NJCAA DI Regional Award Winners For 2017 Outdoor T&F Season

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2017 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field season were announced Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Each of the four regions 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. Only those individuals from USTFCCCA member programs are eligible for awards.

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 at the 2017 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships set for this weekend, May 18-20, in Hutchinson, Kansas.

MEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Kasique Oliver – Monroe (N.Y.)

Oliver, a freshman from Glen St. Vincent & The Grenadines, is ranked 4th nationally and 1st regionally in the 800 with a time of 1:53.82. The first-year athlete set several meet and school records in the 800 and 1500 during the regular season.

CENTRAL REGION – Keitavious Walter – Hinds (Miss.) CC

Walter, a sophomore from Ruston, Louisiana, is ranked 1st nationally and 1st regionally in both the 100 (9.98) and 200 (20.43). He went undefeated during the regular season in the 100 and is a member of the top-ranked 4×100 and 4×400 teams in the nation.

MIDWEST REGION – Karim Achengli – Iowa Cental CC

Achengli, a sophomore from Adra, Spain, is ranked 2nd nationally and 1st regionally in the 5000 with a time of 14:08.82. He is also ranked 3rd nationally and 1st regionally in the 10000 with a time of 30:50.97.

WEST REGION – Gilbert Kigen – Central Arizona

Kigen, a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, is ranked 1st nationally at both 5000 (13:53.61) and 10000 meters (30:12.60). He is also ranked 2nd nationally in the 1500 (3:47.77) and is 9th in the nation in the 800 (1:53.43).

WOMEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Susan Ejore – Monroe (N.Y.)

Ejore, a sophomore from Nakuru, Kenya, is ranked 1st nationally in both the 800 (2:08.82) and the 1500 (4:29.65). The second-year athlete has only lost two races during the regular season, one coming at the Penn Relays where she finished 4th in the 3000 and another time in the 400 at the University of Delaware Invitational.

CENTRAL REGION – Kaitlyn Shoemaker – Allen (Kan.) CC

Shoemaker, a sophomore from Silver Lake, Kansas, is ranked 1st nationally in both the 5000 (17:12.71) and 10000 (35:25.43). She is ranked 13th nationally at 1500 meters (4:48.20) and finished 2nd in that event at the Region VI Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Agnes Mansaray – Iowa Central CC

Mansaray, a freshman from Yeadon, Pennsylvania, is ranked 2nd nationally in the 800 with a time of 2:09.78. She is also a member of the 6th-ranked 4×800 relay team that has a time of 9:33.96 and she led off with a 2:10 split at the Region XI Championships. She is also a national qualifier in the 400 with a time of 55.65 and in the 1500 with a time of 4:48.44.

WEST REGION – Esther Gitahi – New Mexico JC

Gitahi, a freshman from Nukuru, Kenya, is ranked 1st nationally in the steeplechase with a time of 10:45.28. She is also ranked 2nd nationally at 1500 meters (4:31.02) and 5000 meters (17:21.84). Gitahi has the 10th best mark in the nation over 800 meters and qualified for NJCAAs in that as well.

MEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Jordan Downs – Vincennes (Ind.)

Downs, a sophomore, is ranked 1st nationally in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.99m (16-4½). He is also ranked 15th nationally in the long jump with a leap of 7.30m (23-11½).

CENTRAL REGION – Ricky Nelson Jr. – Barton (Kan.) CC

Nelson, a sophomore from Belleville, Illinois, is ranked 1st nationally in the discus throw with a heave of 58.15m (190-9) and ranked 2nd nationally in the hammer throw (58.59m/192-2). He won Region VI titles in both the discus throw and hammer throw and was named the Region VI Field Athlete of the Meet.

MIDWEST REGION – Jared Seay – Iowa Central CC

Seay, a sophomore from Ankeny, Iowa, is ranked 3rd nationally in both the decathlon with 6573 points and in the high jump with a clearance of 2.15m (7-0½). His total in the decathlon set a Region XI Championships meet record. Seay is also ranked 22nd nationally in the long jump.

WEST REGION – Laquan Nairn – South Plains (Texas)

Nairn, a freshman from the Bahamas, is ranked 1st nationally in the long jump with a windy 7.97m (26-1¾) and is ranked 2nd nationally in the triple jump with a mark of 15.65m (51-4¼). He is also ranked 13th nationally in the high jump at 2.05m (6-8¾).

WOMEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Natricia Hooper – Essex County (N.J.)

Hooper, a freshman from Guyana, is ranked 3rd nationally and 1st in the region in the triple jump with a mark of 12.88m (42-3¼). She won event titles at the Stockton University Invitational and the Morgan State Legacy Track & Field Meet.

CENTRAL REGION – Nayoka Clunis – Cloud County (Kan.) CC

Clunis, a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, is ranked 1st nationally in the discus throw with a heave of 49.63m (163-10). She is also ranked 2nd nationally in the hammer throw with a heave of 54.38m (178-5) and 3rd nationally in the shot put (15.41m/50-6¼).

MIDWEST REGION – Annastacia Forrester – Iowa Central CC

Forrester, a sophomore from Manchester, Jamaica, is ranked 1st nationally in the high jump with a clearance of 1.80m (5-10¾). She is also ranked 2nd nationally in the long jump with a leap of 6.30m (20-8) and is ranked 3rd nationally in the triple jump (12.88m/42-3¼).

