NJCAA DI National Award Winners For 2019 Outdoor Season
NEW ORLEANS – National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2019 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field season were announced on Wednesday 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 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Hobbs, New Mexico, and throughout the entire regular season.
Information on each of the winners can be found below.
USTFCCCA Regional Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.
National Athletes of the Year
Men’s Track – Kenny Bednarek, Indian Hills (Iowa) CC
Bednarek, a freshman from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, turned in one of the finest performances in world history – not just NJCAA DI history – on the final day of the season. He started things off with a victory in the 400 in 44.73. Then he turned it up a notch and clocked a blistering 19.82 – the third fastest time in collegiate history – to win the 200. Bednarek became only the second man in world history – and the only American – to go sub-45 and sub-20 in each of those events in the same day. That came less than 24 hours after he scorched the track in the prelims of the 200 in 19.49 (+6.1) for the fastest wind-assisted time in world history.
Women’s Track – Mariya Hudson, Western Texas
Hudson, a sophomore from Cahokia, Illinois, entered the NJCAA Championships as one of the season’s most accomplished athletes. She left the biggest meet of the season with one of the best resumes. Hudson scored 25 points in Hobbs, New Mexico, winning both the 200 and 400 and helping out on WTC’s title-winning 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. During the regular season, Hudson was ranked first nationally in both the 200 and 400 Meter Hurdles and third nationally in the 100 and 400.
Men’s Field – Kevin Nedrick, Barton (Kan.) CC
Nedrick, a sophomore from Westmoreland, Jamaica, scored 26 points at the national meet behind a victory in the discus and runner-up finishes in both the shot put and javelin. During the regular season, Nedrick was ranked first nationally in the shot put with a best heave of 18.66m (61-2¾), a mark that broke the school record and left him fifth on the NJCAA all-time list. His best heave in the discus of 57.18m (187-7) made him the seventh best performer in NJCAA history in that event.
Women’s Field – Devia Brown, Central Arizona
Brown, a sophomore, carried the Vaqueras to a fifth-place finish in Hobbs, New Mexico. She scored 38 points at the meet between four field events. That’s right: Brown won three of the four events she entered and finished runner-up in the fourth. Brown set meet records in victories in both the hammer (59.90m/196-6) and shot put (16.67m/54-8¼), also won the discus and was second in the javelin. During the regular season, Brown broke the NJCAA DI record in the shot put and became the sixth best performer in division history in the discus.
National Coaches of the Year
Men’s Coach – Harry Kitchener, Cloud County (Kan.) CC
Kitchener, in his 42nd year as head coach, led the Thunderbirds to their first outdoor national title in program history. Cloud County scored 88 points between 11 events and received a staggering 42 of those from the 800 to 10,000, including 13 in the 5000 that put the team ahead for good with the meet winding down. Kitchener also led his team to the Region VI/KJCCC team title with 171 points, 28 more than runner-up Barton (Kan.) CC.
Women’s Coach – Keith Blackwill, New Mexico JC
Blackwill, in his 14th year as head coach, led the Thunderbirds to their third consecutive outdoor national title. New Mexico JC scored 105¾ points between 13 events and received 18 combined points in three of the last four events to ice the title. During the regular season, New Mexico JC climbed as high as No. 2 in the National Rating Index and athletes directly coached by Blackwill secured 23 entries into the national meet, which included the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked long jumpers in the nation.
Men’s Assistant – Drew Mahin, Cloud County (Kan.) CC
Mahin, in his sixth year assisting the T-Birds’ track & field program, watched many of the athletes he coached in the fall and in the spring score a staggering number of points at the national meet to help the squad to its first outdoor national title in program history. Cloud County distance runners amassed 52 points over three days in Hobbs, New Mexico, with just one individual title from Dennis Kiptoo in the steeplechase. The T-Birds went 2-6 in the 10,000, 3-5 in the 1500 and 2-4 in the 5000, which provided them with 13 big points to take the lead back from Barton (Kan.) CC for good.
Women’s Assistant – Trinity Williams, Western Texas
Williams, in her sixth year coaching sprints/hurdles, mid-distance, horizontal jumps and relays, guided the Westerners to a clean sweep of the sprint and sprint relay titles at the national meet. You’re reading that correctly: WTC won the 100, 200, 400, 4×100 and 4×400 relays. When you break it down further, the Westerners went 1-2 in the 400 and 1-5 in the 200. During the regular season, Williams coached athletes to four national-leading marks and 13 qualifying berths.