2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Awards
NEW ORLEANS – National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season were announced on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Member coaches voted on these honors following the conclusion of the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend in Gulf Shores, Alabama, but considered performances during both the regular season and the NAIA postseason.
National Men's Track Athlete of the Year
Sokhela, who hails from Pietermaritzberg, South Africa, was named National Men’s Track Athlete of the Year. He swept the 800 and 1500 meters at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the first such double by a man since 2012. He also anchored the second-place 4×800 team. It wasn’t a total surprise, as the freshman led the yearly lists coming in at 1:49.52 and 3:44.62, respectively. His split on the 4×8 was 1:48.32.
National Women's Track Athlete of the Year
Kearney, who hails from Wirral, England, was named National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year. She swept the 5000 and 10,000 meters with meet records at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. On Wednesday her 10K time of 34:07.91 made her a winner by almost two seconds and shaved nearly six seconds off the former meet record. On Friday, she came back in the 5K (after heats on Thursday) to lower the meet standard by more than 10 seconds in 16:09.11. During the regular season, Kearney broke NAIA records in both events with her 15:39.65 and 33:09.65 efforts and was also ranked top-5 nationally in the 800 (No. 4) and 1500 (No. 2).
National Men's Field Athlete of the Year
Emmanuel, who hails from Warri, Nigeria, was named National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. He won both the long jump and triple jump at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in impressive fashion. His leap in the long jump of 8.16m (26-9¼) broke the meet record as he had two other jumps over 26 feet in winning by almost two feet. In the triple jump, Emmanuel won by more than two feet with a wind-aided 15.96m (52-4½). He led the national list with a wind-legal best of 16.08m (52-9¼).
National Women's Field Athlete of the Year
Sands, who hails from Nassau, Bahamas, was named National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. She scored 18 points at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, topped by winning the long jump at 6.16m (20-2½). She added a runner-up finish in the triple jump at 12.51m (41-0½) and also finished the year ranked tied for third on the seasonal list in the high jump at 1.70m (5-7).
National Men's Coach of the Year
Latnie, in his second year at Madonna (Mich.), was named National Men’s Coach of the Year. He led the Crusaders to the program’s first national title as Madonna shared the crown with Doane (Neb.) at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Crusaders amassed their total of 44 points with just four athletes, led by Tony Floyd’s sweep of the 5000 and 10,000 meters. During the regular season, Madonna finished fourth at the WHAC Outdoor Championships.
National Women's Coach of the Year
Edgar, in his 11th year at Indiana Tech, was named National Women’s Coach of the Year. His Warriors won the team title at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships convincingly with 84 points, scoring those points across 10 events. Earlier in the season, Indiana Tech won the team title at the WHAC Outdoor Championships with a meet-record 264.6 points. His program had five top-ranked #EventSquad groups in the 400, 100H, high jump, long jump and triple jump.
National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year
Dorshorst, in his 14th year at Doane (Neb.), was named National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year. With 14 points, his pole vault group contributed the most points in a single event to the Tigers’ first national title with a 2-3 finish from Levi Sudbeck and Connor Floyd. Sudbeck, ranked tied for 11th coming in, cleared three seasonal bests in the meet — two in the decathlon (in which he finished sixth) and the last in to secure the runner-up position the open pole vault. Earlier in the season, his vaulters went 1-3-5-6 at the GPAC Outdoor Championships to score 22.5 points to help lead Doane (Neb.) to the conference title.
National Women's Assistant Coach of the Year
McKenzie, in his seventh year at William Carey, was named National Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year. His sprints/jumps groups accounted for all 65 of the points that the Crusaders scored in finishing second in the team standings at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. William Carey won three events, the most in the meet, with victories in the 100 meters, 100H and 4×100 relay — nearly setting an NAIA record in the relay. During the regular season, McKenzie’s athletes held three No. 1 rankings on the Descending Order List in addition to 12 top-10 marks.