Track & Field Holds Annual Awards, Alumni Banquet

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
+0
Track & Field Holds Annual Awards, Alumni Banquet

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Track & Field program held its fourth-annual Team Awards and Alumni Recognition Banquet on Thursday 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 during the 2012-13 athletic season.

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.

Athletes, coaches, administrators, family and alumni were in attendance in celebration of the great history and tradition of the nation’s premier combined program in collegiate track and field.

Awards were presented to current and former members of the team for their outstanding performance during the 2012 outdoor, 2012 cross country, 2013 indoor and 2013 outdoor seasons while leading the Tigers and Lady Tigers in all aspects of the program.

Highlighting the festivities was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Lady Tigers winning the national championship at the 1988 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

“We enjoy the opportunity to host this event each year as we celebrate those athletes who have helped build the program we enjoy today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “It was a very special night for us as we were able to welcome back so many from that 1988 team that holds such a special place in the history of our program. That was a tremendous team that deserves this type of recognition.

“This was also a special night for our program as we honored those Tigers and Lady Tigers of today who have made their mark on the program over the past year. Those who took home awards are deserving of such an honor as the leaders of our program today. We’re already preparing for 2014, and look forward to seeing who steps up to lead the program over the next year.”

The awards portion of the banquet proceeding was capped by seniors Damar Forbes and Kimberlyn Duncan taking home the Most Outstanding Performer of the Year awards.

Duncan was named the winner of the Most Outstanding Female Performer of the Year award for the third-straight season as she also claimed the honor as a sophomore in 2011 and as a junior in 2012.

Duncan, winner of The Bowerman as the top collegiate track and field athlete in the country in 2012, finished her brilliant collegiate career in 2013 while defending her NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor championships in the 200-meter dash. She is the only sprinter in collegiate history – male or female – to sweep indoor and outdoor national championships in the event in three-straight seasons as she ended her career as a six-time NCAA champion in the event. Duncan was also the NCAA Outdoor bronze medalist in the 100-meter dash in 2013.

A native of Katy, Texas, Duncan tied LSU career records with seven NCAA event titles also held by Muna Lee (2001-04) and 12 SEC event titles also held by Lee and Peta-Gaye Dowdie (1997-2000) in the wake of a strong senior season. She also earned 14 All-America honors in her four seasons with the Lady Tiger to tie for the No. 8 spot on LSU’s all-time career list.

Not only was Duncan named the Most Outstanding Female Performer of the Year, but she also shared the Most Outstanding Track Athlete award with NCAA Outdoor 800-meter champion Natoya Goule.

Forbes was presented The Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award honoring the Most Outstanding Male Performer of the Year after being crowned the NCAA Outdoor champion in the men’s long jump during the 2013 season.

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.

Hardin is a true American track and field legend as he was the world’s premier 400-meter 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 time of 50.6 seconds standing as the world record for 19 years from 1934-53.

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

Forbes is a deserving recipient of The Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award this season after sweeping SEC Outdoor and NCAA Outdoor titles in the long jump, while also winning the SEC Outdoor crown and claiming All-America honors as the leadoff leg of LSU’s 4×100-meter relay team. He had previously won four SEC silver medals and four NCAA silver medals in the long jump during his career through the 2013 indoor season.

A Jamaican international, Forbes even jumped a lifetime personal best of 27 feet, ¾ inches during his senior season to finish as the No. 2-ranked performer on LSU’s all-time outdoor list in the men’s long jump.

In addition to his selection as the winner of The Glenn “Slats” Hardin Award, Forbes also won The Kenner Day Academic/Athletic Achievement Award and Men’s Most Outstanding Field Athlete Award for the event.

Both Duncan and Forbes ended their 2013 season by competing at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Moscow, Russia, as Duncan competed for the United States in the women’s 200 meters and Forbes competed for Jamaica in the men’s long jump. Forbes advanced to the final in his second World Championships appearance, while Duncan raced in the semifinal in her championship debut.

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

Newcomer of the Year Award
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 – Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake
Female – Natoya Goule

Cross Country Runner of the Year Award
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 – Roger Cooke
Female – Laura Carleton

Academic/Athletic Accomplishment Award
Criteria: Combined both high academic and high athletic performance; Utilized the many academic and athletic resources provided by the LSU Athletic Department; NCAA and/or SEC competitor.
Male (The Kenner Day Award) – Damar Forbes
Female – Laura Carleton

Most Improved Athlete Award
Criteria: Individual elevated their daily training efforts; Competition performance showed consistent improvement; Demonstrated dedication to athletic improvement.
Male – Rodney Brown
Female – Laura Carleton

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) – Joseph Caraway
Female – Laura Carleton

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 – Damar Forbes
Female – Denise Hinton

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 – Aaron Ernest
Female – Kimberlyn Duncan, Natoya Goule

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 – Philip Dempsey
Female – Andria Aguilar

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 – Damar Forbes
Female – Denise Hinton

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 – Rodney Brown
Female – Natoya Goule

LSU L Club Team Captain Award
Criteria: Senior who was an NCAA participant; Demonstrated team leadership characteristics; Strived for excellence athletically, academically and in community service.
Male – Barrett Nugent
Female – Rebecca Alexander

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.
Damar Forbes