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BYU track: finalists for Curtis Pugsley Athlete of the Year award announced

By Justin Green

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4 2013 4:35 p.m. MST

PROVO, Utah – BYU track and field announced the three male and female finalists for its highest award, the Curtis Pugsley Athlete of the Year award for 2013, which will be presented on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

The program will take place in The Blue Zone at LaVell Edwards Stadium at 6 p.m. The finalists will be honored, followed by the announcement of the award winners.

The athletes were nominated based on their performances throughout the 2013 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. The male finalists are Jared Ward, Victor Weirich and Curtis Carr. The female finalists are Kelsey Brown, Natalie Shields and Andrea Nelson Harrison.

As a junior, Ward set career bests in the mile and 3,000 meters during the 2013 indoor season. He was part of the third-place distance medley relay team at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships and took ninth in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships. Ward was named an All-American for the second consecutive year for his eighth place finish in the 10,000 meters. He set career bests in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. He also received Division I USTFCCCA All-Academic honors.

Weirich was named a second-team All-American for his performance at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, where he took 13th place. He took first at the MPSF Championships. Weirich took fifth at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships with a personal best 5.55 meter jump, earning All-America status. He was also the individual champion at the IC4A/ECAC Outdoor Championships.

Carr took fourth at the NCAA Division I National Championships in the 3,000 meter steeplechase to earn All-America status. Carr finished with a time of 8:40.87, a personal best and good for eighth best in BYU history. He also received Division I USTFCCCA All-Academic honors.

Brown is a transfer student from the University of Oklahoma and was a junior during the 2013 track seasons. She earned second team All-America status in the 800 meter race and earned seventh place on the all-time top-10 leader board at BYU in the 800m. Brown also placed 15th overall during the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 800 with a time of 2:18.55.

Stewart was part of the fifth place distance medley relay team at the MPSF Championships during the 2013 indoor season. Stewart had the fastest 400 meter time of the season among the Cougars, finishing in 56.02 at the MPSF Championships. During the outdoor season, she set a personal best with a 52.97 time in the 400 meters in the NCAA Division I West Preliminaries, qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

Andrea Nelson Harrison, a junior during the 2013 season, competed in distance races and the steeplechase. She kicked off her indoor season with a first place finish in the 3,000 meter run at the Blue and Orange Invitational with a time of 10:13.00 and added a second place finish in the 3,000 meters at the Washington Invitational. Harrison began the outdoor season with a seventh place finish in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Sun Angel classic. She finished first in her section in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the prestigious Mt. Sac relays and set a personal record with a time of 10:35.88.

The award is named after Curtis Pugsley, a BYU track and field alumnus (2000-2004) who earned multiple All-American titles and won a conference championship in the decathlon. The award is presented yearly and is made possible through a generous donation. Pugsley passed away in August of this year after battling cancer.

The Athlete of the Year is determined by a scoring system that combines points scored at indoor and outdoor conference championships, points awarded for All-America and national champion status, school records set or broken, and placements on the BYU all-time top-10 leader board.

Justin Green is the sports information director over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2013. Email: justinjgreen8@gmail.

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