Track & Field starts outdoor season in Lafayette

Track & Field starts outdoor season in Lafayette
Photo by Bryan Wayne, Bryan Wayne

POSTED: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 1:45pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 1:49pm

In the wake of a third-place finish by the Lady Tigers and a fifth-place finish by the Tigers in the final team standings at the 2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships last weekend, the LSU Track & Field teams are ready to kick off the outdoor season on Saturday with a trip to the Ragin' Cajuns Track Stadium in Lafayette for the Louisiana Classics.

The action is set to begin at the Ragin' Cajuns Track Stadium at 10 a.m. CDT in the field events, followed by the first events on the track at 2:30 p.m. after a brief opening ceremony.

While the Tigers and Lady Tigers competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships over the past weekend will remain in Baton Rouge to rest during the team's outdoor opener, Saturday's meet is sure to give quite a few of LSU's athletes an opportunity to get off to a fast start for the outdoor season.

Live results for this year's Louisiana Classics will be available online at Full meet results and a complete meet recap will also be available at following the event.

"The Louisiana Classics meet always gives many of our athletes an opportunity to go out and compete for the first time each season. It's important because it gives them a chance to show us what they can do early on," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "We also have a chance this weekend to rest our athletes taking part in the NCAA Championships last weekend after what has been a long indoor season.

"This meet is always an important step for both our teams as we make that transition. Our plan is for all of our athletes to see some action next weekend when we host our first meet with the LSU Relays."

Each year, the Louisiana Classics features strong performances from members of the LSU's throws group competing in events that are not offered indoors, including the discus and javelin throws.

Senior Samia Stokes, who is one of the nation's premier discus throwers returning to the NCAA ranks for the 2012 season, is just one LSU standout ready to make her outdoor debut on Saturday afternoon. The 2011 SEC Outdoor discus champion is the two-time defending Louisiana Classics champion for the event after opening the season with marks of 166 feet, 1 inch in 2010 and 177-4 in 2011.

Fellow senior and 2012 NCAA Championships qualifier Brieanna Kennedy will also lead the LSU throws group this weekend as she makes her outdoor debut in both the hammer and discus throws. Kennedy set personal records of 191-3 in the hammer and 159-0 in the discus a season ago.

The Tigers feature a strong group of discus performers of their own, led by returning SEC Championships scorer Daniel Obioha, who claimed seventh place in the event at the SEC Outdoor meet a season ago. Heralded freshmen Rodney Brown and Jeremy Tuttle are set to make their collegiate debuts in the event.

The LSU javelin throwers will also have their first opportunity to compete in 2012 as the group is led by a returning All-SEC performer and NCAA Championships qualifier in senior Aaron Moore.

Moore was an All-SEC performer during his sophomore season in 2010 after earning a runner-up finish at the SEC Outdoor Championships with a seasonal-best mark of 226-8. Moore then followed by recording a lifetime PR of 228-6 in the event with his seasonal-best effort in 2011. He has competed for the squad at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in each of the last two seasons.

Joining Moore in the men's javelin will be fellow senior and SEC scorer Ryan Roubion and Tuttle as they see their first action in the event for the Tigers of the 2012 outdoor campaign.

Among those leading the Tigers and Lady Tigers on the track during the event are senior Robert Simmons in the 400-meter dash, junior distance standout Laura Carleton in the 800-meter run and sophomore sprinter Shermund Allsop in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash.

LSU's heralded freshman class is also a feature of Saturday's events on the oval as both Aaron Ernest and Trevor Sansone compete for the Tigers in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints and Chanice Chase (200 meters), Samantha Levin (400 meters), Montenae Roye-Speight (200 meters, 400 meters) and Kendra White (200 meters, 400 meters) line up for the Lady Tigers.

In addition, freshman Alex Gochenour is slated to compete in four events Saturday as she takes part in the 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash, high jump and long jump while preparing to make her anticipated collegiate debut in the heptathlon at the Texas Relays in just two weeks.

After competing at the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette this weekend, the Tigers and Lady Tigers are set to return to the Bernie Moore Track Stadium in Baton Rouge as they play host to the LSU Relays being held March 23-24. They then make their annual trip to Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, to compete at the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays from March 28-31.

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