Three members of the LSU track and field program got their team off to a solid start Wednesday in securing spots for the NCAA championships next month.
The NCAA East preliminary rounds for men got under way in Jacksonville, Florida, with Tzuriel Pedigo, John Meyer and Brandon Hicklin earning tickets to the NCAA semifinals and finals to be held June 7-10 in Austin, Texas.
The first round for the women will be contested Thursday at the University of North Florida. The quarterfinals are set for Friday for the men and Saturday on the women’s side.
The top 12 finishers in individual events and relays at this meet earn the right to face the top 12 in each event from the West preliminary rounds in the NCAA championships.
Pedigo took the top spot in the javelin, Meyer claimed second in the shot put and Hicklin was the eighth-place finisher in the long jump.
The LSU men also advanced 10 athletes on the track Wednesday, moving them into Friday’s quarterfinals.
Pedigo, the 2021 NCAA champion in the javelin, was the first LSU athlete to qualify for Austin when he won with a throw of 250 feet, 11 inches.
His best throw came on his third and final trial, which rocketed him from 12th to first. He had safely secured the 12th and final spot at 230-7, however, by the time he unleashed his winning throw.
A little later, Meyer punched his ticket for Austin as well when he unleashed a throw of 66-7¼ on his final attempt to finish second in the shot put.
Like Pedigo, Meyer was safely in the top 12 when he had his biggest toss of the day.
Then, Hicklin safely made it through the long jump when he posted a best of 24-9¾ to finish eighth in the competition.
On the track, four LSU sprinters got through the 100 meters and two others made it in the 200 to Friday’s quarterfinals.
The sprinters who make up the nation’s top 4×100-meter relay unit — Hicklin, Dorian Camel, Da’Marcus Fleming and Godson Oghenebrume — easily advanced in the open 100.
Then, Camel and Fleming made it a double when they got through in the 200.
Hicklin added to his big day in the 100 when he posted the second-fastest time of the 24 athletes who qualified for the quarterfinals when he clocked a wind-aided 10.04.
Fleming (10.10) and Oghenebrume (10.10) automatically advanced to the quarters with second-place finishes in their heats and Camel (10.20) made it based on time.
Camel (20.45) and Fleming (20.57) automatically advanced to Friday’s round based on their finish in their respective 200 heats.
Other LSU automatics qualifiers Wednesday were Sean Burrell in the 400-meter hurdles (50.82), Matthew Sophia in the 110 hurdles (13.53) and Davis Bove in the 1,500 (3 minutes, 46.28 seconds).
Alex Selles (1:49.29) also got through in the 800 as a timed qualifier.
Also, UL’s Javed Jones automatically earned a spot in the 400 hurdles (51.25) and Southeastern’s Eugene Omalla advanced on time (46.98).