March 5, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- On the heels of being named the Big Ten Conference’s top athlete, Wisconsin sophomore Japheth Cato has been awarded again for his record-breaking season.
Cato was named Great Lakes Region Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday. The award follows last week’s selection of Cato as the top field athlete in the Big Ten.
The Crete, Ill., native claimed a second-consecutive Big Ten title in the heptathlon two weeks ago en route to Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championship honors, as well.
Cato smashed the Big Ten's all-time heptathlon record with his winning score of 5,939 at the Frank Sevigne Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., on Feb. 3, a mark that ranks No. 3 in the nation this season and has him the No. 9 collegian all-time in the event.
He nearly matched the record total in winning the heptathlon at the Big Ten meet, scoring 5,902 points to defend his title -- one of three events in which he scored for UW.
Cato finished third in the long jump with a personal-best leap of 25 feet, 3/4 inches. He also ran a personal-best 7.88 seconds in the preliminary round of the 60 hurdles before clocking in at 7.99 to take fourth place in the final.
His long jump performance ranks No. 4 all-time at Wisconsin, while he stacks up fifth all-time in the hurdles.
Cato also is the national leader in the pentathlon, thanks to his winning and school-record score of 4,040 from the Wisconsin Invitational on Jan. 20, giving him a sweep of UW's all-time marks in the multi-events.
He will make his second-consecutive NCAA championships appearance this week, looking to improve upon the second-team All-America performance he posted as a freshman in 2011. The 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships are set for Friday and Saturday in Nampa, Idaho.