2019 NCAA DII Indoor T&F Regional Award Winners
NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes & Coaches of the Year for the 2019 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field season were announced Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Each of the eight 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.
Many of these honored athletes and coaches will be in competition at the 2019 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, which are set for this weekend in Pittsburg, Kansas.
USTFCCCA Regional Awards are presented by Pro Form Sports.
Men’s Track Athletes of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Derick St Jean – Claflin
St Jean, a freshman from Dominica, is ranked seventh nationally in the 400 at 47.23 and sixth regionally in the 200 at 21.99f. He scored 19 points at the CIAA Championships, of which included a victory in the 400.
CENTRAL REGION – Omar Austin – Northwest Missouri
Austin, a freshman from Tampa, Florida, is ranked second nationally in the 400 at 46.49 OT and eighth nationally in the 200 at 21.32 OT. His mark in the 400 is the ninth fastest time ever recorded by an NCAA DII athlete.
EAST REGION – Serge Gilbert – American International
Gilbert, a senior from Union, New Jersey, is ranked second nationally in the 60 hurdles at 7.90. He ran his PR at the Northeast-10 Championships and set a conference and school record in the process. Gilbert is the only male athlete with an NCAA auto qualifying mark in the East Region this season.
MIDWEST REGION – Zach Panning – Grand Valley State
Panning, a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is ranked second nationally in the 5000 at 13:58.19 OT and third nationally in the 3000 at 8:01.12 OT. He is also ranked 21st nationally in the mile at 4:08.37 OT and anchors GVSU’s fifth-ranked DMR team.
SOUTH REGION – Juan Scott – Central State
Scott, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, is ranked second nationally in the 60 hurdles at 7.90. His signature victory this season came at the Ohio State Tune-Up when he beat two NCAA DI athletes for the individual title. Scott is also a member of the program’s 4×400 relay.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Thomas Staines – CSU-Pueblo
Staines, a junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is ranked first nationally in the 800 with a time of 1:46.27 OT, which doubles as the all-time, all-conditions NCAA DII record. He also broke the British record in the 600 with his time of 1:15.31 and is a member of the sixth-ranked DMR team in the nation.
SOUTHEAST REGION – PJ Lotharp – Lenoir-Rhyne
Lotharp, a junior from Indian Trail, North Carolina, is ranked third nationally in the 60 at 6.73 and 12th nationally in the 200 at 21.36. It was at the South Atlantic Conference Championships where he won the 60, 200 and was a member of the first-place 4×400 relay.
WEST REGION – Mobolade Ajomale – Academy of Art
Ajomale, a senior from Toronto, Canada, is ranked first nationally in both the 200 (20.80) and 60 (6.67), is ranked fourth nationally in the 400 (46.78) and is part of the second-ranked 4×400 relay. His time in the 200 (20.80) doubles as the second fastest all-time performance in NCAA DII history.
Women’s Track Athletes of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Shannon Kalawan – Saint Augustine’s
Kalawan, a sophomore from Westmoreland, Jamaica, is ranked first nationally in the 400 at 52.71, which is the seventh fastest time in NCAA DII history. She is also ranked eighth nationally in the 200 at 24.48f and anchored the nation’s fourth ranked 4×400 relay. She was named the CIAA Women’s Track Athlete of the Year after winning the 200, 400 and helping the 4×400 team to a title at the conference meet.
CENTRAL REGION – Rene Medley – Lincoln (Mo.)
Medley, a junior from Kingston, Jamaica, is ranked second nationally in the 200 at 23.85 and third nationally in the 60 at 7.43. She won individual titles in both events at the MIAA Championships.
EAST REGION – CeCe Telfer – Franklin Pierce
Tefler, a senior from Lebanon, New Hampshire, is ranked third nationally in the 60 hurdles at 8.33 and seventh nationally in the 200 at 24.08. She won individual titles in the 60, 200 and 60 hurdles at the Northeast-10 Championships.
MIDWEST REGION – Allie Ludge – Grand Valley State
Ludge, a junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is ranked third nationally in the 3000 at 9:23.70 OT and sixth nationally in the mile at 4:48.31 OT. She won the individual title in the mile at the GLIAC Championships and finished third in the 800 at the same meet. Ludge is also the anchor of the third-ranked DMR team in the nation.
