Award History
NCAA DII XC Regional Awards

2021 NCAA DII Cross Country Regional Awards

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country season were announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) following Regional Championships Saturday.

Regional Awards HistoryAthletes of the Year | Coaches of the Year

All of these winners will end their seasons at the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships, set for Saturday, November 20, in Saint Leo, Florida.

Information on each of the winners can be found below.

Men’s Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION — Issac Prather — Concord (W. Va.)

Prather, a senior from Summersville, West Virginia, won the individual title at the Atlantic Region Championships this past weekend in 30:35.6. He also placed first at four other meets, including the Mountain East Conference Championships and the Queen City Invite.

CENTRAL REGION — Ryan Riddle — Missouri Southern

Riddle, a junior from Webb City, Missouri, won the individual title at the Central Region Championships in 29:22.3. He is undefeated this season with other victories at the MIAA Championships and the Missouri Southern Stampede, among others.

EAST REGION — Ezra Mutai — American International

Mutai, a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, won the individual title at the East Region Championships in 29:16.2. He is undefeated this season with victories coming at the NE-10 Championships and the NEICAAA Championships, among others.

MIDWEST REGION — CarLee Stimpfel — Saginaw Valley State

Stimpfel, a senior from Cass City, Michigan, won the individual title at the Midwest Region Championships in 30:02.6. He also placed first at the Lewis Crossover and recorded strong finishes at several other meets, as well.

SOUTH REGION — Shane Bracken — Saint Leo

Bracken, a graduate student from Foxford, Ireland, won the individual title at the South Region Championships  in 31:21.9. He also placed first at the Mountain Dew Gator Invitational earlier this year and finished second in the Sunshine State Conference.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Dillon Powell — Colo. School of Mines

Powell, a sophomore from Colorado Springs, Colorado, won the individual title at the South Central Region Championships  in 29:15.4. He also placed first at the RMAC Championships and Wyoming Invite.

SOUTHEAST REGION — Jan Lukas Becker — Queens (N.C.)

Becker, a junior from Saarbruecken, Germany, won the individual title at the Southeast Region Championships in 30:18.5. He also placed first at the SAC Cross Country Championships and the Upstate Invitational earlier this season.

WEST REGION — Patrick Kiprop — Fresno Pacific

Kiprop, a freshman from Eldoret, Kenya, won the individual title at the West Region Championships in 30:12.6. He was undefeated, winning four other races including the Pacific West Conference Championships and NCAA DII Pre-National Invite, among others.

Men’s Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION — Nick Bias — Charleston (W.Va.)

Bias, in his eighth year as head coach at Charleston (W. Va.), led the Golden Eagles to the team title at the Atlantic Region Championships with a score of 22 points. Earlier this season, Charleston (W. Va.) won the team title at the SAC Cross Country Championships with 20 points.

CENTRAL REGION — Tracy Hellman — Augustana (S.D.)

Hellman, in his 21st year as head coach at Augustana (S.D.), led the Vikings to the team title at the Central Region Championships with a score of 43 points. Earlier this season, Augustana (S.D.) recorded a perfect score at the NSIC Championships, matching the meet record established by Minnesota Duluth in 1999.

EAST REGION — Logan Sharpe — American International

Sharpe, in his first year as head coach at American International, led the Yellow Jackets to the team title at the East Region Championships with a score of 25 points. Earlier this season, AIC won the team title at the Northeast-10 Championships with 28 points and finished second to NCAA DI Dartmouth at the NEICAAA Championships with 78 points.

MIDWEST REGION — Jerry Baltes — Grand Valley State

Baltes, in his 23rd year as head coach at Grand Valley State, led the Lakers to the team title at the Midwest Region Championships with a score of 49 points. Earlier this season, GVSU rolled to a team title at the GLIAC Championships with 25 points and placed runner-up in a stacked Gold Race at the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic.

SOUTH REGION — Caleb Morgan — Lee (Tenn.)

Morgan, in his 8th year as head coach at Lee (Tenn.), led the Flames to the team title at the South Region Championships with a score of 48 points. Earlier this season, Lee was second at the Gulf South Conference Championships.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Chris Siemers — Colo. School of Mines

Siemers, in his 10th year as head coach at Colorado School of Mines, led the Orediggers to the team title at the South Central Region Championships with a score of 42 points. Earlier this season, Colorado School of Mines won the team title at the RMAC Cross Country Championships.

SOUTHEAST REGION — Pol Domenech — Wingate

Domenech, in his second year as head coach at Wingate, led the Bulldogs to the team title at the Southeast Region Championships with a score of 33 points. Earlier this season, Wingate won the team title at the SAC Cross Country Championships.

