The long-awaited pursuit of spots on the US Olympic track and field team will include 30 current and former LSU athletes when competition begins Friday in Eugene, Ore.
Eighteen athletes from this year’s LSU team will try to make their dreams come true at the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field, where the Tigers last week won their first outdoor NCAA title since 2002 and the women finished sixth.
While earning individual and team honors was the goal last week, the stakes will be raised for eight days of competition over a 10-day period.
The US trials will take place in two four-day segments with rest days on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The top three in each event earn places on the U.S. team due to travel to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics which were postponed last summer by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Games begin July 24 with athletics from July 30 to August 30. 8.
LSU has six current and former athletes well positioned to earn spots with Team USA, including two who could qualify in a pair of events.
Sha’Carri Richardson, who turned pro in 2019 after winning the NCAA 100-yard title setting records, set the fastest time in the United States this year in the 100 and 200.
Richardson’s legal wind times of 10.72 seconds in the 100m and 22.11 in the 200m both placed second on the world lists last weekend.
JuVaughn Harrison also intends to make Team USA in the doubles after winning the NCAA high jump and outdoor long jump titles – an unusual double he achieved for the third time at the national championships.
Harrison leads the country in both events with records of 7 feet, 8Â¾ inches in the high jump and 27-8Â¼ in the long jump. Both brands are second on the world lists.
Sprinter Terrance Laird also had the opportunity to try for the squad in two events, but he passes the 100, which he won in the NCAA meet on Friday, to focus on the 200.
Laird’s top 200 this season in 19.81 seconds, which he recorded at the Texas Relays in late March, remains the world leader even though he was edged out by Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida at the NCAA Championships.
Freshman Sean Burrell also established himself as a contender for the Olympic team last week when he won the NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdles.
His time of 47.85 broke the under-20 world record of 48.02 set in 1984 by American Danny Harris, who won the Olympic silver medal that summer.
Burrell, 19, a former Zachary High School star, has the second fastest time in the United States this season and is fourth in the world.
Aleia Hobbs, another former LSU star, has the third fastest qualifying time in the women’s 100 with the 10.91 she clocked in winning the title at the Alumni Gold competition on April 24.
Hobbs’ time is the seventh fastest in the world this year.
Another athlete who was to be in the mix in the women’s 100m hurdles was Tonea Marshall. His time of 12.44 seconds is the second fastest in the world this year, but his first lap status at 7:04 p.m. on Saturday is unknown.
Marshall suffered a hamstring injury on the opening leg of the 4×100-meter relay team that won the NCAA title last week.
LSU coach Dennis Shaver said Thursday night that Marshall had improved and was ready to line up on Saturday night.
Here are the current and former LSU athletes who have declared themselves for the trials:
200: Terrance Laird, Jaron Flournoy
400: Noah Williams, Michael Cherry, Vernon Norwood, Tyler Terry
110 obstacles: Eric Edwards, Arthur Price, Ryan Fontenot
400 hurdles: Sean Burrell, Quincy Downing
Long jump: JuVaughn Harrison, Rayvon Gray
Triple jump: Sean Dixon-Bodie
Big jump: JuVaughn Harrison
Javelin: Tzuriel Pedigo
Hammer: Johnnie jackson
100: Sha’Carri Richardson, Aleia Hobbs, Kortnei Johnson, Mikiah Brisco
200: Sha’Carri Richardson, Thelma Davies
100 obstacles: Tonea Marshall, Alia Armstrong
400 hurdles: Cassandra Tate, Brittley Humphrey, Milan Young
Long jump: Aliyah Whisby
Triple jump: Lynnika pitts
Big jump: Abby O’Donoghue
Hammer: Emma Robbins
400: Jonathan Sawyer, South East
Javelin: Donavon Banks, McNeese State
Long jump: Jasmyn Steels, Northwestern State
Pole vault: Morgann LeLeux, UL
Javelin: Claire Meyers, UL