NCAA DIII National Award Winners For 2018 Outdoor T&F Season

NEW ORLEANS – National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field season were announced Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

These awards were voted on by USTFCCCA member coaches based on performances both at this past weekend’s NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as performances throughout the entire regular season.

Awards Central: National Athletes of the Year | National Coaches of the Year

Information on each of the winners can be found below.

National Athletes of the Year

MEN’S TRACK – Grant O’Connor, RPI

Grant O’Connor capped an incredible junior year with 18 points at NCAAs. O’Connor won the 5000 in 14:26.03 and finished runner-up in the 10,000 at 30:17.88. He entered the meet as the top-ranked athlete over 10,000 meters after becoming the eighth fastest performer in NCAA DIII history with his time of 30:17.88 at the Bison Outdoor Classic. O’Connor was also ranked third nationally in the 5000 and won the NCAA crown in a sprint by 0.03 seconds.

O’Connor is the first athlete from RPI to be named Men’s National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.

WOMEN’S TRACK – Emily Richards, Ohio Northern

Emily Richards ended her collegiate career with a bang. Richards once again swept the 800 and 1500 at NCAAs, making her the first woman to accomplish that since UW-Oshkosh’s Christy Cazzola in 2014. The senior from Delaware, Ohio, broke both the meet record and stadium record in the 800 with her time of 2:04.22 and crossed the finish line of the longer race in 4:25.08. Richards dazzled during the regular season, too, as she sat fifth on the All-College Descending Order List in the 800 at 2:02.84 and became the third fastest performer in NCAA DIII history over 1500 meters at 4:15.77.

Richards is the first female athlete from Ohio Northern to be named Women’s National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.

MEN’S FIELD – Blaze Murfin, Dubuque

Blaze Murfin totaled 16 points at the NCAA meet after qualifying in all three throwing events. Murfin won the shot put title with a mark of 18.62m (61-1¼), which made him the 10th best performer in NCAA DIII history. He placed third in the discus throw with a mark of 53.52m (175-7) and finished right outside of scoring in the hammer throw at 57.17m (187-6). During the regular season, Murfin qualified for the Drake Relays in both the shot put and hammer and was named Field MVP at the IIAC Championships.

Murfin is the first male athlete from Dubuque to be named Men’s National Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.

WOMEN’S FIELD – Monique Newton, Oberlin

Monique Newton scored the most points out of any woman in field events at NCAAs. Newton amassed 18 points thanks to a victory in the discus throw and runner-up effort in the shot put. The senior from Sacramento, California, ended the regular season ranked in the national top-6 of all three throwing events: second in the discus, fifth in the hammer and sixth in the shot put. Newton was a force at the NCAC Championships, where she won event titles in each event.

Newton is the first female athlete from Oberlin to be named Women’s National Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.

National Coaches of the Year

MEN’S COACH – Kevin Lucas, Mount Union

Kevin Lucas guided Mount Union to a dramatic win at NCAAs. Lucas, in his eighth year as head coach of the Purple Raiders, watched his men capture the second outdoor title in program history when they won the 4×400 relay, the final track event of the day. Mount Union also won event titles in the open 400, the 110 hurdles and scored in the javelin, pole vault and shot put. The Purple Raiders entered the meet ranked seventh in the final National Team Rankings.

This is the second time that Lucas has been named Men’s National Outdoor Coach of the Year. Lucas also earned the award back in 2014.

WOMEN’S COACH – John Smith, George Fox

George Fox reached new heights under the direction of John Smith. The Bruins vaulted to the top of the USTFCCCA National Team Rankings during the regular season and then shined at the NCAA meet. George Fox shared the national title with UMass Boston and would have owned it outright if the Beacons didn’t finish eighth in the 4×400 relay. The Bruins scored in seven different events, including a victory in the 4×100 relay and top-3 finishes in the heptathlon, long jump and high jump.

This is the first time that Smith has been named Women’s National Outdoor Coach of the Year.

MEN’S ASSISTANT – Gabe Haberly, George Fox

Gabe Haberly coaches a little bit of everything at George Fox. Haberly, in his sixth year with the Bruins, guides the sprinters, 4×100 relay, pole vaulters and javelin throwers. His athletes had a fantastic season, but none better than Seth Nonnenmacher, though. Nonnenmacher became the fifth best performer in NCAA DIII history in the javelin throw at the NWC Championships and then improved to the third best with his heave of 73.75m (241-11) at the NCAA meet.

This is the first time that Haberly has been named Men’s National Assistant Coach of the Year.

WOMEN’S ASSISTANT – Adam Haldorson, George Fox

Adam Haldorson’s athletes were a major reason why George Fox captured a share of the national title this past weekend. Haldorson’s sprinters, hurdlers, high jumpers, throwers and heptathletes scored points in the 400, high jump and heptathlon. Sarah King and Annie Wright, perhaps two of Haldorson’s prized pupils, ended the regular season ranked first and second nationally in the 400 and heptathlon, respectively.

This is the first time that Haldorson has been named Women’s National Assistant Coach of the Year.