How emotion separates LSU track from the rest of the NCAA
BATON ROUGE- At the Texas Relays on March 31st, LSU senior sprinter Jaron Flournoy chased down a Houston sprinter during the last leg of the 4 X 1 relay.
"I get the baton and I see Houston in front of me about 10 meters. At that time in my head it's do or die," Jaron Flournoy. "By the time I caught him, I took one or two more steps and finish line. I looked at him. I just gave him that look like, we here and we ain't going nowhere."
That look and reaction to a win over a bitter rival was an emotional moment was a message. the LSU men's team has historically been overshadowed by the women's team. This year they're ready to make some noise and make a statement.
"Track and field has really kind of calmed down over the years. I guess they don't see it as a contact sport where it is physical and takes all that energy," said Flournoy. "In my mind I come to practice thinking I'm a dog! I'm the best out here. I do this. I do this for a living. This is what I do. I just want to show everybody that that's what energy we're bringing."
That mindset extends to the women's team and Sha'Carri Richardson who made a statement of their own. She anchored the 4 x 1 relay and led them to a come from behind win. She also ran 10.91 to claim the 100 meter title.
"When he crossed the finish line, I'm down there waiting to get on the track it actually hyped me up," said Richardson. "I couldn't control my excitement and the passion that I had, so when I crossed the finish line and looked back I showed everybody how I really was feeling."
Both their reactions picked up traction on social media and although not all the reaction was positive this team doesn't care. They feel like that edge is what makes this program so successful.
"That's a big reason I came to LSU. Before I made my decision the guys that were here before me they always had that swag to them," said Flournoy. "LSU always had that certain swag at a meet. When they walk in, they're here."
"We've always had that type of spirit so to speak and certainly I'm a very competitive person like any successful head coach. We have a competitive staff," said head coach Dennis Shaver."There is trash talk in every sport and there is never a big deal made out of it. All of a sudden it happens at track and everyone gets excited, but I think it is great for the sport to see that type of friendly spirited conversations."
"We're being ourselves. It's not the fact that we're acting like anything. We're not trying to come off as something negative. We're just showing our love for this sport," said Richardson.