NAIA Regional Award Winners For 2020 Indoor Season

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2020 NAIA Indoor Track & Field season were announced Friday 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 2020 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships next week in Brookings, South Dakota.

USTFCCCA Regional Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.

Men’s Track Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Grayson Harding, Aquinas (Mich.)

Harding, a senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is ranked second nationally in the 800 at 1:54.10c (1:52.49OT) and third nationally in the 1000 at 2:28.24f. He scored 18 points at the WHAC Indoor Championships with a victory in the 1000 and a runner-up finish in the mile.

MIDWEST REGION – Wesley Meyer, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

Meyer, a senior from Rochester, Indiana, is ranked first nationally in both the mile at 4:10.26c (4:07.09OT) and the 3000 at 8:21.03f. He is also ranked fourth nationally in the 800 at 1:54.80. Meyer scored 30 points at the CCAC Indoor Championships thanks to victories in the 1000, mile and the 3000, where he set two meet records.

SOUTH REGION – Tim Thacker, Milligan (Tenn.)

Thacker, a junior from Knoxville, Tennessee, is ranked first nationally in the 800 at 1:53.47f, second nationally in the mile at 4:11.32f and fourth nationally in the 1000 at 2:28.43f. He scored 30 points at the AAC Indoor Championships with victories in the 800, 1000 and the mile.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Corey Lyons, Saint Mary (Kan.)

Lyons, a junior from Sacramento, California, is ranked first nationally in the 400 at 48.18c (47.42OT) and sixth nationally in the 600 at 1:21.24. He is also ranked 18th nationally in the 200 at 22.18f. Lyons scored 22 points at the KCAC Indoor Championships with victories in the 200 and 400 and helped the runner-up 4×400 relay team.

WEST REGION – Cole Olsen, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)

Olsen, a junior from Clearwater, Idaho, is ranked 11th nationally in the 5000 at 15:00.89c (14:51.35b) and 16th nationally in the 3000 at 8:37.39c (8:31.45b). He won both of the races where he set his seasonal best times against a talented field of athletes from each division.

Men’s Field Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Tequan Claitt, Indiana Tech

Claitt, a senior from Lexington, Kentucky, is ranked first nationally in the high jump at 2.21m (7-3) with a near four-inch lead on the rest of the competitors. He recorded that mark on January 24 at the Liberty Kickoff.

MIDWEST REGION – Tyce Hruza, Doane (Neb.)

Hruza, a freshman from Gothenburg, Nebraska, is ranked first nationally in the pole vault at 5.40m (17-8½), which is the best mark recorded in the NAIA since 2007. He won five of the seven meets in which he competed, including the GPAC Indoor Championships.

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

Crandle, a sophomore from Mobile, Alabama, is ranked first nationally in the triple jump at 15.98m (52-5¼) and fourth nationally in the high jump at 2.10m (6-10¾). He cleared 2.10m (6-10¾) twice during the indoor season with the last coming at the K-State Winter Invitational.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Austin Cheatham, Bethel (Kan.)

Cheatham, a sophomore from Newton, Kansas, is ranked fourth nationally in the shot put at 16.99m (55-9). He was the top NAIA finisher in each of the four meets in which he competed.

WEST REGION – Corey Sledge, Eastern Oregon

Sledge, a sophomore from Culver, Oregon, is ranked second nationally in the pole vault at 5.10m (16-8¾). He hit the “A” standard each and every time he cleared a bar this year.

Men’s Coaches of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar, Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his 10th year at Indiana Tech, has the Warriors at the top of USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and the Great Lakes Region, where they have been since the preseason. The Warriors won the WHAC team title and corralled eight event titles. Indiana Tech ended the regular season with 30 A qualifiers.

MIDWEST REGION – Mike McDowell, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

McDowell, in his 19th year at Olivet Nazarene, has the Tigers ranked No. 4 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the Midwest Region. ONU won the team title at the CCAC Indoor Championships thanks to 13 event winners. The Tigers ended the regular season with 13 “A” qualifiers.

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

Hegstrom, in his eighth year at William Carey, has the Crusaders ranked a program-record No. 2 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the South Region. His team qualified a school record 15 men in nine events and hit 19 “A” standards in addition to new program records in eight events with 13 top-5 national marks.

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

Whitlock, in his 16th year at Wayland Baptist, has the Pioneers ranked No. 3 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the South Central Region. Wayland Baptist is especially good in the relays with top-3 national times in all three events, and the Pioneers finished the regular season with 11 “A” qualifiers.

