Division II Region Award Winners Are In the Top of Their Class

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

May 24, 2010   

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Monday winners of USTFCCCA Region Athletes and Coaches of the Year honors for the 2010 Outdoor Track & Field season in Division II as voted by the division’s coaches.

Separate categories are assigned to track athletes and field athletes as well as head coaches and assistant coaches.

Most of these athletes and coaches will participate in the NCAA Division II Championships held in Charlotte, N.C., starting Thursday.

USTFCCCA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Region Athletes and Coaches of the Year

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Leford Green – Johnson C. Smith
Green, a junior from St. Catherine, Jamaica, is the nation’s leader in three events heading into the NCAA Championships. Green has clocked 20.68 over 200 meters, 45.88 over 400 meters and 49.46 in the 400-meter hurdles. Green has also anchored the Johnson C. Smith team to the second-best mark among 4×400-meter relay squads. Green was the CIAA champ in the 400-meter hurdles earlier this season.

CENTRAL REGION – Reuben Mwei – Adams State
Mwei, a senior from Kapsabet, Kenya, is the top-ranked steeplechaser in Division II (8:34.42) heading into the NCAA meet. Mwei is also entered in the 5000 meters, where he will be the third seed, having run 13:54.26 this season. Mwei also clocked a national top-10 1500 run of 3:48.18. Mwei was the RMAC Track Athlete of the Year after winning the steeplechase and 5000 meters in that championship to go with a runner-up showing in the 1500.

EAST REGION – Ruben Sanca – UMass Lowell
Sanca, a graduate student from Boston, Mass., is entered in the upcoming NCAA Championships in the 5000 (14:05.39) and 10,000 meters (29:49.48) with top-10 seeds in both. Sanca was posted a top-25 mark in the 1500 meters this season with a 3:49.53 run. Sanca was the Northeast-10 champ at 1500 meters and the New England Champion at 5000 meters.

MIDWEST REGION – Terry Robinson – Missouri S&T
Robinson, a sophomore from St. Louis, Mo., enters next week’s championships as the No. 4 seed in the 400-meter hurdles having clocked 52.16 this season. Robinson is also entered as a member of the Miners’ 4×400-meter relay squad. Robinson was the GLVC champ of the 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, and as a member of the 4×100 and 4×400 teams. Robinson’s 14.49, 110-meter hurdle time finished the season in the nation’s top 20.

SOUTH REGION – Daniel Kirwa – Harding
Kirwa, a junior from Eldoret, Kenya, entered in the NCAA meet in the 5000 and 10,000 meters and is one of three in Division III this year to go under 29:25 in the 10k. Kirwa has a best in the 5000 this year of 13:58.86 and finished the season ranked in the top 20 at 800 meters as well.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Amos Sang – Abilene Christian
Sang, a senior from Eldoret, Kenya, is the nation’s top-ranked 5000-meter runner having clocked 13:50.77 this season. Sang is also entered in the 10k, an event in which he is the second seed (29:15.58). Won four titles at the Lone Star Conference Championships, including a sweep of the 800, 1500, 5000, and 10k.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Michael Crouch – Queens (N.C.)
Crouch, a junior from Yucca Valley, Calif., has clocked the second-fastest 5000-meter time in the nation this year with a mark of 13:53.37. Crouch defended his Conference Carolinas 10,000-meter title this spring and doubled to win the 1500 meter title as well as the league meet.

WEST REGION – Michael Wickman – Chico State
Wickman, a senior from Walnut Creek, Calif., is the nation’s second-ranked 1500-meter runner (3:44.03) and is also entered in the 800 meters for the NCAA meet as the No. 9 seed (1:50.76). Wickman won 800 and 1500 titles at the CCAA Championships this spring.

 

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Shermaine Williams – Johnson C. Smith
Williams, a junior from St. Andrew, Jamaica, enters the NCAA Championships with second-best 100-meter hurdle time of the season in Division II (13.16) and as the sixth seed in the 100 meters (11.67). Williams is also entered as part of Johnson C. Smith’s 4×100 and 4×400 squads. Williams also clocked a national top-10 time in the 200 meters this season (23.98). Williams won CIAA titles in the 100 meters and 100-meter hurdles.

CENTRAL REGION – Indira Spence – Adams State
Spence, a sophomore from Trelawny, Jamaica, is the top-ranked 100-meter hurdler (13.13) entering the NCAA Championships and is also the second-seeded 200-meter entry (23.51). Spence also clocked 11.45 in the 100 this season which was the third-best in the division this year. Was named the RMAC Track Athlete of the Year and the RMAC Championship Athlete of the Meet with conference titles in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles, and 4×100.

