USTFCCCA Announces Region Award Winners for Division II Outdoor Track & Field

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

May 17, 2012   

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the organization’s region athletes and coaches of the year for the 2012 NCAA Division II outdoor track & field season on Thursday. Several of the athletes and coaches will be on hand for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships set for next weekend, May 24-26, in Pueblo, Colo. NCAA.com will provide live coverage of the national championships.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Akino Ming – Johnson C. Smith
Ming scored 22 points at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships in winning the 200 Meters and 400 Meters and helping Johnson C. Smith finish second in the 4×400 Relay. With a season-best time of 45.81, Ming is the top-ranked 400-meter runner entering the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He is a junior from St. Thomas, Jamaica.

CENTRAL REGION – Tyler Pennel – Western State
Pennel entered the all-time Division II record books with his season-best time of 28:23.54 in the 10,000 Meters. The time is the fastest this season and the seventh-fastest all-time in NCAA Division II. The senior from Golden, Colo. also ran the second-fastest time of the season in the 5000 Meters at 13:51.42.

EAST REGION – Mychael Fabio – Adelphi
The senior from Huntington, N.Y. was a double winner at the Northeast-10 Championships, taking the individual crowns in the 200 Meters and 400 Meters. He also helped Adelphi finish fourth in the 4×100 Relay and second in the 4×400 Relay to score 23.25 of Adelphi’s 76 total team points. His season-best time of 46.69 in the 400 Meters ranks fifth among NCAA Division II competitors this season.

MIDWEST REGION – Dustin Emerick – Southern Indiana
Emerick, a senior, ran the eighth-fastest time in NCAA Division II history in the 10,000 Meters this spring with a time of 28:33.35. That time is also the second-fastest in NCAA Division II this season and a new school record at Southern Indiana. Emerick won the 2012 Great Lakes Valley Conference championship in the 5000 Meters. He is from Elmwood, Ill.

SOUTH REGION – Chavis Taylor – Benedict
The sophomore from Spartanburg, S.C. is the top-ranked 800-meter runner in the South Region and ranks 11th nationally in the event with a season-best time of 1:50.97. Earlier this season, Taylor won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in the 800 Meters and finished as runner-up in the 1500 Meters to score 18 team points for Benedict.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Laban Sialo – Central Missouri
Sialo earned Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association High Point Athlete honors after scoring a total of 28 points at the conference championships. The senior won the 10,000 Meters and the 5000 Meters and finished second in the 1500 Meters. His season-best times in the 10,000 Meters and 5000 Meters both rank in the top five among Division II competitors this season. Sialo is from Kapsabet, Kenya.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Matt Shaffer – Anderson (S.C.)
Shaffer is the top-ranked 800-meter runner in the Southeast Region and ranks third nationally in the event with a season-best time of 1:50.36. Shaffer is a sophomore from Grove City, Ohio.

WEST REGION – Micah Chelimo – Alaska Anchorage
The junior ranks third in NCAA Division II in both the 3000 Steeplechase and the 5000 Meters, with top times of 8:45.63 and 13:53.51, respectively. Chelimo earned Great Northwest Athletic Conference Athlete of the Meet honors after winning the 1500 Meters and 5000 Meters and finishing second in the 3000 Steeplechase. He is from Kapkoi, Kenya.

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Christopher Copeland – Saint Augustine’s
A native of Suffolk, Va., Copeland, a senior, enters the NCAA Championship as the third-ranked high jumper in the nation, garnering a season’s best of 7-1 (2.16m). Copeland was the CIAA high jump champion this season.

CENTRAL REGION – Cody Hunt – Chadron State
Hunt, a junior from Lingle, Wyo., was undefeated in the shot put this year and enters the NCAA meet as the overall No. 2 seed in the event, holding a season’s best of 63-4¾ (19.32m). Hunt was the RMAC champ with the shot and fourth in the discus at the league meet. 

