Regional Athlete & Coach Awards Announced for NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field

Regional Athlete & Coach Awards Announced for NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2015 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field season were announced Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Each of the regions, which are the same as those used during the Division II cross country season, honored both genders’ top track athletes and field athletes and the top men’s and women’s head coaches and assistant coaches. Award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches.

QUICK LINKS TO AWARDS

Men Women
Track Athletes of the Year Track Athletes of the Year
Field Athletes of the Year Field Athletes of the Year
Head Coaches of the Year Head Coaches of the Year
Assistant Coaches of the Year Assistant Coaches of the Year

 

Many of the honored athletes and coaches will be in competition at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships set for next weekend, March 13-14, in Birmingham, Alabama at the Birmingham CrossPlex. The meet can be streamed online live at NCAA.org, and more information can be found at the USTFCCCA’s National Championships Central page.

Men’s Track Athletes of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Omar Johnson, St. Augustine’s

Johnson, the CIAA champ in the 400 and 4×400 relay, is qualified for nationals in the 200, 400, and 4×4.  The sophomore from St. Ann, Jamaica, is ranked fifth nationally at 400 meters and 13th at 200 meters.

CENTRAL REGION – Myles Hunter, Minnesota State

Hunter, a sophomore from Conyers, Georgia, hasn’t lost a 60-meter hurdles race this year and hasn’t run slower than eight seconds flat in the event.  He broke the Division II national record with his run of 7.64 seconds and is currently the second fastest hurdler in the entire NCAA.

EAST REGION – Mike Biwott, American International

Biwott automatically qualified for the national meet with his 14:03 at 5000 meters, good for No. 2 on the national list. He won the 5000 and 3000 in meet-record times at the Northeast-10 Championship. He’s a senior from Kapsowar, Kenya.

MIDWEST REGION – Lamar Hargrove, Tiffin

Hargrove, a sophomore sprinter from Cincinnati, Ohio, has been the best sprinter in Division II this year. He’s ranked first in the 200 (20.93, national record), second at 60 meters in 6.70 and ran a leg on the No. 1 4×400 meter relay (3:10.90). He won the GLIAC title and broke the conference record in all three events.

SOUTH REGION – Alfred Chelanga, Shorter

Shorter’s Chelanga ran 8:12.35 over 3000-meters for the ninth best time in Division II this year. He’s a first-year from Kenya.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Kevin Batt, Adams State

Batt won the mile, 3000, and DMR at the RMAC championships. The senior from Sydney, Australia, has the fastest 3000 in DII for 2015 with a time of 7:51.87 – good for No. 11 on the all-college descending order list..

SOUTHEAST REGION – Marquett Simmons Jr., Limestone

Simmons, a freshman from Jonesboro, Georgia, is tied for the second fastest 60 meter time in DII at 6.70 seconds.  That time qualified him for the USATF championships.

WEST REGION – Jordan Edwards, Academy of Art

Edwards qualified for nationals in the 200, 400, 4×400, and distance medley relay.  The senior from Denver, Colorado, ran 46.64 in the 400 for Division II’s fastest time of the year.

Women’s Track Athletes of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Quanera Hayes, Livingstone

Hayes hasn’t lost in the 200 or 400 all season.  The redshirt senior from Hope Mills, North Carolina leads the nation with a time of 53.48 in the 400 and is sitting second with her 23.74 200.

CENTRAL REGION – Ewa Zaborowska, Harding

The senior from Wejherowo, Poland, ran 9:23.01 for one of the fastest 3000 times in Division II history. Zaborowska won the mile and 3000 at the LSC meet, and is declared in the 3000 and DMR for nationals.

EAST REGION – Ada Udaya, New Haven

Udaya is the Division II leader and Northeast-10 conference champ in the 60 (7.33) and 200 (23.42), and a member of DII’s third-fastest 4×400. She’s a redshirt senior from West Haven, Connecticut.

