Johnson, Williams, Kraft earn annual Pac-10 track & field accolades
Three members of the Arizona State University track and field program have earned annual awards from the Pacific-10 Conference, the announcement was made on Monday, June 23. Head Coach Greg Kraft was voted as the Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year for the third year in a row while two of his student-athletes, Jacquelyn Johnson and Charonda Williams, were voted as the Pac-10 Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and Pac-10 Women’s Newcomer of the Year, respectively.
Kraft was selected as the women’s coach of the year for the third time in a row after leading the Sun Devils to their third Pac-10 Conference championship in a row with 186.5 points, just three off the conference record for points in a meet. His women won the 2008 NCAA West Region Championships to give the team nine titles in a row (dating back to the 2007 MPSF Indoor Championship) before the Sun Devils placed second at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines. Overall, Kraft has led the program to four national titles in the past two years, including the women capturing both indoor and outdoor crowns in 2007 before the joined the men in winning the 2008 indoor titles, marking just the second time in NCAA history the same school swept the indoor titles in the same season.
Johnson garnered her second annual honor from the Pac-10 after being named the 2004 Newcomer of the Year. In her senior campaign, Johnson captured a pair of national titles, finishing as the only woman to win the outdoor heptathlon four times in a career after also taking the indoor pentathlon three times (she was the national runner-up as a freshman). One of only four women to win the same event four times in a career at the national outdoor meet, Johnson also won her third Pac-10 title in the heptathlon with a conference, school and ASU stadium record 6,307 points. Also at the Pac-10 meet in Tempe, Johnson was named the Pac-10 Women’s Athlete of the Meet after scoring 33.5 points by winning the heptathlon, placing second in the 100m hurdles, second in the long jump, third in the javelin and tied for seventh in the high jump. Johnson also finished as one of five finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup, given annually to the top female college athlete nationally, after winning the Honda Sports Award for track & field just two weeks earlier.
Williams, a junior transfer from Laney College in California, burst onto the scene for the Sun Devils and scored 20 points at the Pac-10 Championships by pulling off a very impressive double. She won the 100m dash in 11.45 before coming back to capture the 200m dash in 23.09, marking just the ninth time in Pac-10 history and the first for the Sun Devil program that the same woman won both sprinting events in the same meet. She later went on to win the 200m dash and anchor the 4x100m relay to titles at the West Region meet to earn USTFCCCA All-Region accolades in both events, as well as the 100m dash.
The honors earned this year are the ninth, 10th and 11th in program history. Kraft’s coaching award is not only his third in a row, but also the fifth all-time for ASU after Leonard Braxton was named the co-women’s coach of the year in 1994 and Len Miller was honored as the men’s coach of the year in 1981. Johnson’s honor is the second year in a row ASU earned the women’s field athlete of the year accolade after Sarah Stevens won last year while Williams’ honor is the second all-time in the women’s newcomer category following Johnson’s win in 2004. The remaining two honorees were Marcus Brunson (2001) and LaMonte King (1981), both of whom were named the men’s track athlete of the year.
Johnson, Williams and several other current and former Sun Devils are currently preparing to travel to Eugene, Ore., this weekend to compete in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field that will be held at Hayward Field on the Oregon campus. The athletes headed to the meet will by vying for places on the Team USA roster that will compete at the Beijing Olympics in August.
2008 Pacific-10 Conference Honors
Women’s Track Athlete of the Year - Alysia Johnson (California)
Women’s Field Athlete of the Year - Jacquelyn Johnson (Arizona State)
Women’s Newcomer of the Year - Charonda Williams (Arizona State)
Women’s Coach of the Year - Greg Kraft (Arizona State)
Men’ Track Athlete of the Year - Lionel Larry (USC)
Men’s Field Athlete of the Year - Corey White (USC)
Men’s Newcomer of the Year - Jeshua Anderson (Washington State)
Men’s Coach of the Year - Dan Steele (Oregon)