EAST REGION – Connor Coleman – Southern Connecticut
A sophomore from Gunnison, Colo., Coleman enters the NCAA Championships as the No. 2 seed in the decathlon with a season’s best of 7,030. Coleman notched provisional marks in the javelin and 110-meter hurdles this season, and, at the Northeast-10 Championships, he helped his Owls to the conference crown with 14 points. 

MIDWEST REGION – Derrick Vicars – Findlay
Vicars, a junior from Genoa, Ohio, is entered in the shot put, hammer, and discus for the NCAA Championships. He is only one of three men in the meet to be entered in three individual events. He finished the season ranked in the top five nationally in all three events and was the GLIAC Champion in the shot put.

SOUTH REGION – Christopher A.J. Smith – Benedict
A senior from Clover, S.C., Smith enters the NCAA Championships as a fifth seed, having recorded a best in the pole vault of 16-6¾ (5.05m). Smith was the SIAC Champion in the pole vault and decathlon. 

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Nick Jones – Abilene Christian
Jones, a senior from Amarillo, Texas, is the No. 1-ranked shot putter and discus thrower this season in Division II. Jones was named the Lone Star Conference’s Most Outstanding Male Field Athlete of their championships after winning the shot, placing third in the discus, and sixth in the javelin. Jones has also been listed this year as receiving mention for The Bowerman watch list. 

SOUTHEAST REGION – James Davis, Jr. – UNC Pembroke
A senior from Beulaville, N.C., Davis recorded three wins and five top-ten finishes with the hammer throw this spring which included victory at the Southeast Regional Invitational.  

WEST REGION – Nick Howe – UC San Diego
Howe, a senior from Aptos, Calif., is the division’s No. 2-ranked javelin thrower, having marked a season’s best of 229-0 (69.80m). The CCAA Field Athlete of the Year, Howe won the javelin at the league meet.

Men’s Head Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams – Saint Augustine’s
Riding on the success of their CIAA Championship Title, the Falcons head into the NCAA Championships ranked first in the Atlantic Region and in the nation. In his 36th year coaching, Williams has 17 athletes competing at the NCAA championships, the highest of all men’s programs.

CENTRAL REGION – Damon Martin – Adams State
In his 17th year at Adams State, Martin has 15 athletes competing at the NCAA Championships after winning the team RMAC title. The Grizzlies are currently ranked first in the Central Region and second nationally.

EAST REGION – John Wallin – Southern Connecticut
In Wallin’s second year at the Helm, the Owls won the Northeast-10 Championship by 69 points and finished in a tie for second place at the All-Division New England Championships. SCSU has six athletes competing at the Championships.  

MIDWEST REGION – Jerry Baltes – Grand Valley State University
The Lakers won the GLIAC Championships by more than 50 points and are currently ranked 14th in the nation. In his 13th year, Baltes had 28 athletes hit NCAA qualifying marks with nine entries accepted.

SOUTH REGION – Frank Hyland – Benedict
On account of five individual titles, the Tigers placed second at the SIAC Championships. The seventh year coach will travel to Colorado for the NCAA meet with two athletes, both ranked in the top 12th of their respective events.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Russ Jewett – Pittsburg State
After winning their first MIAA title since 2005, the Gorillas finished the regular season ranked first in the region. In his 24th year at the helm, Jewett has 10 entries into the NCAA Championships after 18 qualifying marks during the season.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Matt van Lierop – Mount Olive
The third year coach kept his team atop the Southeast Region rankings and recently took the Conference Carolinas title. The Trojans had three NCAA provisional marks achieved by two men.

WEST REGION – Tom Flood – Grand Canyon
Peaking at a No. 2 ranking, the Lopes head to the Championships currently ranked ninth in the nation. In only the programs’ second year, Flood had nine of his 16 qualifying marks accepted into the NCAA Championships.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Sandy Chapman – Saint Augustine’s
The Falcons lead Division II men’s programs with 17 entries into the NCAA Championships. Chapman’s athletes helped Saint Augustine win both the indoor and outdoor CIAA Championships and they enter the weekend ranked first in the country. 

