LSU’s top-ranked women’s track team arrived in Eugene, Oregon hoping to complete a wire-to-wire finish to a NCAA outdoor championship.
Instead, the 2021 national meet was nothing more than heartache.
LSU won only one event on the first day of the meet Thursday, had trouble in advancing enough competitors into Saturday’s championship round and the result was predictable where USC captured the team championship with 74 points.
Texas A&M followed with 63 points, Georgia 37 ½, Alabama and North Carolina A&T were tied with 31 points and LSU with 28 ½ points which was good enough for sixth place.
It was the fourth consecutive top 10 finish for LSU which was third in the 2019 NCAA outdoor championships.
Pole vaulter Lisa Gunnarsson picked up her team’s lone first place showing with a clearance of 14 feet, 5 ¼ inches to claim the event which she also won during the NCAA indoor championships.
LSU garnered a pair of second-place finishes Saturday, beginning with its 4×100 relay team that led after the second and third exchanges, but USC closed strong down the stretch to win the event.
The team of Tonea Marshall, Favour Ofili, Symone Mason and Thelma Davies turned in a time of 42.84 seconds.
The Tigers lost the services of Marshall for the 100 hurdles when she apparently tweaked a hamstring on her first leg of the 4×100 relay, leading to a scratch in the 100 hurdles which she entered with the nation’s top time.
With the U.S. Olympic track and field trials scheduled next week in Eugene, LSU coach Dennis Shaver decided to air on the side of caution and hold Marshall out of her specialty event.
Ofili completed her freshman season with a fourth place in the 200 (22.45), while Milan Young was fifth in the 400 hurdles (56.23) and Brittley Humphrey ninth (57.51). Young’s time was good enough ninth place on the school’s all-time list.
Senior high jumper Abigail O’Donoghue capped her collegiate career tied for seventh place with a clearance of 5-11 ¼.