Exceptional Class of 2014 Set to Be Inducted into USTFCCCA Division III Athlete Hall of Fame
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Tuesday that it will induct four new members to its Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame.
Tracey Armstead of SUNY Cortland, David Cooper of Mount Union, Kelly Copps-Wood of St. Thomas (Minn.) and Rich Dixon of Rowan are set to be honored during an induction ceremony held Wednesday, May 21, in Delaware, Ohio, held prior to the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships.
More information on each of the inductees can be found below.
The 1985 track & field season was one to remember for Tracey Armstead and her SUNY Cortland women’s squad, capping a career that no one associated with the program will soon forget.
In leading the Red Dragons to their lone outdoor team title in program history, the Monticello, N.Y., native won the Division III outdoor long jump title and earned All-America honors both at 100 and 200 meters. In winning the long jump title, she qualified to compete at the NCAA Division I National Championships.
Even before that outdoor season started, she dominated the indoor competition to win both the 55-meter and long jump titles at the Indoor Championships, qualifying for the Division I Championships in the former.
All told, that 1985 season produced three of her five career national titles and five of her 13 total All-America honors between the AIAW and NCAA, as well as indoor and outdoor long jump records that still stand to this day. She also set outdoor school records at 100 and 200 meters – events in which she won 1983 national titles – and an indoor 55 meters record that all still stand as of publication.
Armstead, who was inducted into the SUNY Cortland Hall of Fame in 2012, current teaches and coaches in Ithaca, N.Y.
Once David Cooper won his first individual NCAA Division III national title in 1997, an indoor 5000 meters title, there was no looking back for the final two years of his career at Mount Union.
Between the 1997 and 1998 indoor and outdoor campaigns, the Parma, Ohio, native amassed seven national titles ranging from the indoor 1500 meters to the outdoor 10,000 meters twice, and 13 total All-America honors (including two from cross country).
He claimed both the outdoor 5000 and 10,000 meters national titles in back-to-back seasons in 1997 and 1998, earning him the distinction of being the most recent of only three Division III men to have accomplished that feat.
Sandwiched in between those outdoor sweeps came a 1500 meters/5000 meters sweep at the 1998 indoor championships – the first and only time that feat has been accomplished, even when considering the current mile event rather than the discontinued 1500.
An OAC cross country champion four times over, Cooper still holds indoor school records in the mile and two mile and at 3000 and 5000 meters, as well as an outdoor record as a member of the 4×800 relay.
After running professionally for Puma and Brooks as a post-collegian, Cooper is now a consultant at Mutual of Omaha in Cleveland, Ohio.
A six-time NCAA Division III champion whose name became synonymous with 10,000 meters domination, Kelly Copps-Wood earned a spot in the USTFCCCA Division III Athlete Hall of Fame as one of DIII’s best-ever distance runners.
During a span from 1993 through 1995, Copps was unbeatable at 10,000 meters on the biggest stage: the NCAA Championships. She claimed three consecutive national crowns in ’93, ’94 and ’95, making her the only woman in Division III history to have won three straight titles at the distance.
Her prowess wasn’t limited to 10 kilometers, however. She paired her 10,000 meters title in 1994 with both indoor and outdoor 5000 meters titles, and her 1995 10,000 meters title came after she won the indoor 5000 crown.
Following her titles in 1995, she earned Minnesota Woman of the Year honors from the NCAA.
At the end of her career, she finished as an 11-time All-American between cross country and track, with 11 MIAC titles to her name.
Her accolades off the track were just as impressive as her exploits on it. She was an Academic All-America selection and the recipient of an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.
Currently a dentist in Wisconsin with two children, she was inducted into the St. Thomas (Minn.) Hall of Fame in 2001 and was a member of the 2006 USTFCCCA Silver Anniversary Team.
After being recruited to Rowan as a soccer player, he left the school as one of the greatest track & field athletes not only in school history, but Division III history.
A member of Rowan’s Athletics Hall of Fame as both a soccer player and a track & field athlete, Rich Dixon was ultimately a natural on the track after his soccer coach encouraged him to join the Profs’ T&F squad. By the time all was said and done, Dixon accumulated five NCAA titles between the 400 and 4×400 relay and 11 total All-America honors.
Not a single year passed from 1997 through 2000 that didn’t see Dixon claim a national title at 400 meters. His first came outdoors in 1997, followed by a successful title defense in 1998. He wouldn’t win another individual outdoor crown – though he earned All-America honors in the event four times – but he would keep the streak going outdoors.
He claimed his first of two indoor 400 meters national crowns in 1999 – in meet-record fashion, no less – before capping his career as the first quarter-mile national champion of the new millennium in 2000. He also added an outdoor national 4×400 meters title in 1999 as the anchor leg.
To this day, he still holds indoor school records at both 200 and 400 meters, as well as one as a member of the 4×400 relay.
As Hall of Famer at Rowan since 2009 in both track & field and soccer, he scored 25 goals and had 31 assists for a career total of 81 points as a soccer forward.