Postseason Awards For 2020 NJCAA Indoor Season

NEW ORLEANS – Postseason awards for the 2020 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field season were released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

USTFCCCA National and Regional Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.

We released our USTFCCCA All-America honors yesterday.

National Awards

These awards were voted on by USTFCCCA member coaches following the conclusion of the 2020 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend in Lynchburg, Virginia. Performances from that meet and the entire regular season are taken into account.

National Athletes of the Year

Men’s Track – Wesley Banguria, Colby (Kan.) CC

Banguria, a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, put his name on the all-time list nearly every time he ran. He was most dominant in the 5000 meters, where he set the all-conditions indoor best of 13:43.29 in winning the Region VI title by 22 seconds. At the NJCAA Championships he broke the meet record by 12 seconds in 13:56.51 with a 16-second victory. Also this season he clocked the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 6 performances all-time in the 3000, led by a 7:51.59. In the mile, his 4:04.62 best makes him the fourth-fastest ever on tracks of any size. He was the high-point scorer at the NJCAA Championships with 25.5 points.

Women’s Track – Flomena Asekol, New Mexico JC

Asekol, a freshman from Eldoret, Kenya, was untouchable at the NJCAA Championships as she crossed the finish line first in four different races. She kicked off the meet by anchoring the Thunderbirds’ distance medley team to a 19-second victory in 11:56.50. The next day in the span of two hours she won the mile (4:52.69), 800 (2:12.87) and 1000 (2:56.43), beating defending champions in the first two, and the mile with the second-fastest time in meet history. Her 32.5 points were the most scored in the NJCAA Championships – male or female. Earlier this year, she recorded high-ranking times in the 800 (2:08.63 – No. 2 all-time) and 1000 (2:50.78 – No. 4 all-time).

Men’s Field – Shakwon Coke, Barton (Kan.) CC

Coke, a freshman from Kingston, Jamaica, set two lifetime bests to sweep the horizontal jumps at the NJCAA Championships. In the triple jump, he had three marks that would have won, but his best came in round 2 – 16.19m (53-1½) to win by more than two feet over the defending champion and move to No. 9 on the all-time list. The day before he was locked in a close long jump battle, taking the lead in round 3 before soaring his best of 7.78m (25-6¼) in round 5.

Women’s Field – Annia Ashley, Barton (Kan.) CC

Ashley, a freshman from Kingston, Jamaica, won two jumps and was second in a third at the NJCAA Championships, as her 28 points were the most by a field event athlete – man or woman. She came from third place to take the lead in the long jump with a leap of 5.97m (19-7) to win by 2cm (¾“). A first-attempt clearance of 1.71m (5-7¼) was the difference in winning the high jump on fewest misses, and she finished the meet with a second in the triple jump at 12.47m (40-11).

National Coaches of the Year

Men’s Coach – Jordan Burkholder, Iowa Central CC

Burkholder, in his first year as head coach after serving the previous two seasons as assistant coach (where he was twice a regional assistant coach of the year), led the Tritons back to the top of the podium as they have now won the NJCAA Indoor Championships in four of the last five years. Iowa Central scored 118 points – their most since 2017 (124) – as distance runner Kelvin Bungei contributed 23 points in four individual events and Courtney Lindsey added 16.75 with a pair of seconds in the 60 and 200 and a leg on the sixth-place 4 x 400 relay.

Men’s Assistant Coach – Trent Edgerton, Barton (Kan.) CC

Edgerton, in his first year coaching the sprints, hurdles and mid-distances, mentored three individual winners at the NJCAA Championships – Davonte Burnett in the 60, Caleb Boger in the 200 and Philip Lemonious in the 60 hurdles. Boger’s winning time of 20.68 made him No. 3 all-time. Earlier this year, Lemonious ran 7.75 to become =No. 5 all-time, and Burnett ran 6.62 to move to =No. 9 all-time. Edgerton’s athletes accounted for 53 of Barton’s 99.5 points.