MIDWEST REGION – Emily Oren, Hillsdale

Oren is a top-three national qualifier in the 3000 and distance medley relay. At the GLIAC meet, the junior from Holland, Michigan, anchored the winning DMR and won the mile in 4:49.

SOUTH REGION – Katelin Barber, Alabama-Huntsville

Barber, a junior, has DII’s eighth fastest 60 meter time at 7.52 seconds. She’s from Spruce Pine, Alabama.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Jaylen Rodgers, Angelo State

Rodgers is a national qualifier and LSC champion in the 800 and 4×400.  The senior from Hamlin, Texas, has the nation’s No. 3 800 time after converting for altitude.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Nikia Squire, Queens (N.C.)

Squire’s 7.47 60 meters is the second fastest in DII this year.  The freshman from Columbia, South Carolina qualified for and raced at the USATF championship in Boston.

WEST REGION – Katelyn Steen, Western Washington

Steen qualified for nationals with top-ten times in both the 5000 (16:46.92) and 3000 (9:38.92). She’s a senior from Sammamish, Washington.

Men’s Field Athletes of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – David Shaw, Jr., Saint Augustine’s

Shaw, a senior from St. Pauls, North Carolina, is NCAA Division II’s top-ranked triple jumper at 15.42m, and 18th in the country in the long jump at 7.25m. At the CIAA Championships earlier this season, he won the triple jump title and finished runner-up in the long jump.

CENTRAL REGION – Tanner McNutt, Pittsburg State

McNutt, a redshirt freshman from Humboldt, Kansas, took the Division II lead in the heptathlon with 5,438 points at the MIAA Championship. He also scored in the long jump with a jump of 6.97m and is No. 13 nationally in the Long Jump at 7.30m. Tanner’s performance helped Pittsburg State men’s team win the MIAA Indoor Conference title.

EAST REGION – Michael Lee, Southern Connecticut

Lee, a junior from New London, Connecticut, is undefeated in the triple jump this season, including wins at Northeast-10 Championships and the All Division New England Championships. He is currently ranked third in Division II with 50-5¼ (15.37m), and was named Field Athlete of the Meet at the Northeast-10 Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Justin Welch, Findlay

Welch, a senior from Luckey, Ohio, is ranked No. 1 among NCAA Division II in the weight throw 72-8 (22.15m) and No. 15 in the shot put 55-9¾ (17.01m), and will compete in both events at championships. He is ranked No. 10 among all collegians in the weight throw. He was named GLIAC Field Athlete of the Meet as the GLIAC Champion in the weight throw and finishing eighth in the shot put.

SOUTH REGION – Alex May, Alabama-Huntsville

May, a sophomore from Hoover, Alabama, is ranked No. 1 in the South Region and 22nd nationally in the triple jump. He is also ranked No. 2 in the Region in the long jump. The finished fifth in the triple jump at the Samford Invitational with a season’s best 14.85m and third in the long jump at the Emory CrossPlex Invitational at 6.82m for a season-best.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Seun Ogunmodede, Colorado Mines

Ogunmodede, a redshirt senior from Castle Rock, Colorado, enters the NCAA Championships as the only male athlete entered in three field event disciplines. Ogunmodede ranks fourth in the long jump (7.62m), ninth in the high jump (2.11m), and 15th in the triple jump (14.99m) nationally. At the RMAC Championships he won the triple jump, finished runner-up in the high jump and was 12th in the long jump.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Tanner Stepp, Carson-Newman

Stepp, a freshman from Jefferson City, Tennessee, is ranked sixth nationally and first in the Southeast Region in the high jump at 2.13m. He won three meets this year, including the Appalachian Indoor Open, and finished runner-up in two more.

WEST REGION – Payton Lewis, Northwest Nazarene

Lewis, a freshman from Nampa, Idaho, is ranked No. 3 in the pole vault with an Auto mark of 17-¾ (5.16m), and is also ranked No. 16 in the heptathlon with a score of 5,075. The freshman set school records in the pole vault, the long jump and the heptathlon. He holds the No. 2 all-time mark in the GNAC in the pole vault and the No. 3 all time best in the heptathlon. He won the GNAC title in the vault, and scored 20 points in three out of the five open events in which he competed.

