Mitchell-Blake Named SEC Runner of the Year
BATON ROUGE – Already one of the most decorated athletes in collegiate track and field as the SEC Commissioners Trophy winner and Bowerman Award candidate, LSU junior Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake added to his growing resume Wednesday by being named the Southeastern Conference Men’s Outdoor Runner of the Year for 2016.
Mitchell-Blake was among 13 athletes and coaches recognized by the SEC office on Wednesday afternoon for their achievements on and off the track throughout the 2016 outdoor season.
Mitchell-Blake proved to be the star of this year’s SEC Championships as he won the SEC Commissioners Trophy as the top men’s scorer in the meet with 22.5 points as a three-time SEC Champion for the weekend. He not only anchored the Tigers to a meet record in winning the men’s 4×100-meter relay, but he also completed the sprint sweep of 100-meter and 200-meter titles with his efforts.
Mitchell-Blake teamed with freshman Jaron Flournoy, junior Renard Howell and junior Tremayne Acy to lower their NCAA-leading time in the event to 38.33 to set a new SEC meet record in the sprint relay. He later ran a wind-legal 10.16 (+1.0) to be crowned the SEC Champion in the 100-meter dash before ending the meet in style with a personal best sub-20-second time of 19.95 (+0.4) to win the 200 meters.
He came away from the SEC Championship as one of the top-10 200-meter sprinters in collegiate history as his 19.95 personal best tied for the No. 7 spot on the NCAA’s all-time list. LSU’s meet-record time of 38.33 also cracked the NCAA Top 10 list all-time as the No. 8-ranked time in collegiate history, smashing Texas A&M’s previous meet record of 38.50 from 2014.
Not only that, but Mitchell-Blake’s 19.95 is the second-fastest 200 meters in British history as the London native trails only the British record of 19.94 set by John Regis at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Mitchell-Blake followed his performance at the SEC Championships by qualifying for the NCAA Championship semifinals in each of his three events during the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds held last weekend at North Florida’s Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville. He again broke 20 seconds in the 200 meters with a wind-aided run of 19.96 (+3.6) to finish as the top qualifier in the event, while also anchoring the Tigers to the fastest time in the 4×100 relay at 39.04 and qualifying second in the 100 meters with a time of 10.20.
He is now ready to help his teammates compete for a national championship in the semifinal and final rounds of the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships being held June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon.
Mitchell-Blake has earned consideration for The Bowerman for the first time in his collegiate career while being named to the men’s award watch list by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for his performance in recent weeks. He is the sixth different LSU athlete to be named to either the men’s or women’s watch list since its inception in the 2009 season.
2016 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Awards
Runner of the Year: Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, LSU
Field Athlete of the Year: Lindon Victory, Texas A&M|
Freshman Runner of the Year: Kahmari Montgomery, Missouri
Co-Freshman Field Athlete of the Year: Anders Eriksson, Florida; Daniel Haugh, Alabama
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jarrion Lawson, Arkansas
Coach of the Year: Chris Bucknam, Arkansas
Co-Runners of the Year: Felicia Brown, Tennessee; Dominique Scott-Efurd, Arkansas
Field Athlete of the Year: Keturah Orji, Georgia
Freshman Runner of the Year: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Kentucky
Freshman Field Athlete of the Year: Lexi Weeks, Arkansas
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Keturah Orji, Georgia
Coach of the Year: Lance Harter, Arkansas