D-III National Athletes of the Year are Scheetz, Miller, Pavlus, Schaffer

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

March 17, 2011   

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announces the National Athletes of the Year for the 2011 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field season. Amherst’s Ben Scheetz, the NCAA D-III 800-meter champ, was named National Men’s Athlete of the Year while Ethan Miller of Central (Iowa) was named National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year for his meet-best 26-point showing at the national championships. Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence won her second-straight 5000-meter title indoors and was named the National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year. Moravian’s Abigail Schaffer broke NCAA D-III all-time and meet records in the pole vault and earned National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year credits.

National Men’s Track Athlete of the Year
Ben Scheetz, Amherst

Scheetz, a junior from Lancaster, Pa., became the first from Amherst to win an NCAA title in the 800 meters (1:51.26), but had to do so by out-leaning Wabash’s Jake Waterman who was just six hundredths of a second behind (1:51.32). Earlier in the day at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Scheetz placed fourth in the open 400 meters with a time in the finals of 48.66, and later in the day, Scheetz anchored the 4×400 relay to a sixth-place finish.

Recent Winners:
2011: Ben Scheetz, Amherst
2010: Delannie Spriggs, Salisbury
2009: Willy Kaul, UW Oshkosh
2008: Peter Kosgei, Hamilton
2007: Will Leer, Pomona-Pitzer
2006: Bobby Young, Lincoln (Pa.)


National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year
Ethan Miller, Central (Iowa)

Miller, a junior from Seymour, Iowa, scored 26 points at the NCAA Championships, leading the way for the Dutch to finish as the national team runner-up with 44 points, just a point behind podium-topper North Central (Ill.). Miller won the NCAA crown in the high jump with a meet-best clearance of 6-11 (2.11m) and also added runner-up showings in the long jump (23-8¾, 7.23m) and pentathlon (3,797). Miller is the first from Central College to win the indoor national high jump crown.

Miller was the IIAC Champ in the pentathlon and open long jump and added a second-place in the triple jump and a third in the high jump.

Recent Winners:
2011: Ethan Miller, Central (Iowa)
2010: Jake Winder, North Central (Ill.)
2009: Todd Wildman, Trinity (Texas)
2008: Al Winsley, Mississippi College
2007: Brandon Houle, UW Oshkosh
2006: Uzoma Orji, MIT


National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year
Wendy Pavlus, St. Lawrence

Pavlus, a senior from Tupper Lake, N.Y., won the NCAA D-III indoor national crown in the 5000 meters for the second-straight year. In this year’s contest, Pavlus won by nearly eight seconds over Johns Hopkins’ Christina Valerio. Pavlus is the first back-to-back titlist in the event since Carter Hamill of Amherst (2004 and 2005).

Pavulus reset the ECAC D-III record in the 5000 and won conference 800 and mile titles at the Liberty League Championships.

Recent Winners:
2011: Wendy Pavlus, St. Lawrence
2010: Marie Borner, Bethel (Minn.)
2009: Amanda LaRocca, Illinois Wesleyan
2008: Stephanie Herrick, TCNJ
2007: Marcia Taddy, UW Platteville
2006: Amy Ruston, Lehman


National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year
Abigail Schaffer, Moravian

Schaffer, a junior from Easton, Pa., reset the NCAA D-III all-time and meet records with a winning clearance of 13-8¼ (4.17m) in the pole vault. For Schaffer, it was her first national crown and second-straight for Moravian in the event. Schaffer came into the meet tied with MIT’s Karin Fisher with the D-III’s season best and former division record of 13-6¼ (4.12m). Schaffer also was the pole vault champ at the Landmark Conference Championships.

Recent Winners:
2011: Abigail Schaffer, Moravian
2010: Kristen Bates, Messiah
2009: Caitlin Schetter, UW La Crosse
2008: Caitlin Schetter, UW La Crosse
2007: Alecia Watson, CCNY
2006: Robyn Jarocki, UW Oshkosh