On Sunday, Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star released the Top 100 sports figures of 2011 list.
Jan. 2, 2012
The University of Arizona Wildcat track and field and cross country coaching staff was chosen as the No. 1 sports figure in 2011 by Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star. Every year Hansen releases a list of the top 100 sports figures, and for 2011, the track and field program was represented by the entire coaching staff, two volunteer assistants, two former student-athletes and seven current student-athletes.
Director of cross country and track and field Fred Harvey, cross country head coach and associate head track and field coach James Li, jumps and combined events coach Sheldon Blockburger, throws coach Craig Carter, sprints coach Francesca Green, assistant cross country coach and distance coach Erin Dawson and director of operations Dawn Boxley were all cited as being the best sports figure for 2011. The UA women finished fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and the men finished seventh, the first time both teams had top-10 finishes since 1989.
Junior Brigetta Barrett was fourth on the list, after winning the NCAA Championship in the high jump during the indoor and outdoor season. She also won the USA Championship, a gold medal the World University Games and she finished 10th at the World Championships.
Sophomore Lawi Lalang was chosen ninth, following his undefeated cross country season that led to a national championship and his runner-up finish in the 5,000 meters during the outdoor track season.
Junior Julie Labonté was ranked 14th, after winning the NCAA Championship in the shot put for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Labonté managed to go undefeated against collegiate competition during 2011 and also set the Canadian national record in the shot put.
Volunteer assistant Jill Camarena-Williams, 16th on the list, earned a bronze medal at the World Championships, becoming the first American woman to ever earn a medal in the shot put at the World Championships.
Volunteer assistant Bernard Lagat, No. 30, was the USA Championships winner in the 5K, and he was runner-up at the World Championships in that same distance.
Junior Jen Bergman was 34th on the list. Bergman earned a second-place finish at the 2011 Pac-10 Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters and third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She also earned All-America status during the cross country season, finishing 26th.
Junior Nick Ross, No. 47, was the Pac-10 high jump champion and went on to finish third at the NCAA Championships.
Former NCAA Champion Liz Patterson, No. 55, finished second in the high jump at the USA Championships.
Freshman Haley Stenquist was placed at the 65th spot. Stenquist was an Arizona state champion in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters at Sabino High School. At Arizona, she won the George Kyte Classic and became a consistent scorer for the women's cross country squad.
UA alumni Nick Mossberg, 76th, finished third at the USA Championships as a pole vaulter and has become a contender for the upcoming London Olympics.
Senior Stephen Sambu was 91st on the list. Sambu finished third in the 5K at the NCAA Indoor Championships and third in the 10,000-meter race at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.