The Lady Tigers will be joined by some of the nation's best collegiate teams for the NCAA East Regional Golf Championships at The University Club course from Thursday through Saturday.
Regionals are also taking place at Michigan State and Stanford, with eight teams from each regional advancing to the NCAA Championship in Auburn, Wash., later this month.
The East may be the strongest of the three with nine Southeastern Conference schools in the field and 19 of the 21 teams are ranked in the top 47 in the Sagarin performance index.
The field for the East in tournament seed order with Sagarin rankings in parenthesis includes: 1. Auburn (1); 2. Duke (2), 3. Georgia (9); 4. Tennessee (7); 5. Vanderbilt (11); 6. Florida (12); 7. South Carolina (21); 8. Wake Forest (20); 9. Furman (27); 10. North Carolina (31); 11. LSU (28); 12. Tulane (32): 13. Mississippi State (36); 14. Memphis (37); 15. Texas A&M (47); 16. Central Florida (40); 17. Alabama (43); 18. South Florida (42); 19. North Carolina State (45); 20. Yale (102); and 21. Jackson State (184).
Duke, South Carolina, Furman, Yale and Jackson State all advanced with automatic bids from their conferences while the other East teams were selected at-large.
The three individual qualifiers are Katie Futcher of Penn State, Camilla Hilland of Miami (Florida) and Jessica Lewis, James Madison.
With so many top ranked teams in the field, it is obvious that the individual talent will be stacked in the Baton Rouge event with 15 of the top 30 players on the Sagarin chart coming to Baton Rouge, including six of the top 10: No. 4. Angela Jerman of Georgia, No. 5 Virada Pirapathpongporn, No. 6 two-time SEC champion Kristy McPherson of South Carolina; No. 7 Candy Hannemann of Duke; No. 9 Celeste Troche of Auburn and No. 10 Meredith Duncan of LSU.
"It's very obvious that this is the toughest regional," said LSU coach Karen Bahnsen, "which was to be expected with the strength of play here this year.
"It will be a treat for college golf fans to see this caliber of play over three days at the University Club and we are looking forward to hosting the event. We will work hard and we are confident that we can make the top eight and advance to another NCAA Championship."
For LSU, this is the eighth consecutive year the Lady Tigers have invited to NCAA Regional play and will be trying to advance to a fifth straight Division I women's championship round.
After securing their fourth-straight Southeastern Conference regular-season title and the top seed in postseason play, the third-ranked LSU softball team begins first round action in the SEC Tournament on Thursday at 7 p.m. against eighth-seeded Florida.
The defending tournament champions, LSU (49-9) swept the Gators (32-33) in a three-game series at Tiger Park to open conference play in March, as Florida scored only one run in three games.
LSU has won 29 of its last 31 games to conclude the regular season. Florida was swept by Mississippi State to close out the season, dropping the Gators from the sixth seed to the eight seed in the final weekend.
"At this point in the season, we have accomplished the goals that we had set out at the beginning of the year," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "We won our fourth-straight SEC title and qualified as the top seed for the tournament.
"Now is when it really counts, though, and we know that if we are going to accomplish the rest of the goals we had laid out before the season started that losing is not an option. We will have to be on top of our game, every game. We can not afford to slip up in tournament play."
As LSU heads into postseason play, Britni Sneed and Trena Peel were named the SEC Pitcher and Athlete of the Year, respectively, while head coach Yvette Girouard was selected one of the Tri-Coaches of the Year.
Along with Sneed and Peel, first baseman Christy Connor was named to the All-SEC First Team. Pitcher Kristin Schmidt, second baseman April Janzen and outfielder Erin Johnson also garnered second-team All-SEC honors for the Tigers.
In addition to the 2002 SEC Tournament title, LSU claimed its first league tournament championship in 1999 and has advanced to the title game for four-consecutive years.
If the Tigers win, they will play the winner of the Georgia-Auburn game on Friday at 7 p.m. If they lose, they will play the loser of that game on Friday at 1 p.m. CT.
The second-ranked LSU men's track and field team and third-ranked Lady Tigers head to Starkville, Miss., this weekend for the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
It marks the first time since 1992 that the event has been hosted by Mississippi State, as the event begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday. Nine of the eleven men's teams on hand are ranked in the top 25, including the top three teams in the nation, Tennessee, LSU and Arkansas.
