NJCAA National Award Winners For 2017 Indoor Season

NEW ORLEANS — National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2017 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field season were announced Wednesday by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

These awards were determined voted on by USTFCCCA member coaches based on performances both at this past weekend’s NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and througout the entire regular season.

Information on each of the winners can be found below.

NATIONAL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

MEN’S TRACK – Gilbert Kigen, Central Arizona

Kigen, a sophomore from Kenya, showed why he was a force at the NJCAA level this season. He competed in three events at the 2017 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and won each one. Kigen posted a seven-second win in the mile, a five-second win in the 3000 (which he entered as the top-ranked athlete) and polished it off with a four-second victory in the 5000. He scored 30 of Central Arizona’s 42 points at the NJCAA Indoor Championships and never lost during the indoor season.

WOMEN’S TRACK – Esther Gitahi, New Mexico JC

Gitahi, a freshman from Nakuru, Kenya, has range in spades and proved it during the indoor season. She entered the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships as the top-ranked athlete in the mile and 3000. Gitahi left Pittsburg, Kansas with both of those titles, added a runner-up finish in the 1000 and competed as a member of the Thunderbirds’ 4×800 and DMR. All told, Gitahi scored 31¼ points for her team.

MEN’S FIELD – Jared Seay, Iowa Central CC

Seay, a sophomore from Ankeny, Iowa, left his mark in a big way at the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Triton heptathlete broke the national record in his signature event with a score of 5413 points. Seay also notched a 6th-place finish in the high jump to go along with it. He was a big reason why Iowa Central won the men’s team title.

WOMEN’S FIELD – Latavia Coombs, New Mexico JC

Coombs, a sophomore from St. Catherine, Jamaica, had a busy weekend at the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and made the most of it. She won the triple jump, placed 2nd in the pentathlon, 3rd in the long jump and 6th in the high jump. All told, she scored 27 of her team’s 121 points in the field alone.

NATIONAL COACHES OF THE YEAR

MEN’S HEAD COACH – Denny Myers, Iowa Central CC

Myers, in his 8th year with Iowa Central, led his squad to their 5th NJCAA title in the past 7 seasons after topping the USTFCCCA National Team Rankings every week of the year. The Tritons scored 124 points to win by 19½ over South Plains (Texas), the team that also finished runner-up to them last year. During the regular season his team notched six 1st place marks on the NJCAA Desecending Order List and won the ICCAC Indoor Championship after winning 16 events.

WOMEN’S HEAD COACH – Keith Blackwill, New Mexico JC

Blackwill, in his 12th year with the program, led the Thunderbirds to a national title this season. New Mexico JC scored 121 points, which beat runner-up Iowa Central’s score by 5. The Thunderbirds held the top spot in the USTFCCA National Team Rankings from Week 2 onward. Blackwill’s athletes won three individual event titles at the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and went 1-2-3 in the triple jump.

MEN’S ASSISTANT COACH – Dee Brown, Iowa Central CC

Brown, in his 13th year with the program, helped lead his squad to the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field men’s team title. His athletes went 3-4 in the 1000, 3-4 in the mile, 2-8 in the 3000 and 2-6-8 in the 5000 to notch a staggering amount of points. Brown’s athletes also combined to win the DMR and place 4th in the 4×800.

WOMEN’S ASSISTANT COACH – Tony Davis, Barton County (Kan.) CC

Davis, in his 3rd year with the program, helped lead Barton (Kan.) CC to the Jayhawk Conference Championship and then a 4th place finish at the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. His athletes combined to win the 4×400 in a national record time of 3:38.93, breaking the old standard by nearly one second.