NAIA Regional Award Winners For 2017 Indoor Season
Award History
NAIA ITF Regional Awards

NAIA Regional Award Winners For 2017 Indoor Season

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2017 NAIA Indoor Track & Field season were announced Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Each of the five regions honored both genders’ top track athletes and field athletes, and the top men’s and women’s head coaches and assistant coaches.

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

QUICK LINKS TO AWARDS

Men Women
Track Athletes of the Year Track Athletes of the Year
Field Athletes of the Year Field Athletes of the Year
Head Coaches of the Year Head Coaches of the Year
Assistant Coaches of the Year Assistant Coaches of the Year

Many of the honored athletes and coaches will be in competition at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships set for next week, March 2-4, in Johnson City, Tennessee.

MEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Kejavon Moore, Indiana Tech

Moore, a sophomore from Phoenix, Arizona, is currently ranked 1st nationally in the 60 (6.70) and 10th nationally in the 200 (22.10). He broke the Indiana Tech school record in the 60, which was formerly held by former national champion Dontaey Paige. Moore also has his hand in the nationally-ranked 4×400 relay.

MIDWEST REGION — Daniel Garcia, Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)

Garcia, a junior from Barcelona, Spain, has quite the resume this season. For starters, he helped Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)’s DMR team to a NAIA record time of 9:46.90 when he anchored the relay with a 4:04.80 mile. He also anchored the 4×800 team to a national-leading time with a 1:52.56 split. Garcia is ranked in the top-10 nationally in four individual events as well – mile (2nd), 1000 (3rd), 3000 (6th), 800 (8th).

SOUTH REGION — Geoffrey Kipchumba, William Carey (Miss.)

Kipchumba, a junior from Eldoret, Kenya, is the national leader over 5000 meters (14:28.51). He is also ranked 2nd in the nation in the 3000 with his time of 8:17.89.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Jackson Thomas, Bacone (Okla.)

Thomas, a senior from Naschitti, New Mexico, is the national leader in the mile and the 3000. His time in the mile is 4:04.36 OT, while he ran 8:05.70 for the 3000 earlier this season.

WEST REGION — Chance Hyatt, Carroll (Mont.)

Hyatt, a sophomore from Bainville, Montana, is currently ranked 6th in the nation in the mile and 17th nationally in the 800. He ran 4:18.58A in the mile (converts to 4:14.45) and 1:55.40 in the 800.

 

WOMEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Anna Shields, Point Park (Pa.)

Shields, a sophomore from Torrington, Connecticut, qualified for the national championships in six events, five of them as an individual. She is ranked 1st nationally in the 1000 (2:49.87), mile (4:49.02) and 5000 (17:12.81), 3rd in the 800 (2:12.81) and 5th in the 3000 (9:58.85). Shields also helped Point Park (Pa.) punch its ticket in the DMR.

MIDWEST REGION — Jenna Moody, St. Francis (Ill.)

Moody, a junior from Plainfield, Illinois, is ranked inside the top-10 in the nation in three individual events. She is 4th in the 400 (55.96), 7th in the 60 (7.67) and 9th in the 200 (25.35). She also helped her DMR team to a 10th seed nationally.

SOUTH REGION — Hannah Segrave, Milligan (Tenn.)

Segrave, a senior from Middlesbrough, UK, is ranked 1st nationally in the 800 with her time of 2:03.80. That marks also left her 50th in the world and 9th among all collegians. She is 1st among all U-23 athletes in the UK. Segrave is also ranked 1st nationally at 600 meters (1:31.47) and 2nd in the mile (4:52.89) and 3000 (9:51.73).

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Natali Engle, Friends (Kan.)

Engle, a junior from Wichita, Kansas, is ranked 2nd nationally at 200 meters (24.61) and 4th nationally at 60 meters (7.63). She also hit the “A standard” in the 400 with her time of 56.02, which also broke her third school record of the season.

WEST REGION — Leah Esposito, Carroll (Mont.)

Esposito, a senior from Clancy, Montana, is ranked in the top-5 in the nation in two events. She is ranked 2nd nationally at 1000 meters (2:54.16) and 4th in the mile (4:58.17).

 

MEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Erik Escobedo, Bethel (Ind.)

Escobedo, a junior from Mishawaka, Indiana, is currently ranked 1st in the Great Lakes Region – and 3rd in all of NAIA – in the weight throw, with a season-best mark of  19.70m (64-7¾). His mark set a new Bethel (Ind.) school record, and in late February, he captured the 2017 NCCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship in the weight throw, while also placing 4th in the shot put.

MIDWEST REGION — Dakarai Hightower, Doane (Neb.)

Hightower, a junior from Tacoma, Washington, owns the 5th-best high jump mark by an American this indoor season, and is the lone collegiate athlete in the top-5 of that list. His mark of 2.24m (7-4¼r) ranks 1st in both the Midwest Region and all of NAIA. Hightower has won or tied for 1st in all seven meets on the season, and is second to only Clayton Brown of Florida in all of college on the year.

SOUTH REGION — Thobias Nilsson Montler, Keiser (Fla.)

