2019 NJCAA DIII Cross Country Postseason Awards

NEW ORLEANS – Postseason awards for the 2019 NJCAA Division III Cross Country season were released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), following the conclusion of the 2019 NJCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, which were held this past weekend at Stanley Park in Westfield, Massachusetts.

SEE MORE: National Awards | All-Americans | Regional Awards

Scroll below to find out who earned some hardware from the USTFCCCA in 2019!

National Awards

These awards are based on finish at the NJCAA DIII Championships.

USTFCCCA National Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.

MEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Edwin Kipainoi, St. Charles (Mo.) CC

Edwin Kipainoi is the Men’s National Athlete of the Year after capping a tremendous first season at the NJCAA Division III Cross Country Championships with an individual title. The freshman from Kajiado, Kenya, covered the 8K tract at Stanley Park in 26:30.96, three seconds faster than the next closest competitor. Kipainoi also posted victories at the Principia Open and the Region XVI Championships and was named National Athlete of the Week three times.

WOMEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Alexandra Smith, Suffolk (N.Y.) CC

Alexandra Smith is the Women’s National Athlete of the Year following her dominant win at the NJCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. The freshman from Shoreham, New York, covered the 5K tract in 18:34.03, which was the third fastest time ever turned in by an individual champion in meet history. Smith also ran well at a number of other meets, namely a runner-up effort at the Highlander XC Challenge, and was named National Athlete of the Week four times.

MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

Steve Davis, Mineral Area (Mo.) College

As the coach of a new program, Steve Davis could leave his mark any way he pleased. Davis chose to do it with an exclamation point as he led Mineral Area College to the national title this past weekend at the NJCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. The Cardinals had three runners finish in the top-8 and two more in the top-25 as they scored 54 points. MAC also won the team title at the Region XVI Championships eight days before winning the national crown.

WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

Matthew French, Suffolk (N.Y.) CC

Matthew French guided Suffolk (N.Y.) CC to a dominant performance this past weekend at the NJCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. French, in his sixth year as head coach of the Sharks, watched his team romp to the national title with 27 points and his top athlete, Alexandra Smith, cruise to the individual title by 28 seconds. Couple those together and that’s the second fewest points scored by a team champion at the meet since 2010 and the third fastest time ever run by an individual champion in meet history.

USTFCCCA All-Americans

Here is a list of those athletes who were named All-Americans by the USTFCCCA.

For an athlete to earn All-America status, they must have finished among the top-15 athletes at the NJCAA DIII Championships and belong to a USTFCCCA member program.

2019 NJCAA DIII Cross Country – USTFCCCA All-Americans

Men’s All-Americans
Women’s All-Americans
Name
Program
Name
Program
Jorge Dutan
Bergen (N.J.) CC
Emily Blenk
Columbus State (Ohio) CC
Abdullah Kashem
Camden County (N.J.)
Sarah Nelson
Harper (Ill.)
Hunter Brignall
Finger Lakes (N.Y.) CC
Wilma Rishko
Harper (Ill.)
Sebastian Mills
Fulton-Montgomery (N.Y.) CC
Roxanne Temple
Harper (Ill.)
Jacob Melgosa
Harper (Ill.)
McKenzie Ryan
Hudson Valley (N.Y.) CC
Angel Yescas
Harper (Ill.)
Ana Pineda
Joliet (Ill.) JC
Stephen Barr
Howard (Md.) CC
Kelsey Gannon
Lorain County (Ohio) CC
Jacob Arnold
Mineral Area (Mo.)
Brynne Myers
Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) CC
Donovan Denslow
Mineral Area (Mo.)
Katherine Dorton
Oxford (Ga.)
Wyatt Elliott
Mineral Area (Mo.)
Grace Johnson
Oxford (Ga.)
Javid Ridgeway
Rowan-Cumberland (N.J.)
Audrey Kelley
St. Charles (Mo.) CC
Edwin Kipainoi
St. Charles (Mo.) CC
Yasmeen Araujo
Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC
Luis Antonio Fernandez
Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC
Allaura Dashnaw
Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC
David Soto
SUNY Orange
Taylor McClay
Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC
Alexandra Smith
Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

Regional Awards

These awards were voted on by member coaches before the NJCAA DIII Championships.

