LSU Track & Field Athletes set to compete at USA Outdoor Championships

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 11:16pm

BATON ROUGE, La - With the 2011 collegiate season now in the books, 22 members of the LSU track and field program past, present and future will join the nation’s elite in Eugene, Ore., this weekend to compete at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships beginning Thursday at Hayward Field.

A total of 15 current and former LSU athletes will compete as part of the senior competition with the goal of earning a spot on Team USA that will travel to Daegu, South Korea, from Aug. 27-Sept. 4 for the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in this year’s season finale.

The top three finishers in each event at the USA Outdoor Championship that have met the “A” qualifying standard for the World Championships will earn the right to represent the United States this summer.

In addition, the Tigers and Lady Tigers will also have seven prep recruits for the Class of 2011 competing this weekend at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships also being held at the University of Oregon.

The 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will feature a television broadcast on the last three days of competition beginning Friday with ESPN’s coverage from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. CDT. Saturday is set for a live broadcast on Universal Sports from 2-3:30 p.m. and on NBC from 4-5 p.m. Sunday’s final at the USA Outdoor Championships will air on Universal Sports from 2-3 p.m. and on NBC from 4-5 p.m.

NCAA champions Kimberlyn Duncan and Barrett Nugent are among six Tigers and Lady Tigers who will continue their 2011 seasons at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this weekend.

Duncan is poised for her first World Championships appearance as she enters this year’s championship as the world’s No. 1-ranked performer in the women’s 200-meter dash with a wind-legal PR of 22.24 she set in winning the NCAA Outdoor title in the event in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 11.

Duncan actually completed the season sweep of NCAA championships in the 200-meter dash as she is the sixth sprinter in NCAA history to sweep indoor and outdoor national titles in the same season. Her indoor seasonal best of 22.78 set in winning the SEC Indoor crown was also a world leader for 2011.

Nugent was also crowned an NCAA champion in his final race of the collegiate season as he took home a gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships back on June 11. Nugent set a 2011 wind-legal seasonal best of 13.48 in the NCAA semifinal before claiming a national title with a wind-aided time of 13.28 in the final run on June 11.

Nugent set his wind-legal personal best of 13.35 as season ago in a fifth-place finish in the hurdles final at the 2010 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at Drake Stadium.

Senior Kenyanna Wilson, who captured her first career NCAA title as part of the Lady Tigers’ gold medal 4x100-meter relay team two weeks ago, will line up in the women’s 100-meter dash this weekend.

Senior Zedric Thomas, a five-time All-American during his collegiate career with the Tigers, is scheduled to compete in the long jump after earning indoor All-America honors in the event this season. Thomas has set a lifetime personal record of 26 feet, 6 ¼ inches in the long jump in 2011.

Two Lady Tigers will also line up in the 100-meter hurdles this weekend as sophomore All-American and two-time SEC champion Jasmin Stowers will join senior teammate Tenaya Jones in Saturday’s first round of action. Stowers actually ranks No. 16 in the event worldwide with her seasonal-best time of 12.88.

Two-time World Indoor champion and defending U.S. Outdoor champion Lolo Jones will headline a star-studded group of former LSU athletes slated to compete this weekend at the USA Championships.

Jones will attempt to defend her U.S. Outdoor crown in the 100-meter hurdles as she enters the event with the No. 3-ranked performance on the 2011 world list with her seasonal best of 12.67. In what is sure to be one of the most hotly contested finals of the weekend, Jones will line up against world No. 1 Kellie Wells (12.58) and No. 2 Danielle Carruthers (12.64) as she looks to defend her national championship.

Other former Lady Tiger national champions scheduled to compete this weekend include Stephanie Durst in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash and LaTavia Thomas in the 800-meter run.

Former World triple jump champion Walter Davis will lead a group of six former Tiger stars scheduled to compete this weekend as he will attempt to earn a spot on World Championship team for the sixth straight time. Davis, who has competed at the World Championships outdoors in each season since 2001, has won two medals in the triple jump at the World Outdoor Championships during his career with a gold medal in 2005 in Helsinki, Finland, and a bronze medal in 2007 in Osaka, Japan.

Other former Tigers that are also set to compete this weekend include Xavier Carter in the 200-meter dash prelims, Ryan Fontenot in the 110-meter hurdles, Armanti Hayes in the 400-meter dash, Jeremy Hicks for the long jump and Richard Jones in the 800-meter run with the action set to begin Thursday.

The future of the LSU track and field program will also be on display in Eugene this weekend as seven of the Class of 2011 will compete at the USA Junior Championships that are also set to begin Thursday.

That includes a pair of Lady Tiger freshmen as SEC Indoor champion and two-time All-SEC performer in Jen Clayton will compete in the long jump and Karen Henning will compete in the hammer throw.

Future Lady Tiger star Alex Gochenour of Missouri Valley, Iowa, will look to defend the U.S. Junior title she won in the heptathlon a season ago as she is the nation’s No. 1-ranked prep recruit in the event for the Class of 2011. Gochenour, who will compete in her first heptathlon of the 2011 season this weekend, set a personal best of 5,300 points at the 2010 USA Junior Championships held in Des Moines.

