TUCSON - The University of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field teams were both represented at the award ceremony for The Bowerman in Orlando, Fla. The Bowerman is presented to collegiate track and field’s most outstanding male and female athletes for the year. On Wednesday, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) announced the winners.
For the second-straight year, Brigetta Barrett was a finalist but failed to win. Brianna Rollins (Clemson, 100-meter hurdles) won while Kori Carter (Stanford, 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles) was the other finalist. She is the most successful female high jumper in collegiate history, winning six-straight NCAA Championships (three indoor and three outdoor). Her outdoor season was one for the record books, as she not only claimed the Division I Outdoor high jump title but also set collegiate and all-time dual meet records along the way with two of the ten best clearances in collegiate history. Just as she did indoors, she took the outdoor Division I title with a winning height of 6-4¾ (1.95m), this time with a bit more drama as she cleared her final height on her third attempt, before taking three tries at a new collegiate record of 6-6¾ (2.00m). Barrett is the first woman in collegiate history to win three-straight indoor and outdoor titles. She also owns the most high jump titles in collegiate history with six. Amy Acuff (UCLA) had five. Barrett is the second woman in collegiate history to win three-straight outdoor titles; former Wildcat Tanya Hughes is the other. Hughes accomplished the feat in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The women's track and field program at Arizona has now claimed eight outdoor titles in the women's high jump.
At the Pac-12 Championships, after a long build-up featuring 13 heights cleared in one attempt and five others on which she passed, she was successful on her third and final attempt at 6-6¼ (1.99m) to break the previous collegiate record of 6-6 (1.98m) held by Acuff (1995) and Kajsa Bergqvist (SMU, 1999). She then missed on three attempts at 6-7½ (2.02m).
The collegiate record wasn’t the only all-time mark she took from Acuff, as Barrett cleared 6-4¼ at the Arizona-Arizona State-Northern Arizona tri meet to surpass Acuff’s all-time dual meet high jump record of 6-4 (1.93m) set in 1995. That was also Barrett’s winning height at the Stanford Invitational to launch her 2013 outdoor campaign.
On the men’s side, Senior Lawi Lalang was a finalist along with Derek Drouin (Indiana, high jumper) and Julian Wruck (UCLA, discus). Drouin claimed the honor on the men’s side. Lalang became just the second man to win four individual distance titles in one academic year, joining 2009 The Bowerman winner Galen Rupp of Oregon and Suleiman Nyambui of UTEP in both 1980 and 1982. Lalang is the first person in collegiate history to win NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile and 3K and NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5K and 10K in the same year. At the NCAA Outdoor Championships, he was the only student-athlete in the entire competition, men or women, to claim two individual titles. He is only the 12th man in collegiate history to complete the 5K/10K double at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He has now won seven NCAA titles, one cross country, four indoors and two outdoors.
Lalang’s 3:54.74 win in the mile at the DI Indoor Championships bested the 18-year-old record of 3:55.33 set by Kevin Sullivan of Michigan in 1995 and gave him the fourth-fastest indoor mile time in collegiate history. He defeated collegiate record-holder Chris O’Hare and NC State’s Ryan Hill, owner of two all-time collegiate top-ten marks in the mile, to earn the victory. He also took down Colorado’s Adam Goucher’s 1998 NCAA Meet record of 7:46.03 at 3,000 meters en route to winning the title in 7:45.94, the tenth-fastest mark in collegiate history. In the process, he became the first man since Washington State’s Bernard Lagat in 1999 to win both titles in the same meet. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Lalang's mile race started at 6:10 p.m. CST., then he returned to the track to defend his title in the 3K at 7:55 p.m. on the same night. He claimed two NCAA titles in less than two hours.
His indoor season also included a 3:54.56 fifth-place finish in the Millrose Games’ Wanamaker Mile, good for second among collegians to record-holder O’Hare, and a 7:42.79 win at 3000 meters at the Razorback Team Invitational, giving him the third-fastest time in collegiate history in the event.
Lalang’s outdoor campaign culminated with a 13:35.19 NCAA title-winning performance in the 5K and another title in 29:29.65 in the 10K. He finished his outdoor campaign undefeated in nine events between 1500, 5000 and 10,000 meters. He won Pac-12 titles at both 1500 meters and 10,000 meters, with his winning 1500 time of 3:38.53 standing as the collegiate leader at the end of the season despite not contesting the event at the NCAA Championships.
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