Freshmen play big part in keeping No. 15 LSU strong
After LSU finished in sixth place at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships, it graduated four sprinters and hurdlers who combined for 16 All-American honors during their four-year careers.
But LSU coach Dennis Shaver recuperated during the offseason, and the Lady Tigers entered the 2015 season with a trio of freshmen who combined for 43 state titles in high school.
Freshman sprinter Mikiah Brisco, freshman sprinter Aleia Hobbs and freshman hurdler Daeshon Gordon have been key contributors for the Lady Tigers during their first season in college.
Brisco and Gordon both earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week honors within weeks of running for LSU, and they used it as motivation to work toward getting even better.
“[Gordon] was really surprised when she got it, and I was surprised as well,” Brisco said. “It’s big accomplishments for us, but it goes beyond that. We know that we have to be better than just SEC freshman of the week. We have to become national champions.”All three freshmen qualified for the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, where Brisco scored for the Lady Tigers with a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter dash.
During the more competitive outdoor season, the trio had continued to impress Shaver.
In fact, Gordon opened the outdoor season with a faster time than Lady Tiger great Jasmin Stowers’ career-opening time. Gordon claimed SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the second time after setting a personal-best time of 13.09 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays, faster than Stowers’ freshman outdoor season-opening mark of 13.15.
“That was a big deal to me,” Gordon said. “Not only did I progress in a major way, but I won it. Winning my first race let me know I was doing what I needed to do. I also knew that just because I won, I still have to get better.”
With the postseason approaching, Gordon is the third-fastest freshman in the 100-meter hurdles, and Hobbs is third in the 100-meter dash.
Brisco and Hobbs are also a part of the 4x100-meter relay team, which has the second-fastest time in the nation, while Gordon is on the No. 7 4x400-meter relay team.
“[They are] good additions to the team,” sophomore sprinter Jada Martin said. “It’s always good to get new, faster people because it pushes the whole team to work harder and run faster. Together as a 4x100 relay, we’re going to be good.”
Despite their accomplishments, the freshman trio is not satisfied with their early success. Brisco said the freshmen know they are not the best in the nation, and they won’t stop working until they are crowned as national champions.
“My teammates challenge me and push me every day,” Brisco said. “They motivate everybody to work hard at practice because there is somebody out there that’s faster than we are. We have to push every day.”
This article was written by Jacob Hamilton from The Daily Reveille and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.