Baton Rouge Magnet's Briscoe part of LSU Track contingent moving on to finals at NCAAs
EUGENE, OR – Sophomore Mikiah Brisco earned a place in the womens 100 meter finals, Junior Rebekah Wales put the Lady Tigers on the scoreboard with an All-American sixth-place finish in the javelin and senior Chanice Chase set the pace in qualifying on the track by advancing to three finals on a busy Thursday night at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Oregon’s Hayward Field.
Wales earned All-America honors in the women’s javelin for the second-straight season as she followed her fourth-place finish a year ago with a sixth-place finish after throwing 177 feet, 0 inches in the event.
Chase headlined a total of six finalists for the Lady Tigers advancing from Thursday’s semifinal races on the track as she qualified in both the 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles before also anchoring LSU into the national final of the 4x400-meter relay as rain began to fall on the Hayward Field track in the final event of the day. She was the only athlete in the field to qualify for the finals in both hurdle races.
“Our women scrapped and clawed for everything they got today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “It was great to see Rebekah go out from the very start and put some marks out there that had her in the position to score the first points for our team. That was big for us today. I thought we maybe left a couple of chances out there on the track, but had a good day of qualifying overall.”
Wales wasted no time in positioning herself for another All-American finish as she threw identical marks of 177-0 in the first and second rounds of qualifying in the second flight to take fourth place into the javelin final. Despite fouling each of her three throws in the final, Wales scored the first three points of the meet for the Lady Tigers with a sixth-place finish nationally.
Texas A&M’s Maggie Malone was crowned the javelin champion with her collegiate record of 204-4, while Texas Tech’s Hannah Carson (200-9) and Texas A&M’s Audrey Malone (187-2) rounded out the medalists.
“I’m thankful to put some points on the board for the team, but I feel like I could’ve done better today,” Wales shared. “It is a really deep event this year. I don’t even think I was ranked sixth coming in, but everybody is just getting better and better, and you’ve got to rise to the level of competition in an event like that. I want to keep working and come out better than this next year.”
Chase is sure to go out with a bang in her final NCAA Championship in an LSU uniform as she joined Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in men’s qualifying on Wednesday by advancing to three finals in this year’s meet.
Chase first became an NCAA finalist in the 100-meter hurdles for the second-straight season as she closed strong for third place in the third heat while matching her personal best of 12.94 (+0.9) in the event. While she advanced to the final as a timed qualifier, Chase’s 12.94 was the fourth-fastest time in the field on the day. She placed sixth nationally in the event a year ago.
She followed less than an hour later with a heat-winning run of 55.94 in the second heat of the 400 hurdles to return to the NCAA final for the second time in her career after earning a fifth-place national finish during a breakout sophomore season in 2014. The SEC Outdoor Silver Medalist in the event outlasted USC’s Jaide Stepter (56.18) to the tape after running shoulder-to-shoulder over the final hurdle.
Junior Ka’Lynn Jupiter and sophomore Kymber Payne wrapped up semifinal qualifying in the 400-meter hurdles as Jupiter (57.61) placed fourth and Payne (58.68) followed in seventh in the third and final heat.
If qualifying for both hurdle finals wasn’t enough, Chase then returned the Lady Tigers to the NCAA final in the 4x400-meter relay for the first time since 2013 as she used a 51.56-second split for the anchor leg to move LSU from fourth to second in the third heat and earn automatic qualification. She teamed with junior Travia Jones, junior Jada Martin and freshman Rachel Misher to run 3 minutes, 32.24 seconds to follow runner-up to Florida (3:32.06) in the heat with the eighth-fastest time of the day.
“I just tried to do what I was asked to do by my coaches. It’s a pretty tough double, but at the end of the day I do train for this. I was prepared coming in to make both finals,” Chase said of advancing to both hurdle finals. “We’ve had a great few weeks of practice since the SEC meet, so my coaches prepared me well to do just that.
“The relay was a struggle, I fought to the end,” Chase added. “I really wanted it for my team, so I just took the responsibility and I ran for the other girls. We needed to get at least second, and we did that.”
Just as the Tigers did in the men’s semifinals on Wednesday, the Lady Tigers were off to a blistering start on Thursday afternoon as they cruised to victory in the second heat of the women’s 4x100-meter relay.
Their SEC Championship team of sophomore Mikiah Brisco, freshman Kortnei Johnson, Martin and junior Rushell Harvey lined up in lane No. 4 in the second semifinal heat and cruised to an comfortable win with a time of 43.24 ahead of the Florida Gators in second place in 43.86. LSU is the second-fastest sprint relay team in the collegiate ranks this season with their best of 42.77 from the conference final.
Other finalists in the women’s 4x100 relay were heat winners Texas A&M (42.92) and USC (43.39), runners-up Oregon (43.01) and Kentucky (43.55) and timed qualifiers San Diego State (43.55) and Tennessee (43.66).
Twice an All-American as an NCAA Indoor Championships scorer in the 60-meter dash in her collegiate career, Brisco later earned a lane in the national final of the 100 meters for the first time as a Lady Tiger with a new personal best of 11.24 (+1.5) for second place in the first heat. She came up short of qualification in the 100-meter hurdles as she placed 14th overall with a time of 13.13 (+1.1) for fourth in the second heat.
Two other Lady Tigers followed their qualifying performance in the relay by running in the 100-meter semifinals as Harvey (11.43) and Johnson (11.44) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in the second section. Johnson later earned a 14th-place finish overall in the 200 meters with her time of 23.47 (-0.1) in the third heat. Martin placed 15th overall with a time of 23.50 (-0.5) from the second heat.
Advancing to the NCAA finals for the first time in her collegiate career during Thursday’s qualifying was junior middle distance standout Morgan Schuetz, who qualified automatically with a run of 2:03.39 for the second spot in the opening heat. Schuetz used a strong kick over the final 250 meters of the race to move from seventh place to second place, trailing only BYU’s Shea Collinsworth (2:03.32) across the line.
Schuetz, already an SEC Champion and five-time All-SEC runner with the Lady Tigers, looks to score her first points for the team at the NCAA Championships as the second-fastest qualifier among the eight finalists.
The Tigers will return to the Hayward Field track on Friday night to compete for a national championship after qualifying eight finalists from Wednesday’s men’s semifinals. They will race for the first time at 7:32 p.m. CT in the 4x100-meter relay final with events running through the 4x400-meter relay at 9:51 p.m. and the crowning of this year’s men’s national champion shortly after 10 p.m.
ESPN will broadcast the final day of the men’s competition at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships from 7:30-10 p.m. CT, while live streaming on ESPN3.com is also available from 2:30-10 p.m.
Fans can also receive live updates and behind-the-scenes coverage of the Tigers and Lady Tigers competing this week in their 2016 outdoor season finale at the NCAA Outdoor Championships by liking LSU Track & Field on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lsutrackfield and by following @LSUTrackField on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsutrackfield and Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsutrackfield.