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NEW ORLEANS - Another accolade for Texas A&M senior Henry Lelei was awarded this week as region coaches selected the Aggie distance runner as the men's Athlete of the Year within the NCAA South Central region for a second consecutive year. The honor was announced by the USTFCCCA on Tuesday.

After winning the first-ever SEC title for the Aggies with a 17.5 second victory on an 8,000-meter course in Nashville last month, Lelei successfully defended his South Central region title in Fayetteville with a five second win over a 10,000-meter course.

As a junior in 2011, Lelei was selected as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and this season he claimed SEC Runner of the Year honors.

Lelei will be joined by teammate James Hodges in the elite field that competes at the NCAA Championships this Saturday, Nov. 17, in Louisville, Kentucky. They were both part of an Aggie squad that placed 18th at the national meet a year ago. Lelei finished ninth in the NCAA Championships last fall and will be among the favorites returning for the 2012 individual title.

Others earning honors from the South Central region included Marielle Hall of Texas as the women's Athlete of the Year along with Coach of the Year awards for Arkansas women's coach Lance Harter and Texas men's coach John Hayes.

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