Division I XC Regional Athletes & Coaches of the Year Announced for 2015 Season
By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA
November 17, 2015
NEW ORLEANS – Region Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country season were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), as voted on by the Division’s coaches.
More information on each of the winners can be found below.
The NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will be contested November 21 in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted by Louisville. The meet will be broadcast live online via NCAA.com.
GREAT LAKES REGION – Mason Ferlic, Michigan
Ferlic, a senior from Minneapolis, Minnesota, topped an exceptional field at the Great Lakes Regional with two second victory over Big Ten champion Matt McClintock of Purdue. The win was his third of the season, to go along with a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships and a top-15 finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
MID-ATLANTIC REGION – Patrick Tiernan, Villanova
All Tiernan has done in 2015 is win. In five races this year the junior from Toowoomba, Australia, has yet to be defeated, with his most recent victory coming in a 26-second win at the Mid-Atlantic Region Championships. He also scored a 21-second win at the Big EAST Championships to become the first man to win the conference three years in a row.
MIDWEST REGION – Marc Scott, Tulsa
No one has been able to top Scott in 2015. The senior from North Yorkshire, England, is unbeaten in four races this season, including a one-second win at the Midwest Regional and another close win at the exceptionally deep Wisconsin adidas Invitational. He also claimed the American Athletic Conference title.
MOUNTAIN REGION – Anthony Rotich, UTEP
Rotich, a senior from Nairobi, Kenya, finished side-by-side with teammate Jonah Koech to go 1-2 at the Mountain Regional Championships – technically finishing runner-up by less than a tenth of a second. But it was Rotich who has emerged as the top Miner for much of the season, including wins at the Notre Dame Invitational and the Conference USA Championships. He was also third overall at the Pre-National Invitational.
NORTHEAST REGION – Justyn Knight, Syracuse
Knight, a sophomore from Vaughan, Ontario, in Canada, led a Syracuse 1-2-3 sweep at the Northeast Regional Championships. He finished no lower than runner-up all season long, as he started his season with a win at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown and finished runner-up at both the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and the ACC Championships.
SOUTH REGION – Antibahs Kosgei, Alabama
Kosgei, a junior from Eldoret, Kenya, has stood out in his first season at the NCAA level after transferring from NJCAA South Plains College. He claimed the South Region title by 10 seconds as part of a three-win season. He also crossed the line first at the SEC Championships, and won his NCAA debut at the Memphis Twilight Classic.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Brian Barraza, Houston
Barraza, a junior El Paso, Texas, won the South Central Region title in a two-second victory over Lamar’s Iliass Aouani. The win was his third of the season, along with wins at the Texas A&M and Rice invitationals. He was fourth in the American Athletic Conference and 25th at Pre-Nationals.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Thomas Curtin, Virginia Tech
Curtin, a senior from Leesburg, Virginia, added to an impressive season with a strong four-second win in the Southeast Region this past weekend. The victory was his third in a row, coming after an ACC Championships win and a victory over two-time defending national champion Edward Cheserek at the Pre-National Invitational.
WEST REGION – Edward Cheserek, Oregon
Cheserek, a junior from Newark, New Jersey, is looking to become the first man in NCAA Division I history to win three consecutive individual national titles. His regular season indicated he’s in form to accomplish just that, with decisive victories at the Pac-12 and West Region championships. He also won the Washington Invitational and finished runner-up at the Pre-National Invitational.
GREAT LAKES REGION – Molly Seidel, Notre Dame
The senior from Hartland, Wisconsin is picking the perfect way to wrap up her senior season. Following an easy win at the ACC Championships, Seidel put the field in the rearview mirror after 4K and pulled away for a 14-second win. The 2014 NCAA 10K champ has only raced four times this season, but each of those outings she finished third or better including a second-place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational where she ran faster than the course record.
MID-ATLANTIC REGION – Blanca Fernandez, Temple
Using a strong kick in the final 400 meters, the senior from Leon, Spain surged to a win in the Mid-Atlantic Region. This was Fernandez’s sixth race of the season and she’s registered nothing but low stick for Temple. Fernandez also won the Big 5 Cross Country Invitational, the Main Line Invitational, the Paul Short Run, the Princeton Invitational and finally the American Athletic Conference championship.
MIDWEST REGION – Erin Teschuk, North Dakota State
With a majority of runners in the Midwest Region focused on qualifying their teams for NCAAs, the senior from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada dedicated her energy on an individual crown. She did just that Friday afternoon as she beat the runner-up to the line by five seconds. This was her third consecutive win of the season, as she also won at the Summit League Championships and the Stanford Invitational in September.
