Three-time Olympic gold medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee will headline the inaugural Times Best of Northwest Louisiana Preps banquet brought to you by Calumet Specialty Products on May 12 at the Shreveport Convention Center to celebrate the best high school athletes in the area.
The Best of Preps will honor athletes from around the area. Athletes of the year in boys and girls sports will be awarded. Other awards include Courage Award, Coach of the Year, Ambassador, Team of the Year, Game of the Year and Unsung Hero. Player of the Year awards will be given for football, boys and girls swimming, volleyball, boys and girls cross country, wrestling, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls bowling, softball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, baseball and boys and girls lacrosse.
Times Publisher Alan English said the event is a product of The Times’ belief that high school athletics are about more than just the sports played.
“High school athletics is one of the few institutions that teaches young people essential skills to succeed in business and life,” English said. “Top athletes demonstrate discipline, the ability to work as part of a team and the rewards of perseverance.
“Celebrating achievement in high school athletics honors the commitment and passion of this community to teaching young people the ideals of sportsmanship and professionalism in ways we should take more time to appreciate.”
The Times’ commitment to high school athletics has been evident through the years with the naming of All-City teams for more than 50 years. Times sports editor Roy Lang III and sports writers Matt Vines and Jimmy Watson will also take part in the event.
The doors will open for dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. Some inductees of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame will also be on hand for the ceremonies. The event is open to the public and tickets are $25. Invited athletes and two parents or guardians will be guests of The Times and admitted free.
Title sponsor Calumet is partnering with The Times to bring this special event to the community. Also providing significant support to the event are AT&T, SWEPCO, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Cars.com. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting The Times’ Anton Kaufer at (318) 459-3310 or Anton.Kaufer@shreveporttimes.com . There will be a VIP event with Kersee beginning at 6 p.m. prior to the start of the banquet.
Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and will feature Joyner-Kersee’s keynote address. After dinner, there will be autograph and photograph opportunities.
“I’m going to talk about desires and dreams,” Joyner-Kersee said. “Dream, drive and determination. I do a lot of work with high school and middle school kids and I basically keep it around dream, drive and determination. I hope it carries on with them, not just through the day of that event, but their life.”
Joyner-Kersee won three gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals during her track and field career that spanned four Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women named her the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century.
Since retiring from track and field, Joyner-Kersee has been involved in several charitable causes. She was the inaugural recipient of the Humanitarian Athlete of the Year award. She has raised money to aid others in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois. She has recently begun a nationwide effort to enhance the comprehensive health of the nation’s communities through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Her appearance in Shreveport for a banquet honoring high school athletes is fitting considering her work with young athletes.
“I always knew I would go back into the community in hopes of inspiring others to reach their full potential as well,” Joyner-Kersee said, “with the understanding that it starts with a basic foundation and going back to your roots. Not forgetting where you come from, remembering those people when your name was never in the paper who was there, volunteering, giving up their time, coaches, people who would leave their family to make a difference in all of our lives.”
WHAT: Times Best of Northwest Preps brought to you by Calumet
WHEN: May 12; VIP event begins at 6 p.m. ; doors open at 6:30 p.m. ; event at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Shreveport Convention Center
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Jackie Joyner Kersee
TICKETS: $25; can be purchased online at http://nwlabestofpreps.eventbrite.com or at The Times office beginning Monday, April 20.
Athletes being honored at The Times Best of Northwest Louisiana Preps banquet brought to you by Calumet Specialty Products are asked to RSVP to Priscilla Binkley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Invited athletes and two parents or guardians will be guests of The Times and admitted free. Athletes who have questions about the event should email Alan English at Alan.English@shreveporttimes.com
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- Kaden Amidon, Byrd
- Marin Tichenor, Caddo Magnet
- L’Muriell Thrower, Evangel
- Shun Brown, Calvary
- Mattilyn Reeder, Loyola
- Aaron Varelas, Northwood
- Sam Burns, Calvary
- Jerry Tillery, Evangel
- Sara Funderburk, Parkway
- Hayden Kingfisher, Parkway
- Zac Funderburk, Parkway
- Ethan Parks, Benton
- Kati Jayde Cunningham, North DeSoto
- Chad Lott, Byrd
- Tivonte Hardy, Lakeview
- Caitlin Jenkins, Huntington
- Ashlyn Jacobs, Mansfield
- Niki Edwards, Parkway
- Nichole Taylor, Parkway
- Anna Dies, Haughton
- Maddie Burchell, North DeSoto
- Nathan Jeansonne, Calvary
- Bryant Bowen, Captain Shreve
- Hunter Speights, North DeSoto
- Hayden Watts, Loyola
- Valentina Mitchell, Byrd
- Alden Wallace, Loyola
- Grey Bianca, Byrd
- Rebecca Grace Kimball, Calvary
- Kwaume McGee, Northwood
- Christian Boyd, North DeSoto
- Morgan White, Byrd
- Jessica Trammel, North DeSoto