Women’s Field Athletes of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Christina O’Connor, East Stroudsburg

O’Connor, a senior from Oneonta, New York, cleared 5-10 in the high jump to win the PSAC title, tied for the all time PSAC record. O’Connor will make her fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships. Currently, she’s tied for third on the NCAA Division II list for the Indoor Championships

CENTRAL REGION – Erika Kinsey, Central Missouri

Kinsey, a first-year collegian from Nalden, Sweden, has automatically qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships in four events. She is the collegiate leader in the high jump at 1.90m and the Division II leader in the triple jump at 12.93m. She is sixth in the nation in the long jump at 6.14m and fourth in the pentathlon at 3,878 points. She was named to the USTFCCCA All-Region Team in four events and was the MIAA Champion in three: the long, triple, and high jumps in addition to being named the MIAA High Point Award winner.

EAST REGION – Michelle Grecni, Southern Connecticut

Grecni, a senior from Danbury, Connecticut, is the top-ranked NCAA Division II pole vaulter. She is undefeated this season, and set meet records at the Metropolitan Championships, Northeast-10 Championships, and most recently the All Division New England Championships. She won the latter with a jump of 13-5¼ (4.10m), making her the only Division II pole vaulter over 4.00 meters.

MIDWEST REGION – Jamie Sindelar, Ashland

Sindelar, a redshirt junior from Athens, Ohio, is the top-ranked shot putter in NCAA Division II. Her throw of 55-4¼ (16.87m) earned her the GLIAC Championship. Sindelar’s throw is the second-farthest indoor shot put in Division II history. She has thrown over the auto mark in five meets this year.

SOUTH REGION – Krishanda Campbell-Brown, Benedict

Campbell-Brown, a senior from Nassau, Bahamas, was undefeated this year in the triple Jump hitting a provisional qualifying mark of 12.38m, just missing the automatic standards. She ranked No. 8 in Division II and No. 1 in the South Region. She is also an NCAA provisional qualifier in the long jump at 5.86m, ranking her 15th in Division II and No. 1 in the Region.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Salcia Slack, New Mexico Highlands

Slack, a redshirt junior from Kingston, Jamaica, amassed more single-season USTFCCCA All-Region honors than any other NCAA DII athlete in history: 60 hurdles, 400 meters, long jump, triple jump, shot put, pentathlon, and 4×400 relay). Slack dominated the RMAC Championships with 56 points, winning the pentathlon, 400, 60 hurdles and triple jump and finishing second in the shot put and long jump. She leads the nation in the pentathlon, and is No. 2 in the 60 hurdles, No. 4 in the triple jump, No. 5 in the long jump, No. 20 shot put and No. 22 at 400 meters.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Christina Matheny, Wingate

Matheny, a senior from Akron, Ohio, is ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Region in the high jump and is ranked No. 9 in the nation with a jump of 1.74m. She the pentathlon leader in the Southeast Region with a score of 3,071 points. Matheny is the school record holder in both events.

WEST REGION – Megan VanWinkle, Azusa Pacific

VanWinkle, a senior from West College Corner, Indiana, ranks in the top 12 of Division II in three different events. She posted the No. 8 pentathlon score of 3,818 points in Division II in her first meet of the season, and ranks No. 12 in both the long jump at 19-4 (5.89m) and the high jump at 5-8 (1.73m).

Men’s Head Coaches of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams, Saint Augustine’s

Now in his 39th year guiding the St. Augustine’s track and field programs, his teams continue to excel, claiming yet another CIAA Conference Championship title this year. The Falcons are qualified in 10 events for the NCAA DII Indoor Championships including the No. 2 ranked 4×400 meter relay. Coach Williams’ team enters the national championship meet ranked second in the region and No. 7 nationally.

