Christopher Graddy, Assistant Director for Media Relations
JONESBORO – Arkansas State senior track and field sprinter Jaylen Bacon has been named the U.S. Track and Field/Cross County Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) 2018 NCAA Division I South Central Region Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year in an announcement from the organization’s office Friday.
Bacon recently tied the world’s fastest time in the 100-meter dash with a wind legal 9.97 seconds at the NCAA West Region Preliminary at Sacramento State University. The time not only broke his own school-record in the event, but also qualified him a spot in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100-meter dash for the second consecutive season.
Bacon has posted times sub-10 second times in three of his last four races in the 100-meter dash, which included a time of 9.99 at the Sun Belt Conference Championships.
The Eastover, S.C. native will also compete in the 200-meter race at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., after posting a time of 20.51 seconds, which was the second fastest among the qualifiers in the West Region, and eighth among all qualifiers. He has posted a season-best time of 20.25 seconds, which currently ranks as the eight fastest in the United States.
He is the first A-State student-athlete since Sharika Nelvis in 2014 to earn the South Central’s Athlete of the Year honor.
He also helped Arkansas State win both the men’s indoor and outdoor Sun Belt Conference championships, marking the first-time in school the feat had been accomplished as a member of the SBC. Bacon won gold in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash races as he finished career with nine SBC gold medals.
Bacon competed in the 2017 outdoor championships where he became the first athlete in program history to earn First-Team All-American honors in two separate events at the one NCAA Championship, including both indoor and outdoor events.
He later went on to compete for team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Championships where he helped the team to a silver medal in the 4x100m relay race.
The regional award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches. The USTFCCCA honored the top track athletes and field athletes along with the top head coaches and assistant coaches for both men and women. The USTFCCCA awarded recipients in nine regions – Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Mountain, Northeast, South, South Central, Southeast, and West.