SOUTH REGION – Kristen Metcalfe – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Metcalfe, a senior from Mississauga, Ontario, is ranked first nationally in the 800 at 2:03.59 and third nationally in the mile at 4:45.00. She went under 2:07.00 in the 800 at every meet in which she raced and recorded four NCAA DII all-time top-10 marks in the process.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Kandace Thomas – Adams State
Thomas, a senior from Canton, Ohio, is ranked first nationally in both the 60 (7.18) and 200 (23.63). She tied the fastest time ever run in NCAA DII history in the 60 and clocked the fastest mark ever run on a flat track in NCAA DII history in the 200.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Leah Hanle – Mount Olive
Hanle, a junior from Liechtenstein, Germany, is ranked third nationally in the 5000 at 16:23.52, fifth nationally in the 3000 at 9:28.44 and 16th nationally in the mile at 4:52.81. She scored 28 points at the Conference Carolinas Championships when she won the 800 and 5000 and was runner-up in the mile.
WEST REGION – Caroline Kurgat – Alaska Anchorage
Kurgat, a senior from Eldoret, Kenya, is ranked first nationally in the 5000 at 15:28.46 OT, which is the fastest all-conditions mark in NCAA DII history. She is also ranked first nationally in the 3000 at 9:07.05 OT, which is the fastest all-conditions mark in NCAA DII history. She is also ranked fourth nationally in the mile and anchored UAA’s nation-leading DMR team.
Men’s Field Athletes of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Jumonne Exeter – Saint Augustine’s
Exeter, a senior from St. Vincent, is ranked fifth nationally in the triple jump at 15.48m (50-9½). It was at the CIAA Championships where Exeter not only won the triple jump, but added a runner-up finish in the long jump for 18 points and was named Men’s Field MVP.
CENTRAL REGION – Kevin Schultz – Northwest Missouri
Schultz, a senior from Platte City, Missouri, is ranked third nationally in the high jump at 2.18m (7-1¾) and fifth nationally in the heptathlon with 5309 points. He was the top male scorer at the MIAA Championships, as he totaled 22½ points to help his team to a runner-up finish.
EAST REGION – Oghenefejiro Onakpoma – Southern Connecticut
Onakpoma, a junior from Naugatuck, Connecticut is ranked seventh nationally in the triple jump at 15.43m (50-7½). He has been very consistent all season long, eclipsing the 15 meter mark in every meet he entered.
MIDWEST REGION – Eldred Henry – Findlay
Henry, a junior from the British Virgin Islands, broke the NCAA DII all-time record in the shot put at the GMAC Championships when he tossed the orb 20.61m (67-7½). He is also ranked 16th nationally in the weight throw at 19.56m (64-2¼).
SOUTH REGION – Bjoern Klehn – Christian Brothers
Klehn, a sophomore from Moenchhagen, Germany, is ranked fifth nationally in the long jump at 7.61m (24-11¾). He also cleared the 24-foot barrier another time earlier this season.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Isaac Grimes – Chadron State
Grimes, a sophomore from Moreno Valley, California, is ranked first nationally in the long jump at 7.95m (26-1), which also stands as the fourth best mark in NCAA DII history. He is also ranked 13th nationally in the triple jump at 15.03m (49-3¾).
SOUTHEAST REGION – Lawrence Russell, Jr. – Barton
Russell, Jr., a senior from Sicklerville, New Jersey, is ranked fourth nationally in the long jump at 7.62m (25-0), 20th nationally in the triple jump at 14.83m (48-8) and 55th nationally in the high jump at 2.00m (6-6¾). He scored 26 points at the Conference Carolina Championships to earn Athlete of the Year honors.
WEST REGION – Kodiak Landis – Central Washington
Landis, a senior from Snohomish, Washington, is ranked seventh nationally in the heptathlon with 5228 points. He is also ranked fifth regionally in the long jump at 7.01m (23-0). He was named GNAC Field Athlete of the Meet after scoring 26 points at the championships.
Women’s Field Athletes of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Sunflower Greene – Millersville
Greene, a senior from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is ranked third nationally in the shot put at 16.00m (52-6) and fourth nationally in the weight throw at 19.77m (64-10½). She was voted unanimously as the MVP of the PSAC Championships a few weeks ago.
CENTRAL REGION – Meleah Ridenour – Southwest Baptist
Ridenour, a sophomore from Nixa, Missouri, is ranked sixth nationally in the high jump at 1.74m (5-8½), 14th nationally in the triple jump at 12.14m (39-10) and 16th nationally in the long jump at 5.81m (19-0¾). She scored 21 points at the MIAA Championships to help her team to a fourth-place finish.
