MEET PREVIEW: 2017 SEC Relays
Anybody looking for the high-profile teams from the Southeastern Conference at the Penn Relays might want to look 1280 miles southwest from Philadelphia to Baton Rouge, La.
That’s where the 2017 SEC Relays will be contested inside LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Competition begins on Friday at 3 pm CT with the women’s discus throw and goes until Saturday afternoon when the meet wraps up with the Elementary School 4×100 Relay. Right before the children take to the track, fans will see the best of the best in the 4×400 relays.
If you clicked on this preview, you likely already know the prowess of the SEC when it comes to collegiate track & field. In the most recent NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings released Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the SEC had 11 teams ranked in both the men’s and women’s top-25 with Texas A&M leading the way in each.
The only teams from the SEC that won’t be in Baton Rouge will be Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina. While that rules out two of the top-5 teams in both the men’s and women’s top-10 (including No. 2 and No. 3 in the men’s rankings) and their athletes, collegiate track & field fans are in for a treat this weekend.
We might as well start with where the SEC makes its calling and that’s in the 4×400 relay. We’ll see three of the top-3 men’s and women’s teams compete in Saturday’s final collegiate races. In the men’s event that goes off at 2:15 pm CT, No. 1 Texas A&M (3:01.74), No. 5 Tennessee (3:03.65) and No. 8 LSU (3:04.19) are all entered. In the women’s race that starts 12 minutes earlier, No. 7 LSU (3:29.10), No. 8 Texas A&M (3:29.18) and No. 9 Kentucky (3:30.24) take part.
In addition to the 4×400, they’ll run non-traditional events like the sprint medley (5:30 pm CT on Friday), 4×200 (12:40 pm CT on Saturday) and the shuttle hurdles (1 pm CT on Saturday).
One of the most notable events on the men’s side from an individual standpoint will be the javelin throw. You’ll see the Texas A&M duo of Ioannis Kyriazis and Lindon Victor face off with Mississippi State’s Curtis Thompson. Kyriazis unleashed the 2nd-longest throw in collegiate history earlier this season (88.01m/288-9) and Victor, the collegiate record holder in the decathlon, will look to improve in that event area. Thompson won the 2016 NCAA title.
If you’re looking for the best women’s individual event, look no further than the long jump. It’s on those runways that you’ll find NCAA Indoor champion Sha’Keela Saunders of Kentucky and current NCAA co-leader Quanesha Burks of Alabama. Burks soared 6.72m (22-0¾) at the War Eagle Invitational this past weekend to tie South Carolina’s Rougui Sow. Saunders is currently 4th on the NCAA DI DOL with a leap of 6.57m (21-6¾).
Another notable event on the men’s side from an individual standpoint will be the 100, which features NCAA Indoor double champion Christian Coleman of Tennessee and LSU senior Tremayne Acy. This will be an important race for Coleman to get his legs under him and assert himself as the man to beat in the event after he fell to 4th on the NCAA DI DOL. Coleman ran his 10.03 against a headwind at the Tennessee Relays three weeks ago while Odean Skeen (9.98), Kendal Williams (9.99) and Christopher Belcher (9.99) all had favorable winds at their backs.
Here is a list of women in the top-5 on the NCAA DI DOL that fans will see in their signature event this weekend: LSU’s Aleia Hobbs (2nd, 100), Arkansas’ Daina Harper (4th, 400), Kentucky’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (t-3rd, 100H), LSU’s Mikiah Brisco (5th, 100H), Mississippi State’s Logan Boss (1st, high jump), Arkansas’ Victoria Weeks (3rd, pole vault) and Lexi Weeks (4th, pole vault), Ole Miss’ Janaeh Stewart (5th, shot put), LSU’s Rebekah Wales (1st, javelin) and Texas A&M’s Audrey Malone (3rd, javelin).
Here is a list of men in the top-5 on the NCAA DI DOL that fans will see in their signature event this weekend: Alabama’s Ruebin Walters (4th, 110H), Texas A&M’s Robert Grant (1st, 400H), Texas A&M’s Audie Wyatt (2nd, pole vault), Alabama’s Elias Hakansson (5th, hammer throw).