Eaton, Whiting Share Honors as National Field Athletes of the Year

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

June 17, 2010   

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Thursday that Oregon senior Ashton Eaton and Arizona State senior Ryan Whiting have been named the 2010 National Male Field Athletes of the Year for Outdoor Track & Field in Division I as voted by the nation’s coaches.

Both Eaton and Whiting completed their careers via similar paths last weekend at the NCAA Championships in Eugene as both dominated the events in which they are known. All of which helped culminate what had been phenomenal, difficult-to-replicate seasons for each.

Eaton, a native of Bend, Ore., won his third-consecutive NCAA decathlon crown, scoring a championships- and personal-record score of 8,457 points. Capturing victory by 656 points, Eaton became the first in collegiate history to win three-straight crowns in the event and the second ever to win a third total. Despite tallying just one event personal best (46.28 in the 400m) among the 10 disciplines, Eaton notched an all-time collegiate best 4,500 points on day one and came within eight points of Trey Hardee’s overall collegiate record (8,465).

In three competitions this season, Eaton scored 8,000 or more points, extending his streak to 10. Opening the season at the Texas Relays at the end of March, Eaton scored a wind-aided 8,301 with the win. At the Pac-10 Combined Event Championships, Eaton scored a conference-record 8,154 to become just the third man to win three of the league’s crowns in the event.

Coming back a week later for the remaining portions of the league meet, Eaton would win conference titles in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump, adding a runner-up performance in the 100-meter dash. Eaton would also qualify for the national final in the long jump, notching a leap of 26-4½ (8.04m) to be the second qualifier out of the West.

Whiting, a native of Harrisburg, Pa., won his second-straight and fifth overall NCAA title with the shot put last weekend. In addition, Whiting captured the national title in the discus earlier in the week. Pairing the two, Whiting became the eighth man to produce national crowns in both events and the first since SMU’s Janus Robberts in 2002. With the accomplishment, Whiting joins a club that includes the likes of John Godina, John Brenner, and Randy Matson.

Whiting never lost to a collegian during the season in seven competitions and notched throws of over 69-8¾ (21.25m) in each of them. In fact, Whiting notched an all-time collegiate best 10 competitions of over 70 feet in his career, five of which came during the 2010 outdoor season. In the NCAA Championships final, Whiting had three throws over 71 feet, including his final toss of 72-1 (21.97m) – a measure that was just three centimeters shy of John Godina’s 1995 collegiate record. All told, Whiting tallied the second-, tenth-, and 13th-best all-time best throws in the collegiate ranks in the single NCAA competition.

Whiting would also win his second-straight Pac-10 shot put crown during the season, adding a league discus crown in tow. Entering the international circuit, Whiting has the World’s second-, third-, sixth-, and eighth-best performances to date in the 2010 season.

Eaton was also the winner of this award in 2009. The award was last shared in 2006 when Florida State’s Garrett Johnson and USC’s Jesse Williams were pronounced as winners.

Eaton and Whiting have been in the running for The Bowerman since for the entire indoor and outdoor seasons. The list of the 10 final candidates for The Bowerman will be announced Monday while the three male and three female finalists for the award will be announced the week of July 12.

The USTFCCCA’s National Female Field Athlete of the Year will be announced Friday, followed by more national awards spread through the next several days.

Past National Male Field Athletes of the Year:

2010: Ashton Eaton, Oregon / Ryan Whiting, Arizona State
2009: Ashton Eaton, Oregon
2008: Cory Martin, Auburn
2007: Jake Arnold, Arizona
2006: Garrett Johnson, Florida State / Jesse Williams, Southern California

USTFCCCA 2010 National Award Winners, Division I, Outdoor Track & Field

National Track Athlete of the Year: Andrew Wheating, Oregon
National Field Athletes of the Year: Ashton Eaton, Oregon / Ryan Whiting, Arizona State
National Assistant Coach of the Year: Wednesday, June 23
National Coach of the Year: Friday, June 25

National Track Athlete of the Year: Lisa Koll, Iowa State
National Field Athlete of the Year: Friday, June 18
National Assistant Coach of the Year: Tuesday, June 22
National Coach of the Year: Thursday, June 24