After claiming the NCAA javelin title as a freshman in 2021, LSU's Tzuriel Pedigo couldn't come up with another winning throw in his attempt to repeat last June.
Still, a national third-place finish was nothing to sneeze at, especially when he bettered his own school record with a throw of 258 feet, 10 inches.
The Baton Rouge native went back to work Wednesday night on the first day of the NCAA track and field championships in Austin, Texas. On a mission to get the title back and extend his record, Pedigo accomplished both.
After two subpar throws by his standards in the 235-foot range, he delivered a school-record 261-9 in his final throw of the trials that eventually held up for the win at Michael A. Myers Stadium. Virginia's Ethan Dabbs was second with a best of 260-1.
Pedigo's huge throw was just the start of a big night for coach Dennis Shaver's Tigers, who wound up getting their 4x100-meter relay team through the semifinal round while earning another three spots for Saturday night's finals.
The women's finals will be contested Thursday night with live coverage on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 p.m.
While Pedigo was still competing, the LSU 4x100-relay team that set a collegiate record in winning the title in the Southeastern Conference championships last month was at it again.
The team of Brandon Hicklin, Dorian Camel, Da'Marcus Fleming and Godson Oghenebrume got the stick around Wednesday night in 38.06 seconds, which was the fastest time of the semis. That group clocked a 37.90 in taking the SEC title on May 13.
A little more than an hour later, Oghenebrume and Fleming set personal bests in the 100 and safely advanced to Saturday's finals.
Oghenebrume won the third heat handily with a wind-legal time of 9.93 seconds, which turned out to be the second-fastest time of the semis. He came in behind the 9.89 posted by Florida's PJ Austin in the first heat.
That 9.93 moved Oghenebrume up to second place on the school's all-time 100 list behind Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson, who clocked a 9.89 back in 2008.
Two heats earlier, Fleming took third in his heat with a 10.01 — the sixth-fastest time of the semis. That made him the No. 5 performer in LSU history behind Thompson, Oghenebrume, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (9.99) and Trindon Holliday (10.00).
LSU did take a hit in the 400 hurdles as two-time reigning NCAA champion Sean Burrell, who has battled injuries for most of the season, finished fourth in his heat at 49.84 seconds. Burrell finished 11th overall with only nine athletes qualifying for the final.
Late Wednesday night, John Meyer finished fifth in the shot put finals with a throw of 67-¾, giving LSU another four points to go with Pedigo's 10.
Hicklin also finished eighth in the long jump finals with a leap of 25-9½, which got underway 10 minutes after he produced a PR of 10.12 seconds in the 100. He was 15th overall, however, and did not make the final.
Hicklin picked up a point for his eighth-place finish in the long jump, giving the Tigers 15 total points. That put them in fourth place after six events, six behind Arkansas' 21.