BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Former Arkansas men’s track and field captain Jarrion Lawson has been named the 2015-16 Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference (SEC) Male Athlete of the Year by a vote of the league’s athletics directors as announced by Commissioner Greg Sankey Thursday morning.
This marks the second straight year Arkansas has featured the SEC Male Athlete of the Year after Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Benitendi (baseball) won the award in 2015. It is the second time Arkansas has won the SEC Athlete of the Year award in back-to-back years and the first since former Razorback track and field great Alistair Cragg was honored in 2003 and 2004.
First presented in 1976 for men and 1984 for women the SEC Athletes of the Year Awards was renamed the Roy F. Kramer Athletes of the Year Awards in 2004 to honor the former commissioner who served the conference for over a decade, 1990-2002. Lawson is accompanied by Florida gymnast Bridget Sloan for the prestigious award, marking the second-consecutive year student-athletes from Arkansas and Florida were conferences’ top honorees. Sloan and Lawson will be formally honored during the 2016 SEC Football Championship Game weekend in Atlanta next December.
“Jarrion and Bridget are perfect examples of what it means to be a student-athlete in the Southeastern Conference. They have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics and through their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence have been successful in their endeavors both in competition and in the classroom,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “They are outstanding representatives of their universities as both students and athletes, and the SEC is proud to honor them for their accomplishments.”
Lawson is the fifth Arkansas student-athlete to win the award joining notable Razorback greats including last year’s recipient Andrew Benintendi (baseball), 2003 and 2004 award winner Cragg (track and field), 2001 award winner Amy Yoder Begley and Arkansas’ first award recipient, 1994 award winner Corliss Williamson (basketball).
A six-time NCAA national champion during his four years at Arkansas Lawson became the first track athlete to be nominated for an ESPY in the Best Male College Athlete category earning a nod this year. He also is the first student-athlete from Arkansas men’s track and field to be selected as a finalist for the sport’s most distinguished honor, The Bowerman Award. Earlier this month, Lawson finished second in the long jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for Team USA which will compete in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics in August.
“This is truly a prestigious honor for an extraordinary young man,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Jarrion has had one of the most successful individual seasons in Razorback history, earning not only dozens of records and championships, but equaling the accomplishments of some of the legends of his sport. He is a tremendous representative of the University of Arkansas. We wish him continued success in the Olympics and appreciate all that he has contributed to the Razorbacks throughout his collegiate career.”
The 2016 National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year Lawson earned three gold medals in the 100-meter dash, 200 and long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Only the second person ever to accomplish the feat, the successful undertaking placed Lawson in the company of American track and field legend Jesse Owens who set the precedent in 1935 and 1936.
Polished academically as well as athletically Lawson received CoSIDA first team Academic All-American honors for his success in the classroom. He also garnered conference recognition, voted as the SEC indoor and outdoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
He is the NCAA Outdoor Championship Modern Day All-Time Points Leader (31.5) and the NCAA Indoor All-Time Career Points Leader (Long Jump – 33).
The other male nominees were: Derrick Henry, Alabama (football); Joe Patching, Auburn (swimming); Caeleb Dressel, Florida (swimming); Lee McCoy, Georgia (golf); Tyler Ulis, Kentucky (basketball); Leonard Fournette, LSU (football); Ryan Walling, Ole Miss (track & field); Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (football); Fabian Schwingenschlogl, Missouri (swimming); Matt NeSmith, South Carolina (golf); Jake Blankenship, Tennessee (track & field); Lindon Victor, Texas A&M (track & field); Matthias Schwab, Vanderbilt (golf).
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.