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Crouser, Okolo, Buford-Bailey earn USTFCCCA National Awards
June 18, 2014
Ryan Crouser, Courtney Okolo and Tonja Buford-Bailey earned national awards Wednesday from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

The nation’s coaches voted Crouser as the Men’s National Field Athlete of the Year, Okolo the top women’s track athlete and Buford-Bailey the women’s national assistant coach of the year.

Crouser won his third-straight national shot put title and Okolo claimed crowns in both the 400 meters and 4x400-meter relay at last week’s NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

In her first season as associate head coach overseeing the sprint/hurdles/relays unit, Buford-Bailey was a key cog in the women finishing second at the NCAA Outdoor meet and capturing the Big 12 outdoor title.

A native of Boring, Oregon, Crouser is one of only five collegians to throw the shot put 70 or more feet and the discus 200-plus feet during a career. He posted a meet- and school-record toss of 70 feet, 2 1/4 inches in winning the shot put at last month’s Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Crouser also captured the discus title with a meet and UT-record 209-8 (63.90m). He was one of just two men to finish the regular season among the top 10 collegians in both the shot put and the discus.

Okolo won the outdoor national 400-meter title in 50.23 seconds, tied for the fifth-fastest time in collegiate history. She also anchored the victorious 4x400-meter relay unit that crossed the finish line in 3:24.21, a meet record and the second-best time in NCAA history.

An eight-time USTFCCCA first-team All-American, Okolo was named one of four nominees Monday for the Honda Sports Award for women’s track and field.

Buford-Bailey’s sprints, hurdles and relays group keyed a dominating win at the Big 12 Outdoor meet by posting 96 of the team’s 149 points. The Longhorns also posted three of the top 11 all-time collegiate 4x400m relay performances this season.

Okolo, a native of Carrollton, Texas, was the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year after posting a collegiate-record 50.03 in winning the 400m at the league meet. That time leads the world this year and her mark at the NCAA Outdoor meet is fourth. Okolo, a 10-time All-Big 12 honoree, also won a league outdoor title in the 4x100 in 2014.

Crouser and Okolo are also on the watch list for The Bowerman, an award that honors the top male and female collegiate track and field athletes in the nation.

Crouser and Okolo become the sixth and seventh Texas athletes honored by the USTFCCCA for a national award since it was instituted in 1994 (separate track and field awards began 2006). Suziann Reid was voted the overall women’s indoor track and field athlete of the year in 1999. Trey Hardee was the 2006 indoor field athlete of the year, Donovan Kilmartin shared the 2007 indoor field award, Leo Manzano earned the 2008 indoor track award and Destinee Hooker was the top field athlete in 2009.
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