Story by Matt Vines, NSU Assistant Sports Information Director
The Northwestern State women’s jumpers led a coalition of 10 individuals and one relay that were selected to the first-ever Louisiana Sports Writers Association Indoor Track and Field awards announced Saturday evening.
Graduate transfer LaTyria Jefferson shared Newcomer of the Year honors with LSU’s Symone Mason. Jefferson, who transferred from Kansas, was the only non-LSU student-athlete or coach to win one of the 10 superlative awards on the all-state collegiate track and field team.
The senior ranked third in the state in the high jump (5-10.5) and just missed the top three in the long jump (19-7.5). Student-athletes are recognized on the collegiate all-state team by posting a top-three mark in the state in an event.
NSU’s most recent Newcomer of the Year came in 2018 as sophomore Kie’ave Harry took the honor.
“She’s a big-time performer,” head coach Mike Heimerman said of Jefferson. “She came in and did exactly what we thought she would. We’re looking forward to seeing what she can do for us next year as well.”
With the outdoor season being canceled because of the novel coronavirus, this year’s Indoor team is the first of its kind in LSWA history.
NSU jumpers Jasmyn Steels and Lauren Clarke each had Louisiana’s best leaps in their specialty events.
Steels long jumped 21-2, the seventh-best mark nationally, before the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships were canceled after Steels won the long jump national title in 2019.
Steels, who claimed the Louisiana Field Athlete of the Year, is making her second appearance on the all-state team.
Clarke is also making her second appearance on the all-state squad after making the state’s top triple jump mark (42-11.75).
Both Clarke and Steels won Southland Conference titles in those respective events.
Sophomore Annemarie Broussard caps the women’s field all-staters with the second-best pole vault in the state (13-9.25).
Senior sprinter Natashia Jackson is the only Lady Demon that appears in multiple events. Jackson’s Indoor Southland Conference records of 53.25 (400 meters) and 23.50 (200 meters) rank second and third in the state, respectively.
Jackson also was part of the Lady Demon 4×400 relay squad who clocked a 3:41.29 time that ranked second in the state. Joining her on that relay squad were Jayla Fields, Janiel Moore and Erin Wilson.
“I don’t know what else you can say about those ladies,” Heimerman said. “They are truly students of the game and really work to perfect their craft. They are phenomenal competitors, and these awards are more fruits of their labor.”
On the men’s side, sophomore Slavoski Wright makes two appearances on the All-Louisiana team.
Wright ranks third in the 800 meters at 1:54.22 and was a member of NSU’s 4X400 relay team, which stands third in the state (3:12.60).
“He has big things ahead of him,” Heimerman said of Wright. “He has room to improve and toughen up, but he’s going in the right direction. I’m very happy for him, and hopefully this helps him in that process.”
Junior Charles, a junior transfer from South Plains College, and freshmen Kennedy Harrison and Dejon Blake joined Wright on the relay.
Senior triple jumper Quindarrius Thompson ranked second in Louisiana with a jump of 51-3.
Sophomore shot putter Marco Arevalo is a second-teamer after a throw of 53-10.5.
The 14 overall representatives on the All-Louisiana team matched NSU’s 2019 total.