Mountain West Announces 2015-16 Athletes of the Year

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former cross country/track and field student-athletes Patrick Corona of Air Force and Courtney Frerichs of New Mexico were announced today as the recipients of the 2015-16 Mountain West Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively.

Established by the Mountain West Joint Council in May 2010, the MW Athlete of the Year Awards are bestowed annually to one male and one female student-athlete who have achieved athletic excellence during the past academic year. In addition to superior athletic achievement, criterion for the MW Athlete of the Year Award requires that nominees be in good academic standing throughout their season of competition, and demonstrate good character and conduct on and off the playing field.

Corona becomes the first Air Force male or female student-athlete to be named MW Athlete of the Year. The Fairfield, Connecticut, native capped his collegiate career with a pair of All-America performances in indoor and outdoor track and field. Corona placed ninth in the 3000-Meter Run at the NCAA Indoor Championships to claim Second-Team All-America accolades. He followed up that effort with an eighth-place finish in the 5000-Meter Run at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to become the Falcons' first All-American at that distance since 1996 and just the third overall. Corona helped lead Air Force to team titles at the Mountain West Cross Country, Indoor Track and Field and Outdoor Track and Field Championships. During the cross country season, Corona earned First-Team All-Conference accolades thanks to a second-place finish at the MW Championships and All-Region honors after placing fourth at the NCAA Mountain Regional. At the MW Indoor Championships, Corona crossed the line first with the fourth-fastest time in MW Championship history in the 3000-Meter Run, earning an all-league nod. Corona garnered All-MW plaudits in the 10,000-Meter Run after clocking a second-place time at the MW Outdoor Championships. Encompassing three seasons, Corona set four Academy records and notched two times that rank in the top-three in Mountain West history in their respective events.

Frerichs becomes the second New Mexico female student-athlete to earn MW Athlete of the Year accolades and the third Lobo overall. She is the first student-athlete in Conference history to be named Scholar-Athlete and Athlete of the Year in the same season. The Nixa, Missouri, native capped the 2015-16 season with a national championship in the 3000-Meter Steeplechase at the 2016 NCAA Finals in Eugene, Oregon. Her time in the Steeplechase of 9:24.41 set an NCAA record and gave her four of the top 10 times in NCAA history over her four-year career. She was named a semi-finalist for The Bowerman Award in addition to garnering All-American and All-Region honors. In the fall of her senior season, Frerichs was a member of the Lobos' national champion cross country team and the top UNM finisher with a time of 19:48. The individual finish was the best in program history and earned her a nomination for the Honda Sport Award for cross country by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program. Frerichs earned All-Mountain West accolades during the cross country season and in the 1500-Meter Run at the Outdoor Championships. She was also named to the Academic All-Conference team and collected a MW Scholar-Athlete award. She collected National Athlete of the Week honors by the USTFCCCA on May 2. Frerichs recently qualified for the United States Olympic Team in the 3000 Steeplechase for the Rio Games in August and has signed a professional contract with the Bowerman Track Club.