Chairmen Of The Boards: GNAC Dominates Regional Awards
In addition to Ribich (left), Cai (center) and Mantalas, Concordia's Jarred Rome and Northwest Nazarene's Nick Collins earned Assistant Coach of the Year awards.
In addition to Ribich (left), Cai (center) and Mantalas, Concordia's Jarred Rome and Northwest Nazarene's Nick Collins earned Assistant Coach of the Year awards.

Monday, March 5, 2018

NEW ORLEANS – The best in the West Region reside in the GNAC with conference athletes and coaches picking up five of this year’s U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) West Region indoor track and field honors.

Western Oregon senior David Ribich was named by the body as its West Region Male Track Athlete of the Year while Seattle Pacific sophomore Scout Cai was tabbed as the West Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. Concordia head coach Jarret Mantalas was honored as the West Region Men’s Coach of the Year while Cavaliers’ associate head coach Jarred Rome was named the regional Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year while Northwest Nazarene’s Nick Collins earned the Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year award.

The awards were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches. Only those individuals from USTFCCCA member programs are eligible for awards.

Ribich has put together a historic season for the Wolves. The senior set a Division II all-time all-conditions record in the 3,000 meters at the Husky Classic in a time of 7:50.81. The mark is the best in Divison II by nine seconds. Earlier in the season, Ribich became the 501st athlete in U.S. history to break the four-minute mile with a time of 3:58.88 at the UW Invitational. In addition, he ran the Division II best in the 1,000 meters at the UW Indoor Preview in 2:21.38.

Ribich was named the GNAC Championships Male Athlete of the Meet after he won both the mile and the 3,000 meters. He is entered in this weekend’s NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in the 3,000 meters and as part of the Wolves’ defending champion distance medley relay.

Cai scored 28 points for the co-champions Falcons at the GNAC Championships. She defended her conference title in the pentathlon with a score of 3,610 points. She also went on to win the pole vault and place second in the high jump with all of those events taking place on the same day. Cai will compete at the national meet in the pentathlon, where she has the fifth highest point total entering the meet (3,709) and the pole vault, where she has a best of 12 feet, 4.75 inches.

Mantalas led the Cavaliers’ men to the program’s first team conference championship as a Division II member, scoring 114 points to beat perennial conference favorite Alaska Anchorage by six points. The Cavaliers yielded four individual-event winners, led by senior Carlos Ortiz who won the 60 meters and then the 200 meters in a GNAC record time of 21.56 seconds. James Phillips won the 60-meter hurdles while Josh Koch claimed the title in the shot put. Koch will represent Concordia at nationals as Mantalas will coach a total of six athletes in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Rome was recognized for his work with Concordia’s women’s throwers. Under his watch, the Cavaliers took six of the top eight places in the shot put at the GNAC Championships, led by Melissa Ausman’s winning mark of 50 feet, 1.75 inches. Concordia also five of the top-eight spots in the weight throw, led by Christina MacDonald’s mark of 60 feet, 0.25 inches. The week after the conference meet, MacDonald shattered the GNAC record in the weight throw with a mark of 64 feet, 05. Inches. Rome will coach four throwers at nationals.

Collins, who spearheads the Nighthawks’ work in the field events, coaches athletes who totaled 49 of NNU’s 81 points at the GNAC Championships. The Nighthawks hit the best in the pole vault where they took four of the top-eight places, led by conference champion Jared Webster. Collins will see one of his charges, senior Payton Lewis, compete at nationals in the pole vault as he enters with a season-best of 16 feet, 4.75 inches.