Some athletic events just have more significance than others, and quite often, it’s not entirely about the action on the field of play.
Take the 2019 Louisiana Classics Track and Field meet slated for this weekend at the UL Track and Soccer Complex, for example.
There will be 13 teams competing including the improved host men’s and women’s programs, as well as the likes of LSU, Southeastern, McNeese State and Southern University.
But starting Friday afternoon and concluding Saturday evening, there’s going to be a lot more than competing on the track going on around the UL athletic complex.
About 120 former UL track and field athletes will be reunited in for an alumni weekend.
The field events begin at 2 p.m. Friday, followed by running at 6 p.m. There will then be a social for the alumni making the trip back home from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
That group will then be recognized at 1:30 p.m. Saturday between the 9 a.m. field events and the 2 p.m. running events on the final day of the meet.
In all, there have been 98 All-American participants in UL's program since the 1940s. And there will be representatives going back to the ’40s and ’50s as part of the alumni group expected back in Lafayette this weekend.
That ranges from the nationally-famous John McDonnell, who ran for UL in the late 1960s and then went on to coach Arkansas to 42 national championships, all the way to former three-miler Art Botterill, who will be coming all the way from Australia.
The weekend is especially exciting for UL assistant coach Tommy Badon, who coached 27 of those All-Americans during his first stint with the program under coach Charles Lancon from 1989-97.
Some athletes from that era expected to be in town this weekend are Twilet Malcolm, Keisha Owens, Winston Sinclair, Grady Labbe, Larry Moore and JoJo Harris.
“The fact that Twilet is coming is extremely special,” Badon said.
Badon said it’ll be “especially cool to see” married alumni Sinclair and Sheronia Walker and their family.
Once the competition starts, the field will include: LSU, Dillard, Louisiana Tech, Loyola, McNeese State, New Orleans, Nicholls State, North Georgia, Southeastern, Southern, Stephen F. Austin, Tulane, ULM and Xavier of New Orleans.
Among UL’s top hopeful for individual titles are Hannes Burger in the steeplechase; Mackenzie Marze and Claire Meyers in the javelin; Tyler Hughes in the hurdles; Kalei Matthews in the 400; and Dominique Williams, Graham Sokol and Richard Delphin in the hammer throw.