CENTRAL REGION – Jim Dilling, Minnesota State

Consistently a top five ranked team this season including two weeks at No. 1, Jim Dilling’s squad enters the national championship meet No. 7 in nation. In just his second year at the helm, Dilling’s Mavericks feature the number one qualifiers to the national meet in 60m and 60m hurdles to go along with three other events that MSU will be represented in.  All told, the team hit three auto and 14 provisional marks this season in route to claiming the NSIC conference title.  Working primarily with the jumps and combinted events, Dilling’s athletes accounted for 66 of 163 points scored that the conference meet including a 1-4 in the triple jump.

EAST REGION – Leo Mayo, American International

Mayo led the Yellow Jackets to their first Northeast-10 indoor T&F championship. They are currently one of two men’s teams from the East Region ranked in the top 25 nationally, sitting at No. 19 heading into the NCAA Championships. The Yellow Jackets are qualified in seven events for the DII Championships including two from his event group in No. 2 ranked Michael Biwott at 5000 meters and fourth-ranked Jonathan Morgan in the mile. In his ninth season, Mayo’s 2015 team has broken six school records along with two NE-10 Championship records.

MIDWEST REGION – Jeremy Croy, Tiffin

Croy’s Dragons set all-time GLIAC records in the 60 (6.70), 200 (20.93), 4×400 (3:10.90) and heptathlon (5300 points) this season in route to a runner-up finish at the GLIAC meet.  With 20 provisional or auto marks this indoor season, Tiffin will be represented in 10 events at the NCAA Championship meet including top 200m qualifier Lamar Hargrove and the No. 1 ranked 4x400m relay. The team set school records in 60m (6.70), 200 (20.93), 4×400 (3:10.90), heptathlon (5300), pole vault (5.10m), long jump (7.35m), and triple jump (15.06m) this season. Now in his 15th season at Tiffin, Croy’s team heads into nationals ranked No. 2 in the Region and No. 5 nationally.

SOUTH REGION – Frank Hyland, Benedict

In his 10th year guiding the Benedict Tigers program, Hyland’s squad will have two representatives competing in the 60m dash at the NCAA Championship meet. The No. 3 ranked team in the South Region had a total of five provisional qualifiers ranging in events from the 60m to the 5000. Additionally, the Tigers have four throwers ranked in the top five in the Region in the shot put and weight throw. Hyland coaches the sprints, jumps, hurdles, and mid-distance.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Tom Dibbern, Texas A&M-Commerce

In only his second year heading up the program, Dibbern lead Texas A&M-Commerce to its first LSC Conference championship in 48 years. Led by 12 All Conference Selections and both the Field and Track high point scorers of the meet, the Lions racked up 245 points at the LSC meet. Commerce has been atop of the South Central Regional index since February 10th and has 14 All-Region Selections in seven different events. Making steady progress throughout the season, the TAMC program now sits No. 1 in the Region and 15th in the USTFCCCA DII men’s national rankings. The Lions have seven qualifiers that will compete in the NCAA Championship meet.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Matt van Lierop, Mount Olive

Matt van Lierop’s Trojans have been the top ranked team in Southeast Region for the entire indoor season. The Conference Carolinas champions turned in provisional marks in the 3000, mile, 60m hurdles, triple jump, high jump and heptathlon. Now in his sixth year with the program, van Lierop works primarily with the distance group. 

WEST REGION – Michael Friess, Alaska Anchorage

Having been a force in cross country for over 10 years, Fries coached his Seawolves to their first indoor title at the GNAC championships. The team ranked No. 2 in the West Region on the merits of having turned in 13 provisional qualifying marks this season.  Friess is in his 25th year at the helm of the UA program.

Women’s Head Coaches of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Dave Osanitsch, Shippensburg

In his 10th season as the coach of the Raiders, Osanitsch led his Shippensburg squad to a 36 point improvement over last year in route to claiming the PSAC championship title.  SU had 21 different competitors contribute to team score of 126 points. Sarah Hunt earned a trip to nationals with a SU-record long jump of 19-6¾.  Hunt will be joined at nationals by teammate Elizabeth Ross competing in the shot put. 

