titles in the long jump since Florida’s Marquis Dendy did so in 2014 and 2015.

“I think everything came together on the second round jump,” Harrison said. “I ran down the runway well, had good spacing, and then I got myself on the board. I was very comfortable in terms of how I got to focus on the long jump only. That was my main thing today. Now I’ll turn my focus to high jumping on Friday.”

Pedigo used some late event dramatics for his national title. Entering the sixth and final round of throws, Pedigo was seventh with a best throw of 241-1. That’s when he launched a massive personal best of 252-7 to take the lead and become the first winner from LSU in that event since 1967 when Delmon McNabb.

“It’s feels great,” Pedigo said. “I’m glad I could represent my team well. I’m glad I got 10 points for my team. I’m just happy I went out there and got 10 points.

“I was expecting to do my best – whatever it was. I felt like I was pushed and that (throw) was a little more than I was expecting. That was a very emotional last attempt. Going down the runway I could never expect that kind of pressure, but I’m glad I pulled throw.”

LSU’s first points of the meet came from Jon Nerdal in the hammer throw who’s 232-6 effort was good enough for seventh. Senior Rayvon Grey also notched two points in the long jump as well with a 25-6 ¼ effort to finish sixth.

LSU also performed well during qualifying for Friday’s finals.

The Tigers 4×100 relay of Dylan Peebles, Noah Williams, Akanni Hislop, and Terrance Laird had the fastest qualifying time of 38.66, while four qualifying Damion Thomas (110 hurdles/13.47), Laird (100/10.21; 200/20.14), Williams (400/45.40), Sean ‘Squirrel’ Burrell (400 hurdles), and Terrance Laird (200/20.14).

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