EAST REGION – Letecia Taylor – Southern Connecticut
Taylor, a senior from Plainfield, N.J., has qualified for the NCAA meet in the 100-meter hurdles via a season’s best of 14.06. Taylor also claimed provisional marks in the 400-meter hurdles and as part of the squad’s 4×100. Taylor won Northeast-10 titles in three events, including the 100 hurdles where she set a championship record with her season best. Taylor’s 4×100 squad won top honors in the New England Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Candice Wheat – Grand Valley State
Wheat, a senior from Pontiac, Mich., qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100 hurdles and as part of the Lakers’ 4×400. Wheat clocked 13.68 in the 100 hurdles for the seven seed. Wheat was a GLIAC champ in the 100 hurdles and as part of her 4×100 and 4×400 teams. Wheat’s 11.93 time in the 100 finished the season as one of the top 25 in the country.

SOUTH REGION – Keyona Smalls – Claflin
Smalls, a sophomore from Beaufort, S.C., enters the NCAA Championships as the second seed in the 400 (54.54), just off the national lead of 54.46. Smalls was the SIAC Champion at 400 meters

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Celethia Byrd – Angelo State
Byrd, a senior from Austin, Texas, is entering the NCAA meet with the three seed in the 400 meters (54.64), the five seed in the 200 meters (23.82), and as part of the seventh-seeded 4×100 squad. Byrd also marked a provisional-qualifier in the 100 meters with an 11.77 clocking this season that finished the regular season in the top 15. Byrd was the Lone Star Champion in the 200 and 400.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Tanya Zeferjahn – Queens (N.C.)
Zeferjahn, a graduate student from Hesperia, Calif., notched a 33:09.07 clocking in the 10,000 meters at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on May 1 for the second-best performance ever by a Division II athlete. The mark is the fourth best among all collegians this season and the best in Division II. Zeferjahn is also entered in the 5000 for the NCAA meet as the first seed (16:03.51). The winner of the Conference Carolinas 10k, Zeferjahn lays claim to every school record from 800 to 10,000 meters.

WEST REGION – Jessica Pixler – Seattle Pacific
Pixler, a senior from Sammamish, Wash., clocked Division II’s best marks in the 800 (2:04.89), 1500 (4:11.06), and 5000 (15:44.01) this season and is entered the NCAA meet in the 800 and 1500. Pixler won GNAC titles in the 800 and 1500, both in meet record fashion. Currently, Pixler sits fourth among all Americans in the 1500 this year.

 

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – William Bailey – Bowie State
Bailey, a freshman from Maryland, is the nation’s leader in the long jump with a school record leap of 24-11 (7.59m) recorded on April 29 at the Coppin State Eagle Twilight.

CENTRAL REGION – Dane Tobey – Neb.-Kearney
Tobey, a junior from Waco, Neb., has the nation’s leader in the discus via a 186-10 (56.96m) toss achieved at the UNK Twilight on April 30. Tobey is also entered in the NCAA meet in the shot put where he holds the three seed with a season’s best of 61-¼ (18.60m). Tobey was the RMAC Champion in the discus and shot as well as the Drake Relays college-division champion with shot.

EAST REGION – Corey Thomas – Stonehill
Thomas, a freshman from Brookline, Mass., cleared 7-½ (2.15m) in winning the high jump at the New England Championships and enters the NCAA Championships in a five-way tie for the No. 2 seed. Thomas was also the Northeast-10 Champion this season.

MIDWEST REGION – Jason Stomps – Hillsdale
Stomps, a senior from Macomb, Mich., won the GLIAC hammer throw with a personal best of 217-10 (66.39m), a mark that stands as the second best in the nation this year.

SOUTH REGION – LaQuan Priest – Claflin
Priest, a sophomore from Georgetown, S.C., enters the NCAA Championships as the seventh seed in the triple jump, having marked a season’s best of 50-8 (15.44m) to win the SIAC Championship.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Brian Allen – Pittsburg State
Allen, a senior from Joplin, Mo., holds the nation’s best mark in the shot put at 61-9¾ (18.84m) and is entered as the nation’s third seed in the discus via his MIAA Championship-winning mark of 181-5 (55.29m) and as the fourth seed in the hammer (215-9, 65.76m). Allen also won the MIAA title in the shot and was runner-up in the hammer for a total of 28 points at the league meet.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jonathan Arthur – Lees-McRae
Arthur, a senior from Pine Level, N.C., qualified for the NCAA Championships in the pole vault, holding a season’s best of 16-3¼ (4.96m) in the event. Arthur was the Conference Carolinas champ in the event as well as the Southeast Regional Challenge winner.