The St. Louis trio of Samantha Levin, Montenae Roye-Speight and Kendra White are also anxious to step onto the Hayward Field track this weekend in their first USA Junior Championships as both Roye-Speight and White will line up in the 400-meter dash and Levin will compete in the 800-mteer run.

Aaron Ernest, arguably the nation’s top sprint prospect out of Homewood, Ala., is a gold medal contender in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash after sweeping sprint silvers this past weekend at the 2011 New Balance Outdoor Nationals held at North Carolina A&T’s Aggie Stadium in Greensboro.

Time Schedule for LSU Entries at 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Note: Times are Central and subject to change based on round-by-round qualifying.

Thursday, June 23

12:20 p.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon 100 Hurdles (Alex Gochenour)

1:20 p.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon High Jump (Alex Gochenour)

3:10 p.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon Shot Put (Alex Gochenour)

4:05 p.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon 200 Meters (Alex Gochenour)

5:30 p.m. – Senior Women’s 800 Meters First Round (LaTavia Thomas)

5:50 p.m. – Senior Men’s 800 Meters First Round (Richard Jones)

5:55 p.m. – Senior Men’s Triple Jump (Walter Davis)

7:00 p.m. – Senior Men’s 400 Meters First Round (Armanti Hayes)

7:20 p.m. – Senior Women’s 100 Meters First Round (Stephanie Durst, Kenyanna Wilson)

Friday, June 24

11:40 a.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon Long Jump (Alex Gochenour)

12:55 p.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon Javelin (Alex Gochenour)

1:15 p.m. – Junior Men’s 100 Meters First Round (Aaron Ernest)

1:45 p.m. – Junior Women’s Long Jump (Jen Clayton)

2:30 p.m. – Junior Women’s Heptathlon 800 Meters (Alex Gochenour)

2:55 p.m. – Junior Men’s 100 Meters Final (Aaron Ernest)

3:45 p.m. – Junior Women’s 400 Meters First Round (Montenae Roye-Speight, Kendra White)

4:35 p.m. – Junior Women’s 800 Meters First Round (Samantha Levin)

5:45 p.m. – Senior Men’s 110 Hurdles First Round (Barrett Nugent, Ryan Fontenot)

6:10 p.m. – Senior Women’s 100 Meters Semifinals (Stephanie Durst, Kenyanna Wilson)

7:00 p.m. – Senior Women’s 800 Meters Semifinals (LaTavia Thomas)

7:15 p.m. – Senior Men’s 800 Meters Semifinals (Richard Jones)

7:45 p.m. – Senior Men’s 400 Meters Semifinals (Armanti Hayes)

8:10 p.m. – Senior Women’s 100 Meters Final (Stephanie Durst, Kenyanna Wilson)

Saturday, June 25

2:25 p.m. – Senior Men’s Long Jump (Jeremy Hicks, Zedric Thomas)

3:00 p.m. – Senior Men’s 110 Hurdles Semifinals (Barrett Nugent, Ryan Fontenot)

3:20 p.m. – Senior Women’s 100 Hurdles First Round (Lolo Jones, Jasmin Stowers, Tenaya Jones)

4:04 p.m. – Senior Men’s 400 Meters Final (Armanti Hayes)

4:44 p.m. – Senior Men’s 110 Hurdles Final (Barrett Nugent, Ryan Fontenot)

5:25 p.m. – Senior Men’s 200 Meters First Round (Xavier Carter)

5:55 p.m. – Senior Women’s 200 Meters First Round (Kimberlyn Duncan, Stephanie Durst)

6:25 p.m. – Junior Men’s 200 Meters First Round (Aaron Ernest)

6:35 p.m. – Junior Women’s Hammer Throw (Karen Henning)

7:00 p.m. – Junior Women’s 800 Meters Final (Samantha Levin)

7:20 p.m. – Junior Women’s 400 Meters Final (Montenae Roye-Speight, Kendra White)

8:25 p.m. – Junior Men’s 200 Meters Final (Aaron Ernest)

Sunday, June 26

2:10 p.m. – Senior Men’s 200 Meters Semifinals (Xavier Carter)

2:25 p.m. – Senior Women’s 200 Meters Semifinals (Kimberlyn Duncan, Stephanie Durst)

2:45 p.m. – Senior Women’s 100 Hurdles Semifinals (Lolo Jones, Jasmin Stowers, Tenaya Jones)

4:18 p.m. – Senior Women’s 800 Meters Final (LaTavia Thomas)

4:27 p.m. – Senior Men’s 800 Meters Final (Richard Jones)

4:37 p.m. – Senior Women’s 100 Hurdles Final (Lolo Jones, Jasmin Stowers, Tenaya Jones)

4:45 p.m. – Senior Men’s 200 Meters Final (Xavier Carter)

4:52 p.m. – Senior Women’s 200 Meters Final (Kimberlyn Duncan, Stephanie Durst)

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