NAIA Regional Award Winners For 2021 Indoor Season

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2021 NAIA Indoor Track & Field season were announced on 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 2021 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships next week in Yankton, South Dakota.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Landon Miller – Indiana Wesleyan

Miller, a senior from Goshen, Indiana, is ranked first nationally in both the mile at 4:08.42c (4:11.59f) and 5000 at 14:18.08c (14:27.27f). He is also second nationally in the 3000 at 8:16.29c (8:22.06f). Miller won both the mile and 5000 at the Crossroads League Indoor Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Ben Jefferies – Briar Cliff (Iowa)

Jefferies, a sophomore from Bristol, England, is ranked second nationally in both the 200 at 21.56c (21.94f) and 400 at 47.42c (48.17f). He is undefeated this season at 200 meters.

SOUTH REGION – Tim Thacker – Milligan (Tenn.)

Thacker, a senior from Knoxville, Tennessee, is ranked among the top-15 nationally in five events, including a nation-leading mark in the 1000 at 2:25.57 and the mile at 4:09.75. He won four titles at the AAC Indoor Championships and set three meet records.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Luke Skinner – Saint Mary (Kan.)

Skinner, a senior from Montezuma, Kansas, is ranked among the top-8 nationally in seven different events, including top-5 efforts in the 800 (No. 5), 1000 (No. 2), mile (No. 4), 5000 (No. 4) and as part of the Spires’ DMR (No. 2). He won four events at the KCAC Indoor Championships – finished runner-up in another – and set three meet records.

WEST REGION – Clayton VanDyke – Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)

VanDyke, a senior from Vernal, Utah, is ranked fifth nationally in the 1000 at 2:28.29. He is also ranked 12th nationally in the 800 at 1:54.55.

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Thomas Jackson – Bethel (Ind.)

Jackson, a senior from Gary, Indiana, is ranked third nationally in the long jump at 7.48m (24-6½) and 17th nationally in the triple jump at 14.10m (46-3¼). He won both events at the Crossroads League Indoor Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Dylan Kucera – Midland (Neb.)

Kucera, a junior from Fremont, Nebraska, is ranked first nationally in both the shot put at 18.28m (59-11¾) and weight throw at 19.88m (65-2¾). He is undefeated this season in the shot put and swept the throwing events at the GPAC Indoor Championships.

SOUTH REGION – Ineh Emmanuel- William Carey (Miss.)

Emmanuel, a sophomore from Warri, Nigeria, is ranked first nationally in both the long jump at 7.79m (25-6¾) and triple jump at 15.64m (51-3¾). He leads the nation in the triple jump by nearly two feet.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Taylor Bottomley – Central Methodist (Mo.)

Bottomley, a senior from Harrisburg, Missouri, is ranked top-5 nationally in both the weight throw (No. 4, 19.03m/62-5¼) and shot put (No. 5, 16.82m/55-2¼). He won both events at the Heart of America Athletic Conference Indoor Championships.

WEST REGION – Allex Kosel – Eastern Oregon

Kosel, a junior from Roberts, Montana, is ranked among the top-10 nationally in both the triple jump (No. 4, 14.60m/47-10¾) and long jump (No. 8, 7.16m/23-6). Both of those marks were turned in outdoors and pace the region as well.

Men’s Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar – Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his 10th year at Indiana Tech, has the Warriors sitting atop both the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and the Great Lakes Region. The Warriors won the team title at the WHAC Indoor Championships and claimed nine event titles.

MIDWEST REGION – Craig Heynen – Dordt (Iowa)

Heynen, in his 14th year at Dordt (Iowa), has his team ranked No. 2 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the Midwest Region. He guided the Defenders to the team’s first crown at the GPAC Indoor Championships, while claiming five event crowns. The Defenders have nine athletes with top-10 nationally ranked marks and three relays with top-8 marks, while having the top 400, 600, 800 and 1000 group in the #EventSquad Rankings.

SOUTH REGION – Nick Dodson – Southeastern (Fla.)

