LSU men’s track program led by Harrison, Laird, Shaver, Lane make clean sweep of top national awards

LSU track and field coach Dennis Shaver (front) celebrates with his team last month after the Tigers won their first NCAA outdoor championship in 19 years in Eugene, Oregon. Shaver was selected as the nation's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year. Photo courtesy of LSU athletics.

To the victors go to the spoils, and there’s apparently an abundance of spoils for LSU’s 2021 men’s track and field NCAA outdoor national champions.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday named JuVaughn Harrison and Terrance Laird its top two individual performers for the season and honored LSU’s head coach Dennis Shaver and assistant Todd Lane as well.

Harrison was named the Men’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year while Laird took home the Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. For the first time in their careers, Shaver was named the Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year and Lane brought home the Men’s Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year.

Harrison capped his 2021 season last week with two more national titles in long jump (27 feet, 1 3/4 inches) and the high jump (7 feet, 7 3/4 inches) to bring his career total to six for his LSU career, which ties him for the third most in a LSU career with Walter Davis.. Harrison competed nine times during the outdoor season and came away as the victor in eight of those events. His 20 points totaled at the NCAA outdoor championship helped lead LSU to its fifth men’s outdoor national title in program history just four days ago.

Arguably his most scintillating performance of his season came in the high jump at the SEC championships. Harrison cleared seven straight bars with a final height of 7 feet, 8 3/4 inches to win the SEC title and become the second highest jumper in collegiate history.

His best long jump of the outdoor season, a leap of 27 feet, 8 1/4 inches, came at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on April 24 to move him into the No. 6 slot on the all-time collegiate list in the event.

Harrison wins this award for the second straight time. He also won it in 2019 after the outdoor season and is the only male field athlete from LSU to win this award outdoors.

Laird ended his 2021 season with a bang, earning the high point scoring award in the NCAA championships with 20 1/2 of LSU’s 84 points en route to the national title. He won the 100 meters (10.05 seconds), anchored the winning 4×100 meter relay (38.48) and took second in the 200 meters (19.94).

Laird went 6-1 this year in individual races and became the third fastest collegiate performer in history in the 200 meters on March 27 with his time of 19.81 seconds at the Texas Relays. His also ran a meet record of 19.82 seconds at the SEC championships to set the meet record in the event and clock the fourth fastest time overall in collegiate history.

He was the high scorer of the meet at the SEC championships when he won the 100 meters (9.80) and 200 meters (19.82), and anchored the winning 4×100 meter relay team (38.87). Laird also anchored the 4×100 meter relay squad to six victories this season when facing collegiate competition.

Laird becomes LSU’s third winner of this award joining the likes of Richard Thompson (2008) and Xavier Carter (2006).

Shaver led the LSU men to an absolutely dominant performance at the 2021 NCAA outdoor championships. His squad racked up six event titles, the second most ever in NCAA history, en route to scoring 84 points. LSU’s 31-point victory margin over second-place Oregon was the largest margin of victory since 1994.

Led by Harrison, Lane had three athletes score 27 points in four events at the NCAA outdoor national championships. Besides Harrison, true freshman Sean Dixon-Bodie registered a personal best mark of 54 feet, 6 inches to place fourth in the triple jump. Senior Rayvon Grey tacked on two points in the long jump with a leap of 25 feet, 6 1/4 inches.

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