Regional Award Winners for 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Season

NEW ORLEANS — Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field season were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Each of the eight 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 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Brandon Valentine-Parris – Saint Augustine’s

Valentine-Parris, a junior from St. Vincent, ranked first in the Atlantic Region in the 200, 400, 4×100 and 4×400. He won the CIAA Track MVP award after winning all four aforementioned events at the conference championships, totaling 25 points to lead the Falcons to the team title. He ranked fifth nationally in the 200 with a time of 20.82 and eighth nationally in the 400 with a time of 46.72.

CENTRAL REGION – NaRon Rollins – Pittsburg State

Rollins, a junior from Platte City, Missouri, was the MIAA Conference Champion in the 100 and 200, as well as picking up the MIAA Conference High Point Scorer award. His time of 10.09 in the 100 meters during the regular season was tops in NCAA Division II. He was just one of two athletes to hit Automatic Qualifying Marks in the 100 and 200 this year, while he was also a part of two relay teams that hit Provisional Qualifying Marks.

EAST REGION – Chad Miller – American International

Miller, a junior from Spanish Town, Jamaica, won NE-10 Conference titles in the 400 and 400 hurdles this year, earning the league’s Most Outstanding Track Performer award. He is the only athlete from the East Region ranked in the top-20 nationally in two events, as he sits fourth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 51.21 while also placing 17th in the 400 with a time of 47.15.

MIDWEST REGION – James Ngandu – Tiffin

Ngandu, a senior from Nakuru, Kenya, was the GLIAC Champion in the 5000 and 10,000 this season. His regular-season time of 28:45.96 in the 10,000 meters led NCAA Division II this year, while his season-best 5000 time of 13:47.92 ranked second nationally.

SOUTH REGION – Elijah Dryer – Alabama-Huntsville

Dryer, a freshman from Nolesnville, Tennessee, won the GSC Championship in the 200 meters while also helping the 4×100 relay team win a league title. During the regular season, he ran the second leg of the nation’s top 4×100 team that posted a time of 40.16. He also ranked second nationally in the 200 meters during the regular season with a wind-aided time of 20.71.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Sydney Gidabuday – Adams State

Gidabuday, a junior from Orange, California, ran the second-best 5000 time in NCAA Division II history this year at the Bryan Clay Invitational, finishing with a time of 13:29.31. That time was the fourth-best this season among all divisions. He also notched the second-best 10,000 time in NCAA Division II this year at 29:02.97.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Widchard Guervil – Tusculum

Guervil, a freshman from Fort Myers, Florida, was the South Atlantic Conference Champion in the 100 this season. His regular-season time of 10.30 ranked sixth, while his 200 time of 20.97 sat 13th on the Descending Order List. He was also a member of the 12th-best 4×100 relay team nationally.  

WEST REGION – David Ribich – Western Oregon

Ribich, a senior from Enterprise, Oregon, broke the all-time NCAA Division II record in the 1500 at the Bryan Clay Invitational, posting a time of 3:37.35. At the time, that mark sat 14th in the world. Additionally, he ran the third-fastest 800 time in NCAA Division II this year at 1:48.09.

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Alex Presley – Wheeling Jesuit

Presley, a redshirt-senior from Zanesville, Ohio, was the MEC champion in the shot put, discus and hammer throw in addition to placing eighth in the javelin. He set conference records in the shot put, discus and hammer throw, picking up MEC Field Athlete of the Year and MEC MVP honors at the outdoor championships. His shot put mark of 18.24m (59-10¼) ranked eighth in NCAA Division II this year.

CENTRAL REGION – Bryan Burns – Missouri Southern

Burns, a redshirt-senior from Carthage, Missouri, was the MIAA champion in the discus this year, setting a meet record with a 58.15m (190-9) throw. He also hit an Automatic Qualifying Mark in the shot put during the regular season with a throw of 18.67m (61-3). Heading into the outdoor championships, he ranks second nationally in the discus, as well as third in the shot put.  

EAST REGION – John Braga – Merrimack

Braga, a senior from North Reading, Massachusetts, was the NE-10 and NEICAAA Champion in the decathlon. His season-best point total of 7064 sat eighth nationally and doubled as an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Mark. Additionally, his long jump mark of 7.11m (23-4) ranked him fourth, regionally, while his high jump mark of 1.96m (6-5) put him seventh in the East Region.

