Award History
NAIA OTF Regional Awards

2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Regional Awards

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes & Coaches of the Year for the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season were announced on Thursday 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
USTFCCCA Regional Award History

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 Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Tony Floyd – Madonna (Mich.)

Floyd, a senior from Westland, Michigan, is ranked first nationally in the 5000 at 14:24.32 and second nationally in the 10,000 at 30:06.89. He completed the distance sweep at the WHAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, winning the 5000 and 10,000.

MIDWEST REGION – Matthew Van Eps – Dordt (Iowa)

Van Eps, a senior from Prinsburg, Minnesota, is ranked second nationally in the 800 at 1:49.59 and is undefeated in that event, including a victory at the Drake Relays. He completed the 800-1500 sweep at the GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships and has 15 total first-place finishes this season.

SOUTH REGION – Alexander Gray – Warner (Fla.)

Gray, a sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida, is ranked first nationally in both the 100 (10.31w) and 200 (20.79). He completed the 100-200 double at The Sun Conference Championships.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Johnathan Bowen – Saint Mary (Kan.)

Bowen, a junior from Wakefield, Kansas, is ranked fifth nationally in the 10,000 at 30:22.23, a mark that he clocked to win the KCAC title and break the conference record. He is also ranked among the top-25 athletes nationally in the 5000, an event in which he won another conference title.

WEST REGION – Senzo Sokhela – Westmont (Calif.)

Sokhela, a freshman from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, is ranked first nationally in both the 800 (1:49.52) and 1500 (3:44.62). He completed the 800-1500 double at the GSAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Jacob Gerber – Goshen (Ind.)

Gerber, a senior from Goshen, Indiana, is ranked second nationally in hammer at 62.07m (203-8). He won the hammer at the Crossroads League Outdoor Track & Field Championships and topped the podium at the Indiana Little State Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Dylan Kucera – Midland (Neb.)

Kucera, a sophomore from Fremont, Nebraska, is ranked among the top-5 athletes nationally in the shot put (No. 2, 18.25m/59-10½), discus (No. 2, 52.58m/172-6) and hammer (No. 5, 59.96m/196-8). He scored 26 points at the GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships thanks to victories in both the discus and shot put as well as a third-place effort in the hammer.

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

Emmanuel, a sophomore from Warri, Nigeria, is ranked first nationally in both the long jump (8.07m/26-5¾) and triple jump (16.08m/52-9¼). He completed the long jump-triple jump sweep at the SSAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Dylan Templeman – McPherson (Kan.)

Templeman, a junior from Princeton, Texas, is ranked first nationally in the discus at 54.55m (179-0) and seventh nationally in the shot put at 16.99m (55-9). He scored 26 points at the KCAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, completing the discus-shot double and placing third in the hammer.

WEST REGION – Hunter Drops – Oregon Tech

Drops, a junior from Coos Bay, Oregon, is ranked first nationally in the javelin at 70.93m (232-9), a mark in which he set a conference record. He is also ranked ninth nationally in the decathlon at 6438 points and 11th nationally in the pole vault at 4.80m (15-9).

Men’s Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar – Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his 11th year at Indiana Tech, led the Warriors to the team title at the WHAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 279 points and set a record for the largest margin of victory. The Warriors scored the second most points in conference history and were led by 10 event champions. His athletes hold seven top-10 nationally ranked, including the top-ranked 4×100, while holding No. 1 billings in the #EventSquad rankings for the triple jump, 110H and 400.

MIDWEST REGION – Ed Fye – Doane (Neb.)

Fye, in his 19th year at Doane (Neb.), led the Tigers to the team title at the GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 235.5 points and claimed five event crowns. His athletes have combined for 22 NAIA “A” standard marks. The Tigers are ranked within the top-3 nationally in the 110H, 400H, high jump,  javelin and decathlon, and will have 12 national qualifiers in those events.

SOUTH REGION – Nick Dodson – Southeastern (Fla.)

Dodson, in his third year at Southeastern (Fla.), led the Fire to the team title at the Sun Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 261 points. His athletes claimed six event titles and broke four conference records.  The Fire hold are ranked in the top-10 in five events in the #EventSquad Rankings and have 11 athletes ranked in the top-20 nationally, including the national leader in the 110H. The Fire qualified a school-record nine men to the NAIA Championships.