CENTRAL REGION – Mike Thorson, U-Mary

Thorson steered the ship once again as his team won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference title. The Marauder women scored a total of 142 points to win the championship by 23 points. With an auto qualifier and 18 provisional marks, Thorson’s team will be represented in seven events at the national meet. In his 22nd year at the school, Thorson’s Marauders are ranked third in the region and eighth nationally heading into the NCAA Championship meet.

EAST REGION – Karen Boen, Stonehill

Boen, in her 17th year at Stonehill, has athletes competing in four events at the NCAA Championship meet. At the New England Championships, 12 athletes automatically qualified in 11 open events along with three relays ranked in the top ten on the performance list. Stonehill won the Northeast-10 Championships, with individual wins in every mid distance and distance event (800m, 1000m, Mile, 3000, 4×8 and DMR). Stonehill had 16 athletes earn “All-Conference” recognition along with 20 USTFCCCA “All-Region” performances.

MIDWEST REGION – Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State

Now in his 16th year, Baltes led his Grand Valley State Lakers to a 49½ point margin of victory at the GLIAC championship meet. GVSU was ranked first in the final regional rankings and third nationally. Fourteen women will be representing GVSU at the NCAA Championships in 15 individual events and a relay. Baltes personally coaches the Distance group where the Lakers have six women in seven individual spots and a relay qualified to compete at nationals.

SOUTH REGION – David Cain, Alabama-Huntsville

Cain led his team to a No. 1 final ranking in the Region. The team broke four school records this season and has two entries into the NCAA Championships. Cain is in his 17th year at the school.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Bob DeVries, New Mexico Highlands

The Cowgirls, led by DeVries in his 23rd season at the helm, is ranked No. 3 nationally heading into the NCAA Championships with 11 entries. The team scored an all-time program best 159 points to finish runner-up at the RMAC Championships. Highlands boasts top-ten athletes in nine different events. Salcia Slack leads the nation in the pentathlon while Shanice McPherson leads Division II, and is fourth among all divisions in the long jump this season.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jim Vahrenkamp, Queens (N.C.)

Queens, under third-year coach Vahrenkamp, finished the season as the top-ranked team in the region. They have three entries into the national meet including Nikia Squire who enters the NCAA meet as the No. 2 seed at 60 meters.

WEST REGION – Preston Grey, Azusa Pacific

Azusa Pacific enters the NCAA Championships with five entries and a top-25 nation ranking. Staci Foster broke the school record this season in the mile, running 4:46.73. This is Grey’s third season as head coach at APU.

Men’s Assistant Coaches of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Steve Spence, Shippensburg

Spence, Shippensburg’s distance coach, led two runners and a distance medley relay to national championship qualification.  His men scored 72 of Ship’s points en route to a team title at the PSAC meet.

CENTRAL REGION – Chris Parno, Minnesota State

Parno’s charges in the sprints and hurdles scored nearly half of Minnesota State’s points as the Mavericks won the NSIC title.  Among that group’s accomplishments: conference records in the 60, 60 hurdles, 200, and a national record in the 60 hurdles.

EAST REGION – Bill Sutherland, Southern Connecticut State

Sutherland, well into his third decade at Southern Connecticut State, had throwers go 1-2-3 in the shot put and 1-5-7 in the weight throw at the Northeast-10 conference meet.   Shot thrower Michael Cameron and weight thrower Tresley Dupont are both qualified for this weekend’s national meet.

MIDWEST REGION – Derrick Vicars, Findlay

Vicars, in his second year coaching throws at Findlay, guided Justin Welch and Taylor Miller, the NCAA Division II leaders in the weight throw and shot put, respectively. In total, he will have five athletes at the NCAA II championships in the shot put (ranked No. 1, No. 4, No. 5, No. 15 and No. 16). His weight throwers are ranked No. 1, No. 20, No. 26, and No. 31 on the final national performance list. His athletes scored 35 points at the GLIAC Champs, going 1-2-3-8 in the shot put and Justin Welch winning the weight throw.

