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Four Texas A&M athletes earn SEC Athlete of the Year accolades

May 26, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
BIRMINGHAM – SEC Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors, voted upon by the conference coaches, included four awards for Texas A&M athletes as Deon Lendore and Olivia Ekponé were each named SEC Runner of the Year, Shelbi Vaughan was selected co-Field Athlete of the Year and Shamier Little garnered SEC Freshman Runner of the Year.

“Each of those awards is very much earned,” said Aggie head coach Pat Henry. “It’s great that the rest of the conference coaches see the excellence in those four athletes. Each of them produced throughout the season and had a big-time performance at the conference meet.”

Henry was named men’s SEC Coach of the Year as Texas A&M claimed its first SEC men’s team title with 155 points and ended a three-year winning streak by Arkansas. A&M is just the third school other than Arkansas to win the SEC Outdoor team title since 2003. Tennessee won the 2007 title while Florida won in 2010.

On Championship Sunday the Aggie men won seven events – 100, 200, 400, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay. They set SEC Championship meet records in the 4x1 and 4x4 relays while establishing A&M school records in the 400 meters and 110 hurdles. Texas A&M became the first school to ever sweep all seven sprint, hurdle and relay events in one SEC meet dating back to 1933, the first year of the SEC track and field meet.

In addition the Aggies swept all four relay events, winning the men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400, and became the first school to achieve the feat in the SEC, dating back to 1981 when the women’s meet began. LSU has won three of the four relays before on four occasions – 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2008.

As SEC Runner of the Year selections Lendore and Ekponé each were part of three victories for the Aggies on the final day of the meet.

“They were very deserving, both have done a tremendous job all year,” noted Henry. “They are great leaders for us, on and off the track, so I’m very pleased they were honored by the SEC coaches.”

Lendore posted his sixth consecutive victory in a conference 400m race over the past three seasons, sweeping the indoor and outdoor league titles. He won the 2014 SEC title in 44.36 seconds to break a 45-year-old A&M school record of 44.67 set by Curtis Mills in winning the 1969 NCAA Championship. Lendore has also been part of a winning 4x400 relay in each of his conference meets making him a perfect 12 for 12 over the past three years with indoor and outdoor titles in the 400 and 4x400 relay.

For the 2014 SEC meet Lendore also anchored the 4x100 to victory in a SEC Championship meet record of 38.50. Earlier in the season Lendore anchored the Aggie sprint relay to a school record of 38.30 during the Texas Relays. At the Penn Relays, Lendore anchored A&M’s 4x200 to a school record of 1:20.29. Indoors, Lendore ran the anchor leg of the 4x400 that won the SEC title with a collegiate record of 3:03.20.

Ekponé completed a sweep of the 100 and 200 meters with career best times in each race, winning the 100 in 11.11 and establishing the world leading time for 2014 in the 200 with a 22.23. Ekponé broke the Aggie school record in the 200 and bettered the SEC Championship record as well. In closing out the SEC meet Ekponé split 49.9 on the anchor leg of the A&M 4x400 as they won the race in 3:28.59. The 22.5 points scored by Ekponé made her the high-point scorer of the meet, earning her the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Last month at the Penn Relays Ekponé enjoyed being part of three victories as she defended her 100m title, anchored the 4x100 to a sixth consecutive victory as they ran a collegiate-leading 43.11 and ran on the winning 4x200 squad in a collegiate-leading 1:30.21.

With a series that included two throws over 200 feet Vaughan defended the SEC title she claimed as a freshman and broke the previous SEC Championship record of 194-4 set in 1994 with each of her five attempts that were measured.

Opening her SEC series with a 204-2 toss Vaughan broke her own A&M school record of 199-3 and moved to No. 9 on the all-time collegiate list. Her last throw measured 208-8 and is No. 6 on the all-time collegiate list. In between those two massive throws Vaughan’s series included a foul in round two followed by marks of 197-0, 198-7 and 198-11. She won her second SEC title by 33 feet over the runner-up performance.

“Shelbi was kind of in her own world during the conference meet,” said Henry. “What a great effort and great performance by her. Sometimes it’s very difficult to do that well when you’re competition isn’t doing as well as normal. When she gets to the national meet the competition will be extremely tough and she is one who I think has learned to compete in both types of competition.”

For the second consecutive year Vaughan has compiled a season where she is undefeated by collegians through the conference meet. This year that streak includes six meets with titles claimed at UTSA, Texas Relays, Stanford, Texas State and the SEC while finishing as the top collegian in the Sun Angel Classic held at Arizona State.                              

