NCAA Track & Field Champs, Day 3: The LSU Tigers Roar Get Away; Let The Big Cat Eat!

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In David Hunter's third piece on the NCAA Champs, focused on Day 3, David details how LSU Track & Field's Dennis Shaver managed his talented squad to take the title once again. We hope you will enjoy RunBlogRun's coverage of a busy day 3.

Day Three: The LSU Tigers Roar Get Away And Let The Big Cat Eat!

The Tigers of Louisiana State University, relying on their plentiful, incredible talent and drawing on their culture of accountability and support, are the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Men's Team Champions. But as is often the case in the NCAA championship meet, the team title journey to the top step of the podium had its roller coaster moments.

LSU started the day with 24 points earned on Day One and appeared well-positioned to harvest many points on the final day of the men's track competition. Track activity got underway with the 4x100m relay. And the Tigers got off to a great start as the Purple and Gold quartet of Dylan Peoples, Noah Williams, Akanni Hislop, and Terrence Laird combined electrifying speed and well-practiced exchanges to produce a victorious circuit in 38.48, a season' best for LSU and the collegiate leader and #5 on the WL. A slight stutter on the final exchange was cleaned up when LSU anchor Laird ran down Georgia's Matt Boling at the line for the win. 10 points for the Tigers.

The next stop for Tiger points was the 110m hurdles and one of their stars, Damion Thomas. The SEC runner-up came to the final with a season's best 13.22 and seemed poised for a podium performance. But then adversity struck as Thomas had a horrific start. Pressing hurdlers are seldom able to remedy that situation. Thomas finished 8, clocking 13.76, his slowest time of the year. His single point only raised the Tiger point count to 35. Could LSU overcome this disappointment and keep its focus?

Laird, one of the Tiger leaders, took care of that in the final of the 100m. In the crowd at 50 meters, the relentless Laird always has a strong close. With his teammate, JuVaughn Harrison stepping off the jump apron to cheer on his teammate, Laird [10.05] found another gear and caught Houston frosh Shawn Maswanganyi [10.09] at the line for the victory. Disaster averted. Focus restored. And 10 big points for LSU.

In the 400m final, pre-race favorite LSU's Noah Williams ran a solid race. But on this day, no one was going to beat North Carolina A&T sophomore Randolph Ross who dominated the final straightaway and claimed the victory with a 43.85 world-leading clocking. LSU's Williams 3rd place finish [44.93] earned 6 more points for the Tigers.

In the meantime, LSU's JuVaughn Harrison was doing his thing on the high jump apron. The greatest combination jumper of all time was pursuing a rare "triple-double" - a third NCAA championship sweep of winning both the long jump and the high jump. After passing on the two opening heights, there were a few raised eyebrows when the LSU jump star failed to clear his opening jump at 7'21⁄2". No worries. Harrison coolly made ever-higher bars ultimately clearing7'73⁄4", clinching yet another NCAA jump title, completing the unprecedented triple double, and ringing up 10 more points for the Tigers.

Moving ever closer to the team title, LSU got another superior performance in the 400-meter hurdles. Tiger frosh Sean Burrell dominated the one-lap event with an essentially unchallenged race as he finished in 47.85 - a new U20 world record, #4 on the WL. Another 10 points for LSU.

Laird wrapped up the scoring for the Tigers with his 2nd place finish in the 200m final. Another championship win for the Tigers appeared to be in hand. But a powerful finish by jumbo-sized Florida sprinter Joseph Fahnbullen [19.91 - #6 WL] was enough to nip Laird [19.94] at the line.

LSU's concluding total of 84 points easily secured the men's team title for the Tigers. Aided by its deep and talented distance corps, the University of Oregon [53 points] finished 2nd, with NorthCarolina A&T [35 points] edging Florida [34.5 points] for the final podium position.

Sporting new championship hats, the Tiger men hoisted the winner's trophy and rallied around their head coach Dennis Shaver as the coach expressed what this victory meant. "Everybody was taking one thing at a time. We're just really proud in this stadium to be the first men's team to win a championship crown in this marvelous facility," explained Shaver. "Everybody in this group has worked hard and sacrificed all year long to make this win possible. That made it possible for us to achieve what we got." / Dave Hunter /

*** Trackside Tidbits

  • The meteorological gods smiled on Hayward Field as forecasted rain did not arrive until well after Day Three activities concluded. Hayward Magic?

  • In the 1500m, Oregon's Cole Hocker [3:35.35] prevailed in a spirited battle with Notre Dame junior and defending champion Yared Nuguse [3:35.60]. Invigorated by the partisan crowd, Hocker covered the final lap in 52.23. The Duck's winning time fell short of Sydney Maree's 40-year-old meet record by just .05 seconds.

  • ICYMI: Oregon's Cole Hocker had a tremendous finish to take the crown in the 1500m!!#NCAATF x @OregonTF pic.twitter.com/KFa1e3nX8N

  • In the 800m, a powerful finish by USC senior Isaiah Jewett over the final furlong propelled the Trojan to victory. Jewett's winning time of 1:44.68 was a personal best and collegiate leader.

  • Immediately hailed as "the greatest collegiate men's 5000-meter race in history", the men's 5000-meter final concluded with a battle between Oregon junior Cooper Teare [13.12.27] and Northern Arizona junior Luis Grijalva [13.13.14] Lifted by the partisan crowd, Teare covers the final lap in 54.92 for the victory. Teare's winning time was a personal best, a collegiate leader, and a meet record. The legendary Henry Rono [13:08.4 / 1978] is the only collegian to have run a faster 5000 meters.

  • In the men's 4x400m relays, North Carolina A&T won in 3:00.92 [#3 on the WL] as 400mchampion Randolph Ross [43.8] ran the second leg giving A&T the rail and clear sailing while Trevor Steward anchored in 44.17 to seal the victory and put A&T on the team race podium in 3rd.

  • πŸ† Men's 4x400m Relay πŸ†

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