NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State junior Jasmyn Steels (A&M Consolidated graduate) leads a cadre of 14 Lady Demons and Demons in eight different events to be selected to the All-Louisiana Collegiate Track and Field Team announced Saturday night.
Steels was named the Female Field Athlete of the Year in the state, posting Louisiana’s best long jump (22-0.25) and triple jump (42-0.5) marks.
The College Station, Texas, native won the NCAA Indoor national title in the long jump in March followed by a silver at NCAA Outdoor. Her 22-0.25 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June was the third-best mark in the nation as she became the only Southland Conference individual to win an NCAA Indoor title and post a top-two finish in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the same season.
Steels is NSU’s first student-athlete to take home a runner or field athlete of the year honor since sprinter Justin Walker captured men’s runner of the year in 2014.
“Jasmyn had a phenomenal year and is extremely talented, which showed by her owning the state’s top marks in two events and nearly placing in the top three in the high jump as well,” said NSU head coach Mike Heimerman, who guided the Lady Demons to a top-35 program finish this season. “Jasmyn is a gamer and a competitor, and she loves to get after it.”
Student-athletes with the top-three best times in their events make the all-state team with the sports information directors from around Louisiana voting on superlative awards like Steels’ female field athlete of the year.
Steels had company from her Lady Demon teammates as six other student-athletes made appearances in three other events on the all-state team.
Senior javelin thrower Kelsey Frank posted the state’s top mark (168-5) to earn first-team honors as she captured the SLC title.
Sophomore All-American pole vaulter Reagan Darbonne saved her best (13-9.25) for last for second-team all-state honors as she finished tied for 14th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Freshman Lauren Clarke earned third-team honors in the triple jump, posting a 41-9.25 at NSU’s Leon Johnson Invitational.
The Lady Demons’ 4X100 relay of Natashia Jackson, Ona Giles, Evans and Thompson had the second-best time (44.95) in the state, clocked at the NCAA East Regionals.
“We are ecstatic about how our women performed, and we finished with a top 35 ranking,” Heimerman said. “That 4X100 relay had a great shot at going to nationals and setting a school record if not for a mistake at regionals, but it’s still a great time.
“Kelsey had a great ending to a great career with one of the top 20 throws in the country. Reagan has a little taste of national success at the NCAA Outdoors, and the sky is the limit for her in her final two years. Lauren posted a great mark as a freshman and can establish herself as the state’s best in the years to come.”
The NSU men placed six athletes in three different events on the all-state team.
Senior Micah Larkins ended his career with a second-team nod in the 100 meters for his 10.10 run at the LSU Alumni Gold meet. He is a six-time all-stater and signed a professional contract earlier this month.
Larkins injured himself at the SLC championships., but the Demons’ 4X100 relay clocked a season-best 39.42 at the NCAA East Regionals despite that race being the first time this foursome ran together. Javin Arrington, Tre’Darius Carr, Tremayne Flagler and Eddie Clarke finished one place out of an NCAA Outdoor Championships bid.
Flagler nearly set a school record in the 110 hurdles with his 13.87 into a headwind, but he claimed SLC gold in both the conference indoor and outdoor meets.
“The men had a great year, and things might have been even better if Micah was healthy through the end,” Heimerman said. “Micah has had a great career here, and I hope he has a great professional career.
“Take nothing away from this 4X100 relay team that posted its best time on the first time they ran together, and it shows the talent and depth we have here. Tremayne has also had a great career here, and he should have had the school record in the 110 hurdles if the finals weren’t run in a headwind.”
Steels was the only non-LSU athlete or coach to claim a top honor.
LSU’s Jaron Flournoy (runner), Mondo Duplantis (field), Tyler Terry (newcomer) and Dennis Shaver (coach) took men’s superlative honors.
Shaver also claimed the women’s coach of the year, joining Sha’Carri Richardson and Steels on the women’s honors list.