DII T&F athletes of the year released
NEW ORLEANS -- The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Friday announced the Region Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the NCAA Division II indoor track & field 2011 season. Several of the athletes and coaches named will be on hand for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 11-12 in Albuquerque, N.M.
Women's Track Athlete of the Year
Neely Spence, Shippensburg
Spence recently won Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships in the mile, 3,000 meters, and distance medley relay, setting a new conference record in the 3,000-meter event. She enters the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships with the leading mark in the 5,000 meters at 16:01.09 and as the anchor leg of Shippensburg’s top-ranked distance medley relay. Spence is a junior from Shippensburg, Pa.
Indira Spence, Adams State
A junior from Trelawny, Jamaica, Spence achieved NCAA-automatic qualifying marks in the 60 meters, 60-meter hurdles, and 200 meters during the 2011 Indoor season. She won conference titles in all three events to earn RMAC Track Athlete of the Year honors. Spence will focus on the 60 meters and 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, as one of only three student-athletes to attempt the sprint/hurdle double.
Shannon Gagne, New Haven
Gagne, a senior from Meriden, Conn., posted the fastest time in NCAA Division II over 200 meters at 23.60 seconds. She also achieved the fourth-fastest time in the 400 meters at 55.19 seconds and another national top-ten ranking over 60 meters. Gagne won Northeast-10 Conference Championships in the 55 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters, and competed on New Haven’s third-place 4x400-meter relay team.
Monica Kinney, Grand Valley State
Kinney, who owns the top time in NCAA Division II in the mile at 4:43.64, clearly has range. She also posted top-ten ranked marks in the 800 meters and the 5000 meters, as well as helping Grand Valley State achieve a second-ranked performance in the distance medley relay. A junior from Walker, Mich., she earned 2011 GLIAC titles in the 3,000 meters and distance medley relay and finished second in the 800 meters.
Latrice Johnson, Alabama-Huntsville
Johnson, a junior from Birmingham, Ala., reset the Chargers’ record books in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters during the 2011 indoor season. Her top times rank first in the 60 meters and fourth in the 200 meters within the South Region. She enters the upcoming NCAA Division II Indoor Championships with the tenth-best seeded time in the 60 meters.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
Nyoka Cole, Lincoln (Mo.)
In addition to recording the fastest time over 400 meters during the 2011 NCAA Division II season, Cole achieved top-ten ranked marks in the 60 meters, 200 meters, and as a member of Lincoln’s second-ranked 4x400-meter relay. The junior from Mandeville, Jamaica, won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association title in the 400 meters, finished third in the 60 meters, and finished fourth in the 200 meters to help lead the Blue Tigers to the overall team title.
Kate Griewisch, Lenoir-Rhyne
Earlier this season, the junior from Banner Elk, N.C., won the prestigious Tyson Invitational 5,000 meters in a school-record and NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 16:45.03. This was the second time she reset the school record in the event during the 2011 indoor season, breaking her previous record by over 20 seconds. She also achieved an NCAA provisional-qualifying time in the mile during the indoor campaign.
Sarah Porter, Western Washington
Porter, a senior from Hockinson, Wash., holds the second-fastest time in NCAA Division II in the 5,000 meters heading into the national championships. Her time of 16:12.68 is also a new school record, breaking her previous record by nearly 15 seconds. At the 2011 GNAC Indoor Championships, she won an individual title in the 5,000 meters and placed second as a member of the Western Washington distance medley relay squad.
Women's Field Athlete of the Year
Brianna Liebold, Indiana (Pa.)
Liebold, a senior from Houston, Pa., was named the PSAC Field MVP for the second-straight year after winning conference titles in both the long and triple jumps. Her triple jump of 39-7¼ (12.07m) at the conference meet is a season best. Liebold is entered in the NCAA Championships as the sixth seed in the long jump (19-2, 5.84m) and ninth seed in the triple.
Angella Graham, New Mexico Highlands
A senior from Trelawney, Jamaica, is one of six females that will compete in three events at the NCAA Championships. Graham is entered in the long jump (fourth seed), triple jump (sixth seed), and pentathlon (fourth seed). Graham recently swept RMAC titles in those same three events and recorded season bests of 19-2 (5.84m) in the long jump, 39-10 (12.14m) in the triple jump, and 3,644 in the pentathlon at the conference meet.
