NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the organization’s region athletes and coaches of the year for the 2012 NCAA Division II outdoor track & field season on Thursday. Several of the athletes and coaches will be on hand for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships set for next weekend, May 24-26, in Pueblo, Colo. NCAA.com will provide live coverage of the national championships.
Men’s Track Athlete of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Akino Ming – Johnson C. Smith
Ming scored 22 points at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships in winning the 200 Meters and 400 Meters and helping Johnson C. Smith finish second in the 4×400 Relay. With a season-best time of 45.81, Ming is the top-ranked 400-meter runner entering the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He is a junior from St. Thomas, Jamaica.
SOUTH REGION – Chavis Taylor – Benedict
The sophomore from Spartanburg, S.C. is the top-ranked 800-meter runner in the South Region and ranks 11th nationally in the event with a season-best time of 1:50.97. Earlier this season, Taylor won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in the 800 Meters and finished as runner-up in the 1500 Meters to score 18 team points for Benedict.
Men’s Field Athlete of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Christopher Copeland – Saint Augustine’s
A native of Suffolk, Va., Copeland, a senior, enters the NCAA Championship as the third-ranked high jumper in the nation, garnering a season’s best of 7-1 (2.16m). Copeland was the CIAA high jump champion this season.
SOUTH REGION – Christopher A.J. Smith – Benedict
A senior from Clover, S.C., Smith enters the NCAA Championships as a fifth seed, having recorded a best in the pole vault of 16-6¾ (5.05m). Smith was the SIAC Champion in the pole vault and decathlon.
Men’s Head Coach of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – George Williams – Saint Augustine’s
Riding on the success of their CIAA Championship Title, the Falcons head into the NCAA Championships ranked first in the Atlantic Region and in the nation. In his 36th year coaching, Williams has 17 athletes competing at the NCAA championships, the highest of all men’s programs.
SOUTH REGION – Frank Hyland – Benedict
On account of five individual titles, the Tigers placed second at the SIAC Championships. The seventh year coach will travel to Colorado for the NCAA meet with two athletes, both ranked in the top 12th of their respective events.
Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Sandy Chapman – Saint Augustine’s
The Falcons lead Division II men’s programs with 17 entries into the NCAA Championships. Chapman’s athletes helped Saint Augustine win both the indoor and outdoor CIAA Championships and they enter the weekend ranked first in the country.
Women’s Track Athlete of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Samantha Edwards – Virginia State
The senior from Elmont, N.Y. is the 2012 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion in the 400 Meters and runner-up in the 200 Meters. Edwards has the fastest time in NCAA Division II in the 400 Meters with a season-best of 52.15 and the second-fastest time in the 200 Meters at 23.80.
SOUTH REGION – Camille Clemmons-James – Benedict
Clemmons-James is the top-ranked 200-meter runner in the South region and ranks in the top 15 nationally in the event. She has a season-best time of 24.13 in the event. She also has a provisional-qualifying mark in the 400 Meters that ranks third in the South region. Clemmons-James is a senior from Columbia, S.C.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Twishana Williams – Lincoln (Mo.)
The junior from St. Catherine, Jamaica won four events at the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships to earn honors as the meet’s top scorer. Williams won the 800 Meters, 1500 Meters, 5000 Meters, and 10,000 Meters. Her season-best times in the 800 Meters and 1500 meters rank in the top 15 nationally.
Women’s Field Athlete of the Year
SOUTH REGION – Latycia Milton – Claflin
A senior, Milton is entered in the NCAA Championships in the triple jump where she holds a season best of 40-10½ (12.46m) from the SIAC Championship. She was named the SIAC East Division Athlete of the Year this season as well.
Women’s Head Coach of the Year
ATLANTIC REGION – Jason Jackson – Virginia State
The Trojans won the CIAA Championships and have four entries into the NCAA Championships in the sprints/hurdles and mid-distance events. Jackson is in his second year at the helm of the VSU program.
SOUTH REGION – Kenneth Taylor – Albany State (Ga.)
The Lady Rams coach was recently named the SIAC Championships Coach of the Year. Taylor has led Albany State to a No. 1 ranking in the South Region.
SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Victor Thomas – Lincoln (Mo.)
The Blue Tigers won the MIAA courtesy of 12 event titles, including all track events except the steeplechase. The No. 2 team in the nation has 19 entries into the NCAA Championships, including both relays, which is the second highest among both genders.
Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year
SOUTH REGION – Brandon Samuels – Benedict
The Tiger sprinters earned 46 points to help the team to a second place finish in the SIAC Championships. Sprinters were also a dominant force indoors with national qualifiers. One sprinter has earned her ticket to the NCAA Championships in the 200 meters.
Courtesy: Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA