TUCSON – The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) announced the winners of the Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field season. Each of the regions, which are the same as those used during the Division I cross country season, honored both genders’ top track athletes and field athletes and the top men’s and women’s head coaches and assistant coaches. Award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches. The University of Arizona No. 5 men’s track and field team claimed three awards.
Senior Lawi Lalang was named the USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year for the third-straight year. Lalang, from Eldoret, Kenya, set the second collegiate record of his career during the 2014 season. This time, Lalang etched his name in the record books for his time of 3:52.88 in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, giving him the second-fastest time in the world in 2014. He is also the top-ranked collegian in the 3,000 meters with his time of 7:44.20. His 3K performance gave him the No. 7 all-time indoor all-conditions performance in collegiate history. He is also ranked No. 4 in the 5K after running the race in 13:41.58 in a win at the MPSF Championships. The Bowerman Watch List member will contest all three events at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships.
Senior Nick Ross was chosen as the USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. Ross’ school-record jump of 7-7 (2.31m) is the No. 1 mark in the country this year. Since the Wildcats’ first meet of the season in Flagstaff on January 17, Ross has had the collegiate-leading mark. He broke the school record that day in Flagstaff, clearing 7-6.5 (2.30m). The next meet, at the Cherry & Silver Invitational, Ross broke the school record once more. He has won all four high jump competitions he has participated in this year, including the MPSF Championships.
Assistant coach Sheldon Blockburger was named the USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Assistant coach of the Year. In his ninth year at Arizona, Blockburger has guided three student-athletes to the NCAA Championships: Ross and juniors Pau Tonnesen and Jovon Cunningham. Tonnesen earned a second-place finish in the heptathlon at the MPSF Championships and is ranked No. 15 in the country. Cunningham’s jump of 52-2½ (15.91m) is just off the school record and stands as the No. 13 mark in the country.
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