Bowling Green, Ky. - The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Tuesday the all-America lists for the 2012 NCAA outdoor track and field season. Four student-athletes from Western Kentucky University have been honored, including one first-team, one second-team and two honorable mention selections.
Ignacio "Nacho" Guerra has been honored as a first-team All-America member for the second-straight year. Through two rounds of last week's javelin preliminaries at the NCAA Championship, Guerra was on the bubble to advance to the finals with a position in the top-nine. On his third-round throw, however, Guerra jumped into fourth place with a mark of 245-6 and held that position through the finals. In two years on the Hill, Guerra has set both the WKU and Chilean national records in the javelin and also won two Sun Belt Conference titles in the event. In 2011, Guerra placed seventh in the javelin at the NCAA Championship.
Monteka Flowers has earned second-team all-America accolades after ending her stellar WKU career with a 15th-place finish in the women's discus at the NCAA Championship. On the final throw of her collegiate career, Flowers recorded a mark of 170-4 – the second-best throw of her career – missing her own school record set at the NCAA East Preliminaries by just one inch. In her career, Flowers was named Sun Belt Conference Most Outstanding Field Performer twice, won four individual SBC titles, earned 14 all-league honors, and set WKU records in both the indoor and outdoor shot put, as well as the weight throw and the discus.
Marcus Pope and Joseph Chebet were also recognized by USTFCCCA as honorable-mention all-America recipients for their efforts at last week's NCAA Championship.
Pope finished 24th in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the NCAA Championship site, clocking a time of 52.30. Pope has exhausted his outdoor eligibility at WKU, but is slated to return to the Hill in 2013 to complete his indoor track and field eligibility. In two years at WKU, Pope has earned six all-Sun Belt Conference laurels, including league titles in the 55-meter high hurldes (2012 indoor) and 110-meter high hurldes (2011 outdoor). Pope holds the Hilltopper record in the indoor 60-meter high hurdles, while also ranking second all-time in the 55-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles.
Chebet finished 23rd in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:36.48 in Des Moines. In his first year on the Hill, Chebet earned four all-Sun Belt accolades during the indoor and outdoor campaigns. Indoor, Chebet set a new championship record en route to winning the 3,000 meters and took runner-up honors in the mile. At the league outdoor championship, Chebet was the Top Point Scorer in the meet, running a championship record to win the 5,000 meters, while also winning the 10,000 meters and placing fifth in the 1,500 meters.
These four individuals join an elite list in the WKU history books, where the men's and women's track and field programs have combined for 84 all-America distinctions. Of the award winners, Guerra is the 15th individual in WKU history to earn multiple all-America honors in a career, Flowers becomes just the tenth Lady Topper to earn all-America honors, Pope is just the second male hurdler to earn all-America laurels, and Chebet is the sixth WKU student-athlete to earn all-America honors in the 5,000 meters.
During the 2011-12 academic year, the WKU men's program captured the first men's triple crown in Sun Belt history, winning the team titles in all three disciplines – cross country, indoor, and outdoor. The Lady Toppers won the league cross country title this past fall to push "the streak" to 18 SBC titles in-a-row before finishing fifth during the league indoor championship. The women bounced back, however, taking runner-up honors at the outdoor championship, losing out to North Texas for the team title by only four points.