March 21, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Florida State, which swept both the 2014 Men’s and Women’s Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, claimed three of the league’s eight major postseason awards announced today by Commissioner John Swofford.
FSU senior sprinter Dentarius Locke, fresh off a national title in the 60 meters at last weekend’s NCAA Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., was selected as the ACC Men’s Track Performer of the Year in a vote by the league’s head coaches. The Seminoles’ Bob Braman was honored as both ACC Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year.
Duke redshirt senior Curtis Beach, who claimed the national championship in the heptathlon, was voted the ACC Men’s Field Performer of the Year. The honor came two days after Beach was named the National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The ACC Men’s Freshman of the Year honors went to Virginia Tech pole-vaulter Torben Laidig.
On the women’s side, Duke senior distance runner Juliet Bottorff was voted the ACC Track Performer of the Year, while Maryland junior Thea LaFond received ACC Field Performer of the Year honors. Miami’s Shakima Wimbley earned the nod as ACC Women’s Freshman of the Year.
Locke, one of three ACC student-athletes to win an individual national indoor title this year and the 2013 ACC Men’s Outdoor Track Performer of the Year, posted a first-place finish of 6.52 in the 60 meters of the NCAA finals. The gold medal came on the heels of his first-place showing of 6.63 in the ACC Championships on March 1. Locke also claimed a bronze medal in 200 meters at the ACC Championships and ran on the Seminoles’ third-place 4×400 relay team.
Duke’s Beach set the meet record for the ACC Championships by amassing 5,987 points in the heptathlon at Clemson on Feb. 27 and 28. Two weeks later, competing in his home town of Albuquerque, Beach shattered the ACC overall record with a 6,190-point performance and earned his second career gold medal in the event after first winning in 2012. Beach was also named ACC Men’s Indoor Field Performer of the Year two years ago.
Virginia Tech’s Laidig continued the Hokies’ strong tradition in field events at the ACC Championships with a personal-best, winning pole vault of 17-10½. The Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, native matched that effort in the NCAA Championships to earn a sixth-place finish and All-America honors.
Duke’s Bottorff added to a number of conference and national career honors with her selection as the ACC Women’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year. The Blue Devil senior captured the ACC Championship in the 5,000 meters with a time of 15:59.40, and then placed fifth in the NCAA Championships with a time of 16:26.53.
Maryland’s LaFond was named the Most Valuable Women’s Field Performer in the ACC Championships after leading all participants with 25 points. LaFond’s efforts included gold medal showings in the pentathlon (4,244) and triple jump (43-6 ½), as well as a fourth-place showing in the high jump (6-0). In addition, LaFond was named the ACC Women’s Performer of the Week and the USTFCCCA National Female Athlete of the Week on Jan. 14, as well as the USTFCCCA Mideast Region Female Athlete of the Year.
Wimbley starred for the Hurricanes in the ACC Championships, racing to a gold medal finish in the 200 meters with a time of 23.58. The freshman sprinter, who was named the ACC Women’s Performer of the Week on Jan. 21, also ran a strong leg for the Miami women’s 4×400 relay team, which claimed the gold medal at the ACC Championships with a time of 3:38.54.
Florida State’s Braman guided both men’s and women’s teams to ACC Indoor Championships in the same year for just the fifth time in league history. The Seminoles joined Clemson (1992), North Carolina (1995 and 1996) and Florida State’s 2009 teams as the ACC Indoor Championships’ double winners. Led by national champions Locke in the 60 meters and ACC record-setting James Harris in the high jump, the Seminoles then posted a fourth-place team finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The ACC honors are the 17th overall for Braman, who has been named the ACC Coach of the Year in Men’s Outdoor Track and Field, Women’s Outdoor Track and Field, and Men’s Cross Country. Braman also swept men’s and women’s coach of the year honors following the 2013 ACC Outdoor Track and Field season.