Morrison Named SEC Field Athlete of Year

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. University of Florida track and field standouts Mike Morrison (Willingboro, N.J.) and Willie Perry (Lenoir, N.C.) duplicated their honors from the indoor season by earning the Southeastern Conference's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and Outdoor Freshman Runner of the Year award as announced Wednesday morning

Morrison, the 2006 SEC indoor and outdoor champion in both the high jump and long jump, will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships beginning today, while Perry will compete in the 200m prelims today.

In addition, senior All-American Sekou Clarke (Kingston, Jamaica) was named to the SEC's Track and Field Good Works Team and will run in the 400m at nationals today.

Morrison followed up his stellar indoor season with a somewhat remarkable outdoor campaign. After suffering an injury at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Morrison didn't compete in either the high jump or long jump until the SEC outdoor meet. Despite the rust, Morrison posted a PR in winning the long jump with a leap of 7.96m/26-1.50 - the fourth-best mark in the nation in 2006. He became the first Gator since Dion Bentley in 1990 to win the SEC outdoor title in the event. On the final day of SECs, Morrison provided quite an encore by becoming the first athlete in conference history to win three outdoor high jump titles outright by clearing 2.19m/7-2.25. He also became the first athlete since 1957 to claim both the high jump and long jump titles at the SEC outdoor meet and is one of only five Gators to ever claim as many as six SEC individual titles in their career.

Perry improved on an impressive indoor season by etching his name in the UF record books during the outdoor season. He finished third at SECs in the 100m (10.27) and captured fourth in the 200m (20.63). He improved dramatically two weeks later by posting runner-up finishes in both the 100m (10.26) and the 200m (20.42) at the NCAA East Regional Championships. Both his times stand as the seventh fastest in Florida history with his 200m mark also the top junior time in the world in 2006. Like he accomplished during the indoor season, Perry will have a shot to become the first Gator since John Capel in 1999 to earn All-America honors in the outdoor 200m.

A 10-time NCAA All-American on the track, Clarke was awarded a $2,000 Southeastern Conference Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship. He has been involved in numerous community service projects during his stay in Gainesville. Earlier this year, Clarke organized the men's track and field team's annual service project as he coordinated the team's visit to the Shands VA Hospital cancer patient ward. He has also been heavily involved with Hope For Haiti - a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to increase the quality of life for the Haitian people, particularly children, through education, nutrition and healthcare. Clarke has also participated in the Gator Tracks program and earlier this year, Clarke spoke to at-risk minority students at Lincoln Middle School about the importance of making good decisions and staying in school. He also participated in UF's annual Student Athlete Field Day in which athletes celebrate sports by coaching local youth in the community.

2006 SEC Outdoor Award Winners

Men's Runner of the Year
Xavier Carter, LSU

Men's Field Event Athlete of the Year
Mike Morrison, Florida

Men's Freshman Runner of the Year
Willie Perry, Florida

Men's Freshman Field Event Athlete of the Year
Nkosinza Balumbu, Arkansas

Men's Coach of the Year
John McDonnell, Arkansas

Women's Runner of the Year
Kerron Stewart, Auburn

Women's Field Event Athlete of the Year
Jennifer Dahlgren, Georgia

Women's Freshman Runner of the Year Sarah Bowman, Tennessee

Women's Freshman Field Event Athlete of the Year
Chealsea Taylor, Alabama

Women's Coach of the Year
Wayne Norton, Georgia

UF


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