NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Tuesday the winners of USTFCCCA Region Athletes and Coaches of the Year honors for the 2011 cross country season in Division II as voted by the division’s coaches.
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) swept the Midwest Region postseason awards. Hillsdale College junior Amanda Putt (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) was named the Midwest Region Female "Athlete of the Year" after winning the Midwest Regional cross country meet. Anthony Witt (Jasonville, Ind./Shakamak), a senior at Grand Valley State University earned the Midwest Region Male "Athlete of the Year" for also finishing first at the Midwest Regional cross country meet.
Saginaw Valley State University Head Cross Country Coach Rod Cowan won the women's Midwest Region "Coach of the Year" award and Head Coach Jerry Baltes of Grand Valley State won the men's Midwest Region "Coach of the Year" honors.
Putt was crowned the Midwest Regional champion Saturday afternoon at the regional meet, hosted by Ferris State University. Putt won the women's six kilometer race with a time of 21:26. Earlier this season, Putt won the Michigan Intercollegiate Meet, held at Hillsdale's Hayden Park. Putt will move on as an individual to the big meet, held in Spokane, Wash.
Witt won this past weekend's NCAA Division II Midwest Regional crown in a time of 31:58, beating teammate Tyler Emmorey by two seconds. From his efforts, Witt was named the regional athlete of the year, marking the fourth straight season that a GVSU runner has earned the honor, joining Chris Hammer in 2008 and Emmorey in 2009 and 2010.
Cowan help guide the SVSU women's cross country team to a third place finish at last weekend’s (Nov. 5) Midwest Regional. Cowan, who is just in his second season at Saginaw Valley State, helped the team improve from a ninth-place regional showing in his first season a year ago to place third in this year's race – an effort that resulted in the team's first-ever berth to the NCAA Championships.
Baltes was voted as the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Coach of the Year for men's cross country, the second year in a row he has held the honor and the third time in the last four years. He led the Lakers to their 10th straight regional crown this season as his runners compiled a 1-2-4-5-8 finish in Big Rapids, Mich.
The GNAC will host the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships, Saturday, November 19, at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex in Spokane, Wash.
The USTFCCCA will release the final regular-season national coaches’ poll of the season in Division II on Wednesday.