CENTRAL REGION – Jennifer Michel – Western State
In her fifth year, Michel coached 14 athletes to qualifying marks outdoors with two ranked first in their events (steeplechase and 10,000 meters). She also led eight athletes to provisional marks indoors where the Marauders finished 17th in the country.  

EAST REGION – Mike Ekstrand – UMass Lowell
The Riverhawks coach had his 4×400 relay and a gentleman in the 200 meters finish second at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In his 16th year coaching the sprints, Ekstrand’s outdoor relay has the fastest college time run a New England University and aims to achieve the national title next week.  

MIDWEST REGION – Giles Davis – Indianapolis
During the indoor season, the Greyhound coach had 7 USTFCCCA All-Americans, 13 NCAA qualifiers, 6 GLVC Champions, 3 GLVC records, 2 University records, GLVC Track Athlete of the Year. Outdoors, the coach has to date 5 GLVC Champions, 1 GLVC Record, 2 University records and 13 NCAA qualifiers in his 15th year coaching. The team won both the indoor and outdoor GLVC team titles.  

SOUTH REGION – Soyini Thompson-Murray – Alabama-Huntsville
Indoors, the ninth-year coach led two athletes to provisional times (60 meters and 4×400 relay) and four school records in the sprints and jumps. Outdoors, her sprinters made the national list in both relays and the Chargers have two entries into the NCAA Championships.  

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Matt Brown – Pittsburg State
In his sixth year coaching at his alma mater, Brown’s sprinters and jumpers contributed 28 points towards the MIAA Indoor title and 60 points outside. After Soles finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump, Brown led athletes to eight outdoor national qualifying performances.  

SOUTHEAST REGION – Gary Aycock – UNC Pembroke
The first year coach of the Braves distance runners saw Ndhlovu win the 10K at the Penn Relays as well as two events at the regional meet. The UNCP alum will send one athlete to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

WEST REGION – Kayla Todnem – Grand Canyon
Coaching the horizontal jumps, Todnem had 5 long jump qualifiers to the NCAA Indoor Championships, including the National Champ & runner up and 3 triple jump qualifiers to help the Lopes to the team title. Outdoors, the second year coach has two auto qualifiers in the long jump and two provisional in the triple jump.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Samantha Edwards – Virginia State
The senior from Elmont, N.Y. is the 2012 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion in the 400 Meters and runner-up in the 200 Meters. Edwards has the fastest time in NCAA Division II in the 400 Meters with a season-best of 52.15 and the second-fastest time in the 200 Meters at 23.80.

CENTRAL REGION – Melissa Agnew – U-Mary
Agnew, a junior from Onamia, Minn., earned 20 points at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships in winning the 800 Meters and 1500 Meters. Her top times of 2:08.99 in the 800 Meters and 4:22.40 in the 1500 Meters both rank third in NCAA Division II. Both times are conference records and school records.

EAST REGION – Amy Varsell – Bentley
Varsell ranks in the top five in NCAA Division II in the 800 Meters and in the top 20 nationally in the 1500 Meters. Earlier this season, she won Northeast-10 Conference titles in both events in meet-record time and finished third at the New England Championships in the 800 Meters. Varsell is a junior from Burlington, Conn.

MIDWEST REGION – Betsy Graney – Grand Valley State
Graney reset the NCAA Division II record books this season by running the fastest time in history in the 3000 Steeplechase at 9:53.85. She also has the second-fastest time of the 2012 season in the 5000 Meters of 15:56.85. Graney won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in the 5000 meters in meet-record time. Graney is a senior from Harper Woods, Mich.

