Stevens, Foley, Martin & Baltes Earn 2014 Division II NCAA Cross Country National Awards
Award History
NCAA DII XC National Awards

Stevens, Foley, Martin & Baltes Earn 2014 Division II NCAA Cross Country National Awards

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 Louisville, Kentucky, this past weekend.

NCAA Division II Cross Country individual champions Tabor Stevens of Adams State and Kendra Foley of Grand Valley State were named the men’s and women’s USTFCCCA National Athletes of the Year, respectively.

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

Men’s National Athlete of the Year


Photo: Kyle Terwillegar/USTFCCCA

Tabor Stevens, Adams State

Recent Winners
2013: Tabor Stevens, Adams State
2012: Micah Chelimo, Alaska Anchorage
2011: Ryan Haebe, Western State
2010: Michael Crouch, Queens (N.C.)
2009: Reuben Mwei, Adams State
Full Archive

What a way to close out a collegiate cross country career. Tabor Stevens of Adams State became just the eighth man since NCAA Division II first contested a 10k championship race in 1976 to claim two career national titles, and just the fifth man in that same span to win two in a row. He is the USTFCCCA Division II Cross Country National Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Saturday’s win in Louisville – which led Adams State to its third consecutive team title and sixth in the past seven years – was the result of Stevens’ domination of the second half of the race. He came through the halfway point of the rain-shortened 9560-meter course – a split that was taken as they passed near the finish line – as part of a lead group of seven runners. By the time he came back around through the finishing chute, he had won the race by 17.3 seconds over runner-up Aaron Dinzeo of California (Pa.) in 30:02.0.

The victory was his second of the year, along with a title at the RMAC Championships, and he was a narrow-runner-up at the South Central Regional to teammate Kevin Batt. He was just the fifth-best Division II finisher at the Lehigh Paul Short Run in October, but he defeated them all decisively on Saturday. Those four? National runner-up Dinzeo, third-place Mike Biwott of American International, and teammates Batt and Matt Daniels in fourth and fifth.

 

Women’s National Athlete of the Year


Photo: Kyle Terwillegar/USTFCCCA

Kendra Foley, Grand Valley State

Recent Winners
2013: Jennifer Agnew, U-Mary
2012: Alicia Nelson, Adams State
2011: Neely Spence, Shippensburg
2010: Neely Spence, Shippensburg
2009: Jessica Pixler, Seattle Pacific
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Not since 2001 had a Division II woman both won the national individual title and led her team to the national team title. Not until Saturday, that is, as Kendra Foley took the individual win and led six Grand Valley State All-Americans to a decisive team victory. She is the first Women’s National Athlete of the Year from GVSU since Mandi Zemba in 2005.

Foley covered the rain-shortened 5780-meter course in 21:05.8 by nearly six seconds over teammate Allyson Winchester and another three seconds over another teammate in Jessica Janecke. The best non-GVSU finisher, fourth-place Emily Frith of Bellarmine, was 11 seconds back. After battling with Western Washington’s Katelyn Steen for half of the race, Foley made her move to build up a five-second lead at 4k and an eight-second advantage at 5k.

She sat out the Midwest Regional, but had previously claimed the GLIAC title ahead of Winchester and Janecke in second and third, respectively. Fifth-place was the sweet spot for Foley in 2014, as that’s where she finished at UW-Oshkosh, Notre Dame and the Spartan Invitational. She also finished 23rd overall in the Division I race at Roy Griak out of 349 runners.

 

Men’s National Coach of the Year


Photo: Adams State

Recent Winners
2013: Damon Martin, Adams State
2012: Damon Martin, Adams State
2011: Jennifer Michel, Western State
2010: Damon Martin, Adams State
2009: Damon Martin, Adams State
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Damon Martin, Adams AState

For the third year in a row and the sixth year in the past seven, the Adams State men won the men’s national team title. A number of national champions and All-Americans have come through the program during that time, but the constant has remained head coach Damon Martin. With the 2014 National Men’s Coach of the Year award, he now has seven such awards to his credit.

He led his Grizzlies to the 2014 national team title in convincing fashion despite entering the meet No. 2 in the country after near-upsets at the RMAC and South Central Regional. Led by individual national champion Tabor Stevens and an additional pair of top-five finishers in fourth-place Kevin Batt and fifth-place Matt Daniels, Martin’s squad scored 69 points to runner-up Grand Valley State’s 127.

He guided the Grizzlies to titles at the RMAC and South Central Region championships, as well as a third-place overall finish at the Lehigh Paul Short Run.

 

Women’s National Coach of the Year


Photo: Grand Valley State

Recent Winners
2013: Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State
2012: Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State
2011: Tracy Hellman, Augustana (S.D.)
2010: Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State
2009: Damon Martin, Adams State
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Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State

Jerry Baltes guided his Grand Valley State Lakers to their third consecutive national team title and their fourth in the past five years, earning him his fourth National Women’s Coach of the Year honors.

No team from either gender matched his Lakers’ six All-America awards, who propelled GVSU to a 65-point victory over runner-up Hillsdale by a score of 50-115 – the seventh-biggest margin of victory in the meet’s history. Even more impressively, he guided Kendra Foley to the national title, Allyson Winchester to a national runner-up finish and Jessica Janecke to a third-place effort. This marked the first time an NCAA DII women’s team had swept the top three spots en route to a national title.

Baltes’ Lakers were just as dominant throughout the duration of the season. They recorded GLIAC and Midwest Region championship titles, as well as wins at UW-Oshkosh and Notre Dame.