WALNUT CREEK, California--The Pac-12 Conference named University of Washington hurdler/pole vaulter Chris Williams (left/photo by Mike Scott) as its men's track & field freshman/newcomer of the year for the 2013 season, based on a vote by all of the head coaches in the conference.
The native of Philadelphia made the college transition in not one but two events, as he ran the 110-meter hurdles as well as pole vaulted, a rare combo. He had outstanding success at both, qualifying for the NCAA West Prelims in both events, as well as running lead-off on Washington's 4x100-meter relay. Williams advanced to the NCAA final site in Eugene last week in the hurdles as well as on the relay.
In Austin at the NCAA West Prelims, he posted the second-fastest 110-meter hurdles time in school history, 13.82 seconds, and the fastest since Spider Gaines' school record of 13.57, set in 1976.
Williams finished second in the Pac-12 pole vault competition in Los Angeles, clearing a personal best of 17-3 (5.26m).
Other award winners on the men's side were Bryshon Nellum of USC as Track Athlete of the Year, and Jordan Clarke of Arizona State as Field Athlete of the Year, with Robert Johnson of Oregon winning both men's and women's Coach of the Year honors. Kori Carter of Stanford was the Track Athlete of the Year on the women's side, Brigetta Barrett of Arizona won Field Athlete of the Year, and Jenna Prandini of Oregon was Freshman/Newcomer of the Year.
Williams is entered in both the pole vault and the 110 meter hurdles at next week's USA Junior Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, where he will compete for a spot on Team USA's Junior Pan-Am squad that will compete in Colombia in August.
NOTE: The Pac-12 Conference and the University of Washington contributed to this report.