Little continues to produce impressive performances each time she is on the track and her stellar double in the 400 and 400 hurdles at the conference meet was the just the latest of her amazing feats. Kamaria Brown was unable to compete in the 400m final at the SEC Championships, and Little picked up the slack by winning the race from lane two with a career best time of 51.06, moving her to No. 10 on the U.S. junior all-time list and equal No. 2 on the Aggie all-time list.

An hour later Little clocked a career best of 56.01 in the SEC 400 hurdles for third place with her time the No. 8 mark on the U.S. Junior all-time list and third fastest on the A&M all-time list. Little is the only person who has made the top 10 U.S. Junior all-time list in both the 400 and 400 hurdles.

“To run 51.0 and win the 400 in the SEC and then to come back and run 56.0 in the intermediate hurdles for a freshman is a tremendous feat,” stated Henry. “We’ve never had anybody do that. It was a great effort and she still has some big races in front of her.

“She an integral part of the 4x4 as well, so we made some decisions on what individual event is best for her at nationals. We think it’s more important for her to run the hurdles, which is an event she can be very, very good in.”

During the indoor season Little placed third in the SEC 400 (51.86 PR), finishing as the top freshman in the event, and then produced another third place effort at the NCAA Indoor Championships (51.96), again as the top freshman in the field. Little has also contributed to the relays for the Aggies, running on the collegiate leading 4x200 that won the Penn Relays as well as the 4x400 which placed third at Texas Relays and Penn Relays as well as winning efforts at Stanford, Sun Angel and LSU Alumni Gold.

Two Aggies named to the SEC community service team in track and field were Clifton Harlin and Heather Sterling. The SEC names a community service team for each of its 21 league-sponsored sports to highlight a male and female athlete from each school who gives back to his or her community through superior service efforts.

Harlin, a junior pole vaulter, served on the Executive Team as the Public Relations Chairman for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Sterling, a junior distance runner, was Vice President of Aggie Athletes Involved. Both worked on various community service projects which included Hard Hats for Little Heads and AggieCAN.

 

2014 SEC OUTDOOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARDS

Men’s Runner of the Year: Deon Lendore, Texas A&M

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year: Ricky Robertson, Ole Miss

Men’s Freshman Runner of the Year: Omar McLeod, Arkansas

Men’s Freshman Field Athlete of the Year: Alex Poursanidis, Georgia

Men’s Coach of the Year: Pat Henry, Texas A&M

Men’s Co-Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Brandon Lord, Georgia and Nathanael Franks, Arkansas

 

Women’s Runner of the Year: Olivia Ekponé, Texas A&M

Women’s Co-Field Athlete of the Year: Ciarra Brewer, Florida and Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M

Women’s Freshman Runner of the Year: Shamier Little, Texas A&M

Women’s Freshman Field Athlete of the Year: Kendell Williams, Georgia

Women’s Coach of the Year: Lance Harter, Arkansas

Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jill Rushin, Missouri

 