MIDWEST REGION – Marcus Myers – Walsh

Myers, a senior from Grelton, Ohio, owned the top hammer throw mark in NCAA Division II this year at 67.12m (220-2) that doubled as the nation’s lone Automatic Qualifying Mark in the event. He was the G-MAC Champion in both the hammer throw and the discus throw, earning G-MAC Men’s Field Athlete of the Meet honors. His discus mark of 53.16m (174-5) sat 13th, nationally.

SOUTH REGION – Zach Hancock – Alabama-Huntsville

Hancock, a sophomore from Madison, Alabama, led the South Region in the shot put and the discus, while also sitting third in the hammer throw. He earned the GSC Championships Most Outstanding Field Athlete award after winning the shot put and discus in addition to placing second in the hammer throw. His season bests in the shot put (17.66m/57-11½) and discus (52.89m/173-6) both ranked 17th, nationally.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Nils Fischer – Angelo State

Fischer, a sophomore from Dusseldorf, Germany, led the nation in the javelin this year with the third-best throw in NCAA Division II history at 76.48m (250-11). He recorded four of the top-10 marks in NCAA Division II history this season, earning two USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week awards. His season-best mark ranks sixth amongst all divisions.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Ricko Meckes – Queens (N.C.)

Meckes, a freshman from Germany, ranked second in the nation in the javelin this year with a season-best mark of 70.67m (231-10). He scored a total of 14 points at the SAC Championships, as he also placed sixth in the high jump and eighth in the shot put. He is the highest ranked field athlete in any event in the Southeast Region.

WEST REGION – Tyler Arroyo – Chico State

Arroyo, a junior from San Diego, California, was the CCAA Champion in the high jump. His season-best mark of 2.17m (7-1½) led all NCAA Division II competitors this season, while also tying for 31st across all divisions. He competed in nine competitions this season, winning seven of them.

Men’s Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams – Saint Augustine’s

Williams, in his 42nd year at Saint Augustine’s, led the Falcons to a CIAA Championship where his athletes totaled 10 event titles. Ranked eighth nationally as a team, Williams’ athletes own the top spots in event events in the Atlantic Region. The Falcons are also ranked in the top-10 nationally in NCAA Division II in seven different events.  

CENTRAL REGION – Russ Jewett – Pittsburg State

Jewett, in his 30th year at Pittsburg State, guided the Gorillas to an MIAA Championships where his athletes captured five event titles. Jewett’s team has 17 athletes ranked in the top-20 on the Descending Order List in 10 different events. His men were awarded 20 All-Region honors in addition to picking up 14 All-Conference honors.

EAST REGION – John Wallin – Southern Connecticut

Wallin, in his eighth year at Southern Connecticut, coached the Owls five individual event titles and the team title at the Northeast-10 Championships. The Owls also won the New England Championships this season. Yakabu Ibrahim owned the fifth-best 110 hurdles time in NCAA Division II this year at 13.87.

MIDWEST REGION – Rob Mizicko – Walsh

Mizicko, in his sixth year at Walsh, guided the Cavaliers to a G-MAC Championship where his athletes picked up five event titles. Under his guidance, hammer thrower Marcus Myers owned the top hammer throw mark in NCAA Division II this season as well as posting the only Automatic Qualifying Mark in the event this year. His team hit six NCAA Division II Provisional Qualifying Marks on the season.

SOUTH REGION – David Cain – Alabama-Huntsville

Cain, in his 19th year at Alabama-Huntsville, coached the Chargers to a Gulf South Championship, earning GSC Men’s Coach of the Year honors. His team was ranked in the top-20 in the nation all season long, a first in program history. Additionally, the Chargers totaled seven national qualifying marks across six events.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Tom Dibbern – Angelo State

Dibbern, in his second year at Angelo State, guided the Rams to the Lone Star Championship where his athletes won five event titles. The Rams had four NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Marks on the season, as well as 12 athletes ranked in the top-20, nationally. Nils Fischer (javelin) and Tyler Russel (high jump) are both national leaders in their respective events.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Jim Vahrenkamp – Queens (N.C.)

Vahrenkamp, in his fifth year at Queens (N.C.), led the Royals to eight individual SAC Conference championships, as well as a team title. The Royals were the top-ranked squad in the Southeast Region this season,  thanks in part to Rico Meckes in the javelin. Vahrenkamp coached Meckes to the second-best javelin throw in NCAA Division II this year.

WEST REGION – Oliver Hanf – Chico State

Hanf, in his sixth year at Chico State, led the Wildcats to a CCAA Championship where his squad posted nine individual event titles. Two of his athletes in Kyle Medina (steeplechase) and Tyler Arroyo (high jump) sit first on the NCAA Division II Descending Order List in their respective events.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Ryan Foster – Edinboro

Foster, in his second year coaching Edinboro’s mid-distance and distance runners, tutored his men to conference titles in the 800, 1500, steeplechase, 5000 and 10,000. His athletes scored 67 points at the conference meet (Edinboro totaled 72). Foster has two athletes ranked in the top-15 nationally: Gene Baritot (9th in the steeplechase) and Corey Wefing (13th in the 1500).

