LSU junior Lisa Gunnarsson continued to go where no other female pole vaulter in school history had gone before.
The native of Paris, France became the first pole vaulter in school history to sweep the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, capturing the outdoor crown with a clearance of 14 feet, 5 ¼ inches Thursday at Oregon’s Hayward Field.
Gunnarsson, the NCAA indoor pole vault champion in March, cleared her first four heights and after clinching the national championship, moved the bar to 14-9 but was unable to clear the bar. She became the woman to sweep the indoor/outdoor titles in the same season since Kylie Hutson of Indiana State in 2010.
“This performance shows me I can be on top of my game when it really matters,” Gunnarsson said. “The weather wasn’t great so I didn’t jump as high as I could, so it proved to me that I can compete no matter the conditions. I’m glad I got the 10 points for our team as well.”
Gunnarsson provided the LSU with its lone individual victory and 10 points for the Tigers, who are tied for seventh in the team standings with Cal, Texas A&M, USC and Texas going into Saturday’s final day of championships.
Georgia leads the women’s race with 20 points followed by Oregon (14), Arkansas (13) and Arizona State (12).
The Tigers were able to advance five athletes to the finals led by Tonea Marshall in the 100 hurdles. She turned in the fastest qualifying time of 12.48 which was the NCAA’s third fastest time in history.
Senior Brittley Humphrey won her heat and had the second fastest qualifying time in the 400 hurdles (56.56) ahead of teammate Milan Young (57.45) who was eighth in the same race.
Freshman Favour Ofili was fourth in the 200 (22.59) and LSU’s 4×100 relay with Marshall, Ofili, Symone Mason and Thelma Davies won their heat with a time of 43.03.
LSU also had top 15 finishes from Mason in the 100 (9th, 11.39) in the 100, Emma Robbins in the hammer (14th, 216-4), Amber Anning in the 400 (14th, 52.36) and Mercy Abire in the long jump (14th, 20-7 ¼).
LSU’s men’s, which hold a 24-17 lead over both Texas and Mississippi State through seven completed events, return to action in Friday’s championship round. Kansas is fourth with 13 ¼ points.
The Tigers will try and close out a national championship over the remaining 14 events with JuVaughn Harrison, who won the long jump title on Wednesday, trying for his second consecutive outdoor sweep in the high jump where he’s the nation’s leader.
The Tigers also advanced four runners in five events with Damion Thomas (110 hurdles), Terrance Laird (100, 200), Noah Williams (400), Sean “Squirrel” Burrell (400 hurdles) and the 4×100 relay team of Dylan Peebles, Williams, Akanni Hislop and Laird bring in the top qualifying time of 38.66.
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