EAST REGION – Victoria Major – Adelphi
Major, a junior from Deer Park, New York, is ranked ninth nationally in the high jump at 1.72m (5-7¾). She finished second in the event at the Northeast-10 Championships.
MIDWEST REGION – Cierra Pulliam – Lewis
Pulliam, a senior from Romeoville, Illinois, is ranked first nationally in the triple jump at 13.10m (42-11¾) and second nationally in the long jump at 6.16m (20-2½). She was named GLVC Athlete of the Year after scoring 42 points at the conference championship meet, of which included victories in the long jump and triple jump.
SOUTH REGION – Jade Johnson – Alabama-Huntsville
Johnson, a freshman from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is the top performer in the region in the triple jump at 11.86m (38-11) and third in the region in the long jump at 5.37m (17-7½). She is the region’s top performer on the NCAA DII Descending Order List.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Fatim Affessi – West Texas A&M
Affessi, a junior from Geneva, Switzerland, is ranked second nationally in the triple jump at 12.88m (42-3¼) and fourth nationally in the long jump at 6.13m (20-1½). She scored 20 points at the Lone Star Conference Championships to help her team win the team title.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Vanisha Wilshire – Wingate
Wilshire, a senior from Louisburg, North Carolina, is ranked fourth nationally in the high jump at 1.75m (5-8¾) and 22nd nationally in the triple jump at 12.02m (39-5¼). She was named the SAC Field Athlete of the Meet after winning both the high jump and triple jump and finishing third in the long jump.
WEST REGION – Scout Cai – Seattle Pacific
Cai, a junior from Colfax, Washington, is ranked third nationally in the pentathlon with 3815 points. She won the individual title in that event at the GNAC Championships and also placed third in the pole vault and fifth in the high jump at the same meet.
Men’s Coaches of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams – Saint Augustine’s
In his 43rd year as Head Track & Field Coach at Saint Augustine’s, Williams guided the Falcons to their 22nd consecutive CIAA Indoor Championship with a commanding 83-point win. The Falcons won five events to claim the conference title, and Williams was named 2019 CIAA Men’s Indoor Coach of the Year. The Falcons rank first in the region and top 15 in the country.
CENTRAL REGION – Mike Turgeon – Minnesota State
Turgeon led the Mavericks to the NSIC Conference Championship and earned conference Men’s Head Coach of the Year honors. Minnesota State ranks first in the Central Region and top 20 in the country behind nine qualifiers to the upcoming NCAA Championships. Turgeon is in his 2nd year as Head Track & Field Coach at Minnesota State.
EAST REGION – John Wallin – Southern Connecticut
Under Wallin’s tutelage, the Alpha Owls dominated the Northeast 10 Conference Championships this year, out-scoring the second place team by 119 points, the largest margin of victory in conference history. The Alpha Owls finished third in the New England Championships, behind two NCAA Division I teams and will have three athletes competing at the NCAA Championships. Wallin is in his 9th year as Southern Connecticut’s Head Track & Field Coach.
MIDWEST REGION – Jeremy Croy – Tiffin
Croy led Tiffin to the G-MAC Championship by a margin of 64 points on the strength of five event wins. The Dragons rank third in the nation, as well as third in the Midwest Region team rankings. Croy is in his 19th year as Tiffin’s Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach.
SOUTH REGION – Mike Rosolino – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Rosolino, in his 16th year as Head Track & Field Coach at Embry-Riddle, led the team to the top ranking in the South Region and the highest number of All-Region honorees of any team in the region. The Eagles qualified two competitors to the NCAA Championships.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Lindsey Grasmick – Western Colorado
Grasmick led Western Colorado to their first RMAC Men’s Indoor Championship and earned RMAC Men’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year honors. Over the course of the season, 13 men recorded top-ten performances for the school’s record books, and Western’s distance medley relay is ranked first in the nation. Grasmick is in her second year as the Mountaineers’ Head Track & Field Coach.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Jim Vahrenkamp – Queens (N.C.)
Vahrenkamp led Queens to the top spot in the Southeast Region rankings and a top-25 national ranking. The Royals won the SAC Indoor Championship by over 50 points, and Vahrenkamp was named the conference’s Coach of the Year. Vahrenkamp is in his 7th year as Director of Cross Country and Track and Field at Queens.