WEST REGION – Josh Como – Cal State LA
Como, a junior from Moreno Valley, Calif., is the Division II leader in the triple jump, having marked 54-7¼ (16.64m) at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 17. Como is the second-best among all collegians, at all levels this year and is now fifth-best all time in Division II in the event. Como is also entered as the No. 9 seed in the long jump for the NCAA meet with a season’s best of 24-3 (7.39m). Como is receiving mention for the The Bowerman watch list.

 

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Maddy Outman – Indiana (Pa.)
Outman, a graduate student from Longmont, Colo., was the winner of the Penn Relays heptathlon with a score of 5,182 and ranks as the No. 7 seed entering the NCAA meet in the event. Outman is also entered in the NCAA meet as the four seed in the long jump with a school record 19-11¾ (6.09m). Outman was the PSAC’s Outstanding Track Athlete and Overall Meet MVP in scoring 38 points. Outman was the league’s champion in the heptathlon with a meet record and was the runner-up in the long jump.

CENTRAL REGION – Heather Miller – St. Cloud State
Miller, a senior from Sun Prairie, Wis., enters the NCAA meet as the No. 5 seed in the heptathlon (5,221) and as the second seed in the triple jump (40-4¾, 12.31m). Miller won NSIC Championship titles in the long jump, triple jump and heptathlon, claiming high-point honors with 41.

EAST REGION – Jacqui Barrett – UMass Lowell
Barrett, a senior from Woburn, Mass., is the division’s leader in the shot put, having marked a season’s best of 49-11¾ (15.23m) at the Princeton Larry Ellis Invitational on April 16. Barrett won Northeast-10 and New England Championships with the shot.

MIDWEST REGION – Liz Murphy – Grand Valley State
Murphy, a freshman from Washington, Mich., leads the country in the hammer throw heading into the NCAA meet with a season’s best of 197-10 (60.29m). The 197-10 was achieved in winning the GLIAC title as places her seventh all-time in Division II history.

SOUTH REGION – Melinda Bastian – Benedict
Bastian, a senior from Nassau, Bahamas, enters the NCAA Championship as the fourth seed in the javelin, having recorded a season’s best of 152-5 (46.45m). Bastian recorded a heptathlon score of 4,580 for a top-25 national mark this season. Bastian won the SIAC title in the heptathlon, javelin and shot put and scored 48 points total with additional scoring performances in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Aisha Adams – Angelo State
Adams, a senior from Covington, Tenn., scored 5,795 points in the heptathlon at the Texas Relays for a Division II all-time best and leads the division in the event by over 400 points. Adams is also entered in the NCAA Championships in a total of seven events, including the high jump, long jump, and triple jump – and is the No. 3 seed in the three events – to go with three track events. While not part of the field-event award, Adams is also the divisional leader in the 400-meter hurdles (57.94).

SOUTHEAST REGION – Kyera Tennyson – UNC Pembroke
Tennyson, a sophomore from Jacksonville, N.C., is entered in the high jump for the NCAA Championships, having cleared a season’s best of 5-7 (1.70m). Tennyson was also the winner of the Southeast Region Challenge high jump.

WEST REGION – Linda Rainwater – UC San Diego
Rainwater, a senior from Goleta, Calif., is entered in the high jump for the NCAA Championships and garners the co-national lead in the high jump with a season’s best clearance of 5-10½ (1.79m). Rainwater also scored 5,333 points in the heptathlon at the Mt. SAC Combined Events on April 14 for the third-best mark among Division II this season.

 

Men’s Head Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams – Saint Augustine’s
Williams, in his 30th year at Saint Augustine’s has a squad that will have a championship-high 19 entries at the NCAA Championships, 13 of which come from sprint and hurdle events. The Falcons won the CIAA Championship for the 12th time in 13 seasons, winning nine of 17 contested events at the championship meet. The Falcons will enter the NCAA’s at the No.1-ranked squad and have national leaders in the 200 and 400 (Josh Scott), 110-meter hurdles (Jason Boyd) and the 4×400-meter relay (3:05.27).

CENTRAL REGION – Mark Schuck – Minnesota State
Schuck, in his 28th year, led Minnesota State to a Northern Sun title and two of his athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships.

EAST REGION – Leo Mayo – American International
Mayo, in his third year at American International, led his squad to a runner-up showing at the Northeast-10 Championships and a fifth-place finish at the New England Championships. American International is ranked 25th in the nation heading into the NCAA Championships with six entries, three of which come from jumps.

