CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia had an athlete win at least a share of all four major awards Wednesday on the inaugural Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) University Division Men’s Outdoor Track & Field All-State team, leading the way among all universities in the state. The teams were nominated and voted on by athletics media relations and communications professionals from around the state.
First among equals for the Cavaliers this year was freshman Claudio Romero (Santiago, Chile), who was named both Field Athlete of the Year and Field Rookie of the Year. Romero cleaned up in his first collegiate season, taking third in the discus at the NCAA Championships to earn first-team All-American honors. Romero was also the ACC Champion in the event, and was named the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Field Athlete of the Year after setting the UVA school record in the discus at 65.78m (215-10). He also ranks fifth in program history after one year in the shot put, with a put of 18.47m (60-7.25).
Winning Track Athlete of the Year honors was harrier Derek Johnson (Leesburg, Va.). Johnson ran personal-bests in the 3,000m steeplechase in five of six meets this spring, but really came on after a fourth-place finish at the ACC Championships. He bounced back from that performance to qualify for the NCAA semifinals, and then on to the national finals, beating all three men who finished ahead of him in the conference. Johnson ran a school-record 8:32.95 in the finals to earn first-team All-America honors thanks to a seventh-place finish. Two days later at the TrackTown Qualifier, he improved that mark down to 8:27.72 to make the Olympic Trials. His season came to an end in the Olympic Trials qualifying round, where he finished 15th overall in 8:32.97.
There was a three-way tie for State Track Rookie of the Year honors, between the Cavaliers’ Wes Porter, George Mason’s Micah Harris, and Felix Lawrence from Liberty. Porter was the ACC runner-up in the 1,500m, running 3:41.98 for the second-fastest rookie mark in program history. He also broke the UVA freshman record in the 5,000m with a time of 13:51.41, and turned in the fastest outdoor mile ever for the Cavaliers in 4:00.08.
Also named on Wednesday were the first- and second-team all-state selections. Both squads consist of 19 individuals and two relay teams, split among all of the NCAA-recognized event groups. Virginia and Virginia Tech led the way on the first team with seven honorees each, while Liberty had four, Norfolk State two, and VCU one. The second team included six more athletes from Liberty, as well as three each from William & Mary, Virginia, VMI, and VCU. George Mason had a pair of athletes make the second team, while Virginia Tech and Norfolk State rounded out the selections with one each.
2021 VaSID University Division Men’s Outdoor Track & Field All-State Team
Track Athlete of the Year – Derek Johnson, Virginia
Field Athlete of the Year – Claudio Romero, Virginia
Track co-Rookie of the Year – Micah Harris, George Mason
Track co-Rookie of the Year – Felix Lawrence, Liberty
Track co-Rookie of the Year – Wes Porter, Virginia
Field Rookie of the Year – Claudio Romero, Virginia
Coach of the Year – Lance Bingham, Liberty
Virginia First-Team All-State
Middle Distance – Wes Porter, UVA
Distance – Derek Johnson, UVA
Jumps – Brenton Foster, UVA
Jumps – Owayne Owens, UVA
Jumps – Sam Young, UVA
Throws – Jacob Lemmon, UVA
Throws – Claudio Romero, UVA
Virginia Second-Team All-State
Sprints – Brandon Outlaw, UVA
Middle Distance – Conor Murphy, UVA
Throws – Ethan Dabbs, UVA