CENTRAL REGION – Brian Mantooth – Pittsburg State

Mantooth, in his 18th year coaching throws at Pittsburg State, tutored his throwers to a clean sweep of the top-5 marks in the region in the javelin and top-3 marks in the hammer and shot put. His athletes scored 59 of the Gorillas’ 166 points at the MIAA Championships. He has eight athletes accepted into four events at NCAAs.

EAST REGION – Joseph Caraciolo – Southern Connecticut

Caraciolo, in his first year coaching horizontal jumps at Southern Connecticut, tutored Oghenefejiro Onakpoma to the 12th best mark nationally in the triple jump. His jumpers scored 40 points between the long jump and triple jump at the Northeast-10 Championships as the Alpha Owls won the team title.

MIDWEST REGION – Ernie Clark – Ashland

Clark, in his third year coaching sprints, hurdles and relays at Ashland, tutored Myles Pringle, Trevor Bassitt and a top-6 ranked 4×400 relay team. Pringle is the division’s top 400-meter sprinter and sits No. 10 in the 200, while Bassitt is 12th in the 110 hurdles. Clark’s athletes combined for 57 points at the GLIAC Championships.

SOUTH REGION – Angela Rosel – Alabama-Huntsville

Rosel, in her second year coaching the sprints, hurdles and jumps at Alabama-Huntsville, tutored athletes to the No. 1 mark in the 4×100 relay and the No. 2 mark nationally in the 200. Her athletes hit two more provisional marks in the 200 and three in the horizontal jumps.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Nathan Janusey – Angelo State

Janusey, in his second year coaching throws at Angelo State, saw his athletes score 58 of the team’s 198 points at the Lone Star Conference Championships (The Rams won their first LSC outdoor title since 2013 in the process). He guided Nils Fischer to the third-best javelin throw in NCAA DII history and three others that are ranked in the all-time top-10. Angelo State will send five qualifiers to the NCAA meet in events he coaches.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Kevin Licht – Queens (N.C.)

Licht, in his first year coaching the distance runners at Queens (N.C.), tutored his athletes to seven NCAA qualifying marks. His group scored 63 of the team’s 240.5 points at the South Atlantic Conference Championships.

WEST REGION – Gary Towne – Chico State

Towne, in his 22nd year coaching the distance runners at Chico State, watched his athletes score more than 100 points at the CCAA Championships, including 35 in the 5000 and 18 more in the steeplechase. He tutored Kyle Medina to the NCAA DII lead in the steeplechase in Medina’s first year in the event. Chico State will have nine entries at NCAAs in events that Towne directly coaches.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Shannon Kalawan – Saint Augustine’s

Kalawan, a sophomore from Westmoreland, Jamaica, leads all qualifiers in both the 400 Meters and the 400 Hurdles, and she runs on Saint Augustine’s top-ranked 4×400 Relay. Her 400 Hurdles time of 56.99 is the 13th-fastest ever recorded in NCAA Division II and the ninth-fastest recorded this season in any division.

CENTRAL REGION – Rene Medley – Lincoln (Mo.)

Medley, a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, has the top qualifying time in the 200 Meters at 23.25 and the second-fastest qualifying time in the 100 Meters in a wind-aided 11.33. She also runs on Lincoln’s top-ranked 4×100 Relay.

EAST REGION – Chelsea Hayward – Roberts Wesleyan

Hayward, a senior from Litchfield, Connecticut, is the East Region’s top-ranked athlete in the 100 Meters, 200 Meters, and 400 Meters. She won East Coast Conference championships in both the 100 Meters and 200 Meters and anchored Roberts Wesleyan’s winning 4×100 Relay and 4×400 Relay.

MIDWEST REGION – Sarah Berger – Walsh

Berger, a senior from Wadsworth, Ohio, is the top qualifier in the 1500 Meters with a time of 4:18.67 and also has top-five qualifying times in the 3000 Steeplechase and the 5000 Meters. She earned Track Athlete of the Meet at the G-MAC Championships after winning both the 1500 Meters and the 3000 Steeplechase, both in championship-record times.

