Larkins and McNeese’s McKenzie earn Leon Johnson NSU Invitational Outstanding Performer honors

Northwestern State senior Micah Larkins and McNeese junior Grace McKenzie were spotlighted Tuesday for their pacesetting performances this past Friday at the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex.

Larkins, a Haughton High School product, was chosen as the male Outstanding Performer in the meet while McKenzie, a native of Ireland, won the female Outstanding Performer honor. Selections were made by the NSU coaching staff and sports information personnel.

Their names will be displayed permanently on signs at the Ledet Complex recognizing those winning the accolades at each year’s meet. The tradition began when the meet was rebranded as the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational in 2011 to honor the legendary head track and field coach, who retired two years later after 31 seasons in charge at Northwestern.

Larkins, a two time All-American, won the 200 meter dash (20.97) and was also a member of the winning men’s 4×100 relay alongside Tre’Darius Carr, Javin Arrington and Eddie Clarke with the nation’s 14th-fastest time of 39.51.

McKenzie won the women’s 400 hurdles in a time of 59.97. Her time makes her the first Cowgirl to break the 60 second barrier in the event in just the fifth-time ever competing in the event and maintains her top ranking in the Southland Conference. The Cork, Ireland native also won the 100 hurdles (14.02) and placed second in the long jump (19-3 ½) behind the Lady Demons’ NCAA Indoor champion Jasmyn Steels, who set a meet record with the nation’s third-best mark this spring, 21-3 ½.

NSU won a combined 12 events, six by each gender. Stephen F. Austin had 11 combined wins (six men) while six other schools had two victories or less among the 37 events contested.

A total of 35 Demons and Lady Demons achieved personal bests in the meet, an improvement from last year’s 28.

NSU heads to the LSU Alumni Gold meet Saturday before returning home to host the 2019 Outdoor Southland Conference Championships on May 3-5.