TUCSON – The University of Arizona Wildcat men’s track and field program had two student-athletes earn recognition from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday. Seniors Lawi Lalang and Nick Ross were both named to the Preseason The Bowerman Watch List, the award given to collegiate track and field’s most outstanding male and female athletes of the year. The women’s list will be announced on Thursday.
Lalang returns as a Finalist for the 2013 The Bowerman as the active leader in Watch List appearances with 17. His appearance total is second all-time behind Florida’s Jeff Demps, and it accounts for all 17 of Arizona’s appearances as a program — also the second most in the award’s history.
Lalang, who was just a finalist for the award in 2013, has been named to the preseason list for the third-straight year. In 2013, 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.
Ross, who is on the “Also Receiving Mention” portion of the list, redshirted the 2013 indoor and outdoor season. However, he competed unattached and posted a mark of 7-5.75 (2.28m), qualifying for the 2013 USA Championships. Ross tied for 12th place in the competition with a clearance of 7-0.5 (2.15m). Ross had an outstanding 2012 campaign; he was the NCAA Indoor Champion in the high jump, the first male high jump champion in program history. He won the Pac-12 title in the high jump but also earned all-conference honors in the long and triple jump. He was named the 2012 Pac-12 Men’s Field Athlete of the Year as well as the 2012 West Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. He went on to earn First-Team NCAA Outdoor All-America honors in the high jump and Second-Team All-America accolades in the triple at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. His 2012 season came to an end at the U.S. Olympic Trials where he claimed the bronze medal in the high jump, clearing 7-5.75. He did not meet Olympic “A” Standard and therefore could not compete for Team USA in the London Olympic Games.
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