2016 NCAA DIII Indoor National Athletes of the Year Announced
NEW ORLEANS — Anybody who followed the indoor track & field season in NCAA Division III saw the same four athletes dominate the descending order lists, make headlines and leave the competition in the dust at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships — Kim Gallavan, Amy Regan, Robert Starnes and Josh Thorson.
When it comes down to it, don’t those three components add up to the perfect formula to decide whether or not an athlete is named National Athletes of the Year? Well, the DIII coaches around the nation certainly thought so.
Gallavan, Regan, Starnes and Thorson were honored Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as the NCAA Division III National Athletes of the Year.
Want to know how many individual titles Gallavan, Regan, Starnes and Thorson combined for at NCAAs? Eight.
Each of the four National Athletes of the Year were double winners in Grinnell, Iowa.
Gallavan, a senior from Auburn Township, Ohio, entered NCAAs as one of the best throwers in the nation. The senior owned the No. 2 seed in the weight throw and sat sixth on the shot put list.
Under the bright lights, Gallavan — the Women’s National Field Athlete of the Year — shined.
Gallavan won the weight throw title on Friday afternoon with a heave of 19.10m (62-8) and came back the next day to capture the shot put crown after hurling the sphere 14.71m (48-3¼). Those 20 points went a long way in helping her team — Baldwin Wallace — win its first team title in program history.
In addition to those national titles, Gallavan placed first in both the shot put and weight throw at the OAC Championships and first in the weight throw at the All-Ohio Championships.
Regan, a senior from Green Brook, New Jersey, asserted herself as the preeminent female distance runner in DIII this season. That’s the main reason why she was named the Women’s National Track Athlete of the Year.
It all started in early February when Regan blistered the second fastest time in DIII history at 5000 meters (16:23.40) and beat a handful of DI athletes from Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. That effort at the Armory Track Invitational came just one week after Regan covered 3000 meters in 9:37.68.
Then at NCAAs, Regan doubled up on distance titles. Regan won the 3000 and 5000 — and it wasn’t even close. The combined margin of victory for her was 13 seconds.
Starnes went to the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center last week tied for the national lead in the high jump and in sole possession of the top seed in the long jump. After this past weekend, there was no question as to who was the best jumper this season in DIII — and because of that, Starnes was named the Men’s National Field Athlete of the Year.
On the first day of NCAAs, Starnes could have only use one attempt in the long jump and still won a national title. He soared 7.37m (24-2½), which was seven inches better than the rest of the competition.
Then in the high jump, Starnes’ mark of 2.14m (7-¼) stood as the winner — but he wasn’t done. Starnes passed on the next two heights to take a crack at the DIII record of 2.23m (7-3¾). The UW-Whitewater sophomore from Green Bay, Wisconsin unfortunately fouled on all three attempts.
Thorson, like his female counterpart (Regan), won the 3000 and 5000 at NCAAs.
The senior from Plymouth, Minnesota won the 5000 by eight seconds on Friday night and returned to the track the following afternoon to claim victory in the 3000. Thorson’s time of 14:16.46 in the 5000 was the best run in DIII this season.
This is the first Men’s National Track Athlete of the Year award for Thorson.