The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced their outdoor regional awards with three given to the Barton Community College track and field team. Voted and selected by member coaches within the USTFCCCA, Barton received three of the eight awards given within the Central Region.
Headlining the selections was student-athlete Ricky Nelson, Jr. earning the men's field athlete of the year while Head Coach David Schenek and Assistant Coach Tony Davis followed up their indoor coaching awards adding outdoor honors as well.
Men's Field Athlete of the Year (Central Region)
Nelson, Jr., a sophomore from Belleville, Illinois, is ranked 1st nationally in the discus throw with a school record heave of 58.15m (190-9) and ranked 2nd nationally in the hammer throw in also breaking the school record setting the new mark at 58.59m (192-2). Claiming Region VI titles in both the discus throw and hammer throw, Nelson, Jr., was named the Region VI Field Athlete of the Meet.
Men's and Women's Head Coach of the Year (Central Region)
In his 10th season with the program and eighth at helm, Schenek's men's squad has been in the Top-3 nationally all season long. Most recently, Schenek's Cougars captured its first Region VI outdoor championship since 2010, defeating the field by twelve points for the title. His event specific athletes have 13 national qualifiers with two athletes in the top-5 of the nation in the hammer throw, 3 in the top-15 of the discus throw, 3 in the top-6 of the shot put, 3 in the top-15 of the long jump and 2 in the top-15 of the high jump. On the women's side, the Lady Cougars blew away the region competition by 87 points for its second straight outdoor title and 29th overall with his event specific athletes accumulating 3 individual Region VI Championships.
Women's Assistant Coach of the Year (Central Region)
Davis' third year in the program helped lead the Lady Cougars to its second straight Region VI Championship and the 29th overall in the program's history. Davis' athletes accounted for 88 of the team's 192 points and other than the winning every sprint other than the 100m, relay and hurdle events for an 87 point margin of victory for the title.
In addition to Schenek and Davis' coaching honors, two former Barton coaches also brought home regional awards as Keith Blackwell of New Mexico Junior College was named the Women's Head Coach of the Year in the West Region while Nigel Bigbee of Iowa Central Community College was named the Men's Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Cougars will wrap up the 2017 season this coming Thursday through Saturday at the NJCAA Outdoor National Championships being held in Hutchinson.