Halbrook earns prestigious AAA Award

By Nick Lovera Army Athletic Communications

  Three-year captain Abby Halbrook received the U.S. Military Academy’s most prestigious athletic honor, the Army Athletic Association Award. In the 115th year of the award, Halbrook becomes the 12th women’s track and field athlete and just the third women’s cross country athlete to earn the honor.                                                                                      Photo by Army Athletic Communications

After completing one of the most storied careers in the history of the Army West Point Track and Field program, three-year captain Abby Halbrook received the U.S. Military Academy’s most prestigious athletic honor, the Army Athletic Association Award.
The AAA trophy is awarded annually to the male and female cadet-athletes who display the “most valuable service to intercollegiate athletics during their career as a cadet.” Johnny Surdick of the men’s lacrosse team was the male recipient of the honor.
In the 115th year of the award, Halbrook becomes the 12th women’s track and field athlete and just the third women’s cross country athlete to earn the honor.
Halbrook is a 12-time varsity letterwinner and is among one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the program. In 2018, she was honored with the Mike Krzyzewski Award for Excellence in Teaching Character Through Sport.
The Tyler, Texas, native is a seven-time Patriot League individual champion in track and field and a 13-time Army-Navy Star Meet titlist. She led her team to five Army-Navy Star Meet victories and finished her career 4-0 against Navy at the indoor Star Meet. In 15 Star Meet events, Halbrook was defeated by a Naval Academy runner just once.
She broke seven Army West Point program records during her time at the academy and currently stands atop the school leaderboards in the indoor mile and 3,000-meter run and the outdoor 1,500-meter run and distance medley relay.
In her senior campaign, Halbrook won four individual Patriot League Championships. During the indoor meet, she put together one of the greatest performances in program history, coming from behind to win three different events en route to being named Patriot League Female Track Athlete of the Meet.
Halbrook will join the Military Police branch upon graduation and her first duty station will be South Korea.

Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, Mike Smith, on Halbrook
“When I arrived at the Academy in the fall of 2014, our cross country/track and field program was struggling to find success. Our women’s roster was thin in talent and depth and there was a general sense of hopelessness in our competitive outlook. The recruiting cycle was coming to an end and very few of our incoming recruits in the class of 2019 possessed the type of marks that would foretell of future success at the Division I level. Abby Halbrook was one of those incoming candidates.
“She was at the prep school recovering from an injury sustained at the end of her senior year. Truthfully, her high school career was rather unspectacular. She made it to the state championship in cross country one time and finished 22nd. She never made it to the state track and field championship and had rather modest personal best times in the mile and the two mile. There was nothing on paper to indicate that she was a program changing athlete. But that is what she became.
“It is not a coincidence that the rise of our program on all levels has coincided with the arrival of Abigail Halbrook. In my twenty-five year coaching career, I have been fortunate to work with some talented young men and women that have competed at the highest levels of our sport. The best of them have all possessed certain characteristics that define their success. I call those characteristics the ‘it’ factor. Those athletes are fiercely competitive, they take responsibility for their performance, they are confident in their ability and they do everything that you ask them to do.  If you add talent to the mix, you’ve got something special. That’s Abby.  She is special.
“She changed the entire definition of what ‘good’ is for our program. You only need to see her race once to understand it. She would run herself into the ground rather than lose. Her grit and determination was on display week in and week out and that standard has permeated every aspect of our program. Our competitive outlook has changed, our vision has changed our recruiting profile has changed. We are where we are today because she set that new standard of excellence.
“We can debate all of her tangible success. We can compare her times and her records. We can count star meet wins and conference championships. We can look at all the statistical metrics and try to conjure a definition of what she has meant to this program, but in doing so we would miss the mark on Abigail. The real measure of what she has meant to this program is on a big picture level. She has taken every aspect of this program and elevated it. She makes everyone around her better. That’s the true measure of her value. She will be missed as much as anyone that I have ever coached. That is true on both a program and personal level. The world is getting a good one.”