MOORMANN: A lot going on at LSU

Because LSU was so busy last week, it wouldn't be fair to focus on just one of the three athletic competitions in which it was engaged. <br><br> Anyway, making sense of two of them is not an easy thing, even for those involved. With that in mind, let's look back at the week that was: OK, once again, what was the point of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Mideast Regional held at Bernie Moore Track Stadium?

Someone said something about the top five finishers in each individual event advancing to the national championships in two weeks. The first three relay teams go, too, as do those who get at-large bids that go to goodness knows who.

 

This is all fine and good, but haven't these same athletes been participating in meets all season in an effort to produce national qualifying standards?

 

If there's such a great push to give more opportunities to student-athletes, why not simply have smaller last-chance meets in  venues closer to home.

 

After all, what was the point of having DePaul send four athletes to LSU. It wasn't even worth DePaul's time and trouble to print the four pages of notes it provided the media.

 

If the truth be told, the media has been even slower to catch on to idea of regional track and field meets than the coaches. If it weren't the coaches duty to be there, they might have been as noticeably absent as members of the media, whose bosses don't have unlimited budgets to spend on something that's hard to justify covering.

 

"I think coaches are still trying to figure regions out -- how to do some things, " said Pat Henry, LSU's winningest coach ever with 25 national championships to his credit.

 

Henry chose to keep two of his sprinters out of the men's 1,600-meter relay in an effort to protect their minor leg injuries. Henry, and others, are apt to take a much more aggressive approach at the national meet at Texas beginning June 9.

 

"It's a tough situation, but one we've got to deal with," Henry said of the regional concept, now in its second year. The NCAA sent LSU to Ohio State last year, which wasn't quite as bad as having Wisconsin travel to LSU last week.

 

"We...about froze to death," at Ohio State, Henry said.

 

The NCAA, in its lack of wisdom, has demonstrated that either knows little about track and field, or cares even less. For years, the NCAA dragged its feet on baseball until Skip Bertman, Mississippi State's Ron Polk, and others, made enough noise that they were finally heard.

 

Still, as much fun, as the teams and fans seem to have at the College World Series, it remains one of the most haphazardly run national championships from a media point of view. In all football bowl games, and at the basketball Final Four, the teams are assigned certain practice times at particular places. Not so in baseball. Teams practice on whim, cancel it when they want and leave journalists driving around Omaha, Neb., literally in search of (baseball) diamonds in the rough.

 

But that's digressing. The point was that the NCAA is doing very few people favors in having extraneous track and field regional meets.

 

At least LSU made it through its regional virtually unscathed and ready to contend for national honors.

 

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If the two-day track and field regional meet defied logic, consider the Tigers' two-day flop in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament. It was a comedy of errors that left no one laughing.

 

LSU made enough base-running mistakes and fielding gaffes to prove their vulnerability, even in a regional that begins Friday at Alex Box Stadium.

 

The Tigers continually mention how they have the talent to win consistently, which is true, but that won¹t happen unless they reduce the fundamental mishaps that occur far too often.

 

Vanderbilt made it to the SEC Championship Game, in large measure, because it paid attention to detail and had the league¹s best defensive team.

 

Victory often doesn¹t go to the strongest and most swift, but, rather, to those who don¹t lose sight of what it takes to cross the finish line first.

 

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What goes around comes around, and just as the baseball team contributed to its demise, so did the LSU softball team benefit from someone else's misfortune.

 

Michigan fell apart defensively as LSU won College World Series opener in 13 innings, 3-2. Credit the Lady Tigers, though, for being in position to take advantage of Michigan gave them. Kristin Schmidt was dominating on the mound, and the Lady Tigers put the ball in play at the plate when they had to.

 

Rarely does anything good come of a strikeout, which the baseball team knows only too well. Hit the ball into fair territory and even something as meek as a two-out grounder back to the pitcher can turn into a game-altering play.

 

The baseball team could use the same sense of urgency that fueled the softball team and powers the track and field teams in their quests for national championships.


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