SOUTH REGION – Kristen Metcalfe – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)

Metcalfe, a redshirt junior from Mississauga, Ontario has top-five qualifying times in both the 800 Meters and the 1500 Meters. She won conference championships in both events and also recorded the region’s top times in the 400 Meters and as a member of Embry-Riddle’s 4×400 Relay.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Alicja Konieczek – Western State

Konieczek, a redshirt junior from Zbaszyn, Poland, has the top time of the season in the 3000 Steeplechase with a mark of 9:57.14 and also recorded the season’s third-fastest 5000 Meters. At the RMAC Championships, she won the 1500 Meters and placed second in the 5000 Meters to earn 18 points.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Leah Hanle – Mount Olive

Hanle, a sophomore from Lichtenstein, Germany, ranks second nationally in both the 5000 Meters and the 10,000 Meters and ranks third nationally in the 3000 Steeplechase, all in new school record times. She also rewrote Mount Olive’s record in the 1500 Meters this season with a time that ranks in the top ten nationally.

WEST REGION – Caroline Kurgat – Alaska Anchorage

Kurgat, a junior from Eldoret, Kenya, added her name to the list of all-time greats this season in recording the second-fastest time in NCAA Division II history in the 10,000 Meters this season with a 32:33.24 clocking at the Stanford Invitational. Later in the season, she clocked the third-fastest mark ever recorded in NCAA Division II in the 5000 Meters at 15:41.21.

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Sunflower Greene – Millersville

Greene, a junior from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, set PSAC all-time records in both the Shot Put and the Hammer this season, with marks that rank in the top 10 nationally in each event. She won conference titles in the Shot Put and Hammer and finished second in the Discus to earn PSAC Field Athlete of the Meet honors.

CENTRAL REGION – Michaela Dendinger – Wayne State (Neb.)

Dendinger, a redshirt senior from Coleridge, Nebraska, leads the nation in the Shot Put with a top throw of 16.55m (54-3 ¾) and ranks second in the Hammer. She won NSIC titles in the Shot Put, Hammer, and the Discus, earning NSIC Field Athlete of the Year honors.

EAST REGION – Destiney Coward – Southern Connecticut

Coward, a senior from East Haven, Connecticut, leads NCAA Division II in the Hammer with a best throw of 66.23m (217-3) (1n/1r). She won Northeast-10 championships in both the Hammer and the Shot put to earn 20 team points.

MIDWEST REGION – Cierra Pulliam – Lewis

Pulliam, a junior from Plainfield, Illinois, ranks second nationally in the Triple Jump with a top leap of 13.01m (42-8¼). She won both the Long Jump and the Triple Jump at the GLVC Championships, breaking the Championships record in the Triple Jump in the process.

SOUTH REGION – Ansley Long – Shorter

Long, a junior from Carrollton, Georgia, won the Gulf South Conference championship in the Long Jump and ranks in the top ten nationally in the event. Her top jump of 6.16 (20-2½) is a conference record.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Daisy Osakue – Angelo State

Osakue, a sophomore from Turin, Italy, rewrote the record books in the Discus with a new all-time Division II best throw of 59.72m (195-11). She also ranks sixth in the nation in the Shot Put.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Vanisha Wilshire – Wingate

Wilshire, a junior from Louisburg, North Carolina, won South Atlantic Conference Field Athlete of the Year after winning event titles in both the High Jump and the Triple Jump and tying for first place in the Long Jump. Her top clearance of 1.78m (5-10) in the High Jump ranks third nationally in the event.

WEST REGION – Nicole Warwick – Azusa Pacific

Warwick, a freshman from Modesto, California, leads all qualifiers in the Heptathlon with a top score of 5,474 points. She also ranks second in the Long Jump, and she won the PacWest conference title in the Long Jump and added top-four finishes in the High Jump and Javelin.

Women’s Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams – Saint Augustine’s

Williams, in his 42nd year at Saint Augustine’s, led the Lady Falcons to the CIAA Championship and a top-five national ranking, the highest ranking of any team in the Atlantic Region. Saint Augustine’s has the nation’s top-ranked qualifiers in three events and the top performances in the Atlantic Region in a total of seven events.

CENTRAL REGION – Russ Jewett – Pittsburg State

Jewett, in his 32nd year at Pittsburg State, led the Gorillas to a dominating MIAA Conference title over four teams ranked in the nation’s top 25. The title was the 11th of Jewett’s career at Pittsburg State. The Gorillas rank second nationally headed into the championships.

EAST REGION – Karen Boen – Stonehill

Boen, in her 21st year at Stonehill, led the Skyhawks to the Northeast-10 Conference Championship with titles in eight individual events and a nearly 100-point margin of victory. Boen’s Skyhawks broke a total of six school records at the conference meet alone, including four on the second day.

