Northwestern State Sprint Star Named NOLA Amateur Athlete of the Month for May park
Justin Walker, a Slidell-Northshore product now starring at Northwestern State University, has been selected as the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month for May. A star sprinter, Walker is in action at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., today (100-meter dash finals) and tomorrow (200-meter finals). The monthly award-winners are chosen in voting by the Greater New Orleans Sports Award Selection Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
After a spectacular performance at the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships (May 9-11), Walker was voted the league's Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year along with the Running Events Athlete of the Year. He had also been named the National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for his remarkable performance at the Southland Outdoors where he ran the world's fastest 100-meter dash of the year, 9.95, in one of his three winning efforts. He also broke his own school record with a 20.47 in taking the 200, after opening the afternoon with a blazing third leg that sparked a winning 39.89 time (25th nationally) in the 4×100 relay. Walker finished the meet with his second-ever 4×400 meter leg, trying to help NSU add a few points to its total, and ran the best split, a 46-second turn on the second leg as the Demons took sixth, one better than their seeding.
At the NCAA East Regionals (May 29-31 in Jacksonville), Walker, who was hampered by an Achilles injury, still managed to qualify for the NCAA National Championships (June 11-14) in Eugene, Ore., in a pair of events. He placed fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.58 seconds and finished 11th in the 100 with a time of 10.31 seconds.
There was no shortage of challengers for Walker as he prevailed in balloting over one softball star and two other track standouts. Katie Brignac, from John Curtis High School, was a perfect 4-0 for the month of May, leading the Patriots to the state title and being named the MVP of the state championship game as well as the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. She recorded 45 strikeouts and a 0.18 ERA for the month while batting .511 with a pair of home runs. Andre Dorsey, a Chalmette High School graduate competing for Kennesaw State University in Georgia, was named the Atlantic Sun Conference's Most Valuable Performer after totaling 45 points in six different field events (High Jump, Triple Jump, Javelin Throw, Long Jump, Shot Put, Hammer Throw). He claimed three gold medals (Triple Jump, Javelin and High Jump) and also went on to compete at the NCAA Regionals. The other track star continues her sensational career at the high school level. Just a sophomore, Gabrielle Jennings from First Baptist Christian, won four individual state titles at the Louisiana Class C State Track and Field Meet. Of her four wins – the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters – the only record she didn't break was in the 400.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee has been selecting an Amateur Athlete of the Month each month since 1958. The athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region in order to be eligible. Each of the monthly award winners will be honored in the summer at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.