MIDWEST REGION – Scott Fangman – Indianapolis
Fangman, in his ninth year at the helm of the University of Indianapolis track & field staff, was the GLVC Men’s Coach of the Year and the Indiana Intercollegiate Coach of the Year. Indianapolis picked up the GLVC Conference title and the Indiana Little State Championship.

SOUTH REGION – Willie Hill – Morehouse
Hill, in his 10th year at Morehouse, led the charge for Morehouse in winning the SIAC team title and the South Region Challenge. Morehouse will have two entries at the NCAA Championships and Morehouse finished the season No. 1 in the South Region according to the USTFCCCA Region Index.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Russ Jewett – Pittsburg State
Jewett, in his 24th year guiding the Gorillas, had a squad that finished No. 1 in the South Central according to the USTFCCCA Region Index and runner-up at the MIAA Championships. With nine entries, five from throwing events, at the NCAA Championships, Jewett’s squad enters the national meet as the fourth-ranked team in the country.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Ley Fletcher – Lees-McRae
Fletcher, in his second year at Lees-McRae, led his squad to a Conference Carolinas title. Finishing the season ranked No. 1 in the region, Fletcher’s team won the Southeast Region Challenge and will have a pole vaulter at the NCAA Championships.

WEST REGION – Kirk Freitas – Chico State
Freitas, in his 30th year at Chico State, has a squad that finished the season ranked No. 1 in the West Region according to the USTFCCCA Region Team Index. With 10 entries for the NCAA Championships, Freitas squad ranks seventh nationally. Chico State won the CCAA Championships for the seventh-consecutive year.

 

Women’s Head Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Dave Osanitsch – Shippensburg
Osanitsch, in his 12th year at Shippensburg, led the Red Raiders to their first PSAC title since 1998, scoring 212½ points for the title and scoring in 20 of the 22 events. Shippensburg is ranked 14th in the country heading into the NCAA Championships, notching six entries into the meet.

CENTRAL REGION – Mike Thorson – U. of Mary
Thorson, in his 17th year with the University of Mary, help guide the squad to the NSIC Championship, their third in the past four years. Mary qualified four for the NCAA Championships, three in the sprint and hurdle events.

EAST REGION – Chris Covert – Southern Connecticut
Covert, in his third year at Southern Connecticut, oversaw a team that won the Northeast-10 Conference title by 59½ points. Southern Connecticut was the runner-up squad at the N.Y. Metro Championships, their highest finish in school history, and the highest-finishing team of Division II schools at the New England Championships (seventh). Four from Southern Connecticut qualified for the NCAA Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Jerry Baltes – Grand Valley State
Baltes, in his 11th year at Grand Valley State, led the Lakers to the GLIAC title with a conference-record 291 points. Ranked No. 3 in the country heading into the NCAA Championships, the Lakers will have a championship-high 25 entries at the national meet and leads the field with nine entries in distance events and seven in throwing events.

SOUTH REGION – Ellakisha O’Kelley – Fort Valley State
First year coach O’Kelley led the Wildcats to SIAC title and was named the SIAC Coach of the Year for those efforts. A total of eight entries will be at O’Kelley’s disposal at the NCAA Championships, including both 4×100 and 4×400 relays. Fort Valley State enters the national meet as the 11th-ranked team in the nation.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – James Reid – Angelo State
Reid, in his 11th year at the helm at Angelo State, has a squad that will enter the NCAA Championships as the No. 1 nationally-ranked team. Angelo State has 18 entries for the national meet, seven of which are events in which Aisha Adams is entered. Reid is the coach of Adams who set a new Division II all-time mark in the heptathlon. The Rambells were the Lone Star Conference champion and garnered 11 event titles in the league meet.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Ley Fletcher – Lees-McRae
Fletcher, in his second year at Lees-McRae, led his team to a third-place showing at the Conference Carolinas Championships and to a Southeast Region Challenge win. Two of his athletes won conference crowns and four set school records during the outdoor season.

WEST REGION – Karl Lerum – Seattle Pacific
Lerum, in his fifth year at Seattle Pacific, led his team to the GNAC crown, posting league titles in nine events. Seattle Pacific will have seven entries into the NCAA Championships and is ranked seventh nationally.

 

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Chris Merli – East Stroudsburg
Merlis is the jumps and sprints coach for East Stroudsburg and his crew helped the Red Raiders to runner-up honors in the PSAC. Three of his jumpers qualified for the NCAA meet including Drew Miller (50-8¾, 15.46m). Merli also guided East Sroudsburg’s 4×100 relay (40.83) and Negus Graham (46.64) in the 400 to a national entry.

