The public is invited to attend a candlelight vigil Thursday night at 7 at Northwestern State’s Walter P. Ledet Track Complex to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of 2017-18 Lady Demons track star Daeshon Gordon, who died suddenly Sunday morning.
NSU president Dr. Chris Maggio and athletics director Greg Burke, along with coaches and teammates, will share reflections on Gordon, 22, a native of Jamaica who resided with her parents in Pompano Beach, Florida.
She completed her collegiate eligibility in June, earning honorable mention All-America honors in the 100 meter hurdles and the 4×100 meter relay, at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and was in Natchitoches working toward earning her NSU degree in communications.
Ending Thursday’s candlelight vigil, following remarks about Gordon, the NSU track and field student-athletes and coaches will lead all participants in a ceremonial victory lap around the oval at the Ledet Complex, with hurdles adorned with black ribbons occupying the inside lane.
Gordon was a two-time All-America hurdler at LSU who transferred to Northwestern State and starred for the Lady Demons in the last two seasons. She won four Southland Conference hurdles championships indoors and outdoors and also ran on a Southland champion 4×100 meter relay team as a senior.
She earned two honorable mention All-America honors in June at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, in the 100 meter hurdles and in the 4×100 meter relay, in her final competition for NSU. It was the first time the Lady Demons qualified a relay team for the national meet, which includes the top 24 performers from around the country.
Gordon set the Lady Demons’ school record in the 100 hurdles with a 13.04 time in the NCAA semifinals. She broke the school 60 meter hurdles record indoors in February, clocking 8.15, also a Southland Conference record. She swept the 60 hurdles titles at the Southland Indoor championships in her two seasons at NSU and had the seven fastest times in the event in school history.
She was runner-up for High Point Scorer honors at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships in May, scoring 22.5 points by sweeping the 100 and 400 hurdles titles and running the lead leg on the winning 4×100 relay team.
Gordon was the 2017 Southland Conference Indoor Women’s Newcomer of the Year.
“Daeshon was very energetic, very bubbly, an infectious smile,” said NSU head track and field coach Mike Heimerman. “She was always a joy to be around. She was very considerate. She had a huge heart, and was just an awesome, awesome young lady.
“As a competitor, she was ferocious. Once the gun popped, she was like another person. She loved to compete for her teammates, not so much for herself, but for them. She always wanted to help everybody.”
At LSU, she earned a pair of All-America awards as a freshman in 2015 in the 100 meter hurdles and in 2016 indoors in the 60 meter hurdles. Her 8.04 mark as a sophomore in the 60 hurdles ranks seventh in LSU history and her 57.24 in the 400 hurdles in her freshman season was 10th on the Tigers’ all-time list.
Gordon was a bronze medalist for Jamaica in the 2015 Pam Am Junior Games in the 100 meter hurdles, setting a national age-group record. She was hoping to challenge for a place on her native country’s 2020 Olympic team. She was the top-ranked prep hurdler in Florida in 2014.
She is survived by her parents, Miranda and Deron Gordon of Pompano Beach. A funeral is tentatively planned early next month in the Miami area.
A GoFundMe.com account (https://www.gofundme.com/daeshon-gordon-funeral-expenses) has been established by friends of the family to assist with expenses related to the funeral.