Dec. 3, 2001
UCLA track & field greats, thrower John Godina, distance runner Mebrahtom Keflezighi and thrower Seilala Sua were honored last week at the 2001 USA Track & Field annual meeting held in Mobile, AL. All three former Bruins had outstanding outdoor and indoor track and field campaigns during the 2001 season.
Godina, the current World Outdoor/Indoor shot put king, was given the Jim Thorpe Award as Outstanding Male Athlete in the field events and decathlon category. Godina was also awarded the 2001 Jesse Owens Award, the highest honor given by the USATF. It's the second time in his career Godina has earned The Jesse Owens Award. As a Bruin, Godina won two NCAA Indoor shot put titles (1995, 1994) and in NCAA Outdoor competition, he won the 1994 discus crown and in 1995, both the shot put and discus titles.
Keflezighi, who last May set the American 10,000m record (27:13.98), was given two honors - the Glen Cunningham Award, for Outstanding Male Athlete in the distance events of 800m and longer and the Robert E. DeCelle Award, for Outstanding Male long distance runner. During his Bruin career, Keflezighi won four NCAA individual distance titles - the 1997 NCAA Indoor 5000m, 1997 NCAA Outdoor 5,000m/10,000m and the 1997 NCAA Cross Country championship.
Sua, who this summer won the 2001 USA shot put and discus titles, was named a Women's Development Athlete of the Year, joining such USA greats as sprinter Marion Jones and pole vaulter Stacy Dragila. During her Bruin career (1997-2000), Sua won seven NCAA Indoor/Outdoor throwing titles, including six in Outdoor competition, making her the winningest women's athlete in NCAA T & F Outdoor history.
Larsen, along with Scott Davis, received a President's Award, in recognition of people who have made extraordinary contributions to the sport of track & field. Larsen, currently a USATF men's long distance running committee member and coach, was UCLA's men's head coach from 1985-99, guiding the Bruins to the NCAA Outdoor titles in 1987 and '88. Davis, a Bruin alum, is a long-time track & field statistician, director of the Mt. SAC Relays, former USATF Southern California Association president and one of the world's premier track & field public address announcers.