Martin, Vinson named SLC Athletes of the Year
March 3, 2011
ARLINGTON, Tex. - Five UT Arlington athletes combined to win seven of the 10 individual awards handed out by the Southland Conference, the league announced Thursday.
Romain Martin and Pamela Vinson were named the Southland Conference Athletes of the Year. Cordero Gray earned Outstanding Track Events honors. Clayton Vaughn took home Freshman of the Year and Lindsey Putman earned Newcomer of the Year honors. Vinson also nabbed Freshman of the Year and Outstanding Track Events awards.
"This is an outstanding accomplishment for our team," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "Our entire team works hard in practice every day and the individual awards reflect how hard all of our athletes push each other."
Martin captured the top honor on the men's side after running away with the heptathlon. The sophomore shattered the SLC and UT Arlington records in the event this year.
He also automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships by scoring 5728 points in the heptathlon. Martin finished in the top 2 of each of the seven categories.
"I'm really proud and pleased to go to the NCAAs for UTA," Martin said. "I think UTA has helped me to get here. I don't know what the awards mean to me. It's just nice."
Martin also said he thinks he has a chance at hitting 5800 because before coming to UTA his personal record in the heptathlon was 5439.
Martin's only goal when the season began was to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Through the help of UTA field coach Brandon Berger, Martin surpassed those expectations within his first season.
"I think he gives me something different than I had in France," Martin said. "His methods in training have really helped my runs and jumps. I improved so fast that I don't know my limits. It's really exciting, but I need to be in good shape and avoid injuries."
For Gray, the last indoor season proved to be the sweetest.
The senior sprinter broke through to win the 60m and the 200m at the SLC Indoor Championships. He also broke the UT Arlington record in the 60m, clocking a 6.67 at the Houston Invitational.
"Overall it's been good," Gray said. "I won in the 60m and the 200m. We got second as a team. I wish we would have won, but we did our best. That's all you can ask for. UTSA has a pretty good team. It's such an honor to get recognized by the league."
Gray also earned the High Scorer Award on the men's side.
Gray's times narrowly missed automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships. He has one more chance to qualify at the Last Chance Meet.
Vinson nabbed her three awards by winning the 60m and the 200m and earning the High Scorer Award at the SLC Indoor Championships.
Putman came to UT Arlington after spending her first two years at Abilene Christian. She made an immediate impact, finishing second in the 800m and the Mile Run.
Putman scored 16 points in the two events, helping the women to a high point total in the middle distance events.
Vaughn won Freshman of the Year by giving the Mavericks another boost beyond Gray in the sprints.
He finished third in the 60m and fifth in the 200m, scoring 10 points for the men.