LSU program well-represented at Olympic Trials
Led by two-time Olympian Walter Davis, the LSU track and field program will be well-represented at the U.S. Olympic Trials that get under way Thursday in Eugene, Ore., this week.
Davis will attempt to earn his third U.S. Olympic team berth by finishing in the top three in the triple jump at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field during the June 21-July 1 competition.
Davis represented the U.S. in the triple jump at the 2000 and ’04 Olympics even though he also qualified for the long jump in 2000.
Davis, who turns 33 in July, barely missed making the Olympics for a third time in 2008 when he was fourth in the triple jump. He’ll likely concentrate on that event at this year’s trials as he ranks fourth among Americans this year with a best of 55 feet, 31/2 inches, just 81/2 inches out of third.
He’s among 10 former LSU athletes, a group that includes 2008 Olympic 100-meter hurdles finalist Lolo Jones and two-time Olympic sprinter Muna Lee, and seven members of the 2012 team who may compete in the trials.
Other former Tigers and Lady Tigers who could vie for berths include Stephanie Durst (100, 200), Ryan Fontenot (110 hurdles), Armanti Hayes (400), Jeremy Hicks (long jump), Richard Jones (800), LaTavia Thomas (800) and Zedric Thomas (long jump, triple jump),
Six-time NCAA champion Kimberlyn Duncan, who helped the Lady Tigers win the national title last weekend, leads the list of current LSU athletes scheduled to compete.
The others are Rebecca Alexander (400), Michael Lauro (hammer), Charlene Lipsey (800), Barrett Nugent (110 hurdles), Jasmin Stowers (100 hurdles) ad Cassandra Tate (400 hurdles).
Duncan is coming off an indoor sweep of the 200 meter titles for the second straight year and could compete in that event as well as the 100. She has run the second-fastest time in the world in the 200 this spring at 22.19 seconds — and also ranks second among Americans behind former Texas star Sanya Richards-Ross, who last week ran 22.09.
LSU coach Dennis Shaver thinks Duncan, who also anchored the Lady Tigers’ winning 4x400-meter relay teams in 2010 and ’11, has a good chance of making the U.S. team after a dominant college season.
“Kim has a great opportunity,” he said. “The way she’s looking at it, she’s not sitting there feeling any kind of pressure. The pressure isn’t on her, it’s on the professionals who have lots of money at stake. She can spoil it for them.”
Shaver said he wouldn’t count out Alexander, the former Belaire High School star who finished second in the open 400 at the NCAA meet with a personal-best time of 51.20 seconds.
She also ran a 49.5-second split on the 4x400 relay team and Shaver said if she runs under 51 seconds in the 400 at the trials could position herself to be in the mix for a spot on Olympic relay pool.
Shaver said he also thinks Tate could also have an outside shot. She won the NCAA title in the 400 hurdles with a time of 55.22 seconds — which puts her sixth among Americans going into this weekend.
“That event is kind of unpredictable,” Shaver said. “I’m waiting on the pros to run some fast times, but I’m not seeing it. Cassandra’s in the top six right now, and there’s not a big gap there.”
Ex-Tech sprinter qualifies
Former Louisiana Tech sprinter Michael Coleman qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials after running an “A” standard qualifying time of 20.55 Saturday at the USATF Southwest Region Open Championships in Houston.
Coleman, a former All-American, was a 12-time WAC Champion sprinter for the Bulldogs from 2006-10. His time of 20.55 makes him one of 24 qualified entries in the men’s 200m dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“Honestly, I am more excited about this than for qualifying for the NCAA Championships when I was in college,” Coleman said. “This is for the chance to compete at the Olympics. It is very excited. The way my body is performing right now, I think I have a good chance to make the finals. I am really excited but just need to keep focusing on training for Eugene.”