LSU Track & Field, 2019-20 Corbett Award
After establishing herself as one of the top collegiate track stars in the nation, as well as arguably the best hurdler in the NCAA, LSU senior Tonea Marshall has emerged from a crowded field of talented athletes to earn the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s James J. Corbett Award which is presented to the top amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana.
Marshall became the third-fastest 60-meter hurdler in NCAA history at 7.86 seconds in Lubbock, Texas, on January 18. She also set the SEC Indoor Track Championship meet record in late February with a time of 7.89 to claim her first ever SEC individual title. Her three best times (7.86 and twice at 7.89) made her only the second woman in NCAA history to have three performances of 7.90 seconds or faster in the 60-meter hurdles. Her 7.86 time was the fifth-best in the world this year as of June 1.
“I’m proud and honored to be the recipient of this award,” Marshall said. “To be named the top female amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana is quite the accomplishment. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without the encouragement of my family, my teammates, and my coaches.”
The Arlington, Texas, product is the fourth LSU women’s track star to earn the Corbett Award since 2000 joining Aleia Hobbs (2018), Kimberlyn Duncan (2011 and 2013) and Peta-Gaye Dowdie (2000). And Marshall earned the honor despite not having the opportunity to win an NCAA Championship – both the 2020 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a pleasure to see Tonea compete at the level she did this season,” said LSU track and field coach Dennis Shaver. “It goes back to our fall training – she came to practice every day with the mindset of improving, and that’s what she did. She’s a great example of what hard work and dedication will result in. It’s unfortunate that her season had to come to an end prematurely because I believe she would have won national titles indoors and outdoors in the hurdles.”
In addition to the Corbett, Marshall was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Central Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Track Athlete of the Year. She was also one of three finalists for the National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and is in the running for the Bowerman Award, track and field’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy.
As a junior, Marshall finished third in the 100-meter hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a time of 12.66 seconds to break an LSU record that had stood for 30 years. She also ran the lead leg on the 4×100 meter relay that placed second at the NCAA Championships with a readout of 42.29.
While 2019-20 was her senior campaign, due to NCAA allowances for COVID-19, she could potentially return to the track for LSU next spring.
Other finalists for the honor included Angela Charles-Alfred, an All-American women’s tennis player from Xavier University; LSU golf star Ingrid Lindblad; and Louisiana Tech soccer record-breaker Autumn Woodard. Charles-Alfred, the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Year, closed the year ranked No. 1 nationally (NAIA) in doubles and No. 10 in singles. Lindblad was the top-ranked golfer in the NCAA in March and finished the abbreviated season at No. 9 after setting the LSU record for lowest scoring average. Woodard set Louisiana Tech single-season records for goals (17) and points (39) en route to being named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Player of the Year.