March 29, 2019
MOTrackFanatic @ outlook.com
Friday night, Lindenwood University’s will host “Night with the Stars”, a fundraiser for the track and field program and a great social event for track and field fans. St. Louis’ KSDK Channel 5 sportscaster, Frank Cusumano, will be the MC for the event at The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles. The night will feature Hot & Cold Hors d’oeuvres catered by Spiro’s, Wine & Scotch Tasting, Beer, Open Bar, Silent Auction, 50-50 Raffle, a photo booth, and live music from Chris Griffith and John McVey and Band.
Sounds good for a social event with some friends, but that’s not what makes this event a great time for track and field fans. The event will feature several of the greats in track and field with at least nine Olympians scheduled to appear and be recognized.
- US Olympic 400-meter Gold Medalist(1984), Truman State University Alum, Ray Armstead
- Jamaican Olympic 100-meter & 200-meter Sprinter (2008), Missouri Baptist/University of Kansas Alum, Nickesha Anderson
- US Olympic 100m-hurdler Kim Seals (1984), University of Texas-El Paso,
- US Olympic Discus Throw Bronze Medalist(1960), University of Missouri Alum, Dick Cochran
- US Olympic Discus Thrower(2016), University of Kansas Alum, Mason Finley
- US Olympic 400-meter hurdles (1980) SIU-Carbondale Alum, David Lee,
- Canadian Olympic 100-meter hurdler (2012,2016), Missouri Baptist/University of Illinois Alum, Nikkita Holder
- US Olympic Heptathlon & Long Jump Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee
- US Olympic 100m-hurdles Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist Dawn Harper Helson
Several of those set to appear are Missourians or adopted Missourians. Ray Armstead was a St. Louis native who competed at St. Louis’ Northwest High School before staring at Northeast Missouri State (Truman State) and then winning gold on the 4×400 squad for the US at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. David Lee was a University City, Missouri native in St. Louis County. Lee competed at U-City and still coaches there. He went on to success at Southern Illinois University and made the 1980 Olympic Team in the 400-Hurdles, only to have to watch the Olympics from afar as the U.S. boycotted the meet that was held in the Soviet Union.
Dick Cochran was a star Brookfield High School in Brookfield, Missouri. He went on to become an NCAA champion at the University of Missouri and won the Olympic Bronze Medal for Team USA in the discus at the 1960 games. Cochran has been the throws coach at Lindenwood for about the last 14-years. Mason Finley was born in Kansas City, Missouri before growing up in Colorado. Finley set the U.S High School discus record in 2009 with a 236-6 bomb. Ryan Crouser bested Finley’s mark by one-foot in 2011. Finley competed collegiately at Kansas and Wyoming. He made the 2016 Olympic team, and earned the bronze medal at last July’s World Championships with a personal record toss of 68.03m/223-2.25, becoming the first American medalist in the event at the Olympics or World Championships in some time.
Two former Missouri collegians will be there. Former Missouri Baptist University stars that went on to make th Olympics are schedule to appear. Nickesha Anderson and Nikkita Holder helped the Spartans to a NAIA National Championship a decade ago. The 100 and 200-meter sprint star Anderson eventually landed at the University of Kansas where she was an All-American and later made the 2012 Jamaican Olympic team. Hurdle specialist Holder finished her college career at the University of Illinois before making the 2012 and 2016 Olympic team for her native country of Canada.
And finally, two East St. Louis, Illinois natives are set to be on hand in St. Charles Friday. Jackie-Joyner Kersee was a standout at East St. Louis’ Lincoln High School before staring in track and field and basketball at UCLA. A professional track and field career followed that would end with her being named the “Greatest Female Athlete” of the 20th-Century by Sports Illustrated. Joyner Kersee would go on to set the World Record in the Heptathlon four times and the long jump once. After a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics Hepathlon, JJK would go on to win the gold in heptathlon and long jump in 1988. In 1992 she won the Olympic Games Heptathlon, was third in the long jump and added another long jump bronze at the 1996 games. Her PR’s are 7291 points in the heptathlon, 7.49m/24-7 in the long jump, and 12.61 in the 100m-hurdles.
Dawn Harper-Nelson followed in JJK’s footsteps as she grew up in East St. Louis and headed to UCLA for college. She won six state titles in the hurdles for East St. Louis High School, then ran for JJK’s husband, Bobby Kersee, for a while at UCLA and professionally. Harper-Nelson was thought to have an outside shot at a medal in the 100-hurdles at the 2008 Bei Jing Olympics, but shocked the world by claiming gold. Four Years later in London, she claimed the silver for her second straight Olympic medal. She has a PR of 12.37
The event will also honor Gussie Crawford, the past president of the AAU and the only female president in its history, Robin Brown from the USATF National Office, and Dr. Richard Lehman for their years of service to youth track and field athletes. In addition to these honorees, Lindenwood will also recognize the 1997-98 Lindenwood men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams, including the men’s indoor squad which won the first national championship in Lindenwood athletics history.
Friday’s event will serve as a warm-up for the Lindenwood Cross Country and Track & Field program’s reunion and the John Creer Track and Field College Invitational Saturday.
All proceeds will go to benefit the Lindenwood Track and Field Program. To register please visit http://www.lindenwoodlions.com/nightwiththestars -> https://www.picatic.com/lindenwood-night-with-the-stars or call 636-949-4600 for more information.
Don’t miss this opportunity to meet some of the legends of the sport and get your photo with them.