Division I Women’s News & Notes
Reid, Sutej named National Women’s Athletes of the Year
It’s not time to hyphenate the name yet, but Oregon is making a strong argument to do just that. For three years the USTFCCCA has given out its Terry Crawford Program of the Year award, and this year, for the third consecutive year, the award belongs to Oregon’s women’s program.
The award is given to an institution that had the best combined team finishes in each of the NCAA’s cross country and track and field championships in a given academic year. For the academic year, Oregon’s cross country team finished 12th, cruised to a 29-point victory in capturing the indoor title and finished second to Texas A&M in the outdoor championships.
“It’s kind of a testament to the hard work of the student athletes and a talented coaching staff,” Oregon program director Vin Lananna said. “Our student athletes worked hard. We had a great group of seniors. We worked hard to move toward a strong national championship caliber team.
We’ve won it the last three years. It’s something we’re proud of certainly.”
And Lananna also takes pride in Oregon having been so very close to earning its first outdoor title in 26 years.
“It was a real great performance by the women for it to come down to the mile relay. We take away something special from the meet. It’s good that when you mention the best track and field programs like Texas A&M, LSU, Florida and Texas that [Oregon] is mentioned up there with them.”
All that despite having a season of struggles that impacted the team’s ability to compete at full strength.
“We had a couple of injuries,” Lananna said. [Two-time reigning NCAA heptathlon champion] Brianne Theisen didn’t compete in the outdoor season. [Alex Kosinski] hurt her back and we had to redshirt her. Amber Purvis had to take on a heavier workload and strained her hamstring (30 meters into her 200 meters preliminary heat) at the regionals. It was a seesaw battle this year, but I am very proud of them.”
Need to Know
• The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has selected Villanova’s Sheila Reid and Arkansas’ Tina Sutej as the association’s National Women’s Athletes of the Year for the 2011 NCAA Division I outdoor track & field season.
Reid, a junior from Newmarket, Ontario, became the first woman in NCAA Division I history to win both 1500- and 5000-meter titles at a single NCAA championship this outdoor season. She also claimed Big East crowns in both the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters during the outdoor season.
Sutej, a junior from Ljubljana, Slovenia, owns a collegiate record in the pole vault with an SEC-winning clearance of 15-1½ (4.61m) and was the only in the collegiate season to clear more than 15 feet, and the fourth woman in collegiate history to do so.. Sutej, who broke the indoor collegiate record this season, was named the SEC Field Athlete of the Year. In the 2011 outdoor season, Sutej cleared more than 14-6 (4.42m) on five occasions and, prior to the NCAA Championships, had won 13-straight competitions combining the indoor and outdoor seasons.
• In an interview with local media, former Texas A&M assistant coach Dan Waters was saying all the right things to Alabama media as he readies to take over the women’s program. Fresh off of being on a staff that helped his school to three consecutive national titles, his words are particularly gratifying to Tide faithful wanting to know if a national track title was in their future.
“No doubt about it," Waters said. "I really, truly believe that. It's not going to happen overnight. We've got a lot of work to do and some things to set in place. We're working on facilities and the whole image of our track and field program, and that's going to take some time.
“I don't think anybody thought we were going to win national championships at Texas A&M when we took over there."
• Kimberlyn Duncan is a finalist for the 2010-11 Honda Sports Award that will be presented by the Collegiate Women's Sports Awards to this year's top female athlete in collegiate track and field. Also nominated are Texas A&M sprinter Jessica Beard, Florida State jumper Kim Williams and Villanova distance runner Sheila Reid.
Duncan could become the third Lady Tiger track and field star to be presented the Honda Sports Award as D'Andre Hill (1995-96) and Keisha Spencer (1999-2000) were honored during their senior seasons with the program. She was the top individual point scorer among all competitors this past week at the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships as she scored 20.5 points to lead the Lady Tigers to a third-place team finish in the final standings. LSU scored 43.5 points during the four-day meet in Des Moines, Iowa.
• In the final women’s poll, Texas A&M, on the strength of its third consecutive title, finished No. 1. Rounding out the top 5 are Oregon LSU, Oklahoma and Arizona.
• Arizona track and field made history last week, when the women's team finished fifth and the men's team finished seventh at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships, held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The Wildcats broke a school record by having the highest overall finish for two teams in one season. The squads finished in the top 10 in the same year for just a second time. Arizona also boasts national champions in high jumper Brigetta Barrett and Julie Labonté in shot put.