MIDWEST REGION – Jerry Baltes – Grand Valley State

Baltes, in his 19th year at Grand Valley State, led the Lakers to the GLIAC Championships and the top ranking in the Midwest Region. Grand Valley State also ranks 6th nationally, and their 17 national qualifiers lead all Division II programs.

SOUTH REGION – Mike Rosolino – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)

Rosolino, in his 16th year at Embry-Riddle, led the Eagles to the Peach Belt Conference championship in their first full year of Division II eligibility, with a margin of victory of over 50 points. Rosolino has kept the team at the top of the regional rankings throughout the regular season, and the Eagles will send the program’s first-ever qualifiers to the championships in three different events.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Tom Dibbern – Angelo State

Dibbern, in his second year as head coach at Angelo State, led the Rambelles to a top-ten national ranking and the Lone Star Conference championship. Angelo State scored a total of 227 points for the conference victory, behind individual wins in six events.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Matthew van Lierop – Mount Olive

Van Lierop, in his tenth year at Mount Olive, led the Trojans to the Conference Carolinas Championship and a top-25 national ranking. With eight individual conference event wins, the Trojans closed out the regular season as the top-ranked team in the Southeast Region.

WEST REGION – Kendra Reimer – SF State

Reimer, in her fourth year at San Francisco State, led the Gators to their first-ever CCAA Championship in any sport, and earned CCAA Coach of the Year honors in the process. Gators achieved a total of 21 All-Region honors in the regular season, one of only three programs to exceed 20 All-Region honorees.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Brittany Hartman – Millersville

Hartman, a throws coach in her 11th year at Millersville, coached Sunflower Greene to PSAC all-time and conference meet records in both the Shot Put and Hammer and PSAC Field Athlete of the Meet honors. Hartman’s athletes scored 62 of the team’s 98 points at the PSAC Championships, helping the team to a second-place finish.

CENTRAL REGION – Brett Suckstorf – Wayne State (Neb.)

Suckstorf, a throws coach in his eighth year at Wayne State, coached Wildcats to top-ten national rankings in three different throwing events this season, as well as conference titles in the Shot Put, Discus, and Hammer. Wildcat throwers scored 45 of the team’s 50 overall points at the NSIC Championships.

EAST REGION – Bill Sutherland – Southern Connecticut

Sutherland, a throws coach in his 27th year at Southern Connecticut, helped the Lady Owls to a second-place finish at the Northeast-10 Conference championships, with throwers scoring over thirty percent of the team’s total points. Lady Owls achieved automatic or provisional marks in the Shot Put, Hammer, and Javelin this season.

MIDWEST REGION – Alan Dunson – Grand Valley State

Dunson, a sprints and hurdles coach in his third year at Grand Valley State, has the top-ranked 400 Hurdles squad in the USTFCCCA Event Squad Rankings, the second-ranked squads in both the 100 Hurdles and 400 Meters, and top-five squads in the 100 Meters and 200 Meters. Five of Grand Valley State’s championships entries are coached by Dunson.

SOUTH REGION – Charles Harris – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)

Harris, a throws and vertical jumps coach in his fifth year at Embry-Riddle, helped the Eagles win the Peach Belt Conference title behind a strong 92-point effort in the six events Harris coaches. Four student-athletes achieved provisional standards in Harris’s event areas, including a freshman national qualifier in the Shot Put.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Kaymarie Jones – New Mexico Highlands

Jones, a sprints, jumps, and hurdles coach in her second year at New Mexico Highlands, helped lead the team to the RMAC Championship, with athletes under her direction sweeping the top three places in the Triple Jump and winning event titles in the 200 Meters, Long Jump, and 4×100 Relay. Jones will coach student-athletes in six different events at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Patrick Heckroth – UNC Pembroke

Heckroth, a sprints, jumps, and hurdles coach in his third year at UNC Pembroke, helped the Braves to a third-place finish at the Peach Belt Conference Championships. Athletes directed by Heckroth accounted for 121 of the team’s 149 total points, and Heckroth coached the PBC Field Athlete of the Year.

WEST REGION – Jarred Rome – Concordia (Ore.)

Rome, a throws coach in his fifth year at Concordia, led the Cavaliers to a dominating performance in the throwing events at the GNAC Championships. Cavaliers captured all eight scoring places in the Shot Put and broke the GNAC meet record in the Discus. Rome’s athletes also broke all-time GNAC records in both the Hammer and Discus during the regular season and recorded nine top-ten all-time GNAC performances.