WEST REGION – Ben Welch, Eastern Oregon

Welch, in his 29th year at Eastern Oregon, has the Mountaineers ranked No. 32 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the West Region. Eastern Oregon has athletes ranked in the top-10 in the West Region in all but one event, and two or more athletes in seven events. The Mountaineers have two “A” qualifiers and five “B” qualifiers.

Men’s Assistant Coaches of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Austin Roark, Indiana Tech

Roark, in his sixth year as the jumps coach at Indiana Tech, helped six Warriors to qualifying marks in the high jump, long jump and triple jump, including the the top-ranked athlete in the high jump. He also has men ranked among the national leaders in both horizontal jumps.

MIDWEST REGION – Jeff Chiapello, St. Francis (Ill.)

Chiapello, in his eighth year at St. Francis (Ill.), leads a distance group that currently ranks No. 1 in the NAIA #EventSquad Rankings in three different events: mile, 3000 and 5000 meters. He currently has 11 athletes with NAIA qualifying marks, including the top-ranked Distance Medley Relay at 9:59.56.

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

Dias, in his fourth year as the sprints and relays coach at William Carey, helped guide the men’s program to their highest indoor ranking in program history. He has 15 athletes qualified for the NAIA Championships across nine events with all but two being the “A” standard. His athletes set new program records in eight events with 13 top-5 national marks in the sprints and jumps, along with coaching eight event-leading marks in the region.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Frank Wallace, Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Wallace, in his first year as the sprints, hurdles and jumps coach at Wayland Baptist, helped contribute to the men’s team that is currently ranked fourth in the nation. He has coached five qualifiers in the sprints, hurdles and relays (including the top-ranked 4×400 relay team in the nation at 3:14.48) as well as one in the triple jump.

WEST REGION – Rebecca Rhodes, Eastern Oregon

Rhodes, in her third year in the sprints, jumps, hurdles, relays, and combined events coach at Eastern Oregon, has rewritten the Mountaineers’ indoor top-10 list numerous times during the indoor season. She has athletes ranked in the top-10 regionally in every event except for the 400, including four in the long jump, two in the triple jump and two in the high jump. Her athlete also has the top mark in the triple jump in the West Region.

Women’s Track Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Hannah Stoffel, Huntington (Ind.)

Stoffel, a junior from Huntington, Indiana, is ranked first nationally in the 1000 at 2:44.81, the 800 at 2:05.49 and the 600 at 1:31.56f. She scored a staggering total of 33¼ points at the Crossroads League Indoor Championships with victories in the 600, 800 and 100, helped out on the championship DMR team and the fourth-place 4×400 relay.

MIDWEST REGION – Rachel Battershell, Concordia (Neb.)

Battershell, a sophomore from Wheatland, Wyoming, is ranked first nationally in the 400 at 56.40f and fourth nationally in the 60 Hurdles at 8.81. She was named the GPAC Most Outstanding Female Athlete of the Meet after she won individual titles in both the 400 and the 60H and chipped in as part of the winning 4×400 relay.

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

Kearney, a senior from Wirral, England, is ranked first nationally in both the 5000 at 16:17.89f and the 3000 at 9:15.29f. She is also ranked second nationally in the mile at 4:52.55. Kearney scored 30 points at the AAC Indoor Championships with victories in the mile, 3000 and 5000.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Cheyenne Hill-Johnson

Hill-Johnson, a junior from Stafford, Texas, is ranked third nationally in the 60 at 7.46 and fifth nationally in the 200 at 25.14c (24.75OT). She recorded both of those marks despite only competing in five races this season.

WEST REGION – Danielle De Castro, Oregon Tech

De Castro, a junior from Seattle, Washington, is ranked third nationally in the mile at 5:00.77c (4:57.82OT) and fifth nationally in the 3000 at 10:07.33c (10:02.15OT). She is also ranked seventh nationally in the 1000 at 2:58.71c (2:57.78b).

Women’s Field Athletes of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Destiny Copeland, Indiana Tech

Copeland, a sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, is ranked first nationally in the triple jump at 12.35m (40-6) and second nationally in the long jump at 6.04m (19-9¾). She scored 18 points at the WHAC Indoor Championships with a victory in the triple jump and a runner-up finish in the long jump.

MIDWEST REGION – Adrianna Shaw, Concordia (Neb.)

Shaw, a senior from Bassett, Nebraska, is ranked second nationally in both the weight throw at 19.20m (63-0) and the shot put at 14.87m (48-9½). She either placed first or second in the weight throw at every meet in which she competed, including several that featured athletes from all of the other collegiate divisions.

