Mykolas Alekna, who has twice broken the collegiate record in the discus this season, was honored Thursday by the Pac-12 Conference as Male Field Athlete of the Year and Male Freshman of the Year.
"Of course he did," said Robyne Johnson, Cal's head coach, when informed Alekna won the awards. "Who else could it have been?"
Added Cal throws coach Mohomad Saatara: "This is a great honor. Mykolas has been diligently working toward exceptional performances this year, and is now reaping the rewards of that work."
Here is the Pac's news release announcing Alekna's honors:
Mykolas Alekna bettered his collegiate discus record with a throw of 225-6 on his fifth attempt at the Pac-12 Championships on Sunday. In besting his previous mark of 222-0 from the Big Meet on April 30, he became first Golden Bear to win a conference title in the event since Ramon Jimenez-Gaona in 1992. The freshman has the No. 2 discus mark in the world this year and the farthest throw by a teenager in world history.
In his debut season, Alekna has also broken the Lithuanian U23 record, two facility records and four meet records. He earned two U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Division I Men's Athlete of the Week awards and was also named Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete of the Week four times. Alekna currently owns eight of the top 12 throws in NCAA history.
He is the first in program history to win a men's Pac-12 track & field postseason award and just the second Golden Bear all-time. Cal's Alysia Johnson was named Pac-12 Women's Track Athlete of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. Alekna is also just the second to win multiple Pac-12 men's awards in the same season, joining UCLA's Isaiah Holmes, who was also voted field athlete and freshman of the year in 2017.
Arizona State’s Jorinde van Klinken, who won both the shot put and discus at the Pac-12 meet, was chosen by the league’s coaches as Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. She got the nod over Cal senior Camryn Rogers, who won her third Pac-12 title in the hammer threw and has bettered her own national collegiate record in the event.
Oregon sprinter Micah Williams and Colorado distance runner Abby Nichols earned awards as the league’s top track athletes, and Washington State hurdler Michaela De Mello was named Female Freshman of the Year.
Oregon’s Robert Johnson, whose teams swept the Pac-12 team titles, was named Coach of the Year for both men and women.
*** Meanwhile, the NCAA announced entries for the West Regional qualifying meet, which runs May 25-28 at Fayetteville, Ark. There are 48 qualifiers in each individual event, and the top 12 finishers at each of two regionals advance to the NCAA nationals, June 8-11 at Eugene, Ore.
CAL'S NCAA WEST REGIONAL QUALIFIERS
26. Garrett MacQuiddy SO California 3:41.33
46. William Sornberger SO California 51.85
19. California 3:07.20
39. Jai Williams SO California 6–foot-10 3/4 (2.11m)
27. Tyler Burns FR California 17-1 (5.21m)
42. Mason Mangum SO California 24-7 (7.49m)
9. Josh Johnson SR California 65-5 1/2 (19.95m)
19. Jeff Duensing SO California 61-10 1/2 (18.86m)
30. Jake Porter SO California 59-9 3/4 (18.23m)
1. Mykolas Alekna FR California 225-6 (68.73m)
4. Iffy Joyner JR California 203-11 (62.17m)
36. Josh Johnson SR California 183-7 (55.97m)
9. Ivar Moisander SO California 223-8 (68.18m)
39. Michael Gupta SO California 207-1 (63.12m)
10. Ezinne Abba SR California 11.10
29. Maisie Stevens SR California 11.42
8. Ezinne Abba SR California 22.91
35. Maisie Stevens SR California 23.57
26. Jada Hicks SO California 13.34
8. California 43.99
37. Hawa Wague SR California 5-9 1/4 (1.76m)
42. Amari Turner JR California 13-3 1/2 (4.05m)
47. Asha Fletcher SO California 20-0 (6.10m)
22. Asha Fletcher SO California 43-1 (13.13m)
24. Busola Akinduro SO California 42-8 1/4 (13.01m)
34. Felicia Renelus SR California 42-1 1/4 (12.83m)
22. Amelia Flynt FR California 54-2 3/4 (16.53m)
42. Kristin Smoot SO California 51-2 3/4 (15.61m)
11. Jasmine Blair SO California 187-10 (57.26m)
1. Camryn Rogers SR California 248-5 (75.73m)
3. Anna Purchase JR California 231-8 (70.63m)
31. Rebecca Tomann JR California 202-8 (60.79m)
Cover photo of Cal freshman discus thrower Mykolas Alekna
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo