Anna Cockrell, John Thomas Named USC's 2021 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Medal Winners
LOS ANGELES – Anna Cockrell, winner of both the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles at the 2021 NCAA Track & Field Championships, and baseball infielder/outfielder John Thomas have been named USC's 2020-21 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal recipients today (June 23).
Each year, the league awards Conference Medals to a male and female senior student-athlete at each participating institution who exhibit the greatest combination of scholarship, athletics and leadership.
Cockrell earned a Master's in Public Policy, Certificate in Public Policy Advocacy (4.00 GPA), after earning undergraduate degree in Communication with a minor in Political Science (3.98 GPA). She was named the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year on May 16, then went out and won the Pac-12 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles titles to help lead USC to its third consecutive conference team championship.
Cockrell, from Charlotte, N.C., became just the second woman athlete to win both the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles in the same season at the 2021 NCAA Championships meet to help lead USC to its second team title in the last three seasons. She won the 100m hurdles with a time of 12.58 and the 400m hurdles with a time of 54.68 on June 12. Her winning 400m hurdles time broke her school record, ranks seventh on the all-time Pac-12 list and made it two consecutive national titles in the event for Cockrell. Cockrell had a PR of 12.54 in the 100m hurdles semifinals which ranks third on USC's and the Pac-12's all-time list.
The four-time team captain is currently competing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trial in Eugene, Ore. She reached the finals in the 100m hurdles, finishing fifth and will begin competition in the 400m hurdles on June 24.
Cockrell is the founder and leading member of USC's United Black Student-Athlete Association (UBSAA) and a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the Annenberg School's Communications Honors Society. She also is one of four students named to the USC Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Taskforce and was 1-of-2 athletes on 11-person search committee involved in the selection of USC's athletic director.
Thomas, a fifth-year senior, earned his undergraduate degree in communications (3.35 GPA), as well as a graduate certificate in marketing (3.40 GPA) this past year. He was named to the 2020 Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll and was a 2019 Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention.
Through his career on the field, Thomas made 62 starts in 136 career games played, notching 61 hits, 41 RBI and 37 runs scored.
A leader on and off the field, Thomas served on the Provost's Oversight Committee for Athletic Academic Affairs, the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), the United Black Student-Athletes Association (UBSAA) and the Trojan Athletic Senate. He was also a speaker at the USC Student-Athlete Graduation in 2020.
The Los Angeles native has an extensive resume of volunteer work, including working with Vision to Learn, a nonprofit that provides free eye exams and free eyeglasses to students in low income communities, and Step Up Tutoring, connecting the organization with UBSAA in order to provide tutors. Thomas spent time with teammates visiting the West Los Angeles Veterans Medical Center and was a part of the Girls Play LA holiday event, a fitness workshop where he helped bag and distribute over 1000 holiday gift bags for youth from Girls Play LA. He also spoke to 300 youth about the importance of reading at the Readers of Troy Summit at Marvin Elementary.
About the Hansen Medal
Conference medal winners have been named every year since the 1960-61 academic year. In 2009, the Pac-12 renamed the award the Tom Hansen Conference Medal in honor of Hansen, who retired at the end of June 2009 after serving for 26 years as Commissioner of the Pac-10. Awards were given to both women's and men's student-athletes starting in 1987.