SOUTH REGION – Camille Clemmons-James – Benedict
Clemmons-James is the top-ranked 200-meter runner in the South region and ranks in the top 15 nationally in the event. She has a season-best time of 24.13 in the event. She also has a provisional-qualifying mark in the 400 Meters that ranks third in the South region. Clemmons-James is a senior from Columbia, S.C.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Twishana Williams – Lincoln (Mo.)
The junior from St. Catherine, Jamaica won four events at the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships to earn honors as the meet’s top scorer. Williams won the 800 Meters, 1500 Meters, 5000 Meters, and 10,000 Meters. Her season-best times in the 800 Meters and 1500 meters rank in the top 15 nationally.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Kate Griewisch – Lenoir-Rhyne
Griewisch, a senior from Banner Elk, N.C., set school records in the 1500 Meters, 5000 Meters, and 10,000 Meters during the 2012 regular season. Her top time of 33:44.87 in the 10,000 Meters ranks third nationally, and she also has a top-ten national ranking in the 5000 Meters.

WEST REGION – Keenya McDaniel – San Francisco State
McDaniel, a sophomore, won the California Collegiate Athletic Association title in the 100 Meters, led-off the winning 4×100 Relay, and finished as runner-up in the 200 Meters to score 20.5 team points. She ranks tenth nationally in the 200 Meters, has a top-twenty ranking in the 100 Meters, and competes on San Francisco State’s sixth-ranked 4×400 Relay. McDaniel is from Selma, Calif.

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Tabitha Bemis – Edinboro
A sophomore from Fair Oaks, Pa., Bemis was voted the Most Valuable Athlete and Field Athlete of the PSAC Championships with conference wins in the long jump and triple jump. Bemis is entered in both events for the NCAA Championships and is seeded sixth in the long jump.

CENTRAL REGION – Jillisa Grant – New Mexico Highlands
Grant, a senior from Spanish Town, Jamaica, is entered in three events for the NCAA Championships which includes the long jump where she is the No. 2 seed, having marked a best this year of 20-9¼ (6.33m). She broke the RMAC’s 30-year-old conference record in the long jump this season and also won the event at the Drake Relays. Grant is also entered in the 100 and 200 meters at the national meet.

EAST REGION – Bidemi Balogun – American International
A senior from Providence, R.I., Balogun enters the NCAA Championships in the hammer throw as the No. 6 seed, and, earlier in the season, won the Northeast-10 title in the event by breaking her own meet record. She finished fourth at the Penn Relays with a school-record and season-best throw of 193-0 (58.54m).

MIDWEST REGION – Cheryl Bourne – Ashland
Bourne, a senior from New Straitsville, Ohio, is entered in both the long jump and heptathlon for the NCAA meet. In the heptathlon, Bourne enters at the No. 3 seed, having achieved a season best and GLIAC record of 5,335 at the conference championships. She was named the GLIAC Field Athlete of the Year as she made provisional marks in five different events. 

SOUTH REGION – Latycia Milton – Claflin
A senior, Milton is entered in the NCAA Championships in the triple jump where she holds a season best of 40-10½ (12.46m) from the SIAC Championship. She was named the SIAC East Division Athlete of the Year this season as well.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Lindsay Lettow – Central Missouri
Lettow, a senior from Urbandale, Iowa, was the co-high point-scoring athlete at the MIAA Championships this spring with a 40-point tally. She is entered in a meet-high four events for the NCAA meet, including the high jump, long jump, and heptathlon. She is the current divisional leader in the heptathlon with a season best score of 5,703. 

SOUTHEAST REGION – Lauren Sloan – Anderson (S.C.)
A junior from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Sloan finished the season as the No. 1-ranked hammer thrower and No.-2 ranked shot putter in the region. She also finished the season ranked sixth in the discus.

WEST REGION – Calista Lyon – Cal State LA
Lyon, a sophomore from Tallangatta Valley, Australia, is the divisional leader in the discus with a season’s best of 186-6 (56.86m). The mark ranks No. 3 on the all-time NCAA Division II list and is among the top five among all collegiate divisions this season. Lyon was also the CCAA Champion with the discus this spring.

Women’s Head Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Jason Jackson – Virginia State
The Trojans won the CIAA Championships and have four entries into the NCAA Championships in the sprints/hurdles and mid-distance events. Jackson is in his second year at the helm of the VSU program.  

