Tucson,Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 7 men's track and fieldteam claimed two individual honors on Tuesday. It was announced by the Pac-12office that Senior Lawi Lalang was named the 2014 Pac-12 Men's Track Athlete ofthe Year while senior Nick Ross was the 2014 Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete of theYear.
Lalangwas also named the 2014 Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year for his work on thetrack and in the classroom. He won his fifth and sixth conference championshipsat the 2014 Pac-12 Championships. Lalang clocked a season-best time of 3:36.34to edge out Edward Cheserek (Oregon, 3:36.50). That time remained the No. 1time in the country on the year and the second-best time of Lalang's career. Heis the fourth athlete in conference history win three titles in the men's1,500-meter race. Volunteer assistant coach Bernard Lagat is one ofthe other athletes to accomplish that feat. Lalang also broke his own Pac-12Championship record; he previously set the record of 3:38.53 in 2013. His timeis a facility record as well, beating Jim Hill's (Oregon) time of 3:42.29 in1984.
Lalangalso 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 courseof his track and field career. He won three in the 1,500 meters, two in the 5Kand 1 in the 10K. The only person in conference history with more individualtitles than Lalang is UA alumnus Robert Cheseret, who won eight. Lalang andthree other athletes have won six.
At the2014 NCAA Championships, Lalang won the men's 5K at the NCAA OutdoorChampionships for the second-straight year. His time of 13:18.36 was good for afirst-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 hisfastest in a collegiate race. His other two fastest times came in races inEurope during the summer of 2013. Lalang's broke the NCAA meet record set bySydney Maree (Villanova) on June 2, 1979, when he ran 13:20.63. Lalang passedformer Wildcat Amy Skieresz for most NCAA Championships in Arizona history,both had seven prior to today. Skieresz had one cross country title, two indoortitles and four outdoor titles.
Per theU.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA), Lalangis the seventh man in Division I history to claim consecutive 5000 meters (orthree-mile) titles outdoors, and the first since Chris Solinsky of Wisconsin in2006 and 2007. Lalang's title is Arizona's sixth in the event, only Oregon andWashington 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 isthe second-straight year (Ross redshirted 2013) that Ross has been the Pac-12Men's Field Athlete of the Year. He was also the 2014 U.S. Track and Field andCross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) Men's West Region Field Athleteof the Year for the second-straight year. Ross won the men's high jumpwith a clearance of 7-5.75 (2.28m). Ross did not record a miss in thecompetition until he attempted three jumps at 7-7.25 (2.32m) but failed toclear the bar. Ross and Dick Fosbury are the only two athletes in conferencehistory to win three high jump titles. Ross also competed in the triple jumpbefore 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 thatRoss has earned all-conference accolades in the high jump, long jump and triplejump. He is the only athlete in school history to do it even once.
Rosstied for third place in the men's high jump competition with a clearance of7-2.5 (2.20m) at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Ross was clean through7-2.5 but failed to clear 7-4.5 (2.25m). Ross earned first-team All-Americaaccolades in the men's high jump competition all four years of his career, thefirst Wildcat to ever accomplish that feat. Ross also accomplished that featfor his indoor career and was the first Wildcat to do that as well. He is theonly NCAA High Jump Champion in UA history as well, winning the 2012 NCAAIndoor Championship.
On theyear, Ross won every single high jump competition except for the NCAA OutdoorChampionships. He had the top clearance in the country on the year as well, whenhe jumped 7-6.5 (2.30m) at the UA-ASU-NAU Double Dual.
The2014 Men's Freshman/Newcomer of the Year was Devon Allen of Oregon. The 2014Men's Coach of the Year was Robert Johnson.
On thewomen's side, Jenna Prandini was Track Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete ofthe Year. The Women's Freshman/Newcomer of the Year was Valarie Allman ofStanford. The Women's Coach of the Year was also Robert Johnson.