Pac-12 announces 2019 Track & Field postseason awards
SAN FRANCISCO – OREGON’s Cravon Gillespie and USC’s Anglerne Annelus were named the Pac-12 Men's and Women's Track Athletes of the Year, while ARIZONA's Jordan Geist and UCLA’s Alyssa Wilson were tabbed the Pac-12 Men's and Women's Field Athletes of the Year in a vote of the Conference coaches announced on Wednesday.
Additionally, USC’s Ayden Owens and Lanae-Tava Thomas were selected Pac-12 Men's and Women's Track & Field Freshmen of the Year, Trojans' head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert was named Women's Coach of the Year and UCLA's Avery Anderson was voted Men's Coach of the Year.
Men's Track Athlete of the Year: Cravon Gillespie, OREGON
Gillespie stole the show at the 2019 Pac-12 Championships, repeating as 100-meter dash champion and equaling the meet record of 9.97 set by 2016 Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse at the 2015 Championships. That time is the third-fastest in Conference history and third-fastest in NCAA Division I this season.
The two-time Pac-12 Men’s Track Athlete of the Week also won the 200 with a mark of 20.17 – the third-fastest wind-legal time in the nation and eighth-best in Conference history – to join Kyree King in 2017 as Ducks to accomplish the 100-200 double at the Championships meet. Coupled with his second leg in the victorious 4x100 meter relay, Gillespie amassed a meet-best 22.5 points for the Ducks to earn Men's Athlete of the Meet accolades.
The redshirt senior from Pasadena, Calif., is the third Men’s Track Athlete of the Year recipient from Oregon in the past four seasons, and the eighth all-time in program history.
Women's Track Athlete of the Year: Anglerne Annelus, USC
Annelus equaled the most points of any track athlete at the Pac-12 Championships, amassing 20.5 behind wins in the 200-meter dash and 4x100 meter relay along with a runner-up in the 100 to lead USC to its first repeat Conference crown. She ran the second leg of the 4x100 relay that currently tops NCAA Division I and set a Championships record in the prelims at 42.44.
The redshirt junior from Grandview, Mo., is the second consecutive Trojan to be named Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, following Kendall Ellis, and is the program’s fifth all-time recipient. It marks the first time a USC athlete has garnered the honor in successive seasons.
Annelus is the Conference leader and tied for seventh in NCAA Division I in the 200 (22.71), and second in the Pac-12 and tied for eighth nationally in the 100 (11.17).
Men's Field Athlete of the Year: Jordan Geist, ARIZONA
Geist led all throwers in points scored at the Conference Championships for the second consecutive year, amassing 22 points behind a repeat victory in the shot put (21.08m) and third-place finishes in the hammer throw (66.49m) and discus (56.98m).
His 22 points helped third-place Arizona to its best Championships finish since 2015 and its most team points (94) since 2012.
Last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year is now the third different Wildcat to capture the league’s Men’s Field Athlete of the Year honor for a league-leading fifth time (Nick Ross, 2012 & 2014; Pau Tonnesen, 2015-16).
The sophomore from Saxonburg, Pa., currently tops NCAA Division I and ranks fourth in Conference history in the shot put with a mark of 21.59 meters set at the Triton Invitational in April. He’s also fourth in this year’s Conference standings in the hammer and discus.
Women's Field Athlete of the Year: Alyssa Wilson, UCLA
UCLA’s third recipient of the honor and first since 2006, Wilson cemented her status as the Pac-12 Championship Women’s Athlete of the Meet with victory in the discus.
The sophomore from Jackson, N.J., opened with a winning throw of 56.93 meters for her first victory at the Conference meet and the first Bruins’ champion in the event since 2005. Along with her discus crown, Wilson was runner-up in the shot put (17.00m) and hammer throw (67.78m) to finish with a meet-high 26 points.
Wilson will head to the West Preliminaries ranked second nationally in both the shot put (18.02m) and hammer (70.63m) and 12th in the discus (56.97m). Her season-best marks in the hammer and shot put rank third and ninth, respectively, in Conference history.
Men's Track & Field Freshman of the Year: Ayden Owens, USC
Owens set a USC school record and moved to seventh in Conference history with the best decathlon in the league since 2015 with 8,130 points at the Bryan Clay Invitational in April.
The total also set a Puerto Rico national record and is tops in NCAA Division I, making Owens the frontrunner in the event at the NCAA Championships in June.
The Wexford, Pa., native is the sixth Trojan to receive the league’s Freshman of the Year honor since the award’s creation in 2000 and the first since Marquis Morris in 2015.
Women's Track & Field Freshman of the Year: Lanae-Tava Thomas, USC
The third consecutive Trojan to earn the honor, Thomas led all freshmen at the Pac-12 Championships with an impressive 16.5 points toward USC’s winning tally of 154.
Thomas partnered with Annelus and last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year TeeTee Terry to help the Trojans sweep both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, placing second in the 200 and third in the 100.
The Henrietta, N.Y., native also ran the third leg – taking the baton from Annelus and setting up anchor Terry – of USC’s victorious 4x100 relay, which set a Championships record mark of 42.44 in the prelims.
Men's Track & Field Coach of the Year: Avery Anderson, UCLA
In his second season as head coach, Anderson led the UCLA men to 140 points and a runner-up finish in the Conference Championship, the Bruins’ most points since winning the 2004 title and highest placement since also finishing second in 2005. He helped three Bruins to event wins at this year’s meet, the most for the program since 2008.
He is UCLA’s fourth mentor and 13th all-time recipient of the league’s Coach of the Year award (Bob Larsen nine times, Jim Bush twice), the first since Art Venegas guided the Bruins to their most recent Conference title in 2004.
Women's Track & Field Coach of the Year: Caryl Smith Gilbert, USC
Smith Gilbert collects her second consecutive and third Pac-12 Women’s Coach of the Year after guiding USC to a repeat Conference crown. It also marks her fourth career Pac-12 Coach of the Year award as she swept the men's and women's honors in 2015.
A former Pac-10 team and 100-meter dash champion, Smith Gilbert led the Trojans' women's program to its first-ever repeat of the Conference championship and its third all-time league title (1996).
Smith Gilbert's Trojans have spent the entire 2019 season in the top 5 nationally, including No. 2 after their repeat Pac-12 title, and will now look to also successfully defend their thrilling 2018 NCAA National Championship.