NAIA Regional Award Winners For 2019 Outdoor Season

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2019 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season were announced Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Each of the five regions – Great Lakes, Midwest, South, South Central and West – honored both genders’ top track athletes and field athletes as well as the top men’s and women’s head coaches and assistant coaches.

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
USTFCCCA REGIONAL AWARD HISTORY
Athletes of the Year | Coaches of the Year | Assistant Coaches of the Year

Award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches. Only those individuals from USTFCCCA member programs are eligible for awards.

Many of these honored athletes and coaches are headed to the 2019 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

USTFCCCA Regional Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.

Men’s Track Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Joey DeBoer – Cornerstone (Mich.)

DeBoer, a senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is ranked in the top-3 nationally in two different events. He is the national leader in the steeplechase at 8:59.35 and is ranked third nationally in the 5000 at 14:37.38. DeBoer scored 20 points at the WHAC Championships, winning the steeple, placing third in the 1500 and fifth in the 5000.

MIDWEST REGION – Paul Paul – Mount Marty (S.D.)

Paul, a sophomore from Harrisburg, South Dakota, is ranked sixth nationally in the 200 at 21.12, which set a school record. He is also ranked 11th nationally in the 400 at 47.70, which is also a school record. Paul was named the Most Outstanding Track Athlete at the GPAC Championships after winning individual titles in the 100 and 200 and anchoring the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay teams to victory.

SOUTH REGION – Dante Brown – William Carey (Miss.)

Brown, a freshman from Jackson, Mississippi, is ranked in the top-5 nationally in both the 100 and 200. His time in the 100 is 10.41, while his mark in the 200 stands at 21.11. Brown is also a member of the Crusaders’ 4×100 relay team that is ranked fifth nationally.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Tre Hinds – Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Hinds, a senior from Bridgetown, Barbados, is ranked second nationally in both the 800 and the 400 Meter Hurdles. His time in the 800 is 1:50.52, while he ran 51.98 in the 400H at the Texas A&M Alumni Muster in late April. Hinds is also a member of the nation’s top-ranked 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams.

WEST REGION – Kieran Lumb – British Columbia

Lumb, a junior from Vancouver, British Columbia, is ranked first nationally in both the 1500 and the 5000. He ran 3:45.86 over 1500 meters in late March at the British Columbia Open and then took the national lead in the 5000 with his 13:40.51 at the Mt. SAC Relays. Lumb also won conference titles in both of those events.

Women’s Track Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Anna Shields – Point Park (Pa.)

Shields, a senior from Torrington, Connecticut, is ranked first nationally in 800 and 1500. Both of her fastest times this season – 2:07.06 in the 800 and 4:15.60 in the 1500 – came at the Bison Outdoor Classic and broke facility records at Bucknell University. Her time in the 1500 is special as it is the fourth best among all collegiate divisions this season. Shields dominated the conference meet as she won four individual titles and chipped in on a winning relay team for 42½ points.

MIDWEST REGION – Ashley Caswell – Viterbo (Wis.)

Caswell, a sophomore from Wild Rose, Wisconsin, is ranked fourth nationally in the 100 at 11.68 and seventh nationally in the 200 at 24.16. She rewrote the school record book this season as she broke records in the 100 and 200 and was a member of record-breaking 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. Caswell was named the North Star Athletic Association Track Athlete of the Year.

SOUTH REGION – Emily Kearney – SCAD Atlanta (Ga.)

Kearney, a junior from Wirral, England, is ranked in the top-5 nationally of four different events. She is second nationally in the 1500 (4:24.45), 5000 (16:32.35) and 10,000 (35:39.16) and is listed fifth nationally in the 800 (2:11.89). Kearney won event titles at the AAC Outdoor Championships in the 1500 and 5000, the latter of which she set a meet record.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Aminat Olowora – Oklahoma City

Olowora, a senior from Lagos, Nigeria, is ranked first nationally in both the 5000 and the 10,000. Her time in the 5000 of 15:48.48 is the national leader by 44 seconds, while her mark in the 10,000 trumps the current runne-rup by more than two minutes.

WEST REGION – Nicola Symonds – British Columbia

Symonds, a senior from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is ranked in the top-5 nationally in both the 800 and 1500. She clocked her best time in the 800 of 2:08.48 at the Portland Twilight and her best time in the 1500 of 4:29.08 came at the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational. She earned conference titles in both of those events as well, leading the Thunderbirds to the team title in their first-ever appearance at the meet.

