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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lawrence Named Track Athlete of the Year

Props to arguably the best male athlete on the Georgia campus, from UGA release...

Georgia sophomore sprinter Torrin Lawrence has been named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Male Track Athlete of the Year, according to a USTFCCCA announcement late Tuesday.

Lawrence was named the USTFCCCA South Region Male Track Athlete of the Year on March 9 for the second consecutive season and was then picked to be the national recipient from the nine regional winners. He is the first member in the history of the Bulldog men’s program to be named a national athlete of the year.

“I am not that surprised that he has been honored with this type of award because he is truly that type of talent,” said head coach Wayne Norton. “His wins at the (Southeastern Conference) level and the NCAA level as well as the awards he had gotten fit what type of talent he is. I think it is great that he is keeping a level head and staying humble through all of his accolades. After talking with his mother (Elaine Davis) at the meet this weekend, I can tell that she has been and still is a very positive influence on his life. To be honest, I’m glad he’s at Georgia because he is the best runner in the country.”

In 2009, Lawrence shattered the school record in the 200-meter dash (20.77) in his career debut before winning Georgia’s first SEC indoor 200 title. Although he brought All-America honors back to Athens in the event, Lawrence finished seventh in the 200 at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“We knew what type of talent he was as a freshman last year, he just didn’t validate it,” Norton said. “But he fulfilled the prophecy this indoor season.”

Lawrence, a 6-foot-1 native of Jacksonville, Fla., had one of the most prolific seasons in collegiate track and field history during his 2010 indoor campaign. He added a second SEC championship and a second All-America certificate to his resume while taking the world performance lists by storm in the 400.

Traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., for the third time of the season, Lawrence sped to his first national title after winning the 400 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March 13. Lawrence won the prelims with a time of 46.05 before clocking the second-fastest time in an NCAA indoor final in history (45.23) to win Georgia’s third national indoor championship and its first since 2001.

“Torrin’s success this season is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication on his part,” said Bulldog sprints coach Jon Stuart, who has had at least one SEC champion the last four years. “It’s nice for all of his accomplishments to be rewarded and I believe it’s a compliment to the university, our team and our coaching staff. This award also shows that the coaches who vote for this award are paying attention to his success and appreciating what he has been able to do this year.”

Lawrence, who was the 2009 SEC Indoor Male Freshman Runner of the Year, traveled for the second time to Fayetteville for the SEC Championships and won only the second indoor 400 crown in school history for the Bulldogs. He registered a meet-record time of 45.10 to win, which is the second-fastest time in the world this year behind his own 45.03.

During his first trip of the year to Fayetteville, Lawrence clocked a world-leading 45.03 to win the Tyson Invitational (Feb. 12-13) and crush the previous the school record. His time is the third-fastest finish in collegiate indoor history and the seventh-fastest time in the history of the world. Lawrence’s mark is also the fastest time run since Kerron Clement set a world record (44.57) in March 2005.

Lawrence also has a collegiate record in the 300 on his resume this season. He sped to a 32.32 to finish first at the Hokie Invite (Jan. 22-23) and top the 23-year-old record of 32.67 in the event set by Mississippi State’s Lorenzo Daniel in 1987. Lawrence’s time is the fifth-fastest finish in history.

He also won both of the 200 races he was in this season and had a season-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 20.80. Although he tied for the sixth-fastest 200 finish in the country during the regular season, Lawrence chose to focus on just the 400 at the national meet.

Lawrence has spread his name out across the Bulldog indoor record books. He is No. 1 in both the 200 (20.77) and the 400, is tied for third in the 60 (6.75) and was on the record-breaking 4x400 relay team (3:07.45) in 2009. Lawrence’s name also is on two other 4x400 relay teams that have top-10 times.


Anonymous said...

Cool...can he catch a football?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing. Give him some pads and send him over to the practice field! Heck, how much training does it take to learn to return kickoffs!?!?!?!

Rob said...

The USTFCCCA? Good lord, what an acronym.

Will Q said...

Couldn't find the video from his freshman season last year, but suffice to say that he was even more impressive when you could actually see him run. Other than the fact that he might want to concentrate on a sport in which he is supremely talented, he might not be suited to football because his speed seems to be greatest over longer distances (notice no references to 100-yard or 40-yard dashes in his competitions.)

So Florida and LSU have track stars that also turn out to be good football players, and we have a track star who won't or can't play football. I tells ya, we can't catch a break!

DWH said...