MOUNTAIN REGION – Hannah Everson, Air Force
With so much talk about runners from Colorado and New Mexico, it would be easy for people to forget about the junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Well, they won’t after her performance at the Mountain Region Championships. Everson distanced herself from the pack and won the individual title by 10 seconds in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was Everson’s second win of the season and her fifth top-3 finish in six meets.
NORTHEAST REGION – Dana Giordano, Dartmouth
Progression was the name of the game for the senior from Bernardsville, New Jersey. After a 19th-place showing at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, Giordano took second at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and then earned her biggest win of the season Friday morning at Franklin Park in Massachusetts. Giordano qualified for her third consecutive trip to NCAAs and went from 29th in the Northeast as a freshman to 17th as a sophomore to eighth as a junior and then won as a senior.
SOUTH REGION – Chelsea Blaase, Tennessee
With a second consecutive trip to the NCAAs on the line, the senior from St. Joseph, Illinois wasn’t about to let it slip through her fingers. Using the experience she gained from finishing second at the Southeastern Conference Championships and third at the Pre-National Invitational, Blaase dug deep and surged to the region South Region crown.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Letitia Saayman, Coastal Carolina
In a region packed with four ranked teams, the senior from Pretoria, South Africa rose to the challenge once again. Saayman, the 2015 Big South Conference champion, found an extra gear and pulled away down the stretch for the biggest win of her collegiate career. She earned her second consecutive trip to NCAAs and based on her 11th-place finish at the Pre-National Invitational in Louisville, Kentucky in October, an All-American honor might be in her future.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Dominique Scott, Arkansas
Familiarity bred success for the senior from Cape Town, South Africa. Two weeks ago Scott became the first female runner in the history of the Southeastern Conference to win three consecutive individual titles. That victory came on the same course she ran Friday morning in the South Central Region Championships. Scott broke away late at nearly the same spot and took home the championship there as well. That was her third victory of the season as she also won at the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival in October.
WEST REGION – Allie Ostrander, Boise State
The freshman from Kenai, Alaska announced her presence with a course record at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Then Ostrander romped to an easy win at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Not too long after, she continued her incredible freshman year with a historic win at the West Region Championships. Ostrander won by 22 seconds over a talented field and led Boise State to a second-place finish, just one point back of champion Oregon.
GREAT LAKES REGION – Kevin Sullivan, Michigan
Sullivan, in his second season guiding the Michigan men’s program, has made an immediate impact on the Wolverines’ program. For the first time since 1998 his No. 5 men won the Big Ten title, and two weeks later they claimed the team title at the Great Lakes Region Championships. Individual leader Mason Ferlic won the Great Lakes title and finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships.
MID-ATLANTIC REGION – Steve Dolan, Penn
(Harry Groves Award)
Dolan, in his fourth year as the director of track & field and cross country at Penn, led his No. 21 Quakers to a place no Penn squad since 1975 had been: the NCAA Championships. With a runner-up finish at the Mid-Atlantic Region Championships, Dolan’s Penn squad grabbed the region’s second automatic qualifying bid. Penn finished runner-up in the Ivy League.
MIDWEST REGION – Steve Plasencia, Minnesota
(Roy Griak Award)
Few teams around the country showed better late-race strength so far this postseason than Plasencia’s No. 16 Golden Gophers. In his 20th season guiding Minnesota, he watched his squad rally from fifth to third over the final kilometer at the Big Ten Championships and from fourth to second over the last two miles at the Midwest Regional. The latter performance gave the Gophers their first NCAA team berth since 2011.
MOUNTAIN REGION – Mark Wetmore, Colorado
(Chick Hislop Award)
From the preseason all the way through the lead-up to the NCAA Championships, Wetmore – in his 21st season leading the Colorado men – has led the Buffaloes to the No. 1 rank in the National Coaches’ Poll. No one has topped Colorado in 2015, as the Buffaloes won the West Regional Championships, the Pac-12 Championships and the Pre-National Invitationals.
NORTHEAST REGION – Chris Fox, Syracuse
Fox, in his 11th year at the helm for Syracuse, has guided the program to one of its best seasons in history. The Orange have been No. 2 for a majority of their undefeated season with victories at the Northeast Regional, the ACC Championships, the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and the Boston College Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown.