Montler, a freshman from Sweden, has been solid in both the triple jump and long jump on the season for Keiser (Fla.). The lone rookie to claim regional honors, Montler owns the top long jump mar in the South Region while also ranking 3rd nationally at 7.48m (24-6½). His triple jump mark of 13.91m (45-7¾) is 6th in the South Region and 27th in all of NAIA.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Isaac Zitterkopf, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)

Zitterkopf, a sophomore from Lexington, Nebraska, earned Field Athlete of the Meet at the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championships after placing 2nd in the high jump and long jump, as well as third in the triple jump. His mark of 2.07m (6-9 ½) in the high jump on the year ranks 2nd in the South Central Region and 8th nationally, while his triple jump mark of 14.28m (46-10 ¼) is good for 5th in the South Central Region and 13th nationally.

WEST REGION — Anthony Cota, Westmont (Calif.)

Cota, a junior from San Jose, California, recorded the West Region’s top high jump mark on the year of 2.10m (6-10¾) at the Westmont College On Your Marks meet in late January. That leap is also good for 4th in all of NAIA. Cota also captured the high jump event title at a tri-meet against UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.

 

WOMEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Danielle Wojciechowski, Bethel (Ind.)

Wojciechowski, a sophomore from Roselle, Illinois, captured the NCCAA National Championship in the pole vault this season, jumping 3.97m (13-0 ¼). Her season-best mark of 4.01m (13-1¾) is not only 1st in the Great Lakes Region; it ranks 1st in all of NAIA.

MIDWEST REGION — Sara Olsen, Hastings (Neb.)

Olsen, a junior from Blair, Nebraska, has had a solid season in both the weight throw and shot put. She captured the GPAC Championship in the weight throw with a season-best mark of 18.54m (60-10), ranking her 1st in the Midwest Region and in the NAIA. Additionally, her top shot put mark on the year of 13.38m (43-10 ¾) is 19th in the NAIA.

SOUTH REGION — Jonina Brinson, Mobile (Ala.)

Brinson, a junior from Swainsboro, Georgia, is a National Qualifer in both the long jump and triple jump. This season, her long jump mark of 5.64m (18-6) is good for 1st in the South Region, in addition to ranking 10th nationally. She’s equally talented in the triple jump, ranking 2nd in the South Region and 18th nationally with a top mark of 11.31m (37-1¾) this year.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Chelsea Baker, Friends (Kan.)

Baker, a junior from Pittsburg, Kansas, ranks in the top-7 in the NAIA in four different events. Her high jump mark of 1.74m (5-8 ½) is the top mark in the South Central Region and the NAIA. Her score of 3,313 in the pentathlon ranks 1st in the South Central Region and 5th nationally. At the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships, Baker claimed 1st place in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.

WEST REGION — Crystal Schmidt, Carroll (Mont.)

Schmidt, a senior from Hermiston, Oregon, owns the top pentathlon point total in the NAIA this season, racking up 3,404 points at the Mountain State Games. While there, she notched the top high jump, shot put and long jump marks during the event. She is tied for 12th in the nation in the high jump with a mark of 1.65m (5-5), also good for 2nd in the West Region.

 

MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Doug Edgar, Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his sixth season as head coach of the Warriors, led his squad to the Wolverine-Hoosier conference title. They enter the NAIA championships as the USTFCCCA’s top-ranked team and finished the season as the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes Region.

MIDWEST REGION — Ed Fye, Doane (Neb.)

Fye, in his 15th year with the program, led Doane to the GPAC title, their 10th in 11 years, with three conference event titles.  With 22 national-qualifying marks, his squad is currently ranked second in the nation by the USTFCCCA. Two Doane athletes currently lead the NAIA with a top mark in their event: high jump and shot put.

SOUTH REGION — Justin Herbert, Tennessee Wesleyan

Herbert, in his second year with the program, led his squad to win at the Appalachian NAIA Challenge with six event champions. TWU will bring eight qualifiers to the national championship in five events including the 4×800, the 800, the 200, the 60, and the 60 hurdles. The Bulldogs upset USTFCCCA South Region No. 1 (Milligan) and No. 3 (Montreat) at the AAC Challenge, the conference’s unofficial championships, and have 11 top-50 NAIA performers. They rank 22nd nationally.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Brian Whitlock, Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Whitlock, in his second year with the program, has the third-ranked team in the country. With 11 national-championship qualifying marks, his squad has the division’s leading triple jumper, 600-meter runner and 4×400.

WEST REGION — Russell Smelley, Westmont (Calif.)

Smelley’s crew delivered the No. 1 final ranking in the USTFCCCA region compilation. His team is currently ranked 21st in the nation. It is Smelley’s 38th year with the program.

 

WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Doug Edgar, Indiana Tech

Edgar, in his sixth season as head coach of the Warriors, led his squad to the Wolverine-Hoosier conference title. They enter the NAIA championships as the USTFCCCA’s top-ranked team and finished the season as the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes Region.

MIDWEST REGION — Ed Fye, Doane (Neb.)

