ARLINGTON, Texas – UTA’s three NCAA Championships participants were officially recognized as 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field All-Americans on Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Maverick freshman Helen Falda was named first-team All-America after tying for eighth place in the women’s pole vault last week. She becomes the second pole vaulter from UTA ever to be named All-America, joining Marion Meyer (1999).
The native of Turin, Italy, is the first UTA female to become a first- or second-team All-American in any event since Jasmine Walls in the 200 meters in 2009. Falda's eighth-place showing at the meet (13-7 ¼) equals the fourth-highest finish in school history by any female at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The showing capped a remarkable freshman season that saw Falda win the Sun Belt Conference indoor and outdoor titles. She also became the school record holder during both seasons, including a mark of 14-4 ½ in the outdoor campaign, and established a Maverick Stadium record (13-7 ¼).
Senior Craig Lautenslager became a second-team selection after finishing 13th in the men’s 5000 meters (14:43.36). The product of Nelson, New Zealand, is the first UTA male to become an All-American in a distance event.
It was Lautenslager’s first-ever appearance at the NCAA Track & Field Championships. In 2017, Lautenslager established school records in both the 5000 meters (13:56.85) and 10,000 meters (29:00.59), and also posted the second-best 1500m time (3:46.91) in UTA history.
For his career, he was a two-time conference champion in the 10,000 meters, won the 5000 meters in both the indoor and outdoor seasons, claimed a 1500m league title and a cross country individual crown and participated in the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
In addition, junior Emeka Nwangwu was tabbed as an honorable mention All-American after placing 22nd in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.18.
Last month, Nwangwu repeated as the Sun Belt Conference champion in the 110m hurdles. He qualified for the NCAA Championships after running a 13.86 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, an effort that ranks as the No. 5 time in UTA history.
First-team honors went to those athletes from individual events that placed first through eighth, while those who finished between ninth and 16th collected second-team plaudits. Honorable mention billing was given to those who finished 17th through 24th.
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