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

Benton, in his seventh year at Saint Mary (Kan.), led the Spires to the team title at the KCAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 195 points and claimed five event crowns. The Spires have 13 top-20 nationally ranked marks. His athletes are ranked in the top-8 in seven disciplines, including the top-ranked 1500 and steeplechase groups.

WEST REGION – Ben Welch – Eastern Oregon

Welch, in his 19th year at Eastern Oregon, led the Mountaineers to a share of the team title at the Cascade Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 203 points and eight event titles. The Mountaineers have 11 top-20 nationally ranked events and are ranked in the top-15 across 10 disciplines in the #EventSquad Rankings, including the No. 2 decathlon squad. Eight of his athletes have qualified for the NAIA Championships.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Lauren Johnson – Huntington (Ind.)

Johnson, in her first year at Huntington, coached 12 athletes to national-qualifying marks in seven events. Bolstered by ranked event squads in the 1500 and 5000 meters, her athletes contributed 70 of 90 points the Foresters scored at the Crossroads League Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Ed McLaughlin – Concordia (Neb.)

McLaughlin, in his 24th year coaching the throws at Concordia, guided the nation’s top-ranked hammer squad that was led by national leader Jabob Cornelio. The Bulldogs amassed a total of seven national-qualifying marks in the throws.

SOUTH REGION – Chester Hightower – Southeastern (Fla.)

Hightower, in his third year at Southeastern, led the Fire sprinters to score 34 points at The Sun Conference Championships. His relay teams won the 4×100 and finished third in the 4×400.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Dylan Biedron – Saint Mary (Kan.)

Biedron, in his first year at Saint Mary, guided the sprint/hurdle group to score 38 points at the KCAC Championships. Nationally the Spires had the nation’s No. 3-rated 400-meter event squad.

WEST REGION – Laura Schwartz – Oregon Tech

Schwartz, in her 10th year at Oregon Tech, coached two athletes to improvements of more than 20 feet this year in the javelin, including national leader Hunter Drops. She also coaches the Owls’ distance squad, which has an athlete ranked in the top-5 nationally in the 5000.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

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

Wilson, a freshman from Greencastle, Indiana, is ranked first nationally in the 1500 at 4:24.66 and won the event title at the Crossroads League Outdoor Track & Field Championships. She is also ranked second nationally in the 5000 at 16:06.69.

MIDWEST REGION – Rachel Battershell – Concordia (Neb.)

Batterschell, a sophomore from Wheatland, Wyoming, is ranked first nationally in the 400 at 55.05 and sixth nationally in both the 100H (14.25) and 400H (1:02.18). She scored 20½ points at the GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships thanks to event titles in the 400H and 4×400, as well as a runner-up effort in the 100H.

SOUTH REGION – Emily Kearney – Milligan (Tenn.)

Kearney, a senior from Wirral, United Kingdom, is ranked first nationally in both the 5000 (15:39.65) and 10,000 (33:09.65) with marks that set NAIA all-time bests. She is also ranked second nationally in the 1500 (4:26.46) and fourth nationally in the 800 (2:12.66). Kearney won individual titles with AAC Outdoor Track & FIeld Championships records in the 1500 and 5000, and helped out on the 4×800 relay that won and set another conference record.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Safia Bright – Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Bright, a senior from Ghana, is ranked second nationally in both the 100 (11.50c) and 200 (23.76c). She is also a member of the top-ranked 4×100 relay (45.47c) and third-ranked 4×400 relay (3:49.09c).

WEST REGION – Arianna Daniel – Southern Oregon

Daniel, a senior from Elk Grove, California, is ranked among the top-15 nationally in four different events – 400 (No. 3, 55.39), 4×100 (No. 5, 46.56), 4×400 (No. 7, 3:51.45) and 200 (No. 11, 24.32w). She scored 26½ points at the Cascade Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Destiny Copeland – Indiana Tech

Copeland, a sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, is ranked first nationally in the long jump at 6.21m (20-4½) and fifth nationally in the triple jump at 12.15m (39-10½). She completed the long jump-triple jump sweep at the WHAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships on her way to winning MVP honors.

MIDWEST REGION – Adrianna Shaw – Concordia (Neb.)