SOUTH REGION – Soyini Thompson, Alabama-Huntsville

Thompson, in her 12th year guiding the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers at Alabama-Huntsville, coached national provisional qualifiers in the heptathlon and the triple jump. Both No. 22 Alex May in the triple jump and No. 36 Devin Jones in the heptathlon set new school records.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Ross Smithey, Texas A&M-Commerce

Smithey, in his second year coaching the throws, combined events and men’s vertical jumps, helped lead the Lions to their first conference championship in 48 years. He coached conference champions in the weight throw, shot put and heptathlon as his athletes scored a cumulative of 96 points out of the record breaking 245 team points. He qualified four athletes to the national meet: two heptathletes, one weight thrower and one shot putter.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Tyler Stepp, Carson-Newman

In his first year with the program, Stepp guided national qualifier Tanner Stepp this season to the top spot in the Southeast Region and a number six national ranking in the High Jump. Stepp also coached regionally ranked athletes in the long jump, and triple jump.

WEST REGION – Ryan McWilliams, Alaska Anchorage

McWilliams, in his fourth season with the Seawolves, helped lead 13 athletes to auto or provisional marks for NCAAs. McWilliams coached Cody Thomas to five school records (multi, 60, 60h, LJ, HJ) and helped coach UAA to its first GNAC men’s indoor championship.

Women’s Assistant Coaches of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Karen Gaita, East Stroudsberg

Gaita held the East Stroudsberg high jump record for over two decades before coaching her own athlete—Christina O’Connor—to a new ESU standard of 1.78m (5-10).  O’Connor won the PSAC title and is tied for the third best jump in Division II.

CENTRAL REGION – Kyle Rutledge, Pittsburg State

Rutledge led two athletes to top-five national rankings, in the high jump and pentathlon.  His multis, vault, and high jump group scored 21 points at the MIAA meet.

EAST REGION – Joe Van Gilder, Southern Connecticut State

Van Gilder, SCSU’s sprint coach, led a quartet to DII’s fastest 4×400 time in 2015. His athletes shredded up the school record books this year, setting new standards in the 60, 200, 400, 500, and 4×400.

MIDWEST REGION – Joe Lynn, Hillsdale

Lynn, in his first season coaching middle-distance and distance athletes, coached two NCAA qualifiers at 800 Meters, three in the mile, two at 3000 meters, three at 5000 meters and the DMR. Additionally, three athletes or relays with which he works with have posted top-three times in their events- including the DMR, which posted one of the top times in Division II history at 11:27.

SOUTH REGION – Soyini Thompson, Alabama-Huntsville

Thompson, in her 12th year coaching sprints, hurdles and jumps at Alabama-Huntsville, helped coach her team to the top ranking in the South Region regional index. She coached eighth-ranked 60-meter sprinter Katelin Barber and 18th-ranked 60-meter hurdler Ackiesha Burnett to top ranked region rankings. She coached school records in the 55-meter hurdles and the triple jump.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Patrick Johnson, New Mexico Highlands

Johnson, in his fifth year coaching jumpers, sprinters, hurdlers and combined-event athletes, has guided the Cowgirls to their best ranking in school history at third and to their best showing in the RMAC Championships with 159 points. In areas where Johnson coaches, the Cowgirls are in the top-10 in the nation nine times individually and in the 4×400. Long jumper Shanice McPherson broke the Division II record in the long jump and Salcia Slack leads the nation in the pentathlon.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Travis LeFlore, Wingate

LeFlore, jumps, sprints and combined events coach in his third year at the school, has the top-ranked pentathlete in the region and the same athlete, Christina Matheny, is entered into the NCAA meet in the high jump.

WEST REGION – Chris Reed, Seattle Pacific

Reed, in his second year as distance coach at Seattle Pacific, has a DMR and an 800 meter runner entered into the NCAA Championships. The team also won the GNAC title this winter.

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