Men’s Field Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Jordan Downs – Bethel (Ind.)

Downs, a senior from Merrillville, Indiana, is ranked in the top-5 nationally of two different field events. His long jump mark of 7.75m (25-5¼) that he turned in at the NCCAA Outdoor Championships has him ranked second, while his 4.85m (15-11) vault from the Crossroads League Outdoor Championships has him fourth nationally. Downs won both of those events at the conference meet and added another first-place effort in the triple jump.

MIDWEST REGION – James Plummer – Grand View (Iowa)

Plummer, a senior from Columbia, South Carolina, is ranked in the top-5 nationally of three different throwing events. He is the national leader in the discus at 60.30m (197-10), third nationally in the hammer at 64.30m (211-0) and fifth nationally in the shot put at 17.41m (57-1½). Plummer’s mark in the discus stands out as it currently ranks 12th among all collegiate divisions.

SOUTH REGION – Malik Crandle – William Carey (Miss.)

Crandle, a freshman from Mobile, Alabama, is ranked second nationally in the triple jump at 15.36m (50-4¾), a mark that set a school record and hit an NAIA “A” qualifier. He is also ranked 11th nationally in the high jump at 2.05m (6-8¾). Crandle scored 16 points at the conference meet thanks to a victory in the triple jump and a third-place showing in the high jump.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Isaac Zitterkopf – MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)

Zitterkopf, a senior from Lexington, Nebraska, is ranked fourth nationally in the long jump at 7.49m (24-7). He is also ranked seventh nationally in the triple jump at 14.74m (48-4½) and 23rd nationally in the high jump at 2.02m (6-7½). Zitterkopf was named the Heart Conference Athlete of the Meet after scoring 30 points thanks to victories in each of those events we just mentioned.

WEST REGION – Zach Beltz – Southern Oregon

Beltz, a senior from Elmira, Oregon, is ranked first nationally in both the long jump and the triple jump. Both of his best marks – 7.87m (25-10) in the long jump and 15.42m (50-7¼) in the triple jump – came at the Cascade Conference Championships on May 10.

Women’s Field Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Destiny Copeland – Indiana Tech

Copeland, a freshman from Chesapeake, Virginia, is ranked second nationally in the long jump with a mark of 6.22m (20-5). She has soared more than six meters on seven different occasions this season. Copeland is also ranked 18th nationally in the triple jump at 11.67m (38-3½). She scored 30 points at the WHAC Championships with three event victories.

MIDWEST REGION – Kamberlyn Lamer – Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)

Lamer, a junior from Hartford, South Dakota, is currently ranked first nationally in the heptathlon with 5017 points. That score came at the GPAC Championships, where she broke meet records for total score and heptathlon long jump distance. Lamer is also ranked seventh nationally in the long jump at 5.89m (19-4) and produced a national-qualifying mark in the javelin during her multi at the Northwestern College Invitational.

SOUTH REGION – Brittany Jones – William Carey (Miss.)

Jones, a sophomore from Soso, Mississippi, is ranked third nationally in both the long jump and the triple jump. Her best mark in the long jump of 6.04m (19-9¾) came at the Southern Miss Open, while her best mark in the triple jump of 12.32m (40-5) occurred at the Carey Last Chance. Jones scored 34 points at the SSAC Outdoor Championships and took home MVP honors for the season and the meet.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Shelley Laures – Benedictine (Kan.)

Laures, a senior from Platte City, Missouri, is ranked nationally in the javelin at 41.43m (135-11) and 14th nationally in the heptathlon with 4443 points. She won the conference title in the multi in a meet record score, placed second in the javelin and fourth in the high jump to earn Field Athlete of the Meet honors.

WEST REGION – Paige Dodd – Eastern Oregon

Dodd, a junior from Burbank, Washington, is ranked second nationally in the heptathlon with a total score of 4826 points. She is also ranked 13th nationally in the high jump at 1.67m (5-5¾). Dodd was named the Cascade Conference Female Field Athlete of the Meet after winning the heptathlon and placing third in both the high jump and long jump.

Men’s Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar – Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his eighth year at the helm of the Indiana Tech program, led his team to the team title at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships behind 11 event champions. The Warriors, who are the top-ranked team in the Great Lakes Region, have been ranked in the top-3 nationally throughout the season and currently sit No. 3.