Shaw, a senior from Bassett, Nebraska, is ranked first nationally in both the hammer (57.44m/188-6) and shot put (15.04m/49-4¼) and sits second nationally in the discus (50.26m/164-11). She scored 30 points at the GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships by sweeping each of those events.

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

Jones, a junior from Soso, Mississippi, is ranked first nationally in the triple jump (12.59m/41-3¾), second nationally in the long jump (6.16m/20-2½) and eighth nationally in the high jump (1.67m/5-5¾). She scored 30 points at the SSAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with victories in all three of those events.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Aerianna Granderson – Tabor (Kan.)

Granderson, a freshman from Grapeland, Texas, is ranked sixth nationally in the long jump at 5.95mw (19-6¼) and has a best wind-legal mark of 5.91m (19-4¾). She is also ranked 17th nationally in the triple jump and swept the horizontal jump titles clean at the KCAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

WEST REGION – Maggie Ledbetter – Eastern Oregon

Ledbetter, a sophomore from Cove, Oregon, is ranked 10th nationally in the discus at 45.02m (147-9) and 11th nationally in the shot put at 13.67m (44-10¼). She scored 26 points at the Cascade Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships thanks to a discus-shot sweep and a third-place effort in the hammer.

Women’s Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Doug Edgar – Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his 11th year at Indiana Tech, led the Warriors to the team title at the WHAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 264.66 points to set a championship record for points scored, while his athletes claimed seven event crowns. The Warriors are ranked No. 2 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region.

MIDWEST REGION – Matt Beisel – Concordia (Neb.)

Beisel, in his fifth year at Concordia (Neb.), led the Bulldogs to the team title at the GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 259.6 points and had five event winners. The Bulldogs have four athletes that hold national leads across five events. His athletes have accumulated 24 automatic qualifying marks for the NAIA Championships.

SOUTH REGION – Nick Dodson – Southeastern (Fla.)

Dodson, in his third year at Southeastern (Fla.), led the Fire to the team title at the Sun Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 302 points, capturing 15 event crowns and breaking four conference records. The Fire have three event groups ranked in the top-3 of the #EventSquad Rankings and have four athletes ranked among the top-3 nationally, including the top-ranked 4×400. The Fire qualified 11 women for the NAIA Championships.

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

Whitlock, in his 17th year at Wayland Baptist (Texas), led the Pioneers to a top-5 ranking in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index each week. The Pioneers have seven performances that are ranked in the top-10 nationally from four different athletes and two top-3 relays, including national leaders in the 200 and 4×100 relay.

WEST REGION – Austin Basterrechea – College of Idaho

Basterrechea, in his fourth year at College of Idaho, led the Coyotes to the team title at the Cascade Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 244 points and had six event champions. The Coyotes are No. 13 in the USTFCCCA National Rating Index and No. 1 in the West Region. He guided his athletes to 12 total national qualifying marks.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

GREAT LAKES REGION – Josh Neideck – Cornerstone (Mich.)

Neideck, in his second year at Cornerstone, coached the Golden Eagles distance runners to 57 of the program’s 147 points in winning the Wolverine-Hoosier Conference team title. Three of his proteges – Haley Nieuwkoop, Nygia Pollard and Kelli Smith – earned top-3 national rankings.

MIDWEST REGION – Ed McLaughlin – Concordia (Neb.)

McLaughin, in his 24th year at Concordia, presided over a throws program that has the nation’s top event squad in the shot put, discus and hammer. The Bulldog throwers are led by national leaders Adrianna Shaw (shot put and hammer) and Elizabeth Stottlemyre (javelin) and have a combined 14 national-qualifying marks.

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

McKenzie, in his seventh year at William Carey, guided the sprinters and jumpers to national-leading marks in the 100, long jump and triple jump. The Crusaders also posted No. 2 marks in the 100, 200, high jump, 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay.

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

Wallace, in his second year at Wayland Baptist, coached the nation’s top-ranked event squad in the 100 and 200 meters as well as the nation’s fastest 4 x 100 relay unit. In the 200, the Pioneers’ duo of Raheema Westfall and Safia Bright rank 1-2.

WEST REGION – Mike Anderson – College of Idaho

Anderson, in his 14th year at the College of Idaho, led the distance crew to score 98 of the Coyote’s 241 points in winning the Cascade Collegiate Conference Championships. His leading star was Larissa Mauer, who swept the steeplechase, 5000 and 10,000.