Award History
NAIA XC Regional Awards

2020 USTFCCCA NAIA Cross Country Regional Awards

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2020 NAIA Cross Country season were announced on Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association following the conclusion of the regular season.

Many of these athletes and coaches will end their season on April 9 at the 2020 NAIA Cross Country Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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

Men’s Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION — Luke Pohl — Cornerstone (Mich.)

Pohl, a sophomore from Plymouth, Michigan, won the individual title at the WHAC Cross Country Championships in 25:22.1. He was also victorious at the Bethel (Ind.) Invitational and finished runner-up at the Taylor (Ind.) Midwest Challenge, among other strong efforts this season.

MIDWEST REGION — Taylor Vallangeon — Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

Vallengeon, a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, won the individual title at the CCAC Cross Country Championships in 25:56.9. He also finished runner-up at the Midwest Intercollegiate Meet, among other strong efforts this season.

SOUTH REGION — Aaron Jones — Milligan (Tenn.)

Jones, a freshman from Johnson City, Tennessee, won the individual title at the AAC Cross Country Championships in 25:11.0. He was also victorious at the Montreat XC Fall Classic/AAC Preview, among other strong efforts this season.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Zouhair Talbi — Oklahoma City

Talbi, a sophomore from Tighassaline, Khenifra, Morocco, is undefeated with his most recent victory coming at the Sooner Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships in 24:21.7. He also won individual titles this season at the Oklahoma City Invitational and the Wichita State J.K. Gold Classic.

WEST REGION — Cole Olsen — Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)

Olsen, a senior from Clearwater, Idaho, is undefeated with his most recent victory coming at the Cascade Conference Cross Country Championships in 24:18.0. He also won individual titles at both the Lewis-Clark State Winter Invitational I & II, as well as the Bushnell (Ore.) Invitational.

Men’s Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION — Lauren Davenport Johnson — Huntington (Ind.)

Huntington (Ind.), the current No. 1 team in the NAIA National Coaches’ Poll, won the team title at the Crossroads League Cross Country Championships with 40 points back in November. Earlier in the season, the Foresters claimed the team title at the Seminole Valley Stampede and finished second at the Indiana Wesleyan Twilight.

MIDWEST REGION — Nate Wolf — Dordt (Iowa)

Wolf, in his sixth year at Dordt (Iowa), led the Defenders to the team title at the GPAC Cross Country Championships. The Defenders won the Dordt Sunflower Opener and finished second at the Mount Marty Invitational, Briar Cliff Invitational and Morningside Invitational.

SOUTH REGION — Chris Layne — Milligan (Tenn.)

Layne, in his 22nd year at Milligan (Tenn.), coached the Buffs to the team title with 19 points at the AAC Cross Country Championships. Earlier in the season, the Buffs won team titles at the Montreat XC Fall Classic/AAC Preview, Royals Cross Country Challenge, Buffalo Creek Invitational and Montreat Invitationals.

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

Benton, in his eighth year at Saint Mary (Kan.), guided the Spires to the team title with 15 points at the KCAC Cross Country championships. Earlier in the season, the Spires won the team title at the NAIA Mid-States Classic, Bethel (Kan.) Invitational and Coyote Invitational.

WEST REGION — Mike Collins — Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)

Collins, in his 24th season at Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), coached the Warriors to the team title with 54 points at the Cascade Cross Country championships. Earlier in the season, the Warriors won the Lewis-Clark State Winter Invitational I and Bushnell (Ore.) Invitational, while finishing runner-up at the Lewis-Clark State Winter Invitational II.

Women’s Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION — Emma Wilson — Huntington (Ind.)

Wilson, a sophomore from Greencastle, Indiana, is undefeated with her most recent victory coming at the Crossroads League Cross Country Championships in 16:40.3. She also won individual titles at the Taylor (Ind.) Midwest Challenge, the NAIA Seminole Valley Stampede as well as the Indiana Wesleyan Twilight Classic.

MIDWEST REGION — Laisha Corona — St. Francis (Ill.)

Corona, a junior from Lockport, Illinois, won the individual title at the Chicagoland Conference Cross Country Championships in 18:11.8.

SOUTH REGION — Julia Rohm — Southeastern (Fla.)

Rohm, a junior from Riverview, Florida, is undefeated with her most recent victory coming at the Sun Conference Cross Country Championships in 18:36.0. She also won individual titles at the NAIA Southern States Challenge, the Sand Shark Invitational, the Ave Invitational/Conference Preview, the flrunners.com Invitational as well as the Holloway Park Cross Country Festival.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Allika Pearson — John Brown (Ark.)

Pearson, a junior from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, is undefeated with her most recent victory coming at the Sooner Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships in 18:08.1. She also won individual titles at the Columbia College XC Winter Classic and the Oklahoma City Invitational.

WEST REGION — Faith Widman — Oregon Tech

Widman, a junior from Fairbanks, Alaska, is undefeated with her most recent victory coming at the Cascade Conference Cross Country Championships in 17:41.0. She also won individual titles at the Oregon Tech-Corban Dual Meet, the Lane CC Invitational, the Bushnell (Ore.) Invitational and the Bushnell (Ore.) Open.

Women’s Coach of the Year

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

White, in his 11th year at Taylor (Ind.), coached the Trojans to the team title with 50 points at the Crossroads League Cross Country Championships. Earlier in the season, the Trojans won team titles at the Midwest Challenge, Ray Bullock Invitational and Indiana Wesleyan Twilight Classic.

MIDWEST REGION — Jeff Barker — St. Francis (Ill.)

Barker, in his ninth year at St. Francis (Ill.), led the Saints to the team title with 19 points at the Chicagoland Cross Country Championships. Earlier in the season, the Saints won the Bethel (Ind.) Invitational, while finishing second at the Taylor (Ind.) Midwest Challenge and the Midwest Intercollegiate Meet.

SOUTH REGION — Chris Layne — Milligan (Tenn.)

Layne, in his 22nd year at Milligan (Tenn.), guided the Buffs to the team title with 25 points at the AAC Cross Country Championships. In regular season action, the Buffs won the Montreat XC Fall Classic/AAC Preview, Buffalo Creek Invitational and Montreat Invitational, while finishing third at the Royals Cross Country Challenge.

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

Benton, in his eighth year at Saint Mary (Kan.), led the Spires to the team title with 25 points at the KCAC Cross Country Championships. Earlier in the season, the Spires won the NAIA Mid-States Classic, Muthama-Rogers Invitational and Coyote Invitational.

WEST REGION — Austin Basterrechea — College of Idaho

Basterrechea, in his fifth season at College of Idaho, coached the Yotes to the team title with 33 points at the Cascade Cross Country Championships. Earlier in the season, the Yotes went undefeated with team titles at the Lewis-Clark State Winter Invitational II, College of Idaho Ice Chipper and the CI/EOU Dual In The Dirt.