Track and Field Banquet Honors Seniors, Outstanding Athletes
May 12, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis Track and Field team hosted its annual team banquet, Wednesday night, honoring six athletes for their achievements in 2011, as well as a large 14-person senior class.
Six athletes were honored in the following categories: male and female most valuable athletes in track and field, and male and female freshmen of the year.
Senior LaShundra Kershaw was named women's track athlete of the year. Kershaw is currently on pace to make her dual return to the NCAA East Regional in the 100m and 200m dash. Within Conference USA, she currently sits eighth in the 100 and sixth in the 200 going into this weekend's championships.
Her counterpart on the men's side was junior hurdler Robert Jackson. He currently leads C-USA in the 110m hurdles, and will go for his second consecutive 110m hurdles title this weekend. He was also the C-USA 60m hurdles champion in February with a personal-best 7.96 mark.
In the field, the women's top field athlete was redshirt freshman Britta Jaarats. The Turi, Estonia native was all-conference in the weight throw at February's Indoor Championships, finishing third with a career-best 17.55m (57' 7") toss in the 20-pound event. Currently, she's a contender for an all-conference bid in the shot put at the Outdoor Championships.
The men's male athlete in the field is junior pole vaulter Karlis Pujats. After shattering the indoor school record in the pole vault with a 5.36m (17' 7") at the McCravy Memorial, Pujats became the school's first-ever NCAA qualifier in the pole vault, earning second-team All-American honors. Pujats enters this weekend's Outdoor Championships tied for second in the conference at 5.14m (16' 10.25"), searching for his third consecutive pole vault title.
Among freshmen, two Tigers stood out more than others. On the women's side, Anna Bischof was an all-conference shot putter during Indoor season, and is a contender in the shot put and discus during Outdoor season.
On the men's side, Austin Crenshaw has established himself as one of the best freshmen pole vaulters in the country, currently ranking sixth in the country in the pole vault among freshmen at 5.14m (16' 10.25"). Also an accomplished multi-event athlete, Crenshaw was sixth in the heptathlon at the C-USA Indoor Championships in February.
The Tiger track and field family will say good-bye to a group of athletes responsible for eight school records, 49 All-Conference nods, seven NCAA Regional appearances, five NCAA Championship appearances and one All-American honor. The 14-person departing class is one of the largest in Coach Kevin Robinson's tenure as head coach.
Blow, from Grandview, Missouri, has been a jack-of-all-trades during her time at the U of M, competing in no less than 14 events during her Tiger career. She will graduate with an accounting degree.
Jack, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, was an accomplished sprinter in high school who walked-on to the program in the fall of 2008 and earned a permanent spot on Kevin Robinson's roster. She will graduate with a degree in Sport and Leisure Management.
Kershaw, hailing from Lambert, Mississippi, is a two-time All-Conference honoree, was a 2010 NCAA East Regional qualifier in the 100 and 200m dash and set two school indoor records during her four seasons in Memphis. She will graduate with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
Simpson, who came to Memphis from Houston, Texas, owns school hurdle records in the outdoor and indoor record books and is a three-time All-Conference selection. She will also graduate with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
Thomas, from Princeton, New Jersey, is also a two-time All-Conference honoree for her work in the relays and the hurdles during her time in Memphis. She will graduate with a degree in psychology.
Anderson is a native of Austin, Texas and a four-time All-Conference USA athlete in the hurdles. Anderson will graduate with a physics degree.
Barlow hails from Franklin, Tennessee and is a three-time All-Conference honoree for his work with the relay teams while a member of the Tiger track squad. He graduates from the U of M with a degree in Organizational Leadership.
Gibbs is also a Franklin native and has been an integral part of the Tigers distance program over the years. The business economics major was named the 2011 Memphis Tigers Male Scholar Athlete of the Year for all sports.
Harold, from Urbana, Illinois by way of SIU-Edwardsville, is a two-year letter-earner at Memphis, as well as a two-time All-Conference honoree. He will graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Hudson came to the U of M from Methuen, Massachusetts and has been an exemplary athlete in his four seasons. He is a seven-time All-Conference selection, for middle distances and relays. Hudson will graduate with a degree in Sport and Leisure Management.
Leslie is another New England transplant, hailing from Plainsboro, New Jersey. A 2010 Regional Qualifier, Jerome is an eight-time All-Conference selection in the high and triple jumps. He will graduate with a degree in Management Information Systems.
Lewis is from Phillip, Mississippi, and has two All-Conference nods to his credit. During his time with the Tigers, Lewis has competed in sprints, hurdles, jumps and relays. Lewis is also a Sport and Leisure Management major.
Lowe came to the Bluff City from Kansas City, Missouri and has become one of the most celebrated hurdlers in Tiger history. A seven-time All-Conference athlete, twice Lowe has qualified for the NCAA Regionals and the NCAA Championships in the hurdles. Lowe will leave the U of M with a Criminology and Criminal Justice degree.
Another in a long line of standout throwers to pass through Memphis, Syversen, a Sarpsborg, Norway native, has been named All-Conference an astounding 10 times, in addition to three NCAA Championship appearances, two Regional appearances and one All-American nod, in the 2011 indoor shot put. Knut will graduate with a Civil Engineering degree from the U of M.
These Tigers will join their teammates in competition one more time, this weekend, at the 2011 C-USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Houston, Texas, hosted by Rice University.