Track & Field Hands Out Awards at Alumni Banquet

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Track & Field Hands Out Awards at Alumni Banquet

BATON ROUGE – The LSU track and field program held its second-annual Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet on Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, in which 14 student-athletes received awards for their performance in competition, in the classroom and in the community.

The LSU Track & Field Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet has been established to, not only recognize the current members of the program for their performance in the past year, but also honor the alumni who have laid the foundation of success still enjoyed by the program today.

Approximately 450 athletes, coaches, administrators, family and alumni were in attendance in celebration of the history and tradition of the premier combined program in all of collegiate track and field.

Included were eight Olympians, 17 NCAA champions and 36 All-Americans representing the rich history and diversity of the LSU track and field program. Not only that, but four members of the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame were in attendance for Friday’s banquet, including Harry Carpenter (1954-57), Billy Hardin (1962-64), Delmon McNabb (1965-66) and Eric Reid (1984-87). There are currently 22 alums of the LSU track and field program who are members of the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Awards were presented to current members of the team for their outstanding performance during the 2010 outdoor, 2010 cross country and 2011 indoor seasons.

ESPN’s Emmy award winning track and field commentator Larry Rawson was on hand to serve as Master of Ceremonies of the event honoring a program that cemented its place as the most dominant at LSU with 31 NCAA championships and 48 SEC championships in its storied history.

“We are proud to continue this new tradition that we’ve started as a way to honor the many great men and women who have helped lead us to where we are today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “When we see the history represented in the PMAC tonight, it makes it all worth it. It’s amazing to me when you see six decades of excellence represented here with us tonight.

“And there are a lot of people who have worked many hours behind-the-scenes to organize this event. It’s a great undertaking for us as a staff, and there are so many people we need to thank because we would not be able to enjoy an event like this without their support, really throughout the year.”

The awards portion of the program was highlighted by senior Walter Henning receiving the Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award for the second year in a row, honoring the Most Outstanding Male Performer of the Year.

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 Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award again this season after capturing two NCAA championships and two SEC championships over the past year.

Henning was crowned the NCAA hammer throw champion at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago and the NCAA weight throw champion for the second-straight season at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships back in March. He has also swept SEC titles in both events during that time.

In addition, Henning also took home awards on Friday night for the Most Outstanding Male Field Athlete Award, Eye of the Tiger Award and L Club Captain Award.

Sophomore Kimberlyn Duncan won the award as the Most Outstanding Female Performer of the Year, as she has emerged as one of the nation’s more dominant sprinters during her young career at LSU.

After winning her first career All-America honor as the second leg on LSU’s 4×100-meter relay team that finished as the NCAA runner-up during her freshman season in 2010, Duncan took her performance to another level during the 2011 indoor season in which she swept SEC Indoor and NCAA Indoor titles with the 200-meter dash. She became LSU’s first NCAA Indoor 200-meter champion since Muna Lee won her back-to-back indoor national championships in 2002 and 2003.

Not only was Duncan named the Most Outstanding Female Performer of the Year, but she also won a pair of awards as the Most Outstanding Female Track Athlete and Most Improved Athlete this season.

The third-annual LSU Track & Field Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet will be held Friday, April 20, of next year before the team plays host to the 2012 LSU Alumni Gold meet the following day.

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 – Horatio Williams
Female – Jasmin Stowers

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 – Richard Chautin
Female – Laura Carleton

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 – Melissa Ogbourne

Most Improved Athlete Award
Criteria: Individual elevated their daily training efforts, Competition performance showed consistent improvement, Demonstrated dedication to athletic improvement
Male – Michael Lauro
Female – Kimberlyn Duncan

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 (The Kirt Bennett Award) – Brandon Gordon
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 – Barrett Nugent
Female – Kimberlyn Duncan

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 – Kyle Rose
Female – Laura Carleton

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 – Walter Henning
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 – Walter Henning
Female – LaTavia Thomas

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

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