Arizona men's and women's track and field will compete next at the NCAA Indoor Championships, March 9-10, in Boise, Idaho.
March 5, 2012
Associate head coach James Li
, assistant coach Sheldon Blockburger
, junior Brigetta Barrett
and sophomore Lawi Lalang
, members of the University of Arizona Wildcat men's and women's track and field teams, have earned regional honors from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA), it was announced on Monday.
Li, UA's associate head coach for middle distance and distance, was named the USTFCCCA West Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year. In his 10th season working with the Wildcats, Li's distance squad currently has five NCAA automatic qualifying times. This season, his student-athletes have set the collegiate record in the 5,000 meters (Lalang), set school records in the mile, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters (Lalang), and brought home the MPSF 3,000-meter title (Lalang). Nationally, Wildcats currently sit second in the mile (Lalang), second in the 3,000 meters (Lalang) and 1-2 in the 5,000 meters (Lalang and Stephen Sambu).
Blockburger, UA's assistant coach for the jumps and combined events, was named the USTFCCCA West Region Women's Assistant Coach of the Year. In his seventh season at Arizona, Blockburger coached a school record high jumper (Barrett) to the top mark in the country, 6-5.5, in addition to earning an MPSF title in meet record fashion (6-4). Barrett is also 4-for-4 in the win column this season. He guided another Wildcat (Liana Fuentes) to a runner-up finish in the MPSF pentathlon.
Barrett has been named the USTFCCCA West Region Female Field Athlete of the Year. She won the 2012 MPSF High Jump title with a clearance of 6-4, an all-time conference and Dempsey Indoor Facility record. Her clearance broke her facility and meet records from 2011. Barrett is 4-for-4 in the victories department this season. The junior cleared 6-5.5 to set a school record in January, just one-half inch from the collegiate record set in 2009 by Destinee Hooker. She is No. 3 in the world on the performer's list for the 2012 season and No. 1 in the NCAA. Barrett has made six clearances above 6-2 so far this season.
Lalang has been named the USTFCCCA West Region Male Track Athlete of the Year. He is an NCAA automatic qualifier and school record holder in the mile, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters. The sophomore won his second-consecutive MPSF Indoor Championship in the 3,000 meters (7:44.48), also a meet record, shaving nearly 10 seconds off last year's winning mark. On Feb. 11, 2012, he broke the all-time collegiate record in the 5,000 meters (13:08.28), also by nearly 10 seconds. His season-best time in the mile ranks No. 3 all-time collegiately and his season-best in the 3,000 meters ranks No. 5 all-time collegiately.
Arizona will compete next at the NCAA Indoor Championships, March 9-10, in Boise, Idaho. Accepted and final entries for the national championships will be release Monday night.