June 16, 1998
UCLA senior Mebrahtom Keflezighi (Ma-bra-tum Ka-flez-ghi), the greatest distance runner in UCLA track history, on Sunday (June 14) received the first annual Carl Lewis Award, given to the nation's top male collegiate track and field athlete.
Keflezighi was honored Sunday at the annual Intercollegiate Golf/Tennis/ Track & Field Awards Dinner banquet held in Dallas, TX. Although Athlete of the Year honors have been awarded in collegiate golf and tennis for several years, this is the first year in track and field (SMU thrower Teri Tunks was awarded the first-ever Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award, given to the nation's top female track and field athlete). The other Athlete of the Year awards went to: Women's Golf (The Marilynn Smith Award)-Kellee Booth, Arizona State; Men's Golf (The Dave Williams Award)-Charles Warren, Clemson; Men's Tennis (The Dan Magill Award)-Thomas Blake, Harvard; Women's Tennis (The Galdys Heldman Award)-Lauren Nikolaus, William & Mary.
During his career at UCLA, Keflezighi, who prepped at San Diego High School, won four individual NCAA distance championships--1997 indoor 5,000m; 1997 outdoor 5,000m/10,000m and 1997 cross country. He also holds the school record in both the 5,000m (13:30.22) and 10,000m (28:16.79).