Award History
NJCAA DIII OTF Regional Awards

2022 NJCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Regional Awards

NEW ORLEANS – Regional Athletes & Coaches of the Year for the 2022 NJCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field season were announced on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Each of the three regions – Central, East and Northeast – honored both genders’ top track athletes and field athletes as well as the top men’s and women’s head coaches and assistant coaches.

Award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches prior to the NJCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend. Only those individuals from USTFCCCA member programs are eligible for awards.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Kyle Vinyard – Mineral Area (Mo.)

Vinyard, a freshman from Pevely, Missouri, ended the regular season with the nation’s fastest time over 10,000 meters at 32:05.56. He was also ranked second nationally in the 5000m at 16:03.63 and posted top-5 efforts as an individual in the 1500m and as part of Mineral Area’s 4×800 relay team.

EAST REGION – Charles Benichoux – Hudson Valley (N.Y.) CC

Beinchoux, a freshman from Marseille, France, is ranked first nationally in both the 100 meters (10.67) and the 200 meters (21.97). He was nearly undefeated in the 100m during the regular season.

NORTHEAST REGION – Austin Garske – Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

Garske, a freshman from Rocky Point, New York, is ranked first nationally in the 400-meter hurdles at 55.81 and was in the top-15 nationally in the 400m at 52.25. He also helped chip in on a pair of strong relay efforts – 4×100 (45.21) and 4×400 (3:35.50).

Men’s Field Athlete of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Levi Mayer – Thaddeus Stevens (Pa.)

Mayer, a freshman from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is ranked first nationally in both the shot put (14.68m/48-2) and discus (42.44m/139-3). He PR’d in the discus at his last meet of the regular season.

EAST REGION – Marques Hall – Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC

Hall, a freshman from Clayton, New Jersey, is ranked second nationally in both the hammer (41.59/136-6) and shot put (13.49m/44-3¼). He is also ranked third nationally in the discus (38.77m/127-2). Hall is the region’s top thrower in all three of those events. 

NORTHEAST REGION – Shorn Grant – Queensborough (N.Y.) CC

Grant, a sophomore from Jamaica, New York, is ranked among the national leaders in the triple jump (No. 2, 13.33m/43-9), long jump (No. 5, 6.48m/21-3¼) and high jump (No. 9, 1.58m/5-2¼).

Men’s Coach of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Steve Davis – Mineral Area (Mo.)

Davis, in his fourth year at Mineral Area (Mo.), led the Cardinals to a No. 1 ranking in the Central Region and No. 2 nationally. Mineral Area leads the nation in five events this year.

EAST REGION – Jim Bathgate – Finger Lakes (N.Y.) CC

Bathgate, in his first year at Finger Lakes (N.Y.) CC, led the Lakers to a No. 1 ranking in the East Region and No. 5 nationally. Finger Lakes, which won the NJCAA Region III title, has 15 top-10 national rankings.

NORTHEAST REGION – Chris Omeltchenko – Queensborough (N.Y.) CC

Omeltchenko, in his 22nd year at Queensborough (N.Y.) CC, led the Tigers to a No. 1 ranking in the Northeast Region all season and currently No. 11 nationally.

Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Michelle Stratton – DuPage (Ill.)

Stratton, in her second year as assistant coach at College of DuPage (Ill.), guided the Chaps distance group to seven individuals qualifying for berths in the NJCAA Division III national championships – 800, 1500, steeplechase, 5000, 10,000 and 4×800 relay.

EAST REGION – Joseph Kalnas – Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC

Kalnas, in his 16th year at Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC, guided the Roadrunners to be dominant in throws, leading the region in three throwing events. Rowan-Gloucester’s depth saw them with at least three nationally ranked in the top-10 in the shot put, discus and hammer.

NORTHEAST REGION – Aziwoh Ayafor – Queensborough (N.Y.) CC

Ayafor, in his 12th year at Queensborough (N.Y.) CC, guided athletes in four events to region-leading performances – 100, 200, long jump and triple jump. His triple jumpers ranked No. 1-2 in the East Region.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Lillian Buzani – DuPage (Ill.)

Buzani, a freshman from Carol Stream, Illinois, is ranked first nationally in both the 1500 meters (5:01.31) and 5000 meters (19:11.95). She is also ranked second nationally in the 800 meters at 2:26.94.

EAST REGION – Olivia Skylstad – Hudson Valley (N.Y.) CC

Skylstad, a freshman from Ballston Spa, New York, qualified for the NJCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championships in seven different events: 400-meter hurdles, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 5000 meters, 10,000 meters, steeplechase, as well as the 4×800 relay. The steeplechase is her strongest event, as she is ranked second nationally at 12:42.67.

NORTHEAST REGION – Oceane Ode – Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

Ode, a freshman from East Quogue, New York, is ranked first nationally in three different events: 100 meters (12.39), 200 meters (25.09) and 400 meters (59.83). She was named the NJCAA DIII Women’s National Athlete of the Week for her efforts between April 11-17.

Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Samira Rosenfeld – Harper (Ill.)

Rosenfeld, a freshman from Schaumburg, Illinois, is ranked first nationally in both the high jump (1.65m/5-5) and long jump (5.35m/17-6¾). She leads the high jump by four inches. 

EAST REGION – Kara Knorr – Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC

Knorr, a freshman from Woodstown, New Jersey, is ranked first nationally in the javelin at 35.15m (115-4) and third nationally in the hammer at 31.90m (104-8). She is also ranked among the top-6 national performers in both the shot put and discus at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.

NORTHEAST REGION – Angelina Guevara – Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

Guevara, a freshman from Miller Place, New York, is ranked first nationally in the heptathlon with 2670 points. She is also ranked sixth nationally in the high jump, a mark recorded during her heptathlon PR.

Women’s Coach of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Robert Cervenka – DuPage (Ill.)

Cervenka, in his 10th year at College of DuPage (Ill.), led the Chaps to a No. 1 national ranking ever since Week 1. DuPage qualified 11 individuals in 17 events to the NJCAA Division III Championships.

EAST REGION – Ryan Hughes – Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC

Hughes, in his 19th year at Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC, led the Roadrunners to a No. 3 national ranking, tops in the East Region. Rowan-Gloucester led the region in six events – discus, hammer, javelin, heptathlon and 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

NORTHEAST REGION – Matthew French – Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

French, in his 15th year at Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC, led the Sharks to a No. 2 ranking nationally, tops in the Northeast Region. Suffolk leads the national ranking in five events – 100, 200, 400, shot put and heptathlon.

Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

CENTRAL REGION – Michelle Stratton – DuPage (Ill.)

Stratton, in her second year as assistant coach at College of DuPage (Ill.), guided Lillian Buzani to nation-leading times in the 1500 and 5000, while the Chaps distance group combined for multiple national qualifying berths in the 800 (four) and 1500 (three).

EAST REGION – Joseph Kalnas – Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC

Kalnas, in his 17th year at Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) CC, guided athletes in five events to multiple top-10 national rankings – shot put, discus, hammer, javelin and heptathlon (leading the East Region in four events). The Roadrunners were most dominant in the javelin (ranking Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 8 nationally)

NORTHEAST REGION – Matthew Lafferty – Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC

Lafferty, in his fourth year as assistant coach at Suffolk County (N.Y.) CC, guided the nation’s top sprinter, Oceane Ode, to nation-leading marks in the 100, 200 and 400. The Sharks’ sprint/hurdle group also included four other top-10 ranked athletes in individual events.