SOUTH REGION – Bob Braman, Florida State
(Dave Walker Award)
Braman, in his 16th year in charge of the men’s program at Florida State, guided FSU to its first South Regional Championships team title since 2012. His squad took down defending region champ Ole Miss with a 58-62 victory. FSU was seventh in the deep ACC and 18th at the year’s deepest meet at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Chris Bucknam, Arkansas
Bucknam, now in his eighth season guiding the Arkansas men, defied preseason expectations and has built his young Razorbacks into the No. 8 squad in the country. His Arkansas group scored a win at the South Central Regional just two weekends after crushing the field at the SEC Championships by 73 points.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Dale Cowper, Louisville
Cowper, in his third season at the reins of the Louisville program, guided his Cardinal men from outside the National Coaches’ Poll to Southeast Region champs this past weekend. Louisville defeated five top-30 teams en route to its first-ever region title to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships for its first appearance since 2010.
WEST REGION – Greg Metcalf, Washington
Running on their home course in Seattle, Metcalf’s Washington men won their first-ever West Region title in what was one of the deepest regions in the country. Metcalf, in his 14th year leading the program, guided the No. 11 Huskies to victories over national top-10 teams in Stanford and Oregon just two weekends after an impressive fourth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships.
GREAT LAKES REGION – Mike McGuire, Michigan
McGuire, in his 24th year leading the Michigan women’s program, guided the No. 3 Wolverines to a nearly undefeated season. They won the Great Lakes Regional Championships title, along with victories at the Pre-National Invitational, the Greater Louisville Classic and the Commodore Classic. Only a runner-up upset defeat to Penn State at the Big Ten Championships stood between UofM and a perfect regular season.
MID-ATLANTIC REGION – John Gondak, Penn State
Gondak, in his second season at the helm at Penn State, has already put his stamp on the program with an upset victory over Michigan for the team’s first Big Ten title since 2009 and just the second in program history. His No. 9 Nittany Lions followed that performance up two weekends later with a victory in the Mid-Atlantic Regional over Georgetown.
MIDWEST REGION – Dave Smith, Oklahoma State
For the first time since 2005, Oklahoma State’s women claimed the Midwest Regional title, led by seventh-year head coach Dave Smith. “Firsts” was a continuing trend in the Cowgirls’ postseason, as two weeks prior OSU had won its first-ever Big 12 title and its first league title since the 1986 season. His Cowgirls have finished first in every meet they’ve run this season.
MOUNTAIN REGION – Joe Franklin, New Mexico
Franklin, in his ninth season at the helm of the New Mexico program, has guided his No. 1 Lobos to their best season in history. The top-ranked team for much of the year, the Lobos scored dominant victories at the Notre Dame Invitational, the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and the Mountain West Championships.
NORTHEAST REGION – Ray Treacy, Providence
Treacy, in his 32nd year leading the Providence women, guided the No. 4 Friars to the Northeast Regional Championships title as part of a strong 2015 campaign. Led by individual champion Sarah Collins, his Friars scored a decisive win at the Big EAST Championships and also earned another victory at the Boston College Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown.
SOUTH REGION – Steve Keith, Vanderbilt
After having never won the South Region prior to 2014, Keith’s No. 19 Vanderbilt squad can now call themselves two-time reigning champions. Keith, in his 10th season leading the Commodore program, guided his women to 13-point victory over Mississippi State as part of a season that also included a third-place finish in the SEC and a fourth-place finish at Notre Dame.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Lance Harter, Arkansas
Harter, in his 26th season guiding the Arkansas women’s program, has his No. 3 Razorbacks poised for another run at the NCAA Championships podium. Led by individual national title contender Dominique Scott, his Razorbacks were the South Central Region and SEC Champions by convincing margins, as well as the runners-up to No. 1 New Mexico at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Todd Morgan, Virginia
Morgan, in his fourth year in charge of the Virginia women’s program, has guided his No. 7 Cavaliers to top honors from among the nation’s toughest regions and conferences. Virginia won the Southeast Region title over another top-10 team in NC State, just two weeks after having topped the Wolfpack at the ACC Championships. Morgan’s Cavaliers were third at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
WEST REGION – Corey Ihmels, Boise State
In the span of just three seasons, Ihmels has taken Boise State from a program that had never qualified to the NCAA Championships as a team to a squad now making its second-consecutive trip to nationals as the No. 8 team in the country. Led by individual national title-contending frosh Allie Ostrander, his Broncos made a statement early with a win at the Roy Griak Invitational and have since followed with runner-up finishes in both the Mountain West and the West Region.