WEST REGION – Latavia Coombs – New Mexico JC

Coombs, a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, is ranked 1st nationally in the triple jump with a mark of 13.56m (44-6) and 3rd nationally in the long jump (6.26m/20-6½). The future Kentucky Wildcat is also ranked 2nd nationally in the heptathlon with a total of 4698 points.

MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Chris Gafner – Vincennes (Ind.)

Gafner, in his 13th year with the program, has the Trailblazes ranked 1st in the Atlantic Region this year. Additionally, his men’s squad is ranked 19th in all of NJCAA Division I.

CENTRAL REGION – David Schenek – Barton (Kan.) CC

Schenek, in his 10th season with the program, won the Region VI championship by 12 points this year. His squad has been ranked in the top-3 nationally all season long. His event specific athletes have 13 national qualifiers and has 2 in the top-5 of the nation in the hammer throw, 3 in the top-15 of the discus throw, 3 in the top-6 of the shot put, 3 in the top-15 of the long jump and 2 in the top-15 of the high jump.

MIDWEST REGION – Denny Myers – Iowa Central CC 

Myers, in his 8th year with the program, has his men’s squad ranked 1st in the USTCCCA National Rankings heading into the final stretch of the outdoor season. The Tritons have 57 national championship qualifiers.

WEST REGION – Erik Vance – South Plains (Texas)

Vance, in his 1st season as head coach of the program, has led the Texans to a 2nd-place national ranking, as well as the top ranking in the West Region. 20 different athletes are ranked nationally in the top 20 in 14 seperate events. His 4×400 relay ranks second in the country (first in the region), 4×100 relay comes in at fifth in the nation (second in the region) and 4×800 relay is sixth in the country (also first in region).

WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Lesleigh Hogg – Monroe (N.Y.)

Hogg, in his 3rd year with the program, has his women’s squad ranked 2nd in the Atlantic Region, as well as 24th nationally. His athletes sit atop the descending order list in the 200 meters, 800 meters and 1500 meters.

CENTRAL REGION – David Schenek – Barton (Kan.) CC

Schenek, in his 10th year with the program, led his women’s squad to the Region VI Championship, winning by 87 points. His event specific athletes accumulated 3 individual Region VI Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Emmett Statzer – Iowa Western CC

Statzer, in his 10th year with the program, led the Reivers to the Region XI Championship, winning their 2nd title in school history. His women’s team has 22 national qualifiers, and his squad ranked 1st in the Midwest Region and 5th nationally.

WEST REGION – Keith Blackwill – New Mexico JC

Blackwill, in his 12th year with the program, has led the T-Birds to a 1st-place national ranking from week two until now. His 4×100 relay team leads the nation with a time of 44.50, and triple jumper Latavia Coombs leads the nation in the triple jump.

MEN’S ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Tim Marsee – Vincennes (Ind.)

Marsee, in his 16th year with the program, helped Vincennes (Ind.) achieve the top ranking in the Atlantic Region. Marsee has coached pole vaulter Jordan Downs, who owns the top mark in all of NJCAA Division I.

CENTRAL REGION – Willie Calvin – Hinds (Miss.) CC

Calvin, in his 3rd year with the program, has helped guide Hinds (Miss.) CC to an 8th-place national ranking thanks in large part to his jumpers and sprinters. His athletes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4×100 relay, 4×400 relay and high jump own the top marks on the NJCAA Division I descending order list.

MIDWEST REGION – Nigel Bigbee – Iowa Central CC

Bigbee, in his 3rd year with the program, played a major role in Iowa Central CC’s 1st-place national ranking. Bigbee coached Odaine Lewis, who is ranked 1st nationally in the triple jump and 4th in the long jump in addition to coaching the nation’s top-ranked 110 hurdler in Malik Beverly.

WEST REGION – Justin Hobbs – South Plains (Texas)

Hobbs, in his 1st year with the program, helped the Texans rise to the 2nd spot in the national rankings, as well as the top billing in the West Region. His 400 hurdlers own the top-3 spots on the national descending order list, while his other hurdlers and relay teams own 6 top-10 descending order list spots.

WOMEN’S ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR

ATLANTIC REGION – Pete Charles – Monroe (N.Y.)

Charles, in his 2nd year with the program, guided the Lady Mustangs to a 2nd-place ranking in the Atlantic Region, as well as a 7th-place national ranking. His athletes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 400 hurdles owned the top marks in the Atlantic Region.

CENTRAL REGION – Tony Davis – Barton (Kan.) CC

Davis, in his 3rd year with the program, helped guide Barton (Kan.) CC to the Region VI Championship. His athletes accounted for 88 of the team’s 192 points. Other than the 100 meters, every sprint, relay or hurdle event won the individual championhip under his watch.

MIDWEST REGION – Shellene Williams-Davis – Iowa Western CC

Williams-Davis, in her 5th year with the program, helped guide the Reivers to the Region XI Championship. Her athletes captured 3 Region XI individual championships in addition to breaking 2 school records. Iowa Western CC is ranked 5th nationally.

WEST REGION – Jeff Becker – New Mexico JC

Becker, in his 7th year with the program, coached 4 national qualifiers in the steeplechase, including the NJCAA Division I leader. Additionally, Becker coached 3 national qualifiers in the 1500 meters and 2 national qualifiers in the 800 meters.