LSU claims 16 event victories to win Battle at the Bayou for consecutive year
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Sophomore Tori Bliss smashed LSU’s 19-year-old school record in the shot put and senior Kimberlyn Duncan sprinted to an NCAA-leading time in the 200-meter dash to lead a sweep of team titles by the Tigers during Saturday’s action at the third-annual Battle on the Bayou held at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Bliss earned a personal record of 55 feet, 11 inches to win the shot put crown. She took down the shot put school record of 54-6 ½ previously set by Danyel Mitchell in 1994.
Duncan followed by winning the 200-meter title with a wind-legal 22.82 seconds for the fastest time in the NCAA and second-fastest time in the world rankings this spring.
Bliss and Duncan were among 16 event winners for the Tigers, while 14 athletes set outdoor personal bests. Their effort also led a title sweep for LSU as the Lady Tigers scored 188 points and the Tigers totaled 140 points to defend their team titles.
The Lady Tigers were followed by Penn State (139) in second place, Arizona State (134) in third place and Mississippi State (96) in fourth place. Trailing the Tigers were Penn State (124) in second place, Arizona State (119) in third place, Connecticut (117) in fourth place and Mississippi State (90) in fifth place in the men’s race.
“I like scored meets. I appreciate teams like Arizona State, Penn State, Mississippi State and Connecticut coming down and making this a great meet,” LSU head coach Dennis Shaver said. “It was very competitive all the way through the final events with each team turning in some outstanding performances.”
Bliss, who entered the meet with an outdoor PR of 51-7 and a lifetime PR of 52-11, let loose a throw of 55-11 in the third round as she eclipsed Mitchell’s school record by 16 ½ inches.
Bliss took the Battle on the Bayou title against Arizona State All-American Anna Jelmini as she scored the silver medal with a throw of 55-4 ¾. Jelmini won the women’s discus crown on Saturday with a throw of 194-5 and is a national title contender in the event this year with an NCAA-leading mark of 198-10.
“It’s been frustrating at the beginning while trying to get it to click. We had a breakthrough week at practice this week, so I felt pretty confident coming into [Saturday],” Bliss said. “I’ve been using the glide technique since I was a freshman in high school, so it’s been a pretty big jump for me to make. For me, it’s all about being comfortable and having confidence in the ring."
Duncan also ran the second leg of LSU’s winning 4x100-meter relay team as she teamed with juniors Jasmin Stowers, Takeia Pinckney and Toshika Sylvester for a run of 44.16 to take the title before an Arizona State squad crossing the finish line in 44.77. Penn State was third in the sprint relay final in 45.34.
Stowers later claimed her third victory this spring in the 100-meter hurdles as she took the tape in 13.22 ahead Arizona State’s Keia Pinnick in second place at 13.33.
Setting the pace for the men during Saturday’s Battle on the Bayou were junior Shermund Allsop, sophomore Aaron Ernest and freshman Darrell Bush as each claimed multiple event titles during the competition.
The men’s 4x100-meter earned a narrow victory against Arizona State. With senior Damar Forbes leading off, Ernest on the second leg, Bush on the third leg and Allsop running anchor, the Tigers crossed the finish line in 39.61, a split-second ahead of the 39.69 by the Sun Devils for the crown.
Bush set a lifetime PR in the 400-meter dash as he surged into the lead with 40 meters to go and crossed the finish line in 46.15. Bush surged ahead of sophomore teammate Quincy Downing on the homestretch as Downing followed in second place with his run of 46.56.
Ernest followed by winning the 100-meter dash in the next event on the track with a wind-legal 10.32 ahead of Gabriel Mvumvure (10.42). Allsop then added a win in the 200 meters, posting a wind-aided run of 20.95 to finish just ahead of the 20.95 by Arizona State’s Ryan Milus in the race.
Bush and Downing then wrapped up the meet by running the first two legs of LSU’s winning 4x400-meter relay. They joined freshman Cyril Grayson and senior Caleb Williams in running 3 minutes, 6.16 seconds for the win ahead of Arizona State (3:06.80) in second place and Mississippi State (3:06.86) in third place.
Also winning two event titles was senior Laura Carleton as she took the tape in the 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters for the distance sweep at this year’s Battle on the Bayou. Carleton crossed the finish line with a two-second PR of 4:19.99, while senior Charlene Lipsey followed in second place with a seasonal-best time of 4:20.03. Carleton later added a win in the 3,000 meters while earning an 11-second victory at 9:44.09 for her second meet record of the afternoon.
LSU junior Natoya Goule took down Mississippi State senior Jodi-Ann Muir for the women’s 400-meter crown. Goule slashed more than one second off of her seasonal-best time with a winning run of 53.16 to finish ahead of Muir’s 53.25.
Goule also anchored in the 4x400-meter relay as she held off Arizona State’s Brianna Tate on the homestretch for the win. The team of senior Siedda Herbert, junior Nikita Tracey and sophomore Montenae Roye-Speight ran 3:34.82 to beat Arizona State (3:35.16) across the finish line.
Rounding out LSU’s list of event champions at this year’s Battle on the Bayou was Tiger sophomore Rodney Brown, who threw a series-best of 196-3 on his very first attempt in claiming the victory in the men’s discus final.