Remember the names: Annette January and Lashuntae Benton.

Both were students at Southern University — January a freshman from Gary, Indiana, who was a sprinter on the track team; Benton a sophomore from Lake Charles who was a student trainer.

Sadly we’re not learning who they were and what they meant to Southern because of their abilities in their roles representing the university.

Tragically, we’re learning who they were because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were shot to death as innocent bystanders amid a gunfight in an apartment complex parking lot early Sunday morning.

If not for the heart-wrenching event that ended two promising lives at age 19, January and Benton likely would have completed their burgeoning college careers in relative anonymity.

A university’s athletic support staff and the participants in “non-revenue” sports receive little or no notoriety. Their talents aren’t showcased on television; their exploits aren’t observed by tens of thousands.

But they work just as hard and are just as committed to their roles as university ambassadors as the quarterback on the football team and the leading scorer on the basketball team.

Sometimes even more so, because there’s no glamorous payoff for them.

In her first year, January already was contributing to the track team, participating in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles as well as the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Just hours before her death, she participated in the McNeese State Spring Time Classic track meet in Benton’s hometown.

That same day, Benton was watching from the stands as the Southern baseball team played Grambling at Lee-Hines Field. Earlier in the season, she had worked with the baseball team, as she had with football and basketball and virtually every athletic program.

She was the “go-to” student trainer for Lovie Tabron, Southern’s assistant athletic director for sports medicine, because she could handle any assignment.

Benton loved Southern football, working mostly with offensive line coach Chennis Berry and his group.

Men’s basketball coach Roman Banks, who has doubled as interim athletic director for the past year, entrusted her with attending to any needs the opposing basketball teams had.

“This is a position that you volunteer for,” Banks said Monday. “It’s not a paid position, and it’s not an intern position on our staff. So when you’re giving service, that speaks volumes about who you are.”

The loss of Benton really hit home for Tabron, who was one of the first people to attend to Southern wide receiver Devon Gales when he was paralyzed after a collision during a game at Georgia last season.

Tabron made countless visits to Atlanta to be at Gales’ side as he began his rehabilitation before recently returning home to Baton Rouge.

Football is a sport filled with dangerous contact and occasionally severe injuries. Gales has made slow but encouraging progress that has inspired those around Southern and beyond.

But on Monday, Tabron, the medical staff and the whole Jaguars community were trying futilely to make sense of the senseless.

Benton, who played softball and volleyball and ran track in high school, was focused on helping others, including January, further their athletic careers in college.

“We all said she would be a good trainer,” Banks said. “She was a young lady that I always thought went outside the realm of what she needed to. She was very outgoing. As we’re speaking, I can see the glow in her eyes. She did a great job of giving service because she wasn’t getting paid for it and she maximized it and did her very best — and she always did it with a smile.”

We’ll never know where January’s and Benton’s time at Southern would have led them. We do know that in their all-too-short time with the Jaguars they had a positive impact that can be measured by the palpable sorrow on campus Monday.

As Banks soldiered through a brief but difficult news conference, he stood just a few steps from the corridor that Benton traversed as she tended to Banks’ team and its opponents in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

“I can see her walking down the hall right now before we go to practice and see that smile on her face,” Banks said. “She’ll always be remembered that way.”

Remember the names: Annette January and Lashuntae Benton.

Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.