René Trahan to be inducted into Abbeville Hall of Fame
On Thursday at the Abbeville High Hall of Fame Banquet, one of the greatest athletes from Abbeville High will be honored by her peers.
The late René Giles Trahan will be inducted into the Abbeville High Hall of Fame. The ceremony is being held at Magdalen Place on Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. The public is invited.
When she graduated in 1996, Trahan was not only great on the parish and state level, but she was great on the world level.
René Giles Trahan was born May 3, 1978, in Abbeville. She is the daughter of Mrs. Gleeda Stelly Coleman and her husband Rick and Mr. Wilbert Trahan and his wife, Kim. René has one sister, Alisha Trahan, one Godchild, Claire Gondron and two nephews, Drake and Jeren Broussard.
René brought her talents with her when started school at J.H. Williams Middle School (JHW). As a sixth grader, she played point guard for 7th and 8th-grade teams. In seventh grade, René joined the track team and participated in the mile, half a mile, 440-yard dash, and mile relay. René was the anchor for the mile relay and placed first in every event assigned to her. She also broke two school records at the Vermilion Parish Meet, one in the mile and the other in the half mile.
As an athlete René always contributed her drive and success to her mother, her number one fan, who never missed a game, constantly pushing René to be the very best of herself. Her second attribute was none other than her uncle, Tommy Trahan. It was apparent she had a lot of his athletic abilities, and he became her role model for many years. René was in seventh grade at JHW when Tommy was inducted into the AHS Hall of Fame in 1990.
At that moment, René witnessed what a true AHS Athlete consisted of, and she saw what it took to be amongst these elite individuals. To honor her uncle, she proudly wore his number 25 on every high school jersey. René strived to be a follower of his accomplishments and well, . . . she did it!!!
René continued to excel, as she dedicated every bit of herself to AHS Athletics. René had the honor of playing with the Lady Cats Basketball Team where she made All-District and All-Parish Team for four years.
Not only was she good at offense, but she also helped spur the Lady Cats on defense, as well, claiming All-Parish championship titles, four years in a row. René also helped her team get to Sweet Sixteen semi-finals her junior year.
René had an arm to throw the distance in basketball, and that gained the attention of two AHS track coaches. It was during a basketball game that René threw the basketball across the court when Coach James Gaspard said to Coach Susan Badon, “There’s your person for the javelin.”
Shortly after that, René’s athletic spotlight turned in a new direction.
After only one year of throwing the javelin, she brought home the third place finish at the State Championship Meet; this was just the beginning of setting records and gaining distance. René set records at the Parish meet with a throw of 139’ 9”, District meet with a throw of 133’ 11”, Regional meet with a throw of 136’ 5” and her junior year, she claimed first at the State Meet with a throw of 136’ 3.”
She was also invited to participate in the International Meets in Barcelona, Spain as part of the USA Track and Field Team. René gained support and donations from the community and brought home two second place medals.
Her senior year, she reclaimed her first place at the State Meet, setting a new record with a throw of 147’ 9”; that throw was the second best high school throw in the Nation. René was also invited to compete with the Top 100 Elite Track Stars in the country at the Golden West Invitational Track and Field Meet held in Sacramento, California, where she placed fourth with her farthest throw at that meet being 132’ 3.”
René’s senior year also brought her the recognition of being named as AHS Female Athlete of the Year, lettering all four years in Softball, Basketball, and Track. She was also featured in Who’s Who In Sports for three years in a row and chosen as one of Vermilion Parish’s Top 100 Athletes of the 20th Century. Rene has held the Vermilion Parish girl’s javelin record since 1996.
On April 2, 2008, René took her own life after a six-year battle with back pain and depression due to an automobile accident and two major back surgeries.
Athletics played a significant role in who René was; depression was a result of the tremendous way the accident impacted her life. René’s sister, Alisha, was determined to change her tragic loss into something positive for our community and to honor her sister. With the help of a good friend and classmate of René’s, Dr. Kelly Ryder, they have been able to spread Suicide Awareness to surrounding area track and field participants for the past six years. Having the AHS Wildcat Relays renamed the René Trahan Memorial Wildcat Relays hosted by Abbeville High, Alisha gathers donations from Non-Profit Suicide Awareness Organizations and puts together a small bag of brochures and pamphlets of information about Suicide Awareness and Prevention.