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CU Buffs’ Abby Nichols named Pac-12 Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

Senior recorded historic 5K, 10K sweep at league championships

There remains much work to be done for Abby Nichols. Yet her historic distance sweep at the Pac-12 Conference championships has landed the Colorado senior an impressive honor.

On Thursday, Nichols led the Buffaloes’ contingent among the Pac-12 year-end honors, becoming the first CU athlete to win the league’s Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.

Nichols was one of four CU athletes to win conference championships last week in Eugene, as he swept the 5K and 10K races. She became just the third women’s athlete to win both races at the Pac-12 championships and the first since Oregon’s Nicole Blood in 2010. Nichols’ winning time in the 10K — 32 minutes, 27.25 seconds — set Pac -12 meet and CU team records, and also counts as the top NCAA mark this season.

It was Nichols’ first competitive 10K of the outdoor track season, and her time ranks No. 6 all-time in the Pac-12.

The honor also completes an impressive double-play for Nichols, who also won the Pac-12 Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year last fall. Nichols and former Buffs runner Dani Jones, a two-time winner of the cross country honor, are the only CU women’s athletes to win a pair of Pac-12 athlete of the year awards.

Led by Nichols’ 20 points, CU recorded 102.5 points and finished second in the team standing behind Oregon, the Buffs’ top finish at the track and field championships since joining the league.

Oregon coach Robert Johnson was named the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year after leading the Ducks to both team titles. Oregon sprinter Micah Williams was named the Men’s Track Athlete of the Year while Cal’s Mykolas Alekna, a discus standout, collected the Freshman of the Year and Men’s Field Athlete of the Year awards. Arizona State’s Jorinde van Klinken was named the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.

The postseason continues for the Buffs next week at the NCAA West Preliminaries, which begin Wednesday in Fayetteville, Ark. Nichols is expected to focus on the 5K.

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