Northwestern State’s sports information office claimed five awards Sunday at the annual Louisiana Sports Writers Association Awards Brunch that concludes the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.
Assistant SID Jason Pugh claimed a pair of writing awards, while retiring SID Doug Ireland notched one and Demon Sports Network announcer Tony Taglavore was also a writing award winner.
Graduate assistant Jonathon Zenk was presented the LSWA’s Ace Higgins Award, given to the state’s top applicant among student assistant sports information staffers. Zenk, a Wisconsin native, joined the NSU staff last August and worked with Lady Demon soccer, Demon baseball and was the primary media contact for Lady Demon tennis, along with home event staffing for all sports. His social media skills have bolstered NSU coverage on the department’s Twitter accounts.
Zenk was recognized by LSU senior associate SID Kent Lowe, the LSWA treasurer and master of ceremonies for the brunch. The Ace Higgins Award carries a $600 scholarship grant. It is named for a former LSU sports information director who was impactful in the 1960s.
Pugh captured second place in the feature story category for a profile on brothers Hayden and Hilton Brown of the Demon baseball team coping with the death of their mother last October after a struggle with cancer.
Ireland’s story on NSU’s Chris Waddell Day took third in the same category. Waddell was a freshman on the 2004 NSU football squad who died just before the start of spring practice, and on or near the anniversary of that tragedy, the Demons perform a series of community service activities to honor his memory. This time, his mother, Celeste, returned to participate in the day for the first time.
Pugh’s story on the end of the Lady Demon volleyball season in the Southland Conference Tournament won third in the best story category for Olympic sports.
Taglavore was presented a second place writing award in the Pro Features division for a story he wrote for Shreveport Magazine on the relationship between Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame golfer David Toms and his son, Carter, who plays on the LSU golf team and caddied for his father in the first round of the 2018 U.S. Senior Open that Toms won.
Ireland’s award was his 34th in the LSWA contest in 18 years. Pugh, who joined the NSU staff in 2015, raised his LSWA award total in the sports information field to seven, along with several others previously in the writing contest as a sportswriter for the Shreveport Times.