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Stan Becton | | April 20, 2022

Women's track and field rankings: Kentucky and LSU lead the SEC charge to the top

2022 midseason superlatives for women's outdoor track and field

Week 3 of the women's outdoor track and field rankings has a new look as one conference flexes its muscle and three new teams join the top 25.

Here are takeaways from the national rating index from the USTFCCCA.

Kentucky and LSU jump to the top 5 after a strong weekend in the Bayou

No. 4 Kentucky rose two spots and No. 5 LSU jumped four after both programs had great showings at the Joe May Invitational.

Bowerman candidate Abby Steiner had an all-around elite performance for Kentucky. She ran the fastest 200-meter time of the season, running 22.38 against a 5.6 m/s headwind. Steiner also ran the fastest wind-legal 100-meter time of the season, finishing in 10.92 seconds. Steiner also contributed to Kentucky's relays as the Wildcats ran the second-fastest 4x100 meter relay collegiately this season. 

💨: Wind and scoring in track and field, explained

Joining Steiner in the 4x1 were Shadajah Ballard, Masai Russell and Karimah Davis. Russell had a stand-out performance of her own at the Joe May Invitational, blazing through the 100 meter hurdles in 12.75 seconds for the nation's fifth-fastest time.

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LSU was the home team at the Joe May Invitational, and it used the home track advantage well. The Tigers recorded six top-10 national marks, with an additional mark landing in the top-12. 

Three Tigers finished with the 10th-best height in the high jump. Abigail O'Donoghue, Nyagoa Bayak and Morgan Smalls each reached 1.83 meters. LSU found season's-best times in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays, climbing to the third and sixth-fastest collegiate time, respectively.

Favour Ofili ran in both of those relays. She had the top individual performance of any Lady Tiger this weekend, finishing the 100 meters in 11.00 seconds — the second-fastest wind-legal time this year.

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The SEC is dominant at the top

With Kentucky and LSU's rise, the SEC takes five of the top six spots in this week's national rating index. The Wildcats and Tigers sit behind No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 3 Florida; the Aggies and Gators held firm to their spots in Week 3. Rounding out the bunch is No. 6 Arkansas, meaning the SEC sits second to sixth at the top of the rankings. Throw in No. 14 South Carolina and No. 24 Auburn, and the conference has seven teams in the top 25, two more than any other conference.

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Biggest fallers

Four teams dropped four spots each in the latest top 25: No. 15 Southern California, No. 16 Duke, No. 21 North Carolina A&T and No. 24 Auburn.

It's the second straight week that the Trojans and Tigers have dropped. After a fast start to the season, Southern California has improved on just one of its top-30 marks — Karlee Freeman's 11th-best discus mark stands alone — since March 23. While the Trojans have three top six marks in the sprints, the rest of the nation is heating up and catching up.

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New entrants

No. 19 Arizona, No. 22 Arizona State and No. 25 North Carolina are the three new entrants to this week's top 25. Arizona rejoins the top 25 after sitting 18th in Week 1 and dropping out in Week 2. Arizona State and North Carolina are making their first appearances in the top 25 this season.

The Sun Devils received a boost from Jorinde Van Klinken and Beatrice Llano in the discus and hammer throw, respectively. At the Sun Angel track classic, Van Klinken landed a nation-leading 62.83-meter mark in the discus while Llano reached 69.64 meters in the hammer, good for fourth-best this year.

The Tar Heels are coming off an impressive weekend at the Duke Invitational. There, Jillian Shippee landed the nation's seventh-best distance in the hammer, 68.43 meters. Meanwhile, Sarah Trainor and Sasha Neglia finished the steeplechase with the 10th and 14th fastest times, respectively. Those marks join Madison Wiltrout's javelin performance from mid-March, where she launched her way to a 56.12-meter mark, the second-farthest collegiately in 2022. 

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See the full top 25 from April 11, 2022:

Ranking Team Points Previous
1 Texas 409.91 1
2 Texas A&M 335.79 2
3 Florida 316.48 3
4 Kentucky 278.03 6
5 LSU 271.16 9
6 Arkansas 236.16 5
7 Texas Tech 221.41 4
8 BYU 199.64 10
9 Baylor 160.31 7
10 Oregon 136.36 8
11 NC State 123.53 13
12 Ohio State 113.19 16
13 California 110.43 15
14 South Carolina 104.67 14
15 Southern California 104.34 11
16 Duke 102.7 12
17 Oklahoma 102.4 18
18 New Mexico 99.68 19
19 Arizona 97.07 NR
20 Iowa 89.72 23
21 North Carolina A&T 85.37 17
22 Arizona State 82.48 NR
23 Villanova 81.73 21
24 Auburn 80.32 20
25 North Carolina 78.04 NR

Dropped out: Stanford, Colorado, Houston

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