Reid, Sutej Claim National Women’s Athlete of the Year Titles

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

June 17, 2011   

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced that Villanova’s Sheila Reid and Arkansas’ Tina Sutej were the association’s National Women’s Athletes of the Year for the 2011 NCAA Division I outdoor track & field season as voted by the nation’s coaches. Reid became the first woman in NCAA D-I history to win national outdoor crowns at both 1500 and 5000 meters while Sutej claimed the collegiate record in the pole vault.

NATIONAL WOMEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Sheila Reid, Villanova

Reid, a junior from Newmarket, Ontario, became the first woman in NCAA Division I history to win both 1500- and 5000-meter titles at a single NCAA championship this outdoor season. At the national championships, Reid clocked a personal-best 15:37.57 in the 5000 meters, which included a 64.54-second final lap to score her first title of the weekend. On the final day of the championship meet, Reid captured top honors in the 1500 meters with a winning time of 4:14.57, closing from third to first in the final lap with a 62.93-second split.

Reid also claimed BIG EAST crowns in both the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters during the outdoor season.

Overall in 2010-2011, Reid won the NCAA cross country individual title, leading the Wildcats to a second-straight NCAA team crown, and was named the USTFCCCA’s National Athlete of the Year for the season. At the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Reid anchored Villanova to an NCAA championship in the distance medley relay and was the nation’s runner-up in the 3000 meters.

Past Winners:

2011: Sheila Reid, Villanova

2010: Lisa Koll, Iowa State

2009: Jenny Barringer, Colorado

2008: Sally Kipyego, Texas Tech

2007: Natasha Hastings, South Carolina

2006: Virginia Powell, Southern California

NATIONAL WOMEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Tina Sutej, Arkansas

Sutej, a junior from Ljubljana, Slovenia, claimed a collegiate record in the pole vault with an SEC-winning clearance of 15-1½ (4.61m) and was the only in the collegiate season to clear more than 15 feet. Sutej, who also reset the indoor collegiate record earlier in 2011, was named the SEC Field Athlete of the Year.

At the NCAA Championships, Sutej equaled the NCAA-meet record with a clearance of 14-7¼ (4.45m), but finished second to Oregon’s Melissa Gergel by virtue of misses.

Sutej is only the fourth women in collegiate history to clear the 15-foot barrier. In the 2011 outdoor season, Sutej cleared more than 14-6 (4.42m) on five occasions and, before the NCAA Championships, had won 13-straight competitions combining the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Past Winners:

2011: Tina Sutej, Arkansas

2010: Brianne Theisen, Oregon

2009: Kim Williams, Florida State

2008: Brittney Reese, Mississippi

2007: Jenny Dahlgren, Georgia

2006: Jenny Dahlgren, Georgia / Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State