Women’s Coach – Keith Blackwill, New Mexico JC

Blackwill, in his 15th year as head coach, guided the Thunderbirds to a dominating 45-point victory at the NJCAA Indoor Championships, easily the largest margin of their four titles. NMJC won nine events – more than twice as many as any other team. Most of the wins came from Flomena Asekol, who claimed an 800/1000/mile triple after anchoring the victorious DMR. This is the third time Blackwill has earned this award, matching his total in women’s outdoor track & field.

Women’s Assistant Coach – Jeff Becker, New Mexico JC

Becker, in his seventh year coaching the distances, led his athletes to score 65 of the Thunderbirds’ 160 points in winning the NJCAA Championships. They were led by overall high-point scorer Flomena Asekol, who won the 800, 1000 and mile and anchored the winning distance medley relay team. Two other athletes scored in four events – Britnie Dixon won the 600 and was 4th in the 100, and Montserret Rios was 6th in 1000 and 8th in the 800, as each also ran on the DMR and the runner-up 4 x 800 team.

Regional Awards

These awards were voted on by USTFCCCA member coaches following the conclusion of the regular season.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Geoffrey Bwalley – Monroe-New Rochelle (N.Y.)

Bwalley, a freshman from Kapsabet, Kenya, is ranked eighth nationally in the 5000 at 14:52.65 and 12th nationally in the 3000 at 8:34.91. He won the 5000 at the Albany Great Dane Classic and finished second overall in the 5000 at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational.

CENTRAL REGION – Wesley Banguria – Colby (Kan.) CC

Banguria, a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, is ranked first nationally in both the 5000 at 13:43.29 OT and the 3000 at 7:51.59 and is ranked third in the mile at 4:04.62. He set the NJCAA all-conditions record in the 5000 and is ranked second all-time in the 3000.

MIDWEST REGION – Kelvin Bungei – Iowa Central CC

Bungei, a freshman from Kitale, Kenya, is ranked first nationally in the mile at 4:04.19 and third nationally in the 5000 at 14:27.43 OT. His time in the mile currently ranks him eighth all-time in NJCAA history.

WEST REGION – Moitalel Mpoke – South Plains (Texas)

Mpoke, a sophomore from Nairobi, Kenya, is ranked first nationally in both the 600 at 1:14.97 and the 800 at 1:50.72. He is also ranked second nationally in the 400 at 46.43c (46.23A). On Valentine’s Day, Mpoke ran one of the fastest 600-yard times in world history.

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Lloyd McCurdy – Monroe-New Rochelle (N.Y.)

McCurdy, a sophomore from Georgetown, Guyana, is ranked fourth nationally in the triple jump at 15.14m (49-8¼). He finished second against a loaded field at the John Thomas Terrier Classic hosted by Boston University.

CENTRAL REGION – Shakwon Coke – Barton (Kan.) CC

Coke, a freshman from Kingston, Jamaica, is ranked second nationally in both the triple jump at 15.41m (50-6¾) and in the long jump at 7.60m (24-11¼). His seasonal best in the triple jump has him ranked as the No. 9 performer in NJCAA history, while his long jump best slots him in as the No. 12 performer on that list.

MIDWEST REGION – Matteo Capello – Vincennes (Ind.)

Capello, a freshman from Torino, Italy, is ranked first nationally in the pole vault at 5.33m (17-5¾). He broke the NJCAA record in the event and holds eight of the top-13 vaults in division history, including the top-3 marks on the list.

WEST REGION – Andrei Romanov – New Mexico JC

Romanov, a freshman from Moscow, Russia, is ranked first nationally in the weight throw at 21.51m (70-7). He broke the NJCAA record in the event and has topped 20.00m (65-7) in every meet that he has competed in this season.

Men’s Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Lesleigh Hogg – Monroe-New Rochelle (N.Y.)

Hogg, in his fifth year at Monroe, guided the Mustangs to having national qualifiers in every individual running, along with the distance medley relay and triple jump. Athletes on the team lead the Atlantic Region in eight events as Monroe is rated No. 2 in the region.

