Track & Field Holds Inaugural Alumni Banquet

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Track & Field Holds Inaugural Alumni Banquet

BATON ROUGE – The LSU track and field program enjoyed a historic evening on Friday night at the Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge, where it hosted the inaugural LSU Track & Field Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet with a crowd of more than 500 athletes, coaches, family and alumni in attendance.

The inaugural event was established to recognize the current members of the LSU track and field program for their outstanding performance in competition, in the classroom and in the community, as well as honor the alumni who have laid the foundation of success enjoyed by the program today.

Among those in attendance were more than 100 alumni of the LSU track and field program representing a total of six decades of one of the most storied programs in collegiate athletics.

Included were 13 Olympians, 26 NCAA champions and a total of 43 All-Americans representing the rich history and tradition of the LSU program. In addition, four members of the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame attended the banquet, including Harry Carpenter (1954-57), Billy Hardin (1962-64), Bob Smith (1972-75) and Eric Reid (1984-87). There are 21 LSU track and field athletes inducted in the LSU Hall of Fame.

Awards were presented to current members of the team for their outstanding performance during the 2009 outdoor, 2009 cross country and 2010 indoor seasons.

It proved to be an event worthy of a program that has cemented its place as the most successful in the rich history of LSU athletics while winning 31 NCAA championships and 46 SEC championships all-time.

“This banquet will be the first of many as we always want to honor the men and women who have helped lead us to where we are today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “This event was unlike any that I’ve had the pleasure to attend since I’ve been at LSU. It is amazing when you think of the history represented in that room that goes back six decades. And it was right there for all of us to see.

“I appreciate everyone who worked behind-the-scenes to put this banquet together. There are so many we need to thank because we could not have enjoyed an event like this without their support. We want this to continue long into the future as a way to always honor those who make this program what it is today.”

The awards portion of the program ended with the presentation of the Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award, which honors the Most Outstanding Male Performer of the Year.

Presenting the award to LSU junior All-American and NCAA Indoor champion Walter Henning were the children of Glenn “Slats” Hardin, Glenn Hardin, Billy Hardin and Linda Caston.

The Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award is named in honor of the greatest track and field athlete to ever compete for the LSU program. Hardin was a four-time NCAA champion and six-time All-American during his brilliant career at LSU from 1933-35. Hardin was a member of LSU’s first national championship team in 1933, where he captured individual titles in the 440-yard dash and 220-yard low hurdles.

Glenn “Slats” Hardin is a true American track and field legend as he was the world’s premier 400 hurdler in the first half of the 20th century. He set the world record in the event three times during his career, with his best of 50.6 standing as the world record for 19 years from 1934-53.

After winning a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif., Hardin won the gold at the infamous 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. He remains the only LSU track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event.

Henning is a deserving recipient of the inaugural Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award as he was crowned NCAA Indoor champion in the 35-pound weight throw back in March. He also captured All-America honors with an NCAA runner-up finish in the hammer throw at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

In addition, Henning is the reigning SEC champion in each event after taking the hammer throw crown in 2009 and his second-straight weight throw title during the 2010 indoor season.

“Every award that was presented tonight was very well-deserved by our student-athletes,” Shaver said. “I also want to thank the family of Glenn Hardin for attending tonight’s banquet and presenting the award that has been named in honor of their father. Glenn Hardin represents the very heart and soul of LSU track and field, and we want his legacy to live on each year with the presentation of this award.”

The second-annual LSU Track & Field Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet has already been scheduled for April 23, 2011, before the team plays host to next year’s LSU Alumni Gold meet. 

Award Winners at LSU Track & Field Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet
Note: awards listed in order received

Newcomer of the Year          
Criteria: NCAA and/or SEC scorer, Individual who made great impact on team performance, Demonstrated performance improvement throughout the year particularly the championship meets
Male – Caleb Williams
Female – Takeia Pinckney

Cross Country Runner of the Year           
Criteria: Reported to fall camp in excellent fitness from summer training program, Was consistently a top performing runner during the regular season and championship meets, Participated in the SEC and Regional Cross Country Championship meets
Male – Cullen Doody
Female – Jenna Henssler

Academic/Athletic Accomplishment Award       
Criteria: Combined both high academic and high athletic performance, Utilized the many athletic and academic resources provided by the LSU Athletic Department, NCAA and/or SEC competitor
Male (The Kenner Day Award) – Barrett Nugent
Female – Samantha Henry

Most Improved Athlete Award
Criteria: Individual elevated their daily training efforts, Competition performance showed consistent improvement, Demonstrated dedication to athletic improvement
Male – Zedric Thomas
Female – Brittany Hall

Community Service Award  
Criteria: Individual is active in community service activities, Logged most community service hours through the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program, Demonstrated dedication to athletic improvement
Male – Kyle Rose
Female – Lauren Saucier

Most Outstanding Field Athlete Award
Criteria: NCAA and/or SEC scorer, Exhibited event group leadership qualities, Demonstrated excellent work habits and motivation to improve
Male – Walter Henning
Female – Brittani Carter

Most Outstanding Track Athlete Award
Criteria: NCAA and/or SEC scorer, Exhibited event group leadership qualities, Demonstrated excellent work habits and motivation to improve
Male – Trindon Holliday
Female – LaTavia Thomas

Academic Achievement Award
Criteria: Achieved the highest GPA during the previous two semesters, Completed a minimum of 24 degree credit hours, Participated in a minimum of six competitions during the year
Male – Rabun Fox
Female – Anna Lyons

Eye of the Tiger Award
Criteria: Demonstrated a fierce competitive attitude, Displayed an attitude which positively affects teammates, Possessed a relentless desire to improve their performance
Male – Richard Jones
Female – LaTavia Thomas

L Club Captain Award
Criteria: Senior who was an NCAA participant, Demonstrated team leadership characteristics, Strived for excellence athletically, academically and in community service
Male – Jeremy Hicks
Female – Katelyn Rodrigue

Most Outstanding Female Performer Award     
Criteria: NCAA scorer, Performed consistently throughout the season(s), Displayed a positive attitude and team leadership behavior
LaTavia Thomas

The Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award
Criteria: NCAA scorer, Performed consistently throughout the season(s), Displayed a positive attitude and team leadership behavior
Walter Henning