WEST REGION – Kevin LaSure – Academy of Art
In his first year as Director of Track & Field/Cross Country at Academy of Art and fourth year overall at the school, LaSure led the Urban Knights to the top ranking in the West Region and a top-15 national ranking. With five qualifiers at the NCAA Championships, the Urban Knights look poised to continue their record-breaking campaign, which included both the second-fastest 200-meter time and the sixth-fastest 4×400 meter relay in divisional history during the regular season.
Women’s Coaches of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Ray Hoffman – Kutztown
Hoffman, in his 21st season as Head Track & Field coach, led Kutztown to the PSAC team title, their first conference title since 2006. Kelly Groth was named the PSAC’s Most Outstanding Runner after winning the 60 meters, finishing second in the 200 meters, and running a leg on the winning 4×400 relay.
CENTRAL REGION – Dennis Newell – U-Mary
Newell led U-Mary to the NSIC Indoor Championship and earned NSIC Women’s Track & Field Head Coach of the Year honors in the process. The team enters the NCAA Championships ranked 11th overall with ten individual entries and a relay qualified for the Championships. Newell is in his second year as Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at U-Mary.
EAST REGION – Karen Boen – Stonehill
Under Boen’s tutelage, Stonehill won the Northeast-10 Championships by a margin of 46 points, produced 25 “All Conference Performances,” and scored in 15 out of the 17 events contested. Boen’s Skyhawks showed their depth at the New England Championships, finishing as the top NCAA Division II team and scoring in 16 of 17 events. Boen is in her 22nd year as Stonehill’s Head Coach of Men’s/Women’s Track & Field.
MIDWEST REGION – Jerry Baltes – Grand Valley State
In his 20th year at Grand Valley State, Baltes led the Laker women to the number two spot in the national rankings on the strength of 25 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships. Earlier this season, the Lakers won the GLIAC indoor title in absolutely dominating fashion, scoring nearly twice as many points as the runner-up team.
SOUTH REGION – Mike Rosolino – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Rosolino, in his 16th year as Head Track & Field Coach at Embry-Riddle, led the Eagles to a top-20 national ranking and the number two spot in the South Region rankings. The team had a total of 20 All-Region selections this season, led by Kristen Metcalfe, who ranks first in the 800 meters and second in the mile in NCAA Division II.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Matthew Stewart – West Texas A&M
Under Stewart’s leadership, West Texas A&M won the Lone Star Conference Championship, and seven of West Texas A&M’s 11 entries at the NCAA Championships are coached directly by Stewart. In his second year as Head Track & Field Coach, the Buffs finished the regular season ranked third in the South Central Region and eighth overall in NCAA Division II.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Matthew van Lierop – Mount Olive
In his 10th year as Director of Cross Country/Track & Field at Mount Olive, van Lierop led the Trojans to the Conference Carolinas championship, with five conference event wins. The Trojans ended the regular season ranked first in the Southeast Region and top-20 in NCAA Division II.
WEST REGION – Tom Lyons – SF State
Lyons, in his 3rd year as Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at SF State led the Gators to a top-five national ranking and the top ranking in the West Region. SF State looks to continue its outstanding regular season campaign, which saw Monisha Lewis record the fifth-fastest time in NCAA Division II history in the 60 hurdles and SF State’s 4×400 relay record the second-fastest time in divisional history, as the team enters the NCAA Championships with a total of 12 entries.
Men’s Assistant Coaches of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Sandy Chapman – Saint Augustine’s
Chapman, in his 20th year with the program, coaches runners in the 400 and 800 events for the 14th nationally-ranked Falcons squad. Shaquille Dill qualified for the national championships with the fifth-best 800 time in the nation (1:49.69). Three Falcons — Brandon Parris, Jalen Jones and Nathan Fergusson — all qualified for the NCAA meet in the 400 and all three are on the nation’s top-ranked 4×400 relay team.
CENTRAL REGION – Chris Parno – Minnesota State
Parno, associate head coach in his seventh year with the program, coached athletes in the sprints and hurdle events that scored 108 points at the NSIC Championships, 46 percent of the possible points in those events as 14 of 16 athletes entered in those events scored. The NSIC Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year will have athletes with four entries at the NCAA meet, plus a 4×400 relay.
EAST REGION – Brian Nill – Southern Connecticut
Nill, in his fourth year as an assistant coach with the program, coached athletes in the mile, 3000, 5000, and DMR that scored 61 points at the Northeast-10 Championships. In the 3000, Alpha Owls finished 1-2-3-5 in the conference race, helping the team to the largest margin of victory in league history. Miler Terrell Patterson will compete at the national championships.