CENTRAL REGION – Mike Thorson – U-Mary
The NSIC Champions enter the NCAA Championships as the eighth ranked team in the nation. The 18th year coach has 13 entries divided among nearly every event next weekend including both relays.  

EAST REGION – Brett Harvey – Georgian Court
The Lions finished the season third in the East Region following their highest CACC finish and ECC Team Challenge title. The fourth year coach has two athletes competing at the NCAA Championships in the hammer and high jump.

MIDWEST REGION – Jerry Baltes – Grand Valley State
GVSU won the GLIAC Title and is currently ranked No. 1 nationally. The Lakers have five athletes ranked No. 1 and three additional athletes ranked No. 2 for a total of 20 entries, tops among both genders in Division II.  

SOUTH REGION – Kenneth Taylor – Albany State (Ga.)
The Lady Rams coach was recently named the SIAC Championships Coach of the Year. Taylor has led Albany State to a No. 1 ranking in the South Region.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Victor Thomas – Lincoln (Mo.)
The Blue Tigers won the MIAA courtesy of 12 event titles, including all track events except the steeplechase. The No. 2 team in the nation has 19 entries into the NCAA Championships, including both relays, which is the second highest among both genders.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jason Stewart – Lenoir-Rhyne
In his fifth year coaching the Bears, Stewart directed distance runner Griewich to two top ten national rankings and she will compete in both next weekend.

 WEST REGION – Tom Flood – Grand Canyon
Although ranked No. 1 previously, the Lopes enter the NCAA Championships ranked fifth nationally with 13 entries. Grand Canyon athletes led the West Region in seven events.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Anne Carlson – Edinboro
In her first year, Carlson directed rewrites of 32 school records in the combined events, sprints and horizontal jumps. Of her six qualifiers, two jumpers will compete at the NCAA Championships. The Fighting Scot coach is directly responsible for improvements seen in the PSAC’s Most Valuable Indoor and Outdoor Outstanding Athlete, who earned two All-American honors indoors.

CENTRAL REGION – Dennis Newell – U-Mary
The Marauders have 13 entries into the NCAA Championships including many from Newell’s mid-distance and distance squad. The sixth year coach had athletes win the NSIC High Point Scorer and Most Valuable Track Athlete awards, multiple All-American awards and school records during the indoor season.

EAST REGION – Joe Napoli – Georgian Court
In only his first year, Napoli coached an NCAA provisional qualifier in every throwing event indoors and outdoors except the outdoor shot put. The Lions have two entries into the Championships, one jumper and one thrower, their first in school history.

MIDWEST REGION – Lou Andreadis – Grand Valley State
Indoors, the ninth-year coach placed four on the NCAA provisional list and had two All-Americans to help GVSU to the Indoor National title. Outdoors, all five vaulters earned qualifying marks, with one athlete clearing the second highest vault in Division II history. The Lakers enter the weekend ranked first in the nation.  

SOUTH REGION – Brandon Samuels – Benedict
The Tiger sprinters earned 46 points to help the team to a second place finish in the SIAC Championships. Sprinters were also a dominant force indoors with national qualifiers. One sprinter has earned her ticket to the NCAA Championships in the 200 meters.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Elle Cruikshank – Central Missouri
The fourth-year coach of the jumps and combined events had two pentathletes score above the national record at the NCAA Indoor Championships and also had athletes finish 2-4-6 in the high jump and 7-9 in long jump leading the team to a fourth place finish. The Jennies lead the country in number of combined entries (3) and jumps (7) entries.  

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jonathan Sharp – Lenoir-Rhyne
The Bears coach helped an athlete to a top-five indoor NCAA finish in the 5000 meters and top-ten national rankings for the 5000 and 10,000 meters during the outdoor season.

WEST REGION – Isaac Frederick – Western Oregon
The Wolves’ coach enters the weekend with the ninth-best triple jumper and two entries in the javelin, including the third-best mark. In his sixth year coaching, Frederick witnessed that same triple jumper take second place at the NCAA Indoor Championships to help his alma mater to 19th as a team.