USTFCCCA Regional Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.

Men’s Athlete of the Year

CENTRAL REGION — Edwin Kipainoi — St. Charles (Mo.) CC

Kipainoi, a freshman from Kajiado, Kenya, won the individual title at the Region XVI Championships in 28:26.9. He was a three-time National Athlete of the Week honoree this season.

EAST REGION — Christopher Benitez — Bergen (N.J.) CC

Benitez, a sophomore from Marywood, New Jersey, won the individual title at the Region XIX Championships in 28:23. He was also named National Athlete of the Week on October 7.

NORTHEAST REGION — Sebastian Mills — Fulton-Montgomery (N.Y.) CC

Mills, a freshman, won the individual title at the Region III Championships in 27:10.51. Earlier this season he placed 10th at the Mount Saint Mary Invitational and won the individual title at the Mountain Valley Cross Country Championships.

Men’s Coach of the Year

CENTRAL REGION — Jim Powers — Lorain County (Ohio) CC

Powers, in his 11th year as head coach, led the Commodores to the team title at the Region XII Championships with three runners in the top-10. Lorain County is ranked No. 5 in the latest NJCAA Division III National Coaches’ Rankings.

EAST REGION — Ivan Alvarado — Howard (Md.) CC

Alvarado, in his first year as head coach, led the Dragons to the NJCAA Division III team title at the Region XX Championships with three runners in the top-10. Earlier in the year Howard was the top DIII squad competing with 48 mostly NCAA DII/DIII teams in the White Division of the Paul Short Run in Lehigh, Pa.

NORTHEAST REGION — Matthew French — Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

French, in his sixth year as head coach, led the Sharks to the top-finishing NJCAA Division III team at the Region XV championship, scoring 37 points for runner-up honors. Suffolk County is ranked No. 2 in the latest NJCAA Division III National Coaches’ Rankings.

Women’s Athlete of the Year

CENTRAL REGION — Ana Pineda — Joliet (Ill.) JC

Pineda, a sophomore from Plainfield, Illinois, was the top-finishing NJCAA DIII athlete at the Region IV Championships in 19:46.0. That was the fastest time ever run over the 5K distance by an athlete in program history.

EAST REGION — Jeanine Morrow — Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC

Morrow, a freshman, finished third at the Region XIX Championships in 22:50 and was the top runner among all East Region athletes. Earlier this season she posted a strong finish at the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle.

NORTHEAST REGION — Alexandra Smith — Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

Smith, a freshman from Shoreham, New York, was the top-finishing NJCAA DIII athlete at the Region XV Championships as she finished second in 18:34.8. She was named National Athlete of the Week four times this season, the most nods by any athlete since the 2016 season.

Women’s Coach of the Year

CENTRAL REGION — Patrick Comer — Westmoreland County (Pa.) CC

Comer, in his ninth year as head coach, led the Wolfpack to the team title at the Region XX Championships, placing four runners in the top-10. Westmoreland County is ranked No. 5 in the latest NJCAA Division III National Coaches’ Rankings.

EAST REGION — Wayne Merkh — Camden County (N.J.)

Merkh, in his sixth year as head coach, led the Cougars to the team title at the Region XIX Championships as all five scoring runners finished in the top-10. Camden County is ranked No. 4 in the latest NJCAA Division III National Coaches’ Rankings.

NORTHEAST REGION — Becky Copp — Corning (N.Y.) CC

Copp, in her second year as head coach, led the Red Barons to the team title at the Region III Championships, placing three runners in the top-11. Corning is ranked No. 7 in the latest NJCAA Division III National Coaches’ Rankings.