Tucson, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 7 men’s track and field team claimed two individual honors on Tuesday. It was announced by the Pac-12 office that Senior Lawi Lalang was named the 2014 Pac-12 Men’s Track Athlete of the Year while senior Nick Ross was the 2014 Pac-12 Men’s Field Athlete of the Year.
Lalang was also named the 2014 Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year for his work on the track and in the classroom. He won his fifth and sixth conference championships at the 2014 Pac-12 Championships. Lalang clocked a season-best time of 3:36.34 to edge out Edward Cheserek (Oregon, 3:36.50). That time remained the No. 1 time in the country on the year and the second-best time of Lalang’s career. He is the fourth athlete in conference history win three titles in the men’s 1,500-meter race. Volunteer assistant coach Bernard Lagat is one of the other athletes to accomplish that feat. Lalang also broke his own Pac-12 Championship record; he previously set the record of 3:38.53 in 2013. His time is a facility record as well, beating Jim Hill’s (Oregon) time of 3:42.29 in 1984.
Lalang also ran the men’s 5,000-meter race and clocked a winning time of 13:41.44. With that victory, Lalang garnered six conference championships over the course of his track and field career. He won three in the 1,500 meters, two in the 5K and 1 in the 10K. The only person in conference history with more individual titles than Lalang is UA alumnus Robert Cheseret, who won eight. Lalang and three other athletes have won six.
At the 2014 NCAA Championships, Lalang won the men’s 5K at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second-straight year. His time of 13:18.36 was good for a first-place finish and his eighth (1 cross country, four indoor, three outdoor) career NCAA title. That time is the third-best mark of Lalang’s career but his fastest in a collegiate race. His other two fastest times came in races in Europe during the summer of 2013. Lalang’s broke the NCAA meet record set by Sydney Maree (Villanova) on June 2, 1979, when he ran 13:20.63. Lalang passed former Wildcat Amy Skieresz for most NCAA Championships in Arizona history, both had seven prior to today. Skieresz had one cross country title, two indoor titles and four outdoor titles.
Per the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA), Lalang is the seventh man in Division I history to claim consecutive 5000 meters (or three-mile) titles outdoors, and the first since Chris Solinsky of Wisconsin in 2006 and 2007. Lalang’s title is Arizona’s sixth in the event, only Oregon and Washington State (8) has more. Lalang is the all-time (since at least 1982) career top scorer in the event with 34 points (2011 2nd; 2012 3rd; 2013 1st; 2014 1st).
It is the second-straight year (Ross redshirted 2013) that Ross has been the Pac-12 Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. He was also the 2014 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) Men’s West Region Field Athlete of the Year for the second-straight year. Ross won the men’s high jump with a clearance of 7-5.75 (2.28m). Ross did not record a miss in the competition until he attempted three jumps at 7-7.25 (2.32m) but failed to clear the bar. Ross and Dick Fosbury are the only two athletes in conference history to win three high jump titles. Ross also competed in the triple jump before and after he high jumped, taking third place with a mark of 50-10.25 (15.50m, 1.2 wind). It is the second-straight conference championships that Ross has earned all-conference accolades in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. He is the only athlete in school history to do it even once.
Ross tied for third place in the men’s high jump competition with a clearance of 7-2.5 (2.20m) at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Ross was clean through 7-2.5 but failed to clear 7-4.5 (2.25m). Ross earned first-team All-America accolades in the men’s high jump competition all four years of his career, the first Wildcat to ever accomplish that feat. Ross also accomplished that feat for his indoor career and was the first Wildcat to do that as well. He is the only NCAA High Jump Champion in UA history as well, winning the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship.
On the year, Ross won every single high jump competition except for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He had the top clearance in the country on the year as well, when he jumped 7-6.5 (2.30m) at the UA-ASU-NAU Double Dual.
The 2014 Men’s Freshman/Newcomer of the Year was Devon Allen of Oregon. The 2014 Men’s Coach of the Year was Robert Johnson.
On the women’s side, Jenna Prandini was Track Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Year. The Women’s Freshman/Newcomer of the Year was Valarie Allman of Stanford. The Women’s Coach of the Year was also Robert Johnson.