BATON ROUGE – The Birmingham Crossplex will play host to one of the most highly-competitive meets in collegiate track and field this weekend as the LSU Track & Field teams line up alongside the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes at the Auburn Indoor Invitational running Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers return to the site where they wrapped up the 2016 season with fourth-place and 14th-place finishes, respectively, at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships last year.
Athletes will first compete in the field events beginning at 10 a.m. CT followed by the first events on the track at 11 a.m.Preliminary races on the track are set to start at 11:30 a.m. with a full schedule of events running through the 4×400-meter relays at approximately 4:15 p.m. Delta Timing will provide live results throughout the meet as fans can follow the action athttp://results.deltatiming.com.
Fans can receive live updates of the athletes competing in the Auburn Indoor Invitational by following @LSUTrackField on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsutrackfield and Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsutrackfield and also by liking the team’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/lsutrackfield.
Saturday’s event will be scored as LSU battles Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State for the team titles on both the men’s and women’s sides. Individual events will be scored using a 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 format with a maximum of two scorers being counted for each school. Relay events will be scored using a 9-7-6-5 format with just one relay team from each school being counted in the final total.
LSU’s teams are off to a fast start in 2017 with no less than 15 individuals and relays competing this weekend that rank among the NCAA’s Top 20 in their respective events through the first two meet days of the year.
Freshman Ruby Stauber, who will run the mile at the Auburn Indoor Invitational on Saturday, is the reigning SEC Women’s Freshman of the Week after recording an SEC-leading 2 minutes, 4.56 seconds in her collegiate debut in the 800 meters at the Commodore Invitational last weekend. That time also ranks No. 2 nationally early this indoor season.
Junior All-American Aleia Hobbs also enjoyed her season opener at the Commodore Invitational in Nashville last weekend as she sprinted to a personal-best time of 7.25 seconds to win the 60-meter title last Saturday. Hobbs came away from the meet as the NCAA’s No. 3-ranked sprinter in the 60 meters this season.
Other Lady Tigers emerging from the Commodore Invitational as top-20 performers nationally were senior Travia Jones, sophomore Kortnei Johnson and freshman Brittley Humphrey. Jones had the No. 7-ranked time in the country this season in the 400 meters at 54.00, while Johnson ran the 10th-fastest 60 meters at 7.32 and 11th-fastest 200 meters at 23.87 in the country a week ago. Humphrey cracked the Top 20 of the rankings at Vanderbilt as well with her 8.34 seasonal best to tie for the No. 18 spot on the national list in the 60-meter hurdles.
While running 8.36 in the final of the women’s 60 hurdles a week ago, freshman Tonea Marshall already owns the NCAA’s 11th-fastest time in the event of 8.29 set at the Purple Tiger Invitational on Jan. 6.
Junior Jack Wilkes was the Tigers’ lone top-10 performer at the Commodore Invitational last Saturday as his season-opening 1:50.50 in the 800 meters moved him to No. 8 on the national list for the event. Senior Keane Bland ran a personal best of 7.91 to tie for the No. 12 spot in the men’s 60-meter hurdles while sophomore Dajour Braxton came in at No. 16 nationally in the 3,000 meters with a PR of 8:12.78. Freshman Christian Miller jumped 50-10 ¾ in his collegiate debut in the triple jump to rank No. 19 in the NCAA.
Saturday’s action will see Bland, Hobbs, Humphrey, Johnson, Jones, Marshall and Wilkes back in their specialty events, while Braxton, Miller and Stauber compete in secondary events this weekend.
In addition, the Tigers currently rank nationally No. 5 in the 4×400-meter relay at 3:09.98 and No. 3 in the distance medley relay at 9:54.42 with their performance this season, while the Lady Tigers come in at No. 8 in the women’s 4×400-meter relay at 3:40.22 and No. 4 in the distance medley relay at 11:33.67. All four relay teams will be in action once again at the Auburn Indoor Invitational on Saturday.
Selected athletes will open up their indoor seasons this weekend led by Schuetz in the women’s 800 meters and returning All-American and NCAA-title contender Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the men’s 60 meters.
Schuetz, a three-time NCAA semifinalist in the 800 meters, claimed All-America honors in the event during the outdoor season last spring when she placed seventh in the 800-meter final at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She opens her senior season with an indoor PR of 2:04.05 in the event.
Mitchell-Blake, the reigning NCAA Indoor Silver Medalist in the 200 meters, is set to line up in the 60 meters this weekend in his first competition since representing Great Britain at the Rio Olympics last summer. That’s where the Bowerman Award candidate advanced to the 200-meter semifinals while making his Olympics debut for Team GB.
Other anticipated season debuts Saturday include freshmen Rayvon Grey in the long jump, Akanni Hislop along with Mitchell-Blake in the men’s 60-meter dash and Xavier Mulugata in the 4×400-meter relay.