LSU women’s track team moves to No. 1 in poll

LSU Sports Information file photoLSU long jumper Lynnika Pitts
LSU Sports Information file photoLSU long jumper Lynnika Pitts

The LSU women’s track and field team ascended to the top of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Top 25 power rankings Monday.

The men’s team checks in as the No. 14-ranked men’s squad in this week’s
USTFCCCA Top 25 ranking.

With five weeks of the 2013 indoor season now in the books, the Lady Tigers feature 10 performers who rank among the top 10 of the NCAA rankings this season, including two new additions in senior Takeia Pinckney and junior Lynnika Pitts.

Both Lady Tigers cracked the top five during last week’s Tyson Invitational. Pitts leaped to a personal best of 43 feet, 1 inch for second place in the triple jump, and Pinckney raced to a seasonal-best 7.28 seconds in a third-place finish in the 60-meter dash

Each athlete now ranks No. 5 nationally.

Lady Tiger senior
Kimberlyn Duncan also ran the 200-meter final in 22.72 seconds Saturday, setting an indoor personal record in a runner-up finish.

Duncan also remains the NCAA leader in the 60 meters with a career-best 7.16, set in her victory at the Armory Collegiate Invitational two weeks ago.

The Lady Tigers 4x400-meter relay team also clocked the nation’s No. 4-ranked time at 3 minutes, 33.91 seconds.

LSU features the nation’s two fastest 800-meter
runners in junior Natoya Goule (2:03.49) and senior Charlene Lipsey (2:03.76), as well as three athletes who rank No. 7 in the NCAA in their events — juniors Keri Emanuel (42-8¾ in the triple jump), Denise Hinton
(69-9¾ in the weight throw) and Jasmin Stowers (8.19 in the 60-meter hurdles).

LSU will wrap up the regular season Friday night by hosting the LSU Twilight in the Carl Maddox Field House.

Gymnastics

TEAM MOVES UP TO NO. 7: After posting its highest road score in eight seasons, the LSU gymnastics team moved up one spot to No. 7 in the newest GymInfo rankings released Monday.

LSU (7-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) increased its season average from to 196.454 after earning its season high in a 197.275-194.575 win at Missouri.

Florida sits atop the rankings with a 197.296 team average, followed by No. 2 Oklahoma (197.125), No. 3 Michigan (196.867), No. 4 UCLA (196.765), No. 5 Alabama (196.680) and No. 6 Utah (196.465).

No. 8 Nebraska (196.415), No. 9 Georgia (196.396) and No. 10 Stanford (195.900) round out the top 10.

In the team event rankings, LSU jumped back into the No. 1 spot on the floor with a 49.325 average after a stellar performance at Missouri, highlighted by Lloimincia Hall’s perfect 10.0. The Tigers held steady at No. 2 nationally in the vault standings with a 49.333 average, and LSU is No. 8 on beam with a 48.921 average and No. 17 on bars with a 48.875 average.

In the individual rankings, Rheagan Courville moved up five spots to No. 13 in the all-around with a 39.325 average after she posted a career-high 39.600 to win the title at Missouri. Kaleigh Dickson climbed four spots to No. 21 after earning a career-best 39.350 in the all-around at Missouri.

Sarie Morrison ranks in the top 10 in both events in which she competes, ranking No. 7 on bars with a 9.871 average and No. 9 on vault with a 9.894 mark.

Randi Lau is No. 7 on vault with a 9.90 average, and
Jessie Jordan checked into the vault standings for the first time this season at No. 24 with a 9.875 average.

LSU returns to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for the first time since Jan. 11 when the Tigers host No. 20 Arkansas at 7 p.m. Friday.

Softball

FICO NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: LSU senior right-hander Rachele Fico picked up the first Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week award of the season, the league office announced Monday.

It marks the third career weekly award for Fico and her first selection since her freshman season.

Last weekend at the Tiger Classic, in three appearances, Fico pitched 17 innings, posting 20 strikeouts and a 0.41 ERA.

In a 1-0 victory over Tulsa on Saturday, Fico had 14 strikeouts.

She is only 16 strikeouts away from becoming the fifth pitcher in program history to reach 600 for her career.

LSU faces Ole Miss in a nonconference game at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Oxford, Miss.

The Tigers return home this weekend to host the Purple & Gold Challenge against Memphis, Nicholls State, North Dakota State and Virginia.

Women’s tennis

UC IRVINE RALLIES TO UPSET LADY TIGERS: The UC Irvine women’s tennis team rallied for a 4-3 victory over
46th-ranked LSU on Monday afternoon at Anteater Tennis Stadium.

LSU was locked in early, sweeping through doubles to take the initial point followed by a quick second point on Court No. 4 of singles.

UCI rallied with two singles wins, and later, freshman Sarah Stadfelt clinched the match on court No. 6 after dropping the first set.

It was the second upset in two days for the Anteaters, who defeated 33rd-ranked Pepperdine on Sunday.