WEST REGION — Gary Towne — Chico State

Towne, in his 26th year as head coach at Chico State, led the Wildcats to the team title at the West Region Championships with a score of 47 points. Earlier this season, Chico State won the team title at the CCAA Cross Country Championships.

Women’s Athlete of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION — Elise Leveel — Charleston (W.Va.)

Leveel, a freshman from Carentan, France, won the individual title at the Atlantic Region Championships in 21:09.9. She also placed third at the Mountain East Conference Championships two weeks earlier.

CENTRAL REGION — Lindsay Cunningham — Winona State

Cunningham, a sophomore from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, won the individual title at the Central Region Championships in 20:22.6. She is undefeated this season, posting a perfect 5-0 record, including victories at the NSIC Championships as well as the Roy Griak Invitational, among others.

EAST REGION — Fransiscah Cherotich — American International

Cherotich, a freshman, won the individual title at the East Region Championships in 21:10.8. She also broke the tape first at the NE-10 Championships and placed second at the NEICAAA Championships.

MIDWEST REGION — Jennifer Comastri — Southern Indiana

Comastri, a senior from Indianapolis, Indiana, won the individual title at the Midwest Region Championships in 20:24.5. She also placed first at the GLVC Championships and finished runner-up at the UAH Charger Invitational.

SOUTH REGION — Celine Ritter — Lee (Tenn.)

Ritter, a senior from Roesrath, Germany, won the individual title at the South Region Championships in 21:25.2. She also placed first at three other meets, including the Gulf South Conference Championships and UAH Chargers Invite.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Brianna Robles — Adams State

Robles, a sophomore from Palmview, Texas, won the individual title at the South Central Region Championships in 20:24.3. She also placed first at the RMAC Championships and Joe I. Vigil Open.

SOUTHEAST REGION — Lara Orrock — Wingate

Orrock, a sophomore from Bloemfontein, South Africa, won the individual title at the Southeast Region Championships in 20:21.0. She also placed first at three other meets this season, most notably at the SAC Cross Country Championships.

WEST REGION — Kaela Dishion — Cal State Stanislaus

Dishion, a sophomore from Angels Camp, California, won the individual title at the West Region Championships in 21:14.4. She also placed first at two other meets this season, most notably the CCAA Cross Country Championships.

Women’s Coach of the Year

ATLANTIC REGION — Nathan Meeuwenberg — Edinboro

Meeuwenberg, in his first year as head coach at Edinboro, led the Fighting Scots to the team title at the Atlantic Region Championships with a score of 73 points. Earlier this season, Edinboro won the team title at the PSAC Cross Country Championships with 61 points.

CENTRAL REGION — Tracy Hellman — Augustana (S.D.)

Hellman, in his 21st year as head coach at Augustana (S.D.), led the Vikings to the team title at the Central Region Championships with a score of 20 points. Earlier this season, Augustana (S.D.) won the team title at the NSIC Championships with 20 points and nabbed its first conference crown since 2014.

EAST REGION — Logan Sharpe — American International

Sharpe, in his first year as head coach at American International, led the Yellow Jackets to the team title at the East Region Championships with a score of 42 points. Earlier this season, AIC won the team title at the Northeast-10 Championships with 40 points and placed first at the Ted Owen Cross Country Invitational with 40 points.

MIDWEST REGION — Jerry Baltes — Grand Valley State

Baltes, in his 23rd year as head coach at Grand Valley State, led the Lakers to the team title at the Midwest Region Championships with a score of 40 points. Earlier this season, GVSU notched the first perfect score at the GLIAC Championships in more than 25 years and took top honors at the Lewis Crossover in dominating fashion with a 70-point margin of victory.

SOUTH REGION — Caleb Morgan — Lee (Tenn.)

Morgan, in his 8th year as head coach at Lee (Tenn.), led the Flames to the team title at the South Region Championships with a score of 31 points. Earlier this season, Lee won the team title at the Gulf South Conference Championships.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Damon Martin — Adams State

Martin, in his 34th year as head coach at Adams State, led the Grizzlies to the team title at the South Central Region Championships with a score of 30 points. Earlier this season, Adams State won the RMAC Cross Country Championships.

SOUTHEAST REGION — Tom Scott — Queens (N.C.)

Scott, in his fourth year as head coach at Queens (N.C.), led the Royals to the team title at the Southeast Region Championships with a score of 25 points. Earlier this season, Queens finished second at the SAC Cross Country Championships.

WEST REGION — Brit Townsend — Simon Fraser

Townsend, in her 22nd year as head coach at Simon Fraser, led SFU to the team title at the West Region Championships with a score of 75 points. Earlier this season, Simon Fraser won the team title at the GNAC Cross Country Championships.