May 19, 2011
IRVING - Texas A&M claimed four of the six postseason honors awarded by the Big 12 Conference for the outdoor track and field season. Prezel Hardy, Jr. was selected as the men's Outstanding Freshman of the Year and Aggie head coach Pat Henry swept the Coach of the Year honors.
Oklahoma's Mookie Salaam was named the men's Outstanding Performer of the Year while Diamond Dixon of Kansas received the women's Outstanding Freshman of the Year accolades.
Coverage of the Big 12 Championships, hosted by the University of Oklahoma, will air on Friday, May 20, on Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Houston at noon while a replay will be shown Saturday, May 21, at 4 p.m.
Tarmoh becomes the fourth A&M female athlete to collect Big 12 Performer of the Year honors, joining Anjanette Kirkland (1997), Simone Facey (2007) and Porscha Lucas (2008). Tarmoh, who was also the high point scorer at the meet, repeated her triple victory from last season at the conference meet, winning the 100 (11.25) and 200 (22.46) while being part of the winning 4 x 100 relay (42.90).
"I love to be able to repeat things," Tarmoh noted of her Big 12 triple. "It's always a good time when you can match or improve upon a previous achievement. Now, I'm really excited to run and see what will happen at the NCAA region meet."
In winning the 200 meter title Tarmoh set the collegiate leading time for the season with her career best time of 22.46 seconds and broke a 29-year-old stadium record of 22.63 previously held by Merlene Ottey (Nebraska, 1982). Tarmoh currently has the second fastest wind-legal time in the world, trailing only a 22.38 by American Allyson Felix.
In the 100 Tarmoh has also run a windy 10.94 this season, the best collegiate mark under any conditions and equals the fifth fastest time in the world for 2011.
Hardy becomes the third Aggie male to earn Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors, joining Adam Wooten (2001) and Gerald Phiri (2008). He finished third in the 100 (10.44) and 200 (20.86) during the Big 12 Championships and anchored the Aggies to victory in the 4 x 100 (39.04).
This season Hardy has recorded a personal best in each of the three 100-meter races he was won, topped by a world junior leading time of 10.13 to win the Michael Johnson Classic in Waco. Hardy ran a career best of 20.74, the top U.S. Junior time and fourth on the world junior list in 2011, as runner-up in the 200 at the LSU Invitational.
It's the fifth consecutive year Henry has earned the women's Coach of the Year honor and his first men's award for the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Henry was a unanimous selection for both awards as Texas A&M claimed both team championships in the same year for the first time in program history.
"Even though we are two-time defending national champions, for both men and women, winning a conference championship is just a little bit different than winning the NCAA meet," Henry noted. "The Big 12 title was a big challenge for this group and this is the best overall performance we've had at a conference meet since I've been at Texas A&M."
The Texas A&M men set a Championship record of 175 points in winning its first outdoor conference team title since 2001. The Aggie women scored 146 points in winning a fifth consecutive Big 12 outdoor team title and its ninth league crown, including indoors, in the past five years.
"The enthusiasm this group now has heading into the NCAA Championship is something you can't buy," stated Henry as Texas A&M attempts to the become the first school to win three consecutive men's and women's NCAA Outdoor Championships. "This group is very enthusiastic about their abilities right now.
"We have enough people in this group who have been in the national championship environment before and some young ones who are adding their abilities. That combination should have us in the mix as we compete for that goal."
23 Aggies earn Academic All-Big 12 honors in track and field
Texas A&M had 23 athletes named to the 2011 Academic All-Big 12 track and field team, as announced by the conference office.
Seven first team selections for the Aggie men include Will Barry (Civil Engineering), Kevin Burnett (Chemistry), Gerald Phiri (University Studies), Michael Preble (Chemical Engineering), Seth Mabry (History), Sam Mutschler (Aerospace Engineering) and Carson Smith (Sport Management).
On the A&M women's team a dozen first team honors went to Sasha-Kay Matthias (Special Education), Kasey McNorton (Management), Erica Parker (Civil Engineering), Bonnie Richardson (Rangeland Management) and Chandrell Stephens (Biomedical Sciences).
Second team selections for the A&M men were Nick Cook (Mechanical Engineering) and Casey Strong (Sport Management). For the Aggie women there were a pair of second team honors for Laura Asimakis (Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences) and Alyson Daily (Marketing).
Nominated by each institution's director of student-athlete support services, the track and field academic all-league squad consisted of 267 first team members combined with 48 on the second team. First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, and the second team selections are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team's scheduled contests.