The Lady Tigers will return 10 All-Americans to their squad in 2017 as LSU will once again challenge for top honors at the SEC and NCAA Championships. With a senior-laden squad featuring All-Americans Nataliyah Friar, Rushell Harvey, Travia Jones, Jada Martin, Morgan Schuetz and Rebekah Wales; along with juniors Mikiah Brisco and Aleia Hobbs and sophomores Kortnei Johnson and Rachel Misher, the Lady Tigers hope to make 2017 a season to remember in Baton Rouge.
Sixth in a nine-part series previews the women's hurdlers that are sure to be among the nation's elite once again during the 2017 season.
Baton Rouge native Mikiah Brisco is back for her junior season in 2017 as she leads an event group that also features fellow NCAA qualifiers Ka’Lynn Jupiter, Kymber Payne and Bryiana Richardson from a year ago as the team’s returning All-America hopefuls during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
National-record holder Tonea Marshall (Arlington, Texas) and Brittley Humphrey (Hoover, Alabama) are also ready to wear the LSU uniform for the first time as two of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2016.
The Lady Tigers accounted for 16 points in the hurdle events at the NCAA Championships a year ago between the indoor and outdoor seasons as they capped their 2016 campaign with a sixth-place team finish during a strong two days at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The performance of their sprint and intermediate hurdlers is sure to be a factor in their title challenge in SEC and NCAA competition again in 2017 as a new season gets underway Friday in Baton Rouge.
She saved her fastest races indoors for the NCAA Championships when she clocked her personal bests of 7.17 to win the bronze medal in the 60 meters and 8.04 for fifth place in the 60 hurdles to finish as LSU’s leading scorer with 10 points for the meet. That performance almost single-handedly earned the Lady Tigers a top-15 team finish for the indoor season.
Brisco burst onto the scene just two weeks before at the SEC Indoor Championships when she won the SEC’s Cliff Harper Trophy as the top individual point scorer while sweeping SEC Indoor titles in her events.
The Baton Rouge native made history as the first Lady Tiger to be crowned the SEC Champion in both the 60 meters and 60 hurdles in the same SEC Indoor Championship to tie Tennessee’s Chelsea Blaase as the leader for the meet with 20 points. Brisco was later voted by the head coaches as the SEC Women’s Indoor Runner of the Year as one of the SEC’s shining stars during the indoor season.
Brisco raised her performance again during the outdoor season in the spring when she lined up in the 100-meter final at the NCAA Championships for the first time and sprinted to her all-conditions career best of 11.13 (+2.6) for fifth place nationally. That came just two days after clocking a wind-legal PR of 11.24 in the national semifinal.
Brisco ran her two fastest wind-legal races in the 100-meter hurdles at the SEC Outdoor Championships as she followed a personal best of 13.10 in the semifinal round with a time of 13.11 for fourth place to miss out on an All-SEC finish by one spot in the standings. She added an eighth-place individual finish in the 100-meter final at the SEC Outdoor Championships to finish among the team’s leading scorers.
A six-time All-American and four-time All-SEC performer as a Lady Tiger, Brisco is sure to be a catalyst once again if they Lady Tigers are to challenge for SEC and NCAA team championships during the 2017 season.
Payne, a native of Compton, California, and product of Long Beach Poly High School, was an NCAA semifinalist for the first time after running her lifetime best of 56.38 in the event at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. That’s where she placed ninth overall in the NCAA quarterfinals to become the eighth-fastest Lady Tiger in history to ever run the 400 hurdles.
Also an SEC finalist in the event as a sophomore in 2016, Payne is one of the nation’s top returning 400-meter hurdlers for the 2017 season with three sub-57-second times under her belt a season ago.
Jupiter also emerged as one of the NCAA’s leading performers in the 400 hurdles with her performance in 2016 as she joined Payne as an NCAA semifinalist in the event at outdoor nationals in Oregon. She finished 13th nationally in the NCAA semifinals after qualifying with a personal best of 56.63 in the quarterfinal round at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in Jacksonville two weeks before.
“Joop” even scored four points for the Lady Tigers at the SEC Outdoor Championships with a fifth-place finish in the final of the 400-meter hurdles at the University of Alabama to highlight her junior season. She ended the 2016 campaign as the No. 9-ranked Lady Tiger on LSU’s all-time outdoor performance list in the women’s 400 hurdles.
Richardson will also look to take the next step in her career and progress through the rounds at the NCAA Championships after twice running in the national quarterfinals of the 400 hurdles as a freshman in 2014 and as a junior a year ago. The senior-to-be from Helen Cox High School in New Orleans owns a personal best of 57.85 that she set in the qualifying round at the SEC Outdoor Championships last May.
A product of Juan Seguin High School in Arlington, Texas, Marshall sent shockwaves through the sport when she set the national high school record in the girls’ 60-meter hurdles in back-to-back races in her gold-medal-winning performance at the 2016 New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York. She followed a PR of 8.16 in the first round of qualifying with high school records of 8.08 in the semifinals and 8.02 in the final to be crowned the New Balance Indoor Nationals Champion in the event for the 2016 season.
Marshall followed outdoors by smashing the high school record at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in the 100-meter hurdles with a winning wind-legal PR of 13.04 (+1.2) to rank No. 2 on the U.S. high school list for 2016 with her efforts. She was twice crowned the Texas Relays champion in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles as she defended the title she first won as a junior in 2015.
Marshall also wrapped up her prep career as a two-time Texas Class 5A State Champion in the sprint hurdles as she defended her title as a senior last spring with a winning time of 13.30 in the state final.
Humphrey brings a championship pedigree of her own to Baton Rouge as she was crowned an Alabama State Champion a total of 12 times during her prep career at Hoover High School while becoming one of the most decorated hurdlers in the history of the state. She owns personal bests of 8.24 in the 60 hurdles, 13.24 in the 100 hurdles and 59.95 in the 400 hurdles as she kicks off her freshman season at LSU.
Humphrey burst onto the international stage as a high school junior in 2015 when she scored the silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Youth Championships held that year in Cali, Colombia. She ran a blistering 13.22 (+0.1) over the 30-inch hurdles in the IAAF World Youth final in her international debut for Team USA.
Humphrey highlighted her senior season at the prep level by running her wind-legal PR of 13.24 over the standard hurdles in a winning effort in the high school division at the 2016 Mt. Sac Relays early last season.