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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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The last lap

Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Business senior and sprinter Deon Lendore is the first Aggie man to be awarded the Bowerman, the track equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Business senior and sprinter Deon Lendore is the first Aggie man to be awarded the Bowerman, the track equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Deon Lendore knows a few things about races. He’s been winning the majority of them since he started running competitively at 16.
The sprinter’s journey at Texas A&M has been a fruitful one that encompasses four years of individual honors, a team national championship in 2013 and an Olympic medal ceremony in London. And it all began with a YouTube video.
“One day in high school, a friend and I were watching YouTube videos when I first saw Texas A&M run the 4×400 meter relay,” Lendore said. “It was a video of the 2010 team that won the NCAA championship in the event. I was amazed. I got in contact with Texas A&M, came up to visit, saw the environment and how the people were, how great the track team was — all of that just grabbed me. From that point on, I knew that this was the place.”
Lendore, a business senior, was never scouted in person by Texas A&M because he grew up in the small island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, a state located seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, a location that makes recruiting visits logistically difficult.
“Growing up in Trinidad is a totally different atmosphere,” Lendore said. “It’s a smaller island so you grow up knowing just one main culture. It’s not like the U.S., where there are so many different cultures. But growing up on an island was a lot of fun. You think about the Caribbean, we enjoy ourselves and we have a good time. We love to party.”
In 2012, Trinidad had its best showing ever in an Olympics, bringing back a record four medals from London. One of those medals was a bronze in the 4×400 meter relay, for which Lendore was the anchor leg, the country’s second-ever medal in the event and the first since 1964.
“The race was at night and walking out into the stadium all you could see was the flashing lights in the stands,” Lendore said. “I tried not to look up or get too scared. I was only 19, running with the best in the world. I was running against some of my idols. There’s a lot of pressure and it’s hard trying not to let it get to you. But I think running in the Olympics is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It really helped me out for the rest of my college career. After something like that, you learn how to cope with the big stages.”
Lendore’s coach credits his workman-like approach above everything else.
“The guy just works,” said head track coach Pat Henry. “There isn’t a workout that I put in front of him that he doesn’t put out total effort in order to accomplish. I’m going to put workouts in front of guys from time to time that are very, very difficult, but he does his best to get it done every day. In four years, he’s probably missed only four or five training sessions. His consistency is the biggest part of what’s helped him become successful.”
That same consistency and work ethic is what propelled him to the highest honor in his sport, the Bowerman Trophy.
“They have one award in track and field, so it’s really our Heisman,” Henry said. “The thing you have to remember about track and field is that it accounts for 30 percent of all athletes in NCAA. It’s huge. There are 20-plus events under the track umbrella, but there’s only one award.”
Lendore was well aware of the implications when he first appeared on the Bowerman watchlist. Still, he ignored the pressure and proceeded to go undefeated in his junior campaign, winning 14 consecutive races and sweeping the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships in the 400 meters en route to becoming the first Aggie man to win the Bowerman.
“People put you on the list, but you have to stay on top of your game,” Lendore said. “You can’t really lose any races. I’m very thankful that I was able to be the Bowerman Award winner for 2014. I would love to be there again next year, but I know that’s going to take a lot of hard work.”
This is his last semester at Texas A&M, and like most seniors Lendore wants to make the most of it. In May, he’ll graduate with a degree in business management.
The professional circuit beckons, as does another shot at Olympic glory in Rio. The world outside of college can be terrifying and full of uncertainty, but it’s also full of limitless possibilities.
“I think Deon knows what he’s done to this point, and I think he knows what he can accomplish,” Henry said. “There’s a lot more in the tank for Deon Lendore.”

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