Four women's teams are ranked led by the third-ranked Lady Tigers and No. 4 South Carolina.
Tennessee is the defending men's champion while Arkansas won its second straight women's title in 2001.
The Lady Tigers finished fourth at the event a year ago, while the Tigers placed sixth. LSU figures to make a major impact this weekend, however, as the men's and women's teams combine to own 11 SEC-leading marks and 25 total performances ranked in the top three in the conference.
In addition, six of its seven champions of a year ago will try to defend titles this weekend.
"We bring a very talented group to mix this weekend, we have a good number of athletes that have experienced success at this competition before," said LSU head coach Pat Henry. "I've said it before, this is the hardest competition win. The SEC is the premier conference in college track and field and every year the marks that this meet produces back that statement up."
Starting things off on Thursday will be three-time defending SEC decathlon champion Claston Bernard. A year ago Bernard became the first man to win three consecutive SEC decathlon titles. He will look to add to that mark on Thursday and Friday while also becoming only the eighth man in SEC Outdoor Championship history to win an event four straight years.
Bernard enters with the top mark in the world in 2002, a score of 8,050 at the Texas A&M multi-event competition in March.
Other defending champions for LSU include Walter Davis in both the long and triple jumps and Muna Lee in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Davis will attempt to become only the second man in SEC history to sweep the horizontal jumps in consecutive years, while Lee can become only the third woman to sweep the short sprints in consecutive years.
The Tigers have won 22 SEC titles in their storied history, most recently in 1990, while the Lady Tigers have won eight, more than any other women's program, with their most recent title coming in 1996.
LSU placed two dozen on SEC Track and Field Honor Roll: LSU placed 12 members of its men's team and another dozen from its women's team on the SEC Track and Field Honor Roll. A total of 1-5 student-athletes from the conference earned recognition on the list that includes participants in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field.
LSU's honorees were:
Men: Dwhyte Barrett, 3.89, Mechanical Engineering; Ben Broussard, 3.14, Kinesiology; Jason Carroll, 3.68, Marketing; Lueroy Colquhoun, 3.33, Accounting; Wynand Dempers, 3.80, Information Systems and Decision Sciences; Brandon Guillory, 3.22, Chemical Engineering; Kenneth Henry, 3.64, Kinesiology; Michael Hilton, 3.10, Secondary Education; Brent Martin, 4.00, Industrial Engineering; Ryan Raiford, 3.37, Kinesiology; Gregory Scott, 3.00, General Studies; Blake Theriot, 3.10, Information Systems Management.
Women: Myra Combs, 3.25, Kinesiology; Bridget Cusack, 3.37, Psychology; Lindsey Daigle, 3.71, Marketing; Jernia Ellis, 3.80, Mass Communication; Candice Gonzales, 4.00, Kinesiology; Jill Lipp, 3.40, Elementary Education; Margaret Reaves, 3.79, Chemical Engineering; Bianca Rockett, 3.60, Marketing; April Sams, 3.10, Kinesiology; Ronetta Smith, 3.00, Marketing; Susanne Strunz, 3.25, Kinesiology; Elizabeth Woodworth, 3.64, Zoology.
SEC names Commissioner Advisory Committee: The Southeastern Conference has announced the naming of a seven-member Search Advisory Committee to assist the SEC Search Committee in appointing a new commissioner for the conference.
The Search Advisory Committee will evaluate and recommend candidates for the search committee to interview the final authority for selection resting with the search committee.
The Search Advisory Committee consists of the following individuals: Larry Templeton, Athletics Director, Mississippi State; Joan Cronan, Women's Athletics Director, Tennessee, Damon Evans, Senior Associate Athletics Director, Georgia; Todd Turner, Athletics Director, Vanderbilt; Jeremy Foley, Athletics Director, Floridal Gene Marsh, NCAA Faculty Representative, Alabama; Dr. Jane Moore, former NCAA Faculty Representative, Auburn.
The SEC Search Committee consists of six of the SEC's university presidents and chancellors. Those individuals are Dr. Michael Adams, Georgia, Dr. Mark Emmert, LSU, Dr. John Palms, South Carolina, Dr. Robert Khayat, Ole Miss, Dr. John White, Arkansas, and Dr. Lee Todd, Kentucky.
The search to replace Roy Kramer, who announced his retirement on March 12, is expected to conclude by the end of summer.