Award History
NAIA OTF National Awards

2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Awards

NOTE: Through an audit of procedures, it was discovered that there was a misstep in the evaluation of the original vote tabulation. As a result, co-winners have been declared for the National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year category.

NEW ORLEANS – National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2022 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 2022 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

Phemelo Matlhabe was named the National Men’s Track Athlete of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Matlhabe, who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, scored 23.5 points at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. He won the 100 meters in 10.08 and 200 meters in 20.48, both times registering as fastest of the year in the NAIA. He also ran legs on the Running Eagles’ victorious 4×100 (40.21) and fifth-place 4×400 (3:14.10) relay teams as Life won its first men’s team title in the meet since 2000. During the regular season, Matlhabe amassed 22 points at the Mid-South Conference Championships with a sweep of the short sprints and a carry on the runner-up 4×100 relay.

National Women's Track Athlete of the Year

Becca Richtman was named National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Richtman, who hails from Elburn, Illinois, scored 26 points at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, winning the 10,000 meters (35:13.93) and finishing second in both the steeplechase (10:22.79) and 5000 (17:07.18). She scored 40 points at the Frontier Conference Outdoor Championships – and was named Track Athlete of the Meet – thanks to individual victories in the steeple, 5000 and 10,000, a runner-up finish in the 800 and was a member of the Orediggers’ runner-up 4×400 relay.

National Men's Field Athlete of the Year

Rowan Hamilton was named the National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Hamilton won the hammer throw at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a meet-record effort of 74.21m (243-5), breaking a mark that had stood since 1992. It was his second national title after winning in 2019 as a freshman. Hamilton has the nine longest throws this year by a collegian in any division, led by his best of 75.98m (249-4). That mark is the farthest ever by an NAIA athlete and makes him the No. 12 performer all-time among all collegians.

National Women's Field Athlete of the Year

Destiny Copeland was named National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Copeland, who hails from Chesapeake, Virginia, scored 16 points at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, taking the runner-up spot in both the long jump at 6.14m (20-1¾) and triple jump at 12.73m (41-9¼). She was the Wolverine-Hoosier Conference champion in both events and won the Penn Relays College Division triple jump.

National Men's Coach of the Year

Dominic Demeritte was named the National Men’s Coach of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Demeritte, in his first year at Life (Ga.), led the Running Eagles to the team title at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Life U won four events to win the meet with 52 points, five ahead of runner-up Southeastern (Fla.). The Running Eagles earned a gender-high 13 All-American awards and won their first national team title since 2000. During the regular season, Life U won the team title at the Mid-South Conference Outdoor Championships with 177 points.

National Women's Coach of the Year

Laurier Primeau was named the National Women’s Coach of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Primeau, in his seventh year at British Columbia, led the Thunderbirds to the team title at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama, scoring 138 points, 44 more than runner-up Indiana Tech. UBC captured five event titles and earned the most women’s All-American awards with 31. He was named Cascade Conference Coach of the Year as the Thunderbirds won the team title and 10 events. British Columbia earned five No. 1 ratings in the #EventSquad Rankings.

National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year

David Gonzalez was named the National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Gonzalez, in his fourth year as assistant coach at St. Ambrose (Iowa), coached the Fighting Bees throwers to great success. His athletes accounted for 72 points in the Chicagoland Conference Outdoor Championships, including the top five places in the shot put as that unit rated No. 2 in the #EventSquad Rankings. His top thrower, Mykolas Saloninas, was runner-up in the shot put at the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year

O’Neil Wright of Life (Ga.) was named co-National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. Wright, in his first year at Life (Ga.), saw his athletes collect 42 points at the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which included three event titles. His prized pupil, Phemelo Matlhabe, completed the 100-200 sprint double and was a member of the title-winning 4×100 relay team. Ngoni Chadyiwa and Jacob Ulrich also went 2-7 in the 400 meters. The Running Eagles also placed fifth in the 4×400 relay. During the regular season, Wright’s sprinters, hurdlers and horizontal jumpers combined for 82 points at the Mid-South Conference Outdoor Championships, as Life (Ga.) won the team title.

National Women's Assistant Coach of the Year

Ryan McKenzie was named the National Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field season. McKenzie, in his eighth year as assistant coach at William Carey (Miss.), coached the Crusaders to a No. 2 rating in the #EventSquad Rankings 100 meters. He coached the Southern States Conference Athletes of the Year for both track (Joy Abu) and field (Brittany Jones) events. Abu swept both hurdles at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, leading a 1-2 WCU finish in the 100 hurdles.

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