CENTRAL REGION – Brandon Campbell – Adams State
Campbell, in his first year at Adams State, guided freshman high jumper Dyson Mortensen to an RMAC title and to a leap of 7-¼ (2.14m) to gain entry into the NCAA Championships. Pole vaulter Blair Sohl also won an RMAC title. The Grizzlies enter the national championships as the second-ranked national team.

EAST REGION – John Wallin – Southern Connecticut
Wallin, in his first year at Southern Connecticut, led his distance crew to 98 of the Owls’ 198 points to win the Northeast-10 title.  Wallin coaches 800-meter runner Selasi Lumax who is the No. 6 seed for the NCAA Championships this weekend.

MIDWEST REGION – Joe Lynn – Grand Valley State
Lynn, in his fourth year at Grand Valley State, led his distance athletes to 88 points in helping the Lakers to a GLIAC title. The Lakers swept the top three spots in the steeplechase and the 1-2-5-6 spots in the 5000 at the league meet. Lynn’s distance crew accounts for three of the Lakers’ entries for the NCAA hampionships, two of which are in the steeplechase.

SOUTH REGION – Troy Berry – Morehouse
Berry helped the Maroon Tigers to the SIAC Championship as assistant coach.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Quint Melius – Tarleton State
Melius, in his sixth year at Tarleton State, has qualified four of throwers for the NCAA Championships, three of which are in the discus and includes No. 4 seed Nolan Eubanks. Tarleton State finished third in the LSC this year with Melius’ throwers notching 26 of the team’s points.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jeff Watson – Lees-McRae
Watson, in his first year at Lees-McRae, coached the Conference Carolinas Champion in the hammer throw and had athletes finish runner-up in each of the throws at the league meet. Lees-McRae went on to win the Conference Carolinas league title.

WEST REGION – T.J. Garlatz – Alaska Anchorage
Garlatz, in his third year at Alaska Anchorage, has qualified four distance runners for the NCAA Championships this weekend, including No. 2 steeplechase seed Micha Chelimo (8:49.31). Garlatz’s crew swept the distance and middle distance titles at the GNAC Championships and scored a total of 82 points at the league meet.

 

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Steve Spence – Shippensburg
Spence, in his 16th year at Shippensburg, guided his mid-distance and distance crew to 74 points in helping the Red Raiders to the PSAC title. Spence also coaches Neely Spence who broke the PSAC 3000-meter record (9:21.49) and is the No. 2 seed in the 5000 meters (16:13.34) for the NCAA meet.

CENTRAL REGION – Mike Turgeon – Winona State
Turgeon, in his fifth year at Winona State, led his throwers to 79 points at the NSIC Championships to help the Warriors to a runner-up team finish. Turgeon’s throwers account for seven entries at the NCAA Championships, tied with Grand Valley State in having the most throws entries. Turgeon’s crew includes  two top-seeded discus throwers in the nation with freshmen Mary Theisen and Shanai Guider leading the way. Theisen and Guider as a duo led the field by four feet in the event.

EAST REGION – Tanner Williams – American International
Williams, American International’s throws coach, qualified two for the NCAA Championships including third-seeded hammer thrower Bidemi Balogun (187-2, 57.06m). Balogun improved by over 34 feet in the event since last year and was the Northeast-10 Champion.

MIDWEST REGION – Giles Davis – Indianapolis
Davis, in his 13th year, helped guide the Indianapolis squad to a GLVC title. Davis coaches Kierra Allen, the GLVC Women’s Track Athlete of the Year that won four league titles in the sprints.

SOUTH REGION – Soyini Thompson-Murray – Ala.-Huntsville
Thompson-Murray, in her seventh year at Ala.-Huntsville, helped guide the squad to the South Region Challenge title.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Tom Dibbern – Angelo State
Dibbern, in his sixth year at Angelo State, coaches the Rambells heptathletes and field event athletes. Dibbern sports the top two seeds in the heptathlon with Aisha Adams and Chrystal Ruiz and guided Adams to an all-time Division II best in the event at the Texas Relays (5,795). Along with the two heptathletes, Dibbern has five other jump entries at the NCAA Championships.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jeff Watson – Lees-McRae
Watson, in his first year at Lees-McRae, helped Lees-McRae’s throwers to three top three finishes at the Conference Carolinas Championship.

WEST REGION – Erika Daligcon – Seattle Pacific
Daligcon, in her second year at Seattle Pacific, helped the Falcons’ distance crew to 46 points at the GNAC Championships on the way to a team title. Seattle Pacific garners four distance entries into the NCAA Championships including headliner Jessica Pixler. Pixler ran the Division’s best times in the 800, 1500, and 5000 meters this season and is entered in the 800 and 1500 for the national meet.