BATON ROUGE – After sweeping SEC and NCAA championships in the long jump during his senior season a year ago, LSU Track & Field alum Damar Forbes was honored as LSU’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 2012-13 athletic season as part of this year’s Tiger Athletic Foundation Academic Excellence Gala held on Tuesday of last week.
Former Lady Tiger distance runner Laura Carleton, the 2013 SEC Indoor 5k champion, also took home the Bengal Belles Academic Achievement Award for the third-straight year during the festivities.
They received two of the 14 major individual awards presented during the gala as student-athletes from each of LSU’s 19 varsity sports attended the annual event held at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
After capping a historic senior season with an SEC and NCAA championship sweep in the men’s long jump, Forbes was honored as the TAF Male Athlete of the Year as one of the most decorated long jumpers in history at LSU. The former Olympian capped his career as an NCAA champion, two-time SEC champion and six-time All-American during his collegiate career from 2010-13.
Forbes’ historic double during the 2013 outdoor season was highlighted by the two farthest jumps of his collegiate career under all conditions, as he followed a winning wind-aided jump of 27 feet, 4 ½ inches at the SEC Championships with a title-clinching wind-aided jump of 27-4 ¾ at the NCAA Championships. He also led off LSU’s 4x100-meter relay team that captured the SEC Outdoor title and placed fourth nationally a year ago.
Forbes is one of only five Tigers to earn the NCAA Outdoor championship in the long jump during his collegiate career, joining the likes of Billy Brown (1941), Llewellyn Starks (1990), Walter Davis (2002) and John Moffitt (2004) as a national champion. He ended his collegiate career ranked No. 2 indoors (26-11 ¼) and No. 2 outdoors (27-0 ¾) on LSU’s all-time performance list in his event.
Most importantly, Forbes graduated from LSU in May of last year with his degree in sport administration before signing his first professional contract with Nike as one of the world’s up-and-coming long jump stars.
Carleton also ended her collegiate career following the 2013 season as not only the most decorated distance runner in Lady Tiger history, but also a standout in the classroom as a First-Team Academic All-American and First-Team Academic All-District VI selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
After graduating with her degree in business administration in May 2011 with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, Carleton received her Master of Business Administration in May 2013 after maintaining a stellar 3.96 GPA in her two years of graduate school. She was also honored with the Bengal Belles Academic Achievement Award during the TAF Academic Excellence Gala in both 2012 and 2013 before last week.
Carleton proved to be one of the NCAA’s leading distance runners during her senior season this season as she finished in 21st place overall in her first career national final in the women’s 5,000 meters at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships held in Eugene, Ore. She was also a three-time NCAA quarterfinalist in the event during her collegiate career with the Lady Tigers.
Carleton ended the 2013 season as the NCAA’s No. 9-ranked performer in the 5,000-meter run after racing to a school record of 15 minutes, 44.41 seconds at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 19 of last year.
Carleton also scored 10 points for the Lady Tigers with her performance in her final SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Columbia, Mo., as she was the SEC’s fourth-place finisher with both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the conference meet. Her effort included a school-record run of 34:01.65 in the first ever 10,000-meter race in her five seasons with the Lady Tigers.
LSU’s distance ace made history during the indoor season in 2013 when she became the first Lady Tiger in program history to be crowned the SEC Indoor Champion in the 5,000 meters with her victory at the SEC Indoor Championships held in Fayetteville, Ark. She also set the indoor school record in the event with her seasonal-best time of 16:11.58 earlier this season.
2014 TAF Academic Excellence Gala
LSU Track & Field Academic Award Winners
TAF Male Athlete of the Year
Bengal Belles Academic Achievement Award
LSU Scholar-Athlete Director’s Cup Recipients