Thelma Davies leads NCAA with 22.96
Thelma Davies

Fayetteville, Ark– Abby O’Donoghue cleared a personal best bar of 6’ 2” (1.88 meters) in the high jump on Friday night at the Randal Tyson Track Center on day one of the Razorback Invitational to set the LSU school record in the event en route to claiming the NCAA lead for 2020. Freshman Thelma Davies (200 meters/22.96) and senior Rayvon Grey (long jump/26’ 6.50”) set NCAA bests in their respective events on the evening as well.

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It’s an easy conclusion to come to, but O’Donoghue’s junior season is off to an impressive start. She has now set the LSU school record, currently holds the NCAA lead, has upped her personal best three times this season, and she has yet to lose a high jump event. She came into her junior season with a career-best clearance of 5’ 11.50”, but now she has cleared over six feet in three of her last four performances. She’s shot up the LSU record book from the No. 5 spot all the way to the No. 1 spot thanks to jumps of 6’ 0.50” (Jan. 10), 6’ 0.75” (Jan. 24), and tonight’s clearance of 6’ 2”.

“You know, it feels great to set the school record at a school like LSU,” O’Donoghue said. “There’s been a lot of talented jumpers come before me, and to know I’ve jumped higher than any of them is impressive. I’m so thankful to be in this position and I’m going to enjoy it, but there’s still more work left to do.”

Davies clocked the fastest 200-meter time of her life indoors with a readout of 22.96 to win the event and rank No. 1 in the NCAA. Running against some of the nation’s best, Davies stepped right up and performed big on the national stage. The 22.96 made her the fastest competitor in a field of 49 athletes. It was Grey’s third title of the season in the long jump with a personal-best leap of 26’ 6.50” (8.09 meters). It’s the second-best jump in the world for 2020. Grey is the only collegian to go over 26’ 2” this season, and he’s done it twice; he jumped 26’ 4.50” on Jan. 10. The mark of 26’ 6.50” is also the fifth-best jump in LSU history.

Davies wasn’t the only one to impress in the 200-meter dash. Junior Symone Mason ran a personal best on the women’s side with a time of 23.48 to finish fourth overall and rank eighth in the NCAA, and Tonea Marshall finished sixth with a personal best of 23.74. On the men’s side, Terrance Laird ran a sub 20.8 time for the second week in a row with a time of 20.77; that mark earned him a second-place finish and the No. 3 time in the NCAA. Akanni Hislop turned in a PR of 20.83 to finish fourth overall and to rank No. 5 in the NCAA.

Mercy Abire captured a second-place showing in the women’s long jump with a mark of 20’ 8.50” (6.31 meters). In other field events, Jake Norris (weight throw) and Cameron Reed (pole vault) earned podium finishes. Norris registered a mark of 63’ 11” (19.49 meters) for third, and Reed cleared 16’ 6.75” (5.05 meters) to tie for third. Nyagoa Bayak matched her season-best in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 5’ 10” (1.78 meters) to take fourth, and JuVaughn Harrison registered a long jump of 25’ 1.75” (7.66 meters) to take fourth place as well.

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