NEW ORLEANS – Texas A&M track & field’s Tyra Gittens, Athing Mu and assistant coach Sean Brady were named to the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Awards List, the organization announced Tuesday (16 March).
Less than a week after leading Texas A&M to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Gittens was named the Field Athlete of the Year, while Mu was named the Track Athlete of the Year.
Assistant coach Sean Brady was named the National Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Gittens, a redshirt junior, recorded one of the best performances in collegiate history, winning the NCAA championship in the pentathlon and high jump while finishing third in the long jump to score 26 points. The 26-point performance is the third-most all-time at an NCAA Championship meet. She became the first woman to win national championships in the pentathlon and high jump in the same meet.
The multi-athlete set a collegiate record in the pentathlon with a winning score of 4,746. She ended the weekend with school records in the pentathlon, high jump (1.93m) and long jump (6.68m).
At the SEC Indoor Championships, Gittens turned in one of the most impressive performances in over a decade. She scored 23 points winning the high jump and long jump titles while finishing sixth in the pentathlon. She received the Cliff Harper Award for being the top point scorer. Her 26 points were the most points by a female athlete since 2008. Gittens also became the first female athlete to win the award outright in back-to-back seasons since 1997.
“Tyra [Gittens] is as good of a female athlete as I’ve ever had and I’ve had some great ones,” head coach Pat Henry said. “She has kind of set herself apart right now, she’s as fine of a female athlete that has been around in a long time.”
Mu, a freshman from Trenton, New Jersey, scored 10.5 points for the Marron & White at the NCAA Championships. She placed second in the 400m at 51.03 and was a member of the 4x400m that clocked a meet record time of 3:26.68, which is the second-fastest in Aggie history and collegiate history. Mu anchored the group with a 49.54 split, the fastest indoor 400m split in the world all-time.
Thus far in her rookie campaign, she has set four school records and three collegiate records. Mu has been named athlete of the week eight times including four USTFCCCA honours, three SEC accolades and once the United States Track & Field Athlete of the week.
“The records speak for themselves,” said Henry. “They are long-standing records and not ones that somebody will beat tomorrow, those are going to stay for a while and she’s done a tremendous job this season.”
In his fourth season at Texas A&M, Brady’s group of jumpers scored 34 points at the NCAA Championships. The jump squad qualified three athletes that totalled six entries to the NCAA meet. At the meet, the group recorded four podium finishes, including two NCAA titles, one-second place and one third-place finish. His athletes set bettered two NCAA meet records and set one collegiate record.
Most notably, Brady coached Gittens to the third-highest individual point total in women’s NCAA history at 26 points. Gittens became the first female ever to win a pentathlon and high jump title at the same NCAA Championship. Brady also coached Deborah Acquah who placed second in the triple jump, equaling the NCAA meet record 14.27m.
In total, Brady’s athletes scored nearly 60% of Texas A&M’s team total of 57 points, a total good enough to grab runner-up honours in the NCAA team championship race. No other assistant coach had as many athletes produce that many points for their team at the NCAA Indoor meet.
At the SEC Championships, his athletes scored 23 of the Aggies’ 38 points. He coached Gittens to a 23-point performance, which is the most by an SEC female since 2008.
“Coach Brady has been with me for a few years and even prior to coming to Texas A&M he has established himself as a great jumps coach,” Henry said. “He’s done a great job with our jumpers and this award is well earned because of the quality of young people that he’s working with. His group, specifically Tyra Gittens and Deborah Acquah, those are two of the best jumpers ever. He’s done a great job of development and everyone knows that he is a good jumps coach, this a tribute to that success.”
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