Fye also led his women to the GPAC title, for the 21st time in 22 years, with three event crowns. Doane is currently ranked fifth in the USTFCCCA National Rankings and finished the season No. 1 in the region. Fye, in his 15th year with the program, has a crew with 21 national-qualifying marks in tow.

SOUTH REGION — Chris Layne, Milligan (Tenn.)

Layne, in his 17th year with the program, had 13 of his athletes record personal bests this indoor season with four achieving national-qualifying mark status, including national 600- and 800-meter leader Hannah Segrave. Milligan finished the season ranked No. 1 in the South and is currently ranked 20th in the USTFCCCA National Rankings.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Cole Davis, Friends (Kan.)

Davis, in his sixth year with the program, delivered Friends its third-straight KCAC indoor crown as 12 event titles and a meet-record 294 points were captured by his athletes. The conference coach of the year has a squad ranked eighth in the country with 13 national-championship qualifiers.

WEST REGION — Harry Clark, Carroll (Mont.)

Clark, in his fourth year with Carroll, has led his squad to a No. 3 national ranking and the top West region spot.

 

MEN’S ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Austin Roark, Indiana Tech

Roark, in his 3rd year with Indiana Tech, helped guide the Warriors to the Wolverine-Hoosier Championships this year. The Warriors are 1st in both the Great Lakes Region and the nation, thanks in part to 10 National Championship qualifiers. Specializing in jumps, Roark’s long jump team ranks 1st in the national squad rankings.

MIDWEST REGION — Jeff Chiapello, St. Francis (Ill.)

Chiapello, in his 10th year with St. Francis (Ill.), was instrumental in the Fighting Saints Chicagoland Conference Championship. With seven National Championship qualifiers, St. Francis (Ill.) ranks 3rd in the Midwest Region and 5th nationally. Six of his seven distance athletes hold top-10 marks in all of NAIA.

SOUTH REGION — Sam Roberts, Tennessee Wesleyan

Roberts, in his 3rd year with Tennessee Wesleyan, is responsible for three of the Bulldog’s eight National Championship qualifiers in Josh Parson (NAIA No. 2 – 60m and NAIA No. 13 – 200 meters), Cadarius Harris (NAIA No. 5 – 60 meters), and Chaz Hawkins (NAIA No. 10 – 60 hurdles). His team ranks 4th in the South Region, as well as 17th nationally.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Daniel Radkowiec, Columbia (Mo.)

Radkowiec, in his 1st year with Columbia (Mo.), made an instant impact on the program, in helping them capture the  American Midwest Conference Championship. His distance runners scored 113 of the 193 points the team earned (8 event champions). The Cougars rank 3rd in the South Central Region and 20th nationally.

WEST REGION — Josh Priester, Westmont (Calif.)

Priester, in his 5th year with Westmont (Calif.), has played a big role in the Warriors’ top billing in the West Region, as well as the program’s national ranking of 21st. As the coach of the combined events and the sprints and hurdles, Priester has athletes ranked in the top-25 in the NAIA in the 200 meters, 400 meters, 600 meters and heptathlon.

 

WOMEN’S ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION — Mike Wojciakowski, Aquinas (Mich.)

Wojciakowski, in his 19th year with Aquinas (Mich.), and his athletes were responsible for 90 of 115 total points scored at the WHAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. In the USTFCCCA National Event Squad Rankings, Wojciakowski’s Saints rank rank 4th in the 600 meters, 1st in the 800 meters, 1st in the 1000 meters, 2nd in the Mile, 8th in the 3k, and 2nd in 5k.

MIDWEST REGION — Zac Osgood, Hastings (Neb.)

Osgood, in his 14th year at Hastings (Neb.), owns the USTFCCCA National Event Squad leading shot put and weight throw squads. Three of his athletes rank in the top-10 in the NAIA in the shot put, including national-leader Kelbie Lyon. He also has three athletes ranked in the top-10 in the NAIA in the weight throw, including national-leader Sara Olsen.

SOUTH REGION — Brad Alban, Milligan (Tenn.)

Alban, in his 3rd year at Milligan (Tenn.), assists with the men’s and women’s program in the areas of sports science and strength training.  The Lady Buffs have 3 National Qualifiers in the middle distances and distances, including Hannah Segrave (600 meters, 800 meters, mile, 3k), Katlyn Haas (1000 meters), and  Jacquelyn (JJ) Robinson (3000 meters).

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — Dylan Biedron, Friends (Kan.)

Biedron, in his 2nd year with Friends (Kan.), helped guide the Falcons to the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. The Falcons swept all four women’s jumping championships at the KCAC Indoor Championships, and mentored the Friends University jumps/multis program to six National Qualifying performances this season.

WEST REGION — David Morris, Carroll (Mont.)

Morris, in his 4th year at Carroll (Mont.), helped guide the Fighting Saints to a 1st place ranking in the West Region, as well as a 3rd place ranking on the national level. Coaching distance runners, Morris’ athletes own six top-10 times in the NAIA in the 1,000 meters, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters and mile this season.