Men’s All-SEC First Team

Aldrich Bailey, Jr., Texas A&M

Gregory Coleman, Texas A&M

Wayne Davis II, Texas A&M

Marquis Dendy, Florida

Raymond Dykstra, Kentucky

Andrew Evans, Kentucky

Elias Hakansson, Alabama

Prezel Hardy, Jr., Texas A&M

Shavez Hart, Texas A&M

Raymond Higgs, Arkansas

Stanley Kebenei, Arkansas

Sam Kendricks, Ole Miss

Deon Lendore, Texas A&M

Brandon Lord, Georgia

Brandon McBride, Mississippi State

Keffri Neal, Kentucky

Alex Poursanidis, Georgia

Ricky Robertson, Ole Miss

Carlyle Roudette, Texas A&M

Bralon Taplin, Texas A&M

Michael Uibo, Georgia

Stipe Zunic, Florida

Men’s All-SEC Second Team

Tremayne Acy, LSU

Shermund Allsop, LSU

Jake Blankenship, Tennessee

Drew Branch, Georgia

Rodney Brown, LSU

Niklas Buhner, Auburn

Justin Carter, Auburn

Robert Domanic, Ole Miss

Quincy Downing, LSU

Dedric Dukes, Florida

Fitzroy Dunkley, LSU

Aaron Ernest, LSU

Nathanael Franks, Arkansas

Najee Glass, Florida

Gabe Gonzales, Arkansas

Hugh Graham, Jr., Florida

Cyril Grayson, LSU

Scottie Hearn, Mississippi State

Hector Hernandez, Texas A&M

Matt Hillenbrand, Kentucky

Jarrion Lawson, Arkansas

Eddie Lovett, Florida

Anthony May, Arkansas

Omar McLeod, Arkansas

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, LSU

Vernon Norwood, LSU

Hayden Reed, Alabama

Garrett Scantling, Georgia

Ryan Schnulle, Florida

Stephen Saenz, Auburn

DJ Smith, Auburn

Isaac Spencer, Texas A&M

Kyle Strawn, Florida

Sean Tobin, Ole Miss

Nick Uruburu, Florida

Nick Vena, Georgia

Austin Wells, Texas A&M

Chase Wolfle, Texas A&M

Antwan Wright, Florida

Phillip Young, Ole Miss

Kaleb Zuidema, South Carolina

Men’s SEC All-Freshman Team

100m: Teray Smith, Auburn

110mH: Omar McLeod, Arkansas

200m: Teray Smith, Auburn

400m: Nick Uruburu, Florida

400mH: Larry Donald, Arkansas

800m: Jacopo Lahbi, Alabama

1,500m: Robert Domanic, Ole Miss

Steeplechase: Spencer Hrycay, Kentucky

5,000m: Sean Tobin, Ole Miss

10,000m: Austin Wells, Texas A&M

High Jump: Ibn Short, Kentucky

Pole Vault: Charles Moushey, Kentucky

Long Jump: Clive Pullen, Arkansas

Triple Jump: Jeffrey Prothro, Texas A&M

Shot Put: Kyle Felpel, Alabama

Discus: Hayden Reed, Alabama

Hammer Throw: Alex Poursanidis, Georgia

Javelin: Justin Carter, Auburn

Decathlon: Ibn Short, Kentucky

Women’s All-SEC First Team

Janeil Bellille, Texas A&M

Ciarra Brewer, Florida

Aaliyah Brown, Texas A&M

Kamaria Brown, Texas A&M

Ashley Collier, Texas A&M

Olivia Ekpone’, Texas A&M

Rochelle Farquharson, Mississippi State

Elizabeth Tepe, Georgia

Kendra Harrison, Kentucky

Grace Heymsfield, Arkansas

Leontia Kallenou, Georgia

Shamier Little, Texas A&M

Jennifer Madu, Texas A&M

Yanique Malcolm, Alabama

Ibukun Mayungbe, Texas A&M

Cory McGee, Florida

Fawn Miller, Florida

Sandi Morris, Arkansas

Ashton Purvis, Texas A&M

Diane Robison, Arkansas

Jill Rushin, Missouri

Dominique Scott, Arkansas

Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M

Kendell Williams, Georgia

 

Women’s All-SEC Second Team

Nia Barnes, Alabama

Dominque Booker, Kentucky

Dezerea Bryant, Kentucky

Remona Burchell, Alabama

Taylor Burke, Florida

Quintunya Chapman, Georgia

Loreal Curtis, Florida

Taylor Ellis-Watson, Arkansas

Ebony Eutsey, Florida

Destinee Gause, Florida

Alex Gochenour, Alabama

Sarah Graham, South Carolina

Cornelia Griesche, Mississippi State

Carly Hamilton, Georgia

Daina Harper, Arkansas

Denise Hinton, LSU

Madison Jacobs, Kentucky

Freya Jones, Georgia

Jessica Kamilos, Arkansas

Cally Macumber, Kentucky

Megan Malasarte, Georgia

LaQue Moen-Davis, Texas A&M

Valentina Muzaric, Auburn

Danielle Nowell, Arkansas

Bridgette Owens, Florida

Kayla Parker, Kentucky

Allison Peare, Kentucky

Kearsten Peoples, Missouri

Lynnika Pitts, LSU

Chanice Porter, Georgia

Robin Reynolds, Florida

Shayla Sanders, Florida

Jasmin Stowers, LSU

Keilah Tyson, Kentucky

Ariel Voskamp, Arkansas

Marija Vucenovic, Florida

Chrishuna Williams, Arkansas

Regine Williams, Arkansas

 

Women’s SEC All-Freshman Team

100m: Aaliyah Brown, Texas A&M

100mH: Ebony Morrison, Auburn

200m: Aaliyah Brown, Texas A&M

400m: Shamier Little, Texas A&M

400mH: Shamier Little, Texas A&M

800m: Rebekah Greene, Florida

1,500m: Rhianwedd Price, Mississippi State

Steeplechase: Rachel Givens, Auburn

5,000m: Samantha Mohler, Arkansas

10,000m: Kaitlyn Fischer, Missouri

High Jump: Tatiana Gusin, Georgia

Pole Vault: Sarah Bell, Vanderbilt

Long Jump: Nataliyah Friar, LSU

Triple Jump: Marshay Ryan, Auburn

Shot Put: Madison Jacobs, Kentucky

Discus: Madison Jacobs, Kentucky

Hammer Throw: Alison Ondrusek, Texas A&M

Javelin: Rebekah Wales, LSU

Heptathlon: Kendell Williams, Georgia

Aggie sprinter Deon Lendore wins the 2014 Bowerman Award
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