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W&M track and field athletes shine in postseason meets

Although they didn’t win any conference team titles this year, the William and Mary men’s and women’s track teams excelled in winning individual honors, as announced by the Colonial Athletic Association this week, following a vote of the league’s coaches.

Senior Leia Mistowski, perhaps the most accomplished Tribe women’s field athlete ever, was named the CAA Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, sophomore J.P. Trojan was named the CAA Men’s Track Athlete of the Year and freshman K.J. Cook was named the CAA Men’s Rookie of the Year.

All the 2018 CAA season honors in track and field were shared by just two teams, W&M and Northeastern, as the Huskies won the men’s Field Athlete of the Year (senior Kyle Darrow), the women’s Track Athlete of the Year (Patrice Williams) and the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year (Tramaine Shaw).

Mistowski, from Narragansett, Rhode Island, was as dominant in her events as any Tribe athlete in history, leaving the school with the top 29 performances in her main event, the hammer throw, and with the top 15 performances in the indoor equivalent, the weight throw.

She is the eighth from W&M to win Athlete of the Year honors, dating back to the start of the CAA in 1990. She was the only Tribe athlete to compete in the 2018 NCAA national championship finals, placing 12th overall in the hammer throw (203 feet, three inches), and earning second-team All-American honors, improving from 22nd in 2017, then also an All-American.

She won hammer titles this spring at the Colonial Relays, the Tribe Invitational, the Dan Stimson Memorial meet, the George Mason Spring Invitational, the CAA Championships and the ECAC Championships.

She broke the Stimson Throwing Field record three times, the Colonial Relays meet record and the CAA championship meet record (204 feet, 11 inches). The following week, at the ECAC meet (the championships of the East), she improved to her lifetime best of 206-4.

The only Tribe women’s athlete in her class was Jeri Daniels (class of 1982), who dominated in the shot put and discus, and was a four-time AIAW All-American. The two set 16 school records.

Mistowski was a four-time CAA champion in the hammer throw, one of only seven women ever to win the same event four times.

J.P. Trojan, from Chardon, Ohio, was the first distance runner since 2014 to win the Track Athlete award. He qualified for the NCAA Eastern Prelims in both the 10,000 meters and the 5,000 meters, placing 23rd and 21st, respectively, only the second Tribe athlete since 1975 to double at the NCAA qualifying meet.

He won the CAA 5,000 in early May on his home track, after placing second in the 10,000 the night before, a demanding double. He also earned All-East honors by placing in both the indoor and outdoor 5,000 meters at the IC4A Championships.

His lifetime bests were both set this spring, a 14:14.21 in the 5,000 meters and a 29:50.13 in the 10,000 meters (14th all-time for W&M).

He was also the CAA Athlete of the Year in cross country last fall, making him just the fourth athlete ever to win Athlete of the Year in both sports.

Two of the others are former W&M distance greats, multiple All-Americans Ed Moran (2002-03) and Matt Lane (1999-00). With two more full years of eligibility in cross country and track, Trojan has plenty of time to earn more CAA, IC4A and NCAA honors.

K.J. Cook, from Buena Vista, had one of the best freshman seasons ever for W&M. He qualified for the NCAA semifinals meet in the discus throw as a true freshman and placed 25th overall.

He broke the W&M freshman record three times in the discus, with a best of 172 feet, seven inches, was second in the CAA championship, was sixth in the IC4A championships and won the college division of the discus at the Penn Relays.

In the shot put he was third at the CAA’s and sixth at the Penn Relays (with a PR 54 feet, 2 ½ inches). In just his freshman year, Cook already is second all-time for W&M in the discus, eighth all-time in the outdoor shot put, 10th all-time in the hammer throw — and he has the W&M freshman record.

He’s 10th all-time in the indoor weight throw — also a school freshman record — and 11th all-time in the indoor shot put.

Platt is president of Colonial Road Runners.

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