Some of the best in college track and field are coming to Baton Rouge this weekend for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships.
That’s especially true on the men’s side, where three-time NCAA indoor champion Florida will be holding the top spot in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll when the four-day SEC meet gets under way Thursday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Florida, which held off SEC foe Arkansas to win a third straight NCAA indoor title in March, was one of seven SEC men’s teams in the top 20 as of May 1 and will likely still be there when the new poll is released Tuesday.
Other men’s teams in the current top 20 are No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Ole Miss, No. 9 Mississippi State, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 13 Auburn and No. 18 Georgia.
On the women’s side, five teams are ranked in the top 25.
The group is led by third-ranked Florida and No. 4 LSU, with No. 10 Arkansas, No. 18 Tennessee and No. 21 Georgia also among the nation’s elite.
The Arkansas men and LSU women are the defending champions after securing the titles last May in Athens, Ga. Arkansas has won 16 of the 20 meets it has competed in since joining the SEC in 1992, while the LSU women have won the last two titles, four of the last five and 12 in all.
This year’s meet begins at 3 p.m. Thursday with the first four events in the seven-event women’s heptathlon, while the first five events in the men’s decathlon begin 30 minutes later.
On Friday, the multi-events will continue with the decathlon at 11:30 a.m. and the heptathlon at 2:15 p.m.
The women’s hammer will also be contested at 11:30 a.m. before prelims in the 800, 200 and 400 hurdles and final in the men’s and women’s 10,000 meters are held in the night session that begins at 6 p.m.
Also on Friday night’s schedule is the men’s hammer at 7 p.m.
The meet will kick into high gear on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. with nine finals scheduled — including the men’s and women’s long jump and the women’s pole vault and shot put.
The meet concludes Sunday starting at 1 p.m. with 27 finals on the schedule with the first and last races on the track being the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays, respectively.
LSU will be hosting the event for the first time since 2000 and ninth time overall. The men’s championships are being held for the 80th time, while the women will be competing for team and individual honors for the 32nd time.
All-session tickets, which provide admission on Friday, Saturday and championship Sunday, are available for $20 for adults and $10 for youths. Individual tickets can also be purchased each day of the meet for $10 for adults and $5 for youths.
There is no admission charge for Thursday’s multi-events competition.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.LSUsports.net, at the LSU Athletic Administration Building, or at the Bernie Moore ticket window on competition days.
For more information, call the LSU Athletic Ticket Office at (225) 578-2184.