(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
Two BYU student athletes will be named recipients of the 2016 Curtis Pugsley Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award at a special awards ceremony on Jan 24.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Blue Zone at LaVell Edwards Stadium. A reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. MST and the awards ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Admission to the awards ceremony is free. All are welcome to attend.
The Curtis Pugsley Award is BYU Track and Field’s highest honor and is given annually to one male and one female student athlete. The winners are determined based on a scoring system that takes into account each athlete's accomplishments in the previous indoor and outdoor season.
Former middle distance runner Shaquille Walker and high jumper Zachary Blackham are the finalists for the men, and middle distance runner Shea Martinez Collinsworth and hurdler Alyssa Monteverde Dalton are the women's finalists.
Walker finished his career at BYU as the school record holder in the indoor 800 meters with a time of 1:46.97, set in 2016. He also was part of the distance medley relay (DMR) squad that holds the record with a time of 9:29.00, set in 2012, and the 4x400m squad that set the school record in 2015 with a 3:07.66 time. In both 2015 and 2016, Walker qualified for and competed in the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championhips in the 800m, finishing 10th overall with a time of 1:48.99 in 2015 and placing third overall with a time of 1:47.50 in 2016.
As an outdoor track and field athlete, Walker also holds the school record in the 800m with a time of 1:44.99, set in 2016. In 2015, he ran a 400m in 46:00 and sits in sixth place in the record books at BYU. His 4x400m squad holds the record with a time of 3:03.82 and the DMR record with a time of 3:14.74, both records set in 2015. Walker qualified for and competed in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in both 2015 and 2016. In 2015, he competed in the 4x400m and the 800m races, taking fifth overall in the 4x400m and fifth overall in the 800m with a time of 1:49.99. In 2016, he finished third overall in the 800m with a 1:45.17 time. Walker qualified to compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and placed 11th overall with a time of 1:47.93. Walker decided to forgo his senior season as a Cougar, signing with Brooks Sports in June 2016 to represent the brand as a professional athlete.
Blackham enters his senior season at BYU sitting in seventh place on the school records for the outdoor high jump with a mark of 7'3.00" (2.21m) and also in seventh for outdoor, with a mark of 7'2.50" (2.20m). As a freshman in 2011, Blackham took third overall at the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a mark of 6'9.5" (2.07m). In 2014, he qualified for the NCAA West Preliminaries in the high jump and take 20th overall with an identitcal mark of 6'9.5 (2.07m). The next season, in 2015, he again competed in the Preliminaries and placed 19th overall with a 6'11.75" (2.13m) mark. And in 2016, Blackham made it all the way to the NCAA Track and Field Championships, taking 13th overall with a mark of 6'10.25" (2.09m).
As an indoor high jumper, Blackham has competed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Indoor Championships each season at BYU, placing sixth in 2014, eighth in 2015 and winning the meet in 2016 with a mark of 7'2.5" (2.20m), just .01m away from his personal record of 2.21m, set in 2016 at the BYU Robison Invitational. In 2016, Blackham also competed in the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in the high jump, taking third overall with a mark of 7'1.75" (2.18m).
Collinsworth will enter her senior year as a mid-distance runner for BYU claiming third place on the school's all-time outdoor 800m records with a time of 2:02.83, and in third place in the 400m with a time of 53:45, both records set in 2016. She holds the school record in the indoor 400m with a time of 53.72, sits in second place in the 500m with a time of 1:11.91 and fourth place in the 800m with a time of 2:04.40. In 2014, Collinsworth took third place at the MPSF Indoor Championships in the DMR with a time of 11:21.66 and fifth in the 800m in 2:09.54. In 2015, she placed third overall in the 800m at the MPSF Indoor Championships and seventh at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 800m with a 2:05.40 time. Collinsworth took second place at the MPSF Indoor Championships in 2:04.53 in 2016, and she qualified for and competed in the NCAA Championships and took fifth overall with a time of 2:06.57 in the 800m.
Collinsworth started her outdoor career by finishing 17th overall at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 800m with a time of 2:06.13 in 2014. She again took 17th the following year in the 800m with a 2:08.48. In 2016, Collinsworth took third place overall at the NCAA Championships, setting a new personal record in the 800m of 2:02.83. Only a few weeks later, she competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 800m and took 33rd overall with a time of 2:06.65.
Dalton enters a rare sixth season as a collegiate athlete after injuries have plagued her throughout her career. In spite of that, however, Dalton, claims third place in the BYU record books in the indoor 60-meter hurdles with a 8:20 time. In the outdoor 100-meter hurdles, Dalton sits in fourth place all-time with a time of 13:30. Following a transfer to BYU from Oregon in 2014, Dalton qualified for and competed in the MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2015 and took 10th overall in the 60-meter hurdles. The following year, she competed in the 60-meter hurdles as well as was part of the 4x400m squad. Dalton took third overall in the hurdles, setting a new personal record of 8.20. In the 4x400m relay, her team took fourth overall with a time of 3:41.41.
In her outdoor seasons at BYU, Dalton excelled in the hurdles, competing at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round in 2015 in the 100-meter hurdles as well as the 400-meter hurdles, in which she took 13th with a time of 13:44 and 15th in 1:02.05, respectively. In 2016, again Dalton qualified for the West Preliminary Round and took 15th overall in the 100-meter hurdles in 13:36.
Last year’s recipients were distance runner Jason Witt and pole vaulter Anginae Monteverde (sister of Alyssa Dalton), with middle distance runners Walker and Collinsworth also as finalists.
The Curtis Pugsley Award was created in 2011 and is named after the late Curtis Pugsley, who was a former BYU All-American and conference champion decathlete. Pugsley passed away in 2013 after a battle with cancer.