CENTRAL REGION – Harry Kitchener – Cloud County (Kan.) CC

Kitchener, in his 43rd year at Cloud County, led the Thunderbirds to the Region VI team title with seven event winners. Cloud County is rated No. 6 in the nation and No. 1 in the Central Region.

MIDWEST REGION – Jordan Burkholder – Iowa Central CC

Burkholder, in his first year as head coach at Iowa Central, led the Tritons to the Region XI team title with 14 event winners. Iowa Central is rated No. 1 in both the nation and Midwest Region.

WEST REGION – Steve Jacobs – Mesa (Ariz.) CC

Jacobs, in his 31st year at Mesa, coached the Thunderbirds to nine top-5 event squad rankings, led by a No. 1 rating in the heptathlon. Mesa is No. 3 in the pole vault, No. 4 in the 60 hurdles and weight throw and No. 5 in the 600, 800, high jump, long jump and shot put. Their distance medley relay team is also fifth in the country, as the Thunderbirds are rated No. 1 in the West Region.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Shirvon Greene – Monroe-New Rochelle (N.Y.)

Greene, in his 11th year coaching the middle and long distances, has six athletes qualified for the NJCAA Championships in six different events. His athletes rank No. 1 in the Atlantic Region in the 1000, mile, 3000, 5000, 4 x 800 and distance medley, and No. 2 in the 400, 600 and 800. In the 800, the Mustangs have four qualifiers with two in the top-10.

CENTRAL REGION – Morrie Turner – Coffeyville (Kan.) CC

Turner, in his first year coaching the short sprints, jumps and relays, guided three athletes to Region VI titles in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. The Red Ravens’ long jump and triple jump event squads are rated No. 1 in the nation, while the high jump and 60-meter units are No. 4.

MIDWEST REGION – Tim Marsee – Vincennes (Ind.)

Marsee, in his 12th year coaching the pole vault and throws, has the No. 1-rated pole vault squad in the nation, led by Matteo Capello, who has twice broken the national record this year. The Trailblazers’ shot put squad is rated No. 9 in the country and the weight throw unit is No. 13.

WEST REGION – Wes Miller – South Plains (Texas)

Miller, in his first year coaching the sprints and hurdles, has built the nation’s top-ranked 4 x 400 relay team and No. 2-ranked 4 x 800 team as the Texans lead the West Region in five events. One of his athletes – Moitalel Mpoke – leads the nation in the 600 and 800 and is ranked second in the 400 and third in the 1000, while Khaleb McRae is ranked second in the 600 and third in the 400.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Joanna Archer – Monroe-New Rochelle (N.Y.)

Archer, a sophomore from West Bank Demerara, Guyana, is ranked second nationally in the 400 (55.72), 600 (1:33.51) and the 800 (2:11.06). She is also ranked fourth nationally in the 1000 at 2:57.28, which is also one of five top spots she holds in the Atlantic Region.

CENTRAL REGION – Mercy Ntia-Obong – Cloud County (Kan.) CC

Ntia-Obong, a freshman from Calabar, Nigeria, is ranked first nationally in the 200 at 23.70 OT and fourth nationally in the 60 at 7.40. She has not been beaten head-to-head in any race that she finished this season and broke the Region VI/Jayhawk Conference record in the 200.

MIDWEST REGION – Eleonora Curtabbi – Iowa Central CC

Curtabbi, a sophomore from Almese, Italy, is ranked first nationally in the 3000 at 9:42.13, second nationally in mile at 4:55.47 and fourth nationally in the 5000 at 17:11.16. Her time in the 3000 makes her the third fastest performer in NJCAA history.

WEST REGION – Flomena Asekol – New Mexico JC

Asekol, a freshman from Kapenguria, Kenya, is ranked first nationally in three different individual events: 800 (2:08.26c), 1000 (2:50.29) and mile (4:50.30c). She is also ranked in the top-5 nationally in both the 600 and the 3000. Her seasonal best in the 800 has her ranked as the second best performer in NJCAA history, while her mile slots her in at No. 4 on the all-time chart in that event.

