Pac-12 announces 2021 Track & Field postseason awards
SAN FRANCISCO – USC’s Isaiah Jewett and Twanisha Terry were named the Pac-12 Men's and Women's Track Athletes of the Year, while ARIZONA’s Jordan Geist and ARIZONA STATE’s Jorinde van Klinken 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.
The Wildcats’ Johnnie Blockburger and OREGON’s Alysah Hickey were also selected Pac-12 Men's and Women's Track & Field Freshmen of the Year, Ducks' head coach Robert Johnson was named Men's Coach of the Year and USC’s Caryl Smith Gilbert was voted Women's Coach of the Year.
Men’s Track Athlete of the Year: Isaiah Jewett, USC
A two-time Pac-12 800-meter champion, Jewett defended his 2019 title on Sunday in Los Angeles, winning the 2021 event with a 1:45.16 PR. The NCAA-leading time is now No. 7 on the Pac-12’s all-time performers’ list and was the Conference’s fastest in nearly a decade, since Oregon’s Elijah Greer finished third at the 2011 NCAA Championships in 1:45.06. Jewett’s effort surpassed the stadium record of 1:46.31 set by Germany’s Nico Motchebon in 1997 and was also just four hundredths of a second off the Pac-12 Championships meet record from Oregon’s Joaquim Cruz in 1984 (1:45.12).
Jewett also anchored USC’s winning 4x400-meter relay, which won in 3:05.29, the best time at the Conference meet since the Trojans went 3:03.38 in 2011. Including Jewett, 12 USC men have combined to win 14 Pac-12 Men’s Track Athlete of the Year awards all-time.
Women’s Track Athlete of the Year: Twanisha Terry, USC
At the Pac-12 Championships on Sunday, Terry’s double in the 100- and 200-meter dashes led the Women of Troy to their third consecutive Conference title. Terry ran 11.10 to win her third straight 100-meter crown and added her name to a short list of women to win that many Pac-12 titles in the event, joining USC’s Virginia Powell (2004, 2005, 2006) and Stanford’s Chryste Gaines (1990, 1991, 1992). Terry PR’d (22.72) to win her first 200-meter Conference championship later in the afternoon and anchored the Trojans’ second-place 4x100-meter relay (42.99). She amassed 22 points for the Trojans to earn Women's Athlete of the Meet accolades.
Terry’s wind-aided time in the 100-meter preliminaries last weekend (11.02) is tied for second in the NCAA this season and her winning 200-meter time is sixth. She has anchored the four fastest 4x100-meter relays in USC history, including a 42.63 from May 2, which is second-best in the country this season.
Also on The Bowerman Watch List, Terry is the third consecutive Trojan to be named Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, following Anglerne Annelus (2019) and Kendall Ellis (2018), and is the program’s sixth all-time recipient.
Men’s Field Athlete of the Year: Jordan Geist, ARIZONA
Geist led all throwers in points scored at the Pac-12 Championships for the third consecutive meet, totaling 19 points behind his third consecutive victory in the shot put (20.35/66-9 ¼), a second-place finish in the hammer throw (71.78/235-6) and eighth-place finish in the discus (52.92/173-7). One of six three-time shot put champions in Conference history, Geist was also the 2019 Men’s Field Athlete of the Year and is the third back-to-back winner of the award, joining Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen (2015, 2016) and Oregon’s Ashton Eaton (2009, 2010).
Geist’s winning shot put toss is fifth in the NCAA this season and his hammer mark from the Conference meet is seventh. He’s one of two athletes in the country in the top 10 in both events, along with North Dakota State’s Alex Talley.
Three different Wildcats have captured the Conference’s Men’s Field Athlete of the Year honor a league-leading six times. In addition to Geist’s and Tonnesen’s titles, Nick Ross won in both 2012 and 2014.
Women’s Field Athlete of the Year: Jorinde van Klinken, ARIZONA STATE
In her first year stateside after completing her undergraduate studies back home in the Netherlands, van Klinken won the discus title at the Pac-12 Championships (62.58/205-3) and finished second in the shot put (17.25/56-7 ¼). Her 18 points helped third-place Arizona State to its best Championships finish since 2014 and its most team points (77) since 2013.
van Klinken’s NCAA-leading toss won the discus by almost 19 feet, was the best Championships mark since WASHINGTON’s Aretha Hill threw 208-11 in 1998 and moved her to No. 5 on the Pac-12’s all-time performers’ list.
She joins Maggie Ewen (2017, 2018), Sarah Stevens (2007, 2009) and Jacquelyn Johnson (2008) as Sun Devils to be named Pac-12 Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.
Men’s Track & Field Freshman of the Year: Johnnie Blockburger, ARIZONA
Blockburger won the 400 meters in his first Conference meet with a time of 45.57, the Wildcats first champion in the event since Mike Kenyon in 2002 (45.83). The fastest freshman in the NCAA this season, his PR of 44.71 from early April is a school record, No. 6 in the country and meets the Olympic Trials qualifying standard.
Blockburger also anchored Arizona’s second-place 4x400-meter relay at the Pac-12 Championships, which crossed in 3:08.75. He is the Wildcats’ third Pac-12 Men’s Track & Field Freshman of the Year recipient along with Jordan Geist (2018), Stephen Sambu (2011) and Nick Ross (2010).
Women’s Track & Field Freshman of the Year: Alysah Hickey, OREGON
A Conference champion in the long jump, Hickey fouled on her first attempt, but leapt the winning 21-7 ½ (6.59) on her second, one of her four beyond 21 feet, to win Oregon’s fourth long jump title in the past seven Pac-12 meets. The PR is 10th in the NCAA this season, third among the country’s freshmen and the best winning mark at the Conference meet since ASU’s Christabel Nettey's Championships record 21-11 in 2013.
Hickey also took third in the high jump at the Pac-12 Championships, clearing a personal best 5-8 ¾ (1.75). She is the fourth Duck to be named the Conference’s Women’s Track & Field Freshman of the Year all-time and first since Ariana Washington in 2016.
Men’s Track & Field Coach of the Year: Robert Johnson, OREGON
Johnson’s ninth overall Conference Coach of the Year honor and fifth on the men’s side comes after leading the Men of Oregon to their unprecedented 14th consecutive Pac-12 title on Sunday and eighth of his head coaching tenure. Ranked No. 2 in the nation, the Ducks won the Conference in record-breaking fashion in 2021, scoring 185 points to set a new Championships standard, besting USC’s 180 points scored in 1976. In winning its past four Conference crowns, Oregon has scored 175 (2017), 174 (2018), 173 (2019) and now 185 points.
Women’s Track & Field Coach of the Year: Caryl Smith Gilbert, USC
Smith Gilbert’s third consecutive Pac-12 Women’s Coach of the Year honor coincides with the Women of Troy’s three consecutive Conference crowns (2018, 2019, 2021). This year’s 162.5 points are the program’s third most in its Pac-12 Championships history. The Conference award is the fifth of Smith Gilbert’s career, as she was voted both men’s and women’s Coach of the Year in 2015. USC has spent the entire season in the top five nationally and are No. 3 after completing their Pac-12 three-peat.