2016 NAIA Indoor National Awards Announced

NEW ORLEANS — Many athletes and coaches stood out during the 2016 NAIA Indoor Track & Field season, but there were some that shined brighter than others.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) honored those athletes and coaches on Wednesday with national awards, as voted on by the nation’s coaches.

These are the inaugural NAIA awards and were determined based on performances at this past weekend’s NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships as well as througout the regular season.

National Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year

Daniel Garcia, Cardinal Stritch

Garcia, a sophomore from Barcelona, Spain, put on a show at the NAIA Championships. He won the national title at 1000 meters (2:28.79) and finished runner-up in the mile (4:16.97). Later on, Garcia ran a leg on a point-scoring 4×400 team. In all, Garcia scored 18.5 points to lead the Wolves to a sixth-place team finish.

National Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year

Zach Lurz, Concordia (Neb.)

Lurz, a redshirt junior from Chadron, Nebraska, continued to show why he is one of the best throwers in the division. Coming into the national meet, Lurz was ranked first and second in the shot put and weight throw, respectively. Lurz won the national shot put title with a heave of 17.57m (57-7.75) and took third in the weight throw (19.70m/64-7.75).

National Men’s Indoor Head Coach of the Year

Doug Edgar, Indiana Tech

Throughout the season, Edgar’s Warriors were the class of NAIA and had been ranked No. 1 in the USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings since the preseason. At the national meet, they dominated en route to a third consecutive national title. Indiana Tech had 23 All-America nods with three athletes taking home three each.

National Men’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year

Ed McLaughlin, Concordia (Neb.)

In his 18th year, McLaughlin coached the Bulldog throwers to new heights. At the NAIA Championships, his athletes went 1-2-8 in the shot put and 1-3-5-7 in the weight throw. That comes out to be a total of 41 points. Concordia’s throwers beat all but four teams by themselves with that total.

National Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year

Rochene Smith, Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Smith, a sophomore from Jamaica, was a big reason as to why the Pioneers won the national title. This past weekend, Smith won the 200-meter title (23.87), finished runner-up at 60 meters (7.45) and ran the second leg of the runner-up 4×400 relay. Smith scored 20 of Wayland Baptist’s 72 points at the meet by herself.

National Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year

Paige Hervert, Doane (Neb.)

Hervert, a freshman from Ravenna, Nebraska, left her mark in her first year in the NAIA system. She entered the national meet ranked in the top-10 of two events (pentathlon, high jump) and captured an individual title in the pentathlon (3572 points) in Johnson City, Tennessee.

National Women’s Indoor Head Coach of the Year

Brian Whitlock, Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Whitlock, in his seventh year with the Pioneers, led his women to their third national indoor title since 2008. Wayland Baptist had 15 All-Americans and edged runner-up Doane (Neb.) 72-61.50.

National Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

Remuro Henry, Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Henry, in his first year guiding the Pioneer sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers, had several athletes ranked in the top-5 nationally in the 60, 200 and 400. At the national meet, his women finished 1-2 in the 200, 2-4 in the 60 and second in the 400.