Dennis, Little, Ruginski & Campbell Named Division III Indoor National Athletes of the Year
By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA
March 20, 2014
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III Indoor Track & Field National Athletes of the Year, as voted by the nation’s head coaches, were announced by the national office Wednesday.
Thurgood Dennis of UW-Eau Claire and Ashante Little of Wheaton (Mass.) were voted men’s and women’s Indoor National Athletes of the Year, respectively, while Southern Maine’s Jamie Ruginski and Carleton’s Amelia Campbell were named men’s and women’s Indoor National Field Athletes of the Year.
Thurgood, a junior from Allouez, Wis., was a double national champion at 60 and 200 meters at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in Lincoln, Neb., in leading the Blugolds to a runner-up team finish. His winning 6.68 at 60 meters set a new Division III record by .01 over Chaz Clemons and Dayne Ross of Lincoln in 2003 and 1999, respectively.
He also set a new Division III record for 200 meters with a 21.27 win, again by just .01 over the old mark of 21.28 by Bret Blake of Nebraska Wesleyan in 2004. He also ran a leg of the fifth-place 4×400 relay team.
Earlier in the season he won WIAC titles both at 60 and 200 meters and as a member of the 4×200 and 4×400 relays.
Little, a senior from Seabrook, N.H., won the national title at 400 meters in 55.10, finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.70 and was 10th at 200 meters. She edged out runner-up Hulerie McGuffie of UMass Boston, who moved up to No. 6 on the all-time Division III performers list, by less than a quarter of a second.
Entering the championships, Little was the top seed at 400 meters and second in the nation both at 200 meters and in the 60-meter hurdles. Her 54.82 over 400 meters at the Boston University Scarlet and White Invitational was the second-fastest in Division III history, and her winning 24.67 at 200 meters during the NEICAAA Championships is No. 7 on the all-time performers list.
Ruginski, a junior from Buxton, Maine, won the triple jump at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships as the top seed and moved up from the No. 8 seed to third place in the long jump. His winning mark of 50-1¾ (15.28m) in the triple jump was nearly a foot-and-a-half better than runner-up Kris Joint of Moravian. In finishing third in the long jump, he recorded his best leap since coming to Southern Maine at 23-7¼ (7.19m).
Before winning his NCAA title, his season included a win at the NEICAAA Championships with a leap of 50-9½ (15.48m) and wins in both the long jump and the triple jump at the New England Division III Championships.
Campbell, a sophomore from Sturgeon Bay, Wis., just completed a season in which she broke both the NCAA Championships and the all-time Division III records in the pentathlon. This past weekend she won the NCAA Championships pentathlon by nearly 100 points with a score of 3884, smashing the old meet record of 3725 by Ashley Huston of Hardin-Simmons in 2009. The event produced four performers that rank among the all-time top 10 in DIII.
That win marked the second weekend in a row she notched a record-setting performance, as she posted a Division III-record 3914 en route to winning the MIAC Championships. That score is better than all but that of national champion Erin Alewine of Central Missouri among the Division II ranks.