Kimberly Johnson, Southern Connecticut
Johnson, a sophomore from Lisbon, Conn., is the fifth seed in the pole vault in the upcoming NCAA Championships. Johnson set a new school record in clearing a season’s best of 12-6¼ (3.82m) in finishing third at the NEICAAA Championships. Johnson, who has been No. 1 in East all year in the pole vault, was also the Northeast-10 champ in the vault.
Abby Kacsandi, Ashland
A senior from Wooster, Ohio, Kacsandi is also one of the six women entered in three individual events at the NCAA Championships. Along with a possible DMR slot, Kacsandi is entered in the high jump (second seed, 5-10, 1.78m), shot put (13th seed, 46-4, 14.12m), and pentathlon (second seed, 3,819). Kacsandi was the GLIAC Field Athlete of the Year as a result of winning the heptathlon and high jump conference titles, plus adding seconds in the triple jump and as a member of the DMR as well.
Latycia Milton, Claflin
Milton, a junior, was the region’s top performer in the triple jump this season with a season’s best of 37-7¼ (11.46m). Milton was also second in the region in the long jump at 17-2¼ (5.24m)
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
Lindsay Lettow, Central Missouri
Lettow, a junior from Urbandale, Iowa, joins the legion of six that will be competing in three events at the NCAA Championships. Most notably, Lettow is the Division II leader in the pentathlon with a season best, school record, and conference record, of 3,961 set in winning the MIAA title in the same event. Lettow is also No. 3 nationally in the long jump (19-4, 5.89m) and No. 5 in the 60-meter hurdles (8.53).
Durecelle Campbell, Anderson (S.C.)
Campbell, a senior from Seneca, S.C., led the region in the weight throw by five-and-a-half feet with a season’s best of 46-5½ (14.16m).
Tuekeha Huntley, Cal State LA
Huntley, a junior from Los Angeles, enters the NCAA Championships as the fifth seed in the pentathlon with a season’s best of 3,610 points – a mark set in winning at Penn State’s Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup.
Women's Head Coach of the Year
Dave Osanitsch, Shippensburg
Shippensburg won PSAC Championships by scoring in 16 of 18 events, winning eight and setting three conference meet records along the way. The Lady Raiders are led by junior Nelly Spence who leads the nation in the 5,000 (16:01.09) and is a member of the top-ranked DMR. SU's enters the championship ranked ninth nationally and will be represented in four events.
Mike Thorson, Mary
Mike Thorson led his University of Mary Marauders to the NSIC Championship. The tenth-ranked squad will be sending eight athletes to the NCAA Championship meet, led by third-ranked Melissa Agnew in the mile, tenth-ranked Kristen Stewart in the 200, and 11th-ranked Nicketa Coombs in the 400.
Chris Covert, Southern Connecticut
Chris Covert’s Southern Connecticut Owls captured the NE-10 Conference championship as well as grabbing a third-place team finish at NEICAAA, which was best among D-II schools. The Owls will be represented in four events at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet. SCSU heads into the championship meet ranked first in the East Region and 19th nationally.
Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State
Jerry Baltes led the Grand Valley State Lakers to the GLIAC Championship with meet record 238 points, more than doubling the total of the second-place team. The Lakers will be represented in 19 events at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet. GVSU has been the No.1-ranked team throughout the entire season due in large part to their dominating distance crew led by Monica Kenny who ranks first in the mile (4:43.64) and fourth in the 5K (16:26).
Von Smith, Kentucky State
Von Smith’s Thoroughbrettes closed out the regular season ranked No. 1 in the South Region. The team will be represented by Ebone Washington at the NCAA Championship meet where she will compete in the 60-meter hurdles. A strong long jump group and hurdle group propelled Kentucky State to a top spot in the regional rankings.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
Victor Thomas, Lincoln (Mo.)
Victor Thomas’ nationally No. 2-ranked Lincoln Blue Tigers will be represented with twelve spots in the NCAA National Championship meet. The Blue Tigers claimed the MIAA Championship by 32 pts, winning four events in the process. Nyoke Cole leads the nation in the 400 and is also part of the nation leading 4x400 relay.
Scott Simmons, Queens (N.C.)
Scott Simmons’ Royals posted school records in four events including the 400 meters, the shot put, 800 and the DMR. With four of the top eight performances in the region in the 800 and mile, and a region-leading DMR, the middle-distance and distance groups led the way for the Royals.
Karl Lerum, Seattle Pacific
Karl Lerum’s Seattle Pacific Falcons earned the GNAC Championship and closed out the regular season ranked No. 1 in the West Region. The Falcons will be represented at the NCAA Championship meet by Melissa Peaslee who ranks eighth in the pole vault coming into the meet.