Dodson, in his third year at Southeastern (Fla.), has the Fire ranked No. 17 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 2 in the South Region. The Fire won the team title at the Sun Conference Indoor Championships thanks to 10 event championships. His athletes have broken 14 school records and boast eight top-16 marks over six events.

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

Brun, in his second year at Friends (Kan.), has his Falcons ranked No. 7 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the South Central Region. His squad won the team title at the KCAC Indoor Championships thanks to five event crowns. The Falcons broke five school records this season and have 10 nationally-ranked marks that sit in the top-10.

WEST REGION – Ben Welch – Eastern Oregon

Welch, in his 19th year at Eastern Oregon, has his Mountaineers ranked No. 22 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the West Region. The Mountaineers will be represented by six men across six different events at the NAIA Championships.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

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

White, in his second year at Taylor, guided the NAIA’s top #EventSquad in the 3000 and 5000 meters, as rated by the USTFCCCA. His athletes combined for five of the top-20 spots in the 5K, as well as six in the top-30 at the 3K distance.

MIDWEST REGION – Nate Wolf – Dordt (Iowa)

Wolf, in his sixth year at Dordt, oversaw the NAIA’s top-rated #EventSquad in the 800 and 1000, as well as No. 2 in the mile. His athletes scored 109 of the team’s 184 points in winning the team title at the GPAC Indoor Championships.

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

Dias, in his fifth year at William Carey, oversaw his Crusaders set three school records and qualified nine athletes in five events for the national championships. His athletes achieved two No. 1 marks.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Nolan Ryan – Saint Mary (Kan.)

Ryan, in his third year at Saint Mary (Kan.), led the distance runners to top-10 national rankings in everything from the 1000 to 5000 meters. The Spires’ distance medley relay is also ranked No. 2 nationally.

WEST REGION – Zach Barclay – College of Idaho

Barclay, in his ninth year at College of Idaho, guided a throwing group that qualified three athletes who set 12 PRs. He was also instrumental in holding throwing competitions in the Northwest when few opportunities were available due to the pandemic.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Emma Mott – Bethel (Ind.)

Mott, a senior from Granger, Indiana, is ranked among the top-10 nationally in five events, including a nation-leading mark in the 1000 (2:48.26c/2:50.09f) and the No. 2 billing in both the 800 (2:14.40) and mile (4:56.89). She was named the Crossroads League Indoor Championships Female Track Athlete of the Meet after winning each of her three individual events (600, 800, 1000) and placing top-8 in all three relays (4×400, 4×800, DMR).

MIDWEST REGION – Emalee Fundermann – Morningside (Iowa)

Fundermann, a senior from Anthon, Iowa, is ranked among the top-5 nationally in three different individual events, including a nation-leading mark in the 800 at 2:13.38c (2:14.91f). She is undefeated at 800 meters this season and won that event and the mile at the GPAC Indoor Championships.

SOUTH REGION – Aniekeme Etim – William Carey (Miss.)

Etim, a senior from Ikot Ekphne, Nigeria, is ranked first nationally in both the 60 (7.38) and 200 (24.32). She is undefeated at 60 meters this season.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Raheema Westfall- Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Westfall, a senior from St. Louis, Missouri, is ranked second nationally in the 60 at 7.43 and third nationally in the 200 at 24.52. She is undefeated at 200 meters this season.

WEST REGION – Jasmine Devers – Eastern Oregon

Devers, a sophomore from Boise, Idaho, is ranked fifth nationally in the 200 at 24.62. She is also ranked 18th nationally in the 60 at 7.75.

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Destiny Copeland – Indiana Tech

Copeland, a junior from Chesapeake, Virginia, is ranked first nationally in the long jump at 6.19m (20-3¾) and second nationally in the triple jump at 12.26m (40-2¾). She won both of the horizontal jumps at the WHAC Indoor Championships.   

MIDWEST REGION – Lauren Tamayo – Hastings (Neb.)

