BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 18, 2021)-----Six Southeastern Conference track and field student athletes and coaches have been named recipients of the 2021 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national outdoor track and field awards.
Four individuals from the LSU men's track and field program were honored: Terrance Laird (men's track athlete of the year), JuVaughn Harrison (men's field athlete of the year), Dennis Shaver (co-national men's coach of the year) and Todd Lane (men's assistant coach of the year). Texas A&M's Athing Mu was named women's track athlete of the year, and the Aggies' Tyra Gittens was named women's field athlete of the year. In addition, incoming Georgia head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert was named women's coach of the year.
Laird ended his 2021 season as the high point scorer of the NCAA Championships for the LSU men with 20.5 points accrued; he scored 20.5 of LSU's 84 points en route to the national title. He won the 100 meters (10.05 seconds), anchored the 4x100 meter relay (38.48) to gold, and took second in the 200 meters (19.94 seconds).
Harrison capped his 2021 season last week with two more national titles to bring his career total to six for his LSU career. Harrison competed nine times during the outdoor season and came away as the victor in eight of those events. His 20 points totaled at the NCAA outdoor championship helped lead LSU to its fifth men's outdoor national title in program history just four days ago.
Shaver led the LSU men to the NCAA title last week. His squad racked up six event titles, the second most ever in NCAA history, en route to scoring 84 points and claiming a 31 point victory, the largest margin by a victor since 1994.
Lane had three athletes advance to a total of four events at the NCAA outdoor meet and they scored a total of 27 points. Sean Dixon-Bodie, a true freshman, registered a personal best mark of 54' 6" (16.61 meters) to place fourth in the triple jump at his first career NCAA outdoor meet, and senior Rayvon Grey tacked on two points in the long jump with a leap of 25' 6.25" (7.78 meters).
Gittens scored 24 points at the NCAA Championships, won the heptathlon (6,285), finished second in the long jump (21-11/6.68m) and third in the high jump (6-1.5/1.87m). The junior finished the meet as the top female point scorer and set a collegiate record as the most points scored at an NCAA outdoor meet solely in field events.
Mu set an individual collegiate record in winning the 400m and was a member of the relay that set the all-time 4x400m collegiate record to score 12.5 points at the NCAA Championships. The freshman bettered her previous collegiate record by .11 seconds to win with a time of 49.57, matching the largest margin of victory in an NCAA meet. She followed by anchoring the relay of Tierra Robinson-Jones, Charokee Young and Jaevin Reed in comeback fashion splitting an astonishing 48.85 to claim the title in a time of 3:22.34.
USTFCCCA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Awards:
Men's Track Athlete of the Year: Terrance Laird, LSU
Women's Track Athlete of the Year: Athing Mu, Texas A&M
Men's Field Athlete of the Year: JuVaughn Harrison, LSU
Women's Field Athlete of the Year: Tyra Gittens, Texas A&M
Co-Men's Coach of the Year: Dennis Shaver, LSU
Co-Men's Coach of the Year: Duane Ross, North Carolina A&T
Women's Coach of the Year: Caryl Smith Gilbert, Southern Cal
Men's Assistant Coach of the Year: Todd Lane, LSU
Women's Assistant Coach of the Year: Quincy Watts, Southern Cal