MIDWEST REGION – Ed Fye – Doane (Neb.)

Fye, in his 17th year as the head coach at Doane (Neb.), guided his team to its fifth straight Great Plains Athletic Conference crown. Fye specifically oversees the high jump, javelin and multi-events and across those disciplines the Tigers had 10 All-Conference performers, including one event champion. Overall, Doane (Neb.) had five event title winners and 37 All-Conference athletes at the GPAC Championships. The Tigers have the top-ranked high jump quartet in the #EventSquad Rankings.

SOUTH REGION – Blake Hegstrom – William Carey (Miss.)

Hegstrom, in his seventh year with the William Carey (Miss.) program, coached his team to its third straight team title at the Southern States Conference Outdoor Championships. The Crusaders scored 229 points and won 10 event titles. He was also named SSAC Men’s Coach of the Year and had a school record 12 men (in nine different events) qualify for the national championships. Hegstrom’s athletes also set seven new school records during the outdoor season and have seven marks in the top-10 at the national level. William Carey (Miss.) is ranked first in the region and fourth nationally.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Alstin Benton – Saint Mary (Kan.)

Benton, in his fifth year at Saint Mary (Kan.), led his team to its first ever team title at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships with six event champions. He directly coached the KCAC Outdoor Track Male Athlete of the Meet and, in total, his athletes picked up three KCAC Track Athletes of the Week and one Field Athlete of the Week. He was also named KCAC Coach of the Year and has his squad ranked fifth in the nation.

WEST REGION – Grier Gatlin – Southern Oregon

Gatlin, is his seventh year at the head of the Southern Oregon program, won the team title at the Cascade Conference Championships for the fifth time in seven years. It was a strong effort for the Raiders, who placed 12 athletes in the top-3 of their respective events. SOU scored in 18 of 21 possible events. The Raiders will enter the NAIA Championships with national top marks in the long jump and triple jump, as well as top-10 marks in the 800, 10,000 (x2) and the 110H. SOU is ranked seventh in the latest National TFRI.

Women’s Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar – Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his eighth year with the program, recently won the team title at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Championships thanks to six event champions. His team was the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes Region throughout the season and is currently ranked seventh nationally.

MIDWEST REGION – Matt Beisel – Concordia (Neb.)

Beisel, in his third year with the program, led his women to the team title at the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships thanks to four individual event winners. He has the No. 1 ranked athlete in both the shot put and discus events. Beisel also had an athlete break the school record in the heptathlon. The Bulldogs have posted 21 NAIA automatic national qualifying marks and is currently ranked third in the nation.

SOUTH REGION – Blake Hegstrom – William Carey (Miss.)

Hegstrom, in his seventh year with the program, led the women to their second consecutive team title at the Southern States Athletic Conference Championships. The Crusaders scored 284 points behind 15 event winners. Hegstrom was named SSAC Women’s Coach of the Year and qualified a school-record 12 women across nine different events to the NAIA Championships. Six of his athletes are ranked in the top-5 nationally. William Carey (Miss.) also set 11 new school and two new conference records during the outdoor season.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Brian Whitlock – Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Whitlock, in his 15th year with the Wayland Baptist (Texas) program, led his women to a strong season as they’re currently ranked fourth nationally and third in the South Central Region. He directly coaches one of the top sprinters in the country in Devin Johnson (No. 1 in the 200 and No. 2 in the 100) to go with the top-ranked 4×800 relay team and top-billed triple jumper in the nation.

WEST REGION – Laurier Primeau – British Columbia

Primeau, in his fourth year with the program, currently has his women’s team ranked No. 1 in both the nation and the region. The Thunderbirds won the team title at the Cascade Conference Championships with 180 points, which is doubly impressive when you know this was their debut at the conference meet.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Nate Van Holten – Cornerstone (Mich.)

Holten, in his 15th year with the team, had seven distance athletes put up 12 NAIA qualifying marks across six events this season, including the No. 1 rank in the steeple. In the USTFCCCA #EventSquad rankings, CU is No. 1 in the steeple, No. 5 in the 1500 and 5000 and No. 7 in the 10,000. His athletes also scored 83 of CUs 102 points with wins in the 1500 (1-4 sweep), steeple (1st, 2nd and 6th) and 5000 (1st, 5th, 6th and 7th).