Tamayo, a junior from Ralston, Nebraska, is ranked second nationally in the pentathlon at 3541 points and fourth nationally in the high jump at 1.68m (5-6). She won titles in both the pentathlon and the high jump at the GPAC Indoor Championships.

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

Jones, a senior from Soso, Mississippi, is ranked first nationally in the triple jump at 12.56m (41-2½) and second nationally in the long jump at 6.14m (20-1¾). She is undefeated in both events this season, which includes a long jump title at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational, hosted by NCAA Division I Kansas State.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Carly Lindenmeyer – MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)

Lindenmeyer, a sophomore from Olathe, Kansas, is ranked ninth nationally in the pentathlon at 3216 points and 11th nationally in the high jump at 1.65m (5-5). She won both the high jump and long jump at the Heart of America Athletic Conference Indoor Championships and finished runner-up in the pentathlon at that meet as well.

WEST REGION – Catylynn Duff – College of Idaho

Duff, a junior from Culver, Oregon, is ranked second nationally in the weight throw at 17.73m (58-2) and ninth nationally in the shot put at 13.24m (43-5¼). She is undefeated in the weight throw this season.

Women’s Coach 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 the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and the Great Lakes Region. The Warriors took home the team title at the WHAC Indoor Championships and claimed eight event titles, while also breaking the record for points scored at the championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Matt Beisel – Concordia (Neb.)

Beisel, in his fifth year at Concordia (Neb.), has the Bulldogs ranked No. 2 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the Midwest Region. The Bulldogs won the team title at the GPAC Indoor Championships with three event winners and seven runner-up finishes. Concordia (Neb.) boasts 18 marks that rank in the top-10 nationally.

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

Hegstrom, in his ninth year at William Carey (Miss.), has his team ranked No. 3 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 3 in the South Region. He qualified nine women for the NAIA Indoor Championships in seven events, with three national leading marks and 13 that rank in the top-10. The Crusaders also have the top #EventSquad groups in the 60 and 200.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Nate Wiens – MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)

Wiens, in his sixth year at MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), has the Pioneers ranked No. 3 in the South Central Region. The Pioneers won the team title at the Heart of America Conference Indoor Championships with six event crowns.

WEST REGION – Austin Basterrechea – College of Idaho

Basterrecha, in his 10th year at College of Idaho, has the Coyotes ranked No. 17 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the West Region. He has guided his athletes to five top-10 nationally ranked marks and two school records.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Austin Roark – Indiana Tech

Roark, in his sixth year at Indiana Tech, guided one of the nation’s best jumping groups. Nine of his athletes qualified for the national championships and those same athletes put up multiple national top-10 marks in the long jump (five of top-10), pentathlon (five of top-10), triple jump (four of top-10) and high jump (two of top-10).

MIDWEST REGION – Adam Driver – Hastings (Neb.)

Driver, in his 10th year at Hastings (Neb.), oversaw athletes who scored 27 points at the GPAC Indoor Championships, winning the long jump and pole vault. His athletes rank among the top-10 nationally in both of those events as well – No. 6 and No. 7 in the long jump and No. 3 and No. 6 in the pole vault.

SOUTH REGION – Chester Hightower – Southeastern (Fla.)

Hightower, in his third year at Southeastern (Fla.), led a sprint group that swept the podium at the Sun Conference Championships in the 60 and 200 meters. In the 200, the steps could have been increased as Fire athletes went 1-5. All told, his athletes scored 57 points as a group at the conference meet.

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

Wallace, in his eighth year at Wayland Baptist (Texas), guided a sprint crew to numerous national rankings. Three athletes are among the nation’s top-10, helping the Pioneers reach No. 2 status as an #EventSquad in the 60 meters, plus No. 3 in the 200.

WEST REGION – Rebecca Rhodes – Eastern Oregon

Rhodes, in her fourth year at Eastern Oregon, coaches a multitude of events, from jumps, sprints, hurdles and combined events. She led athletes to six national-qualifying positions in just two regular-season meets.