(Photo by Isaac Wood)
PROVO, Utah – Shaquille Walker and Shea Collinsworth were named the recipients of the 2016 Curtis Pugsley Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in the Blue Zone at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Tuesday.
In attendance at the awards ceremony were the coaches and staff of the men’s and women’s track and field teams, as well as the student athletes. The family of the late Curtis Pugsley was also present.
The Curtis Pugsley Track and Field Award is BYU track and field’s highest honor, given each year to one male and one female student athlete. The winners are determined based on a scoring system that considers the accomplishments of the athletes in both their indoor and outdoor track and field seasons from the previous year. The award is named after former BYU All-American and conference champion decathlete Curtis Pugsley who passed away in 2013 after a brave battle with cancer.
Walker currently lives in Seattle and runs professionally for Brooks Sports. Upon receiving the Pugsley Award, Walker reflected on his time with BYU track and field and the impact it has had on his life.
“I want to thank all of you have been a part of my life here at BYU,” he said. “I certainly feel grateful for all that BYU has given me. People at Brooks don’t know much about BYU, but I get to tell them how much I loved it and how it has changed my life. And it goes much further beyond just track and field; I learned more life lessons than anything.”
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 program 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. 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 to compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and placed 11th overall with a time of 1:47.93.
At the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Walker took third place in the 800m with a time of 1:45.17. That came after he took third with a time of 1:47.50 in the indoor championships.
Collinsworth is beginning her senior year as a student athlete at BYU and at the awards ceremony expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of BYU track and field.
“I am grateful to be nominated for this award,” she said. “I feel very honored and blessed to be a part of such a great program and am grateful for the opportunity I have to be surrounded by so many great people here. BYU has given me so many great opportunities to be successful. The coaches have put so much time and effort into me, and I’m grateful for the support of them and my teammates who I get to be around every day.”
Collinsworth enters 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 third place in the 400m with a time of 53:45, both times from 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. Collinsworth qualified for and competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 800m and took 33rd overall with a time of 2:06.65.
At the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Collinsworth took third place in the 800m with a time of 2:02.83. She had placed fifth in the indoor championships with a time of 2:06.57.
High jumper Zachary Blackham was named the other finalist for the men’s team, and hurdler Alyssa Dalton was the other finalist for the women’s team.