NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Wednesday that Johnson C. Smith’s Leford Green and Abilene Christian’s Nick Jones was named the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Athletes of the Year. Green went undefeated and won the NCAA title at 400 meters while Jones helped Abilene Christian to a national team title with 18 points in the throws which included a third NCAA discus crown and a new championships record.
NATIONAL MEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Leford Green, Johnson C. Smith
Green, a senior from St. Catherine, Jamaica, finished the season undefeated and won the NCAA title at 400 meters. In this year’s outdoor championships, Green clocked 45.74 in the open event, topping the nearest competitor by a full second. In 2010, Green won the 400 hurdles at the NCAA meet, and finished sixth in the national final of the event this season. Green was also the third leg of Johnson C. Smith’s winning 4×400 relay that clocked 3:07.59 for a second-plus win. Green was also on the 4×100 squad that placed fifth nationally.
At his conference meet, Green earned 2011 CIAA Male Athlete of the Meet honors after winning the 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles, finishing second in the 200 meters, and running a leg on the Golden Bulls’ second-place 4×400-meter relay.
2011: Leford Green, Johnson C. Smith
2010: Leford Green, Johnson C. Smith
2009: Aaron Braun, Adams State
2008: Scott Bauhs, Chico State
2007: Nicodemus Naimadu, Abilene Christian
2006: Nicodemus Naimadu, Abilene Christian
NATIONAL MEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Nick Jones, Abilene Christian
Jones, a junior and native of Amarillo, Texas, helped Abilene Christian to a national team title with an NCAA individual title in the discus and adding second-place points with the shot put. In the discus, Jones won the national top spot for the third time, becoming the first three-time winner of the event since Northwest Missouri’s Clint Prange (2002-2003-2005). In addition, Jones caught two meet-record tosses, claiming 198-10 (60.62m) on his first attempt before throwing the 199-3 (60.75m) on his third to win by nearly 15 feet.
In the shot put, Jones placed second with a throw of 62-¼ (18.90m). Jones was also the Lone Star Conference’s champion in both the discus and shot put this year.
2011: Nick Jones, Abilene Christian
2010: Dane Tobey, Neb.-Kearney
2009: Joe Kindred, Saint Augustine’s
2008: Joe Kindred, Saint Augustine’s
2007: Kibwe Johnson, Ashland
2006: Chris Randolph, Seattle Pacific