Ross, Labonte Sweep Conference Award
June 19, 2010
TUCSON - The University of Arizona track and field freshmen Nick Ross and Julie Labonte were tabbed as the Pacific-10 Conference's Newcomers of the Year, announced by the conference office Friday afternoon.
The award, voted upon by the coaches in the conference, is given to the incoming freshmen deemed to have made the biggest impact on their team upon their immediately arrival to the program.
Ross, a freshman of out Murrieta, Calif., finished seventh at last week's NCAA Outdoor Championships in the high jump with a best clearance of 2.17m (7-1 1/2) to earn All-American honors. He also was an All-American indoors where he also finished seventh, making him the first freshman athlete to score points at both the indoor and outdoor championship meets in a season.
Ross is also one of just 16 athletes to join the seven-foot club in Arizona history and only the third to do so in the last 10 years. Ross earned All-Conference honors indoors as he finished as the runner-up to teammate Edgar Rivera-Morales and finished third in the conference outdoors. Ross accomplished everything in the outdoor season despite having minor knee surgery after the outdoor season.
Labonte's credentials on the 2010 season were not in any way lacking themselves. The freshman from Ste-Justine, Quebec swept the conference titles in the shot put indoors and outdoors while setting the third best mark in Arizona's history of the event at 16.82m (55-2 1/4) at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson.
Labonte launched her first toss at the NCAA Championships in Eugene 16.59m (54-5 1/4) and that mark would hold through the competition to give the youngster a fourth place finish and the first All-American honor of her career.
Labonte also earned All-Conference honors in the discus in finishing fourth while qualifying to the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships.
It was the first time in conference history that Arizona athletes have won the Newcomer of the Year award on either the men's or women's sides.