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Elizabeth Taylor – Bryant & Stratton (Va.)

Taylor, a freshman from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is ranked third nationally in the pentathlon with 3096 points. She is also ranked in the top-15 nationally in both the long jump (No. 12) and triple jump (No. 7).

CENTRAL REGION – Fiona Richards – Barton (Kan.) CC

Richards, a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, is ranked first nationally in the shot put at 16.28m (53-5) and third nationally in the weight throw at 17.04m (55-11). She is ranked fourth all-time in NJCAA history in the shot put and scored 18 points at the Region VI Indoor Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Lea Grady – Iowa Central CC

Grady, a sophomore from Davenport, Iowa, is ranked first nationally in the weight throw at 19.24m (63-1½) and second nationally in the shot put at 15.77m (51-9). She scored 20 points at the Region XI Indoor Championships thanks to victories in both the throwing events and set meet records in both as well.

WEST REGION – Onaara Obamuwagun – South Plains (Texas)

Obamuwagun, a freshman from Nigeria, is ranked first nationally in the triple jump at 13.20m (43-3¾) and sixth nationally in the long jump at 5.90m (19-4¼). Her seasonal best in the triple jump has her as the No. 2 performer in NJCAA history and she has several other marks on the all-time top-10 chart as well.

Women’s Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Claude Toukene – Bryant & Stratton (Va.)

Toukene, in his second at Bryant & Stratton, has led the second-year program to a No. 9 national rating and No. 1 in the Atlantic Region. The Bobcats have No. 1-rated event squads in the triple jump and pentathlon and No. 3 units in the 600, 60 hurdles, high jump and long jump.

CENTRAL REGION – Ted Schmitz – Cloud County (Kan.) CC

Schmitz, in his 39th year at Cloud County, guided the Thunderbirds to a runner-up finish in the Region VI Championships with four event winners. Two of his athletes – Mercy Ntia-Obong and Maryse Mbenoun, lead the nation in the 200 and pentathlon, respectively, while another (Jackie Pokuaah) is ranked second in the long jump and third in the triple jump. Cloud County is rated No. 5 in the nation and No. 2 in the Central Region.

MIDWEST REGION – Jordan Burkholder – Iowa Central CC

Burkholder, in his first year as head coach at Iowa Central, led the Tritons to the Region XI team title with 13 event winners, including Lea Grady, who set meet records in the shot put and weight throw. Iowa Central is rated No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in the Midwest Region.

WEST REGION – Keith Blackwill – New Mexico JC

Blackwill, in his 15th year at New Mexico, guided the Thunderbirds to No. 1 ratings in the nation and West Region. NMJC has 21 athletes qualified for a total of 46 entries for the NJCAA Championships.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION – Shirvon Greene – Monroe-New Rochelle (N.Y.)

Greene, in his 11th year guiding the middle and long distances, has five athletes qualified in nine different events for the NJCAA Championships. The Mustangs’ 800-meter event squad is ranked No. 1 in the nation, and Monroe leads the Atlantic Region in the 400, 600, 800, 1000, mile, 3000, 5000, 4 x 800 and distance medley relay.

CENTRAL REGION – Greg Franklin – Butler (Kan.) CC

Franklin, in his fifth year tutoring the sprinters and hurdlers, had athletes account for 52 points in the Region VI Championships, as the Grizzlies won the Jayhawk East Conference portion of the meet. He has four qualifiers for the NJCAA Championships in the 60 and three each in the 200 and 400.

MIDWEST REGION – Shellene Williams – Iowa Western CC

Williams, in her seventh year guiding the sprints and middle distances, has 10 athletes plus the 4 x 400 team qualified for the NJCAA Championships. His top sprinter, Amya Clarke, broke the school record in 600 at 7.53.

WEST REGION – Tabarie Henry – New Mexico JC

Henry, in his first year coaching the sprints and hurdles, has the No. 1-rated squad in four events – 60, 200, 400 and 600. He has 12 athletes qualified in a total of 22 events for the NJCAA Championships.