Scott Cappos, Rock Light, Jennifer Michel and Jon Stuart Join List of Symposium Presenters

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

October 3, 2011   

Four outstanding coaches have been added to the lineup of USTFCCCA Convention symposiums.  Scott Cappos (Throws) of the University of Iowa, Rock Light (Jumps) of Texas Tech, Jennifer Michel (Distance) of Western State and Jon Stuart (Sprints) of the University of Georgia will be among the featured technical symposium speakers at this year’s convention in San Antonio.    The convention, which features over forty technical and professional development sessions, will take place at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa on December 12 – 15.

Scott Cappos – Iowa

Since Cappos joined the staff in 1997, Iowa has crowned 17 All-Americans and 21 Big Ten champions in the field events, setting 17 school records. The Hawkeyes have also had at least one All-American in the throws eight of the last 11 seasons. Iowa has crowned at least one all-Big Ten performer in the hammer throw nine of the past 13 years, a Hawkeye has finished first or second in the discus in 11 of the last 14 Big Ten meets and an Iowa thrower has placed in the top three in the shot put at ten of the last 11 conference meets.

In 2010, the Hawkeyes sent eight qualifiers to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, including Tiffany Medenwaldt, who broke the Hawkeye’s school record in the discus, and freshman Matt Byers, who earned first-team conference honors after winning the javelin at the Big Ten Championships.

The Hawkeye throwers have recorded numerous team highlights under Cappos. In 2004, Iowa qualified 10 throwers for the NCAA regional, which was the most of any team in the nation. In 2005, the Hawkeyes qualified five throwers to the NCAA Indoor Championships, which tied for the most of any school in the nation. Iowa swept Big Ten titles in the shot put in 2007 and 2008, and broke the 21-year-old school discus record in 2007.

Iowa has also had success with walk-on competitors under Cappos. Former Hawkeyes Brad Daufeldt (discus and hammer) and Chris Voller (hammer) joined the team as walk-ons and left as all-Big Ten honorees. Former Hawkeye Tim Brodersen also came to Iowa as a walk-on with a personal-best 174-0 in the discus. During his Hawkeye career, Broderson won two Big Ten titles, and his collegiate-best mark of 193-6 ranks fourth all-time at Iowa.

Rock Light – Texas Tech

A highly-regarded coach at the collegiate, U.S. and international levels for three decades, Rock Light is in his sixth season with the Texas Tech Red Raiders and coaches all of the jumps as well as the javelin and combined events. Throughout his career, Light has assembled nationally-ranked athletes in each of the jumping events on an annual basis.  Pole vaulters Shade Wegyandt and Kyal Meyers are the latest in a long line of successful Light coached athletes in that event.  Prior to his arrival in Lubbock, Light guided the Oregon Ducks’ combined events and jumps programs for two seasons, but is best known for his time spent coaching those events at LSU where he was part of a coaching staff that guided the Tigers and Lady Tigers to multiple NCAA Championships.  Light has also experienced great success coaching on the international level, guiding Charles Austin to an Olympic Gold medal in the high jump.  Light is a veteran of the coaching education world as well, having spent a number of years as the chair of the USATF Coaching Education Combined Events program.

Jennifer Michel – Western State

As the distance coach for the Mountaineer track and field program, Jennifer Michel coached David Goodman to the 2011 NCAA Division II national championship in the steeplechase, Tyler Pennel to the runner up spot in the 5K and Lauren Kleppin to the runner up spot in the 10K. These 2011 performances were preceded by  two national runner-ups in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2009 (Tyler Pennel – 5,000-meter run; Lisa Thomas – 3,000-meter steeplechase) and another runner-up performer in 2010 (Sean Brown – 10,000-meter run)

As an athlete, Michel earned eight All-American honors in track and field and cross country. In track and field, Michel won Division II titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, 3,000-meter run and indoor mile, and held the national championship steeplechase record until 2008. She was a six-time RMAC champion and a five-time W Mountain Run winner. She set the women’s W Mountain record in 2002 which still stands today.

Michel earned RMAC All-Century honors in women’s track and field as part of the conference centennial celebration in 2008-09. She was also a member of the NCAA 25th Anniversary Team for Women’s Track and Field and the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Runner of the Year.

After her collegiate career, she finished fifth at the US Track and Field Championships in the steeplechase in 2002.

Jon Stuart – Georgia

Jon Stuart, a 1992 graduate of Georgia, enters his 12th year directing Georgia men’s sprinters and hurdlers. Under his guidance during the last four seasons, the Bulldog sprinters/hurdlers tallied five Southeastern Conference individual titles, an impressive 10 All-American certificates and one NCAA title.

In just his second season under Stuart’s tutelage, the electrifying Torrin Lawrence won an NCAA title, an SEC title and was named the 2010 USTFCCCA National Male Track Athlete of the Year. Lawrence clocked the third-fastest 400-meter dash collegiate indoor time in history (45.03) followed with an SEC meet record time of 45.10 to clinch his conference crown.
Stuart has also been instrumental in the development of 2010 freshman sprinter Eric Harris. After a year of developments in the UGA program, Harris won a Gold medal with his 4×100 relay teammates representing Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, during the 2010 summer. Harris also clocked a 21.22 and was the only American collegiate runner to advance to the 200 semifinals at the World Championships.

Stuart led New Jersey native Justin Gaymon, who completed his eligibility in 2009, to three SEC championships as well as six All-America certificates combined in the 400, 400 hurdles and 4×400 relay during his career. Gaymon finished atop Georgia’s all-time lists in the indoor 400 (45.94), 400 hurdles (48.46) and the indoor 4×400 relay (3:07.45). He also joined David Dickens, Brian Etelman and Michael Proctor as they clocked the second-best outdoor time in school history in the 4×400 relay at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships to finish fifth (3:04.13) and earn All-American distinction. Thanks in part to Stuart’s crew, the Georgia have men eight top-20 NCAA finishes since 2000.