Stevens, Agnew, Martin & Baltes Named Division II XC National Award Winners

Stevens, Agnew, Martin & Baltes Named Division II XC National Award Winners

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Tuesday its National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the NCAA Division II Cross Country season following the championships in Spokane, Wash., this past weekend.

NCAA Division II Cross Country individual champions Tabor Stevens of Adams State and Jennifer Agnew of U-Mary were named on Tuesday the men’s and women’s USTFCCCA National Athletes of the Year, respectively.

Damon Martin of Adams State and Jerry Baltes of Grand Valley State earned men’s and women’s National Coach of the Year honors, respectively, in leading their teams to national titles.

Men’s National Athlete of the Year


Courtesy: NCAA

Tabor Stevens, Adams State

Stevens took control of the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships midway through the 10-kilometer race and never looked back, running away to cross the finish line in 29:50.1. In doing so, he defeated runner-up Vegard Olstad by more than 11 seconds to avenge losses at both the RMAC and South Central Region Championships earlier this season.

The junior from Canon City, Colo., ran among the lead pack for the first five kilometers of the race, before breaking away with American International’s Mike Biwott. It wouldn’t be long before Stevens shook free of Biwott and ran an unchallenged 14:56.1 split over the last half of the race, 11 seconds faster than Olstad’s final push.

Recent Winners
2012: Micah Chelimo, Alaska Anchorage
2011: Ryan Haebe, Western State
2010: Michael Crouch, Queens (N.C.)
2009: Reuben Mwei, Adams State
2008: Scott Bauhs, Chico State
Full Archive

He picked the right moment for his first win of the 2013, which also included third-place finishes at the mostly Division I Roy Griak Invitational Gold race and the RMAC Championships, and a fourth-place showing in the South Central Region.

 

Women’s National Athlete of the Year


Courtesy: NCAA

Jennifer Agnew, U-Mary

After missing the 2012 cross country season with an injury and exhausting her track & field eligibility in the spring, Agnew was back at the Division II Cross Country Championships for the final race of her collegiate career, and she made it count. The senior from Onamia, Minn., led from the outset and was never challenged in a win in 20:50.7 on the six-kilometer course at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex in Spokane, Wash., by nearly 12 seconds over runner-up Jessica Macy of Pittsburg State.

By the halfway point at three kilometers, she had already amassed what would be an insurmountable 12-second lead over Macy and the pack. She completed the first three kilometers in 10:22.9 and was able to maintain a 10:27.8 split over the second half, faster than all but one runner.

Recent Winners
2012: Alicia Nelson, Adams State
2011: Neely Spence, Shippensburg
2010: Neely Spence, Shippensburg
2009: Jessica Pixler, Seattle Pacific
2008: Jessica Pixler, Seattle Pacific
Full Archive

The win was her fifth of the season, including titles at the Central Region Championships and the NSIC Championships. Her lone loss was a fifth-place showing in the deep Roy Griak Maroon II race.

 

Men’s National Coach of the Year


Courtesy: Adams State

Recent Winners
2012: Damon Martin, Adams State
2011: Jennifer Michel, Western State
2010: Damon Martin, Adams State
2009: Damon Martin, Adams State
2008: Damon Martin, Adams State
Full Archive

Damon Martin, Adams State

Martin, in his 18th season at the helm of the men’s program at Adams State, guided both the team and junior Tabor Stevens to national titles at the Division II Cross Country Championships. The Grizzlies won their fifth title in the past six years with a 54-104 victory over Grand Valley State, and Martin guided a race-best five individuals to All-America honors.

One of those All-Americans was individual champion Tabor Stevens, who won by 11 seconds over RMAC rival Vegard Olstad of Western State after crossing the line in 29:50.1. Stevens became the first Adams State runner to win the national individual title since Reuben Mwei in 2009.

The 2013 season for Martin’s Grizzlies also included a South Region title and a fourth-place finish at the mostly Division I Roy Griak Invitational Gold race.

 

Women’s National Coach of the Year


Courtesy: Grand Valley State

Recent Winners
2012: Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State
2011: Tracy Hellman, Augustana (S.D.)
2010: Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State
2009: Damon Martin, Adams State
2008: Damon Martin, Adams State
Full Archive

Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State

Baltes, in his 14th season guiding the Grand Valley State program, led his Lakers ladies to their third NCAA Division II Cross Country team title in the past four years. His team earned a nation-best six All-America honors to score 54 points, well ahead of runner-up Adams State’s 91 points. GVSU had been ranked No. 1 in each edition of the National Coaches Poll since the preseason.

Two Lakers finished in the top 10 for a second consecutive season with Allyson Winchester (third) and Jessica Janecke (ninth), and junior Madie Rodts was just eight spots away from giving the Lakers seven All-Americans in 48th place.

With the national title, Baltes’ Lakers capped a season that included titles at the Midwest Region and GLIAC Championships, and strong finishes against Division I competition at the Notre Dame Invitational Gold race (runner-up) and the Roy Griak Invitational Gold race (ninth).