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

Jones, a junior from Soso, Mississippi, is ranked first nationally in the long jump at 6.08m (19-11½) and fourth nationally in the triple jump at 12.17m (39-11¼). She finished second in the long jump at the K-State Winter Invitational and fourth in the same event at the Carolina Challenge against talented NCAA Division I athletes.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Lauren Doll, Friends (Kan.)

Doll, a senior from Leon, Kansas, is ranked eighth nationally in the pentathlon at 3202 points and eighth nationally in the triple jump at 11.75m (38-6¾). She was named the Women’s Athlete of the Championship Meet at the KCAC Indoor Championships after scoring 28 points thanks to victories in the long jump and triple jump and a runner-up finish in the high jump.

WEST REGION – Paige Dodd, Eastern Oregon

Dodd, a senior from Burbank, Washington, is ranked first nationally in the pentathlon at 3381 points. She finished runner-up in the pentathlon at the Vandal Open and Lauren McCluskey Multi against athletes from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division III and the NAIA.

Women’s Coaches of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar, Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his 10th year at Indiana Tech, has the Warriors ranked No. 1 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region. Indiana Tech won the WHAC team title and claimed five event wins. The Warriors have 22 “A” qualifiers.

MIDWEST REGION – Matt Beisel, Concordia (Neb.)

Beisel, in his fourth year at Concordia, has his Bulldogs in a season-long No. 2 ranking in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index as well as No. 1 in the Midwest Region. Concordia won the GPAC team title and took home seven event winners. The Bulldogs have two national leaders and 13 “A” qualifiers.

SOUTH REGION – Nick Dodson, Southeastern (Fla.)

Dodson, in his second year at Southeastern, has the Fire ranked 18th in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 3 in the South Region. The second-year program has the No. 2 #EventSquad in two events and five athletes ranked nationally in the top-10. Southeastern’s 14 national qualifiers – all freshmen and sophomores – include eight with the “A” standard.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Henry Brun, Friends (Kan.)

Brun, in his first year at Friends, has the Falcons ranked No. 9 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the South Central Region. Friends won the KCAC team title with winners in seven events and claimed a new meet record. Friends finished the regular season with 12 “A” qualifiers, including four in the top-10.

WEST REGION – Ben Welch, Eastern Oregon

Welch, in his 29th year at Eastern Oregon, has the Mountaineers ranked No. 14 in the USTFCCCA National Ratings Index and No. 1 in the West Region. EOU has athletes ranked in the top-10 of the West Region in all but three events, and three of more ranked in the regional top-10 in eight events, as the Mountaineers recorded 34 all-time school top-10 indoor marks this year. Eastern Oregon has eight athletes who achieved the “A” standard.

Women’s Assistant Coaches of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Tracy Blocker, Huntington (Ind.)

Blocker, in his fourth year at Huntington (Ind.) as the middle distance coach, had athletes score 92 of the team’s 93 points at the Crossroads League Championships. His athletes won the 600, 800, 1000, mile, 3000, Distance Medley Relay, and 4×400 Relay conference titles while setting six conference records. Blocker has coached 18 Foresters to “A” standard, three “B” standards, and six national-leading marks.

MIDWEST REGION – Amy Polhemus, St. Francis (Ill.)

Polhemus, in her third year as the mid-distance coach at St. Francis (Ill.), helped coach the women to the school’s first conference championship in track & field as her athletes won nine events. The Saints rank first in the region and in the top three in the USTFCCCA #EventSquad rankings: 600, 800, 1000, and mile.

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

McKenzie, in his sixth year as the sprints and jumps coach at William Carey, helped guide the women’s program to its highest indoor ranking. He had a school record 13 women in 10 events qualify for the NAIA Championships, with 15 of them achieving the “A” standard. He also coached athletes that set school records in eight events, with eight national marks in the top 5 and six marks leading the region.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Jason Parr, Friends (Kan.)

Parr guided a distance group that scored 99 of the team’s 213 points to win the KCAC Indoor Conference Title. His athletes accounted for eight “A” standards and four “B” standards, which helped the program to a top-10 national ranking. Parr is in his third year at Friends.

WEST REGION – Rebecca Rhodes, Eastern Oregon

Rhodes has at least one athlete ranked in the top ten regionally in every event she covers, with eight events having multiple athletes, and seven events having three of four athletes in the top ten. She coached athletes that set four school records, with two of them being set more than once, and registering 17 new EOU all-time top ten marks. Rhodes also has at least one NAIA qualifier in the 60, 200, 400, 600, 4×400 Relay, triple jump, and pentathlon. She is in her third year in the sprints, jumps, hurdles, relays, and combined events coach at Eastern Oregon.