MIDWEST REGION – Ray Robinson – Tiffin
Robinson, in his eighth year at the program coaching throwing events, qualified three weight throwers and two shot putters for the NCAA Championships. The group finished the regular season No. 1 in the nation’s #EventSquad shot put rankings and No. 3 in the weight throw.
SOUTH REGION – Charles Harris – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Harris, in his sixth year with the program, coaches Brodie Lubelski in the shot put who will compete at the NCAA Championships and finished the regular season No. 1 in the region. His throws crew placed four in the region’s top seven and four of the top six in the weight throw. In addition, Harris coached two of the top ten pole vaulters in the region this season.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Chrystal Ruiz – Angelo State
Angelo State’s heptathletes, coached by Ruiz in her third year with the program, has the No 1 #EventSquad in the nation, among all divisions with a four-man average score of 5,327 points. All four heptathletes will compete at the NCAA Championships and enter with top-seven seeds. Trpimir Široki, the Lone Star Conference high jump champ, will compete in both the heptathlon and high jump at the national meet.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Tom Scott – Queens (N.C.)
Scott, who is in his first year at Queens as an assistant coach with the distance crew, guided three athletes to NCAA bids in four events, including Daniel Wallis who is entered in both the mile and 3000 meters for the meet. His athletes accounted for 87 of the 184 points for the led to a South Atlantic Conference team title.
WEST REGION – Ben Stensland – Western Washington
Stensland, in his ninth year with the program, has a group of sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, and throwers that won three conference titles in those events en route to a GNAC team title.
Women’s Assistant Coaches of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Sandy Chapman – Saint Augustine’s
Chapman, in his 20th year with the program, coaches the team’s 400 and 800 meter runners, including Shannon Kalawan who is the division leader in the 400 with the seventh-fastest clocking in Division II history (52.71). Kalawan, the CIAA Female Track Athlete of the Year — winner of the 200, 400, and as a member of the 4×400 — led SAU to a runner-up CIAA finish. The Falcons will have three in the 400 at the NCAA Championships and a 4×400 relay.
CENTRAL REGION – Kyle Rutledge – Pittsburg State
Rutledge, Associate Head Coach in his seventh year with the program, has two pole vaulters and a pentathlete, which includes division leaders Haven Lander and Trace Mosby, that will be entered into the NCAA Championships on their home track. His group in the vertical field events and combined events tallied 44 points at the MIAA Championships en route to a team title.
EAST REGION – Georgette Nixon – Southern Connecticut
Nixon, in her second year with the Lady Owls, mentored Begotty Laroche to an NCAA Championship bid in the 200 meters. The Lady Owls finished third as a team at the Northeast 10 Championships.
MIDWEST REGION – Aaron Watson – Grand Valley State
The Lakers and fifth-year coach Watson has a large distance contingent that will compete at the NCAA Championships. GVSU will have no less than 13 entries in events from 800 meters to 5000 meters, plus a distance medley relay for the national championships. The group also compiled 25 points in the 3000 and 24 points in the 5000 at this season’s GLIAC Championships.
SOUTH REGION – Peter Hopfe – Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Hopfe, in his 15th year with the program as an assistant coach working with athletes in middle-distance events, worked with Kristen Metcalfe who set the NCAA DII record for the 800 this season (2:03.59) and also has the second-best time in the division in the mile (4:45.00). Three of her athletes finished the regular season ranked in the top seven within the region in the 800 meters.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Dustin Imdieke – Adams State
In his second year with the Grizzlies, Imdieke has guided his sprint squad to tremendous heights; Kandace Thomas and Dianna Johnson have made an assault on the DII All time record books. Kandace tied the DII record in the 60 meters while Dianna ran the third fastest time in DII history. He has four athletes that he coaches into the NCAA championships.
SOUTHEAST REGION – Jacqueline Kirby – Mount Olive
Kirby, in her tenth year as Associate Coach, mentored distance athletes that scored 97 points at the Conference Carolinas Championships. Leah Hanle will contest the 3000 and 5000 meter events at the NCAA Championships and is a top-five seed in both events.
WEST REGION – Brittany Aanstad – Central Washington
Aanstad, Central Washington assistant for sprints, jumps, hurdles, and combined events, has three athletes that will compete at the NCAA Championships. Her athletes made up 79 of the team’s 150 total at the GNAC Championships where the team finished runner-up. The pentathlon #EventSquad finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country while the hurdle crew was No. 5. Aanstad is in her fifth year with the program.