MIDWEST REGION – Matt Maltby – Midland (Neb.)

Maltby, in his 16th year with the Midland (Neb.) program, coached the NAIA No. 1 hammer throw group (11th in the nation) and the No. 2 shot put and discus groups in the #EventSquad rankings. He currently has the No. 1, 7 and 8 ranked hammer throwers, the No. 4 and 10 shot putters and the No. 10 and 12 discus throwers. The throwers group scored 40 of the team’s 64 points, helping Midland to a sixth-place finish at the GPAC Championships.

SOUTH REGION – Malcolm Dias – William Carey (Miss.)

Dias, in his third year with the program, helped coach the men’s team to the conference title as the Crusaders scored 229 points and had 10 event champions. William Carey (Miss.) qualified a school record 12 men across nine different events to the national championships. The team also set seven school records during the season. Dias oversees the team’s sprinters.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Kurt Henry – Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Henry, is his second year with the program, coaches the sprints, jumps and hurdles group that will likely make up the majority of the team points at the NAIA Championships. This outdoor season, he helped the team to the No. 2 ranking in the nation. Henry has coached his athletes to the No. 1 time in the 4×400, the No. 3 mark in the 4×100 and has helped three open 400 runners to 45-46 seconds, which put them into the top-6 of the event. He also has two 400H athletes both ranked in the top-5 nationally.

WEST REGION – Josh Priester – Westmont (Calif.)

Priester, in his eighth year at Westmont (Calif.), coaches the sprints, combined events and high jump and has helped his athletes to the No. 1, 4 and 8 ranks in the decathlon. His group also had its 4×100 and 4×400 teams qualify for nationals to go with athletes advancing to nationals in the decathlon, 110H and 400. His training group scored 88 of the teams 284 points as the program won the team title at the Golden State AC Outdoor Championships.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Quinn White – Taylor (Ind.)

White, in his ninth year at Taylor (Ind.), coached seven national qualifiers in five separate distance events this season. White’s athletes have marks combined for top-10 marks in the #EventSquad rankings in everything from the 800 to the steeplechase, to go with the third-fastest 4×800 in the nation. His distance athletes scored 97 points, had 13 All-League honors and four event titles at the Crossroads League Championships (The team finished runner-up). Taylor (Ind.) athletes also established new school records in the 1500, 5000 and 10,000.

MIDWEST REGION – Ed McLaughlin – Concordia (Neb.)

McLaughlin, in his 22nd year with the program, helped his throwing group combine for 11 automatic national qualifying marks to go with having the No. 1 ranked shot and discus throwers in the nation. Two of his athletes won individual titles at the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships while pushing the Bulldogs to the conference title. One of his athletes also set the conference meet record in the shot put in a winning effort.

SOUTH REGION – Ryan McKenzie – William Carey (Miss.)

McKenzie, in his fifth year with the program, helped the women’s team to its second consecutive team title at the Southern States Athletic Conference Championships. The Crusaders scored 284 points at the conference meet thanks to a large portion from his sprinters and jumpers. McKenzie has directly coached the nation’s top-ranked athlete in the 100, the nation’s second ranked athlete in both the 200 and the long jump, as well as the nation’s third ranked athlete in the triple jump. Many of his athletes were part of a contigent that saw the team qualify a school-record 12 women for the NAIA Championships.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Kurt Henry – Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Henry, in his third year with the program, coaches Tiona Owens who leads the country in the triple jump, is No. 3 in the 100H and No. 16 in the long jump. He also assists with two athletes ranked inside the top-10 nationally: Devin Johnson who is No. 1 in the 200 and No. 2 in the 100 and Cheyenne Hill Johnson who ranks No. 4 in the 100 and No. 9 in the 200. Henry also helps with the training of the No. 7 and No. 8 800-meter runners, to go with the top-ranked 4×800 relay team. His 4×100 unit is also ranked third overall.

WEST REGION – Tom Fitzsimons – Westmont (Calif.)

Fitzsimons, in his fourth year with the Westmont (Calif.) program as he jumps coach and sprints assistant, help the team to its third straight team title at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships. His training group scored 143 of the team’s 321 points at the meet. He had two A qualifiers in the pole vault (both of which are No. 1 and No. 2 in program history in the event) and a B qualifier in both the triple jump and 4×400 relay.