Holdsworth, Townsend Lead West Region Indoor Awards
Derek Holdsworth (left) has the top time in Division II in the men's 800 meters while Addy Townsend is top-three in the women's 800 meters and mile. Photo by Loren Orr.
Derek Holdsworth (left) has the top time in Division II in the men's 800 meters while Addy Townsend is top-three in the women's 800 meters and mile. Photo by Loren Orr.

Monday, March 9, 2020

NEW ORLEANS – It was nearly a GNAC sweep in the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association regional awards with conference athletes sweeping the West Region Track Athlete of the Year, Field Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year awards that were announced on Friday.

Western Oregon junior Derek Holdsworth was named by the coaches organization as the Men’s Track Athlete of the Year while Simon Fraser senior Addy Townsend was selected as the Women’s Track Athlete of the Year. Saint Martin’s swept the field awards with sophomore Tyler Cronk named the Men’s Field Athlete of the Year and sophomore Keshara Romain named the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.

Western Washington’s PeeWee Halsell was selected as the Men’s Coach of the Year and Concordia’s Jerret Mantalas was named the Women’s Coach of the Year.

Holdsworth won the GNAC championship in the men’s 800 meters and enters the NCAA Championships with the top time in the event by over a second at 1:47.74. The GNAC record performance, run at the UW Invitational on January 31, is the fourth-fastest in Division II history on an oversized track and fifth-fastest ever under all conditions. The time is also tied for fourth across all college divisions this season. Holdsworth is also part of a Western Oregon distance medley team that enters the national meet with the ninth-fastest time in the field.

Townsend became a four-time GNAC champion in the 800 meters and also claimed the title in the mile. In addition, Townsend ran the leadoff leg on the Clan’s distance medley relay team and also ran on the runner-up 4x400-meter relay team. She owns the second-fastest time in the 800 meters at 2:07.74 and the third-fastest time in the mile at 4:40.40. Townsend will compete in this week’s NCAA Championships in the 800 meters and the DMR.

Cronk repeated as the GNAC high jump champion, clearing a season-best 7 feet, 1 inch to claim the title. The mark ties his season-best from the 2019 indoor season and is the third-best mark in Division II this season. Cronk was also the runner-up at the GNAC Championships in the long jump, leaping 22 feet, 11.75 inches, and was fourth in the triple jump at 46 feet, 3.5 inches. The efforts earned Cronk selection as the GNAC Championships’ Male Field Athlete of the Meet.

Romain set the GNAC record in the triple jump to win the conference championship. Her winning mark of 41 feet, 8 inches, ranks third in Division II this season and automatically qualified the sophomore for the NCAA Championships. Romain also placed second in the long jump with a mark of 19 feet, 2.5 inches, to earn selection as the Women’s Field Athlete of the Meet. Romain is scheduled to compete in both events at the national meet.

Halsell led the Western Washington men to its second consecutive GNAC championship and the sixth in program history. The Vikings scored 137 points in the meet for an impressive 50-point margin over second-place Concordia. Halsell and his staff coached athletes to individual conference titles in senior Cordell Cummings in the 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Ethan Sterkel in the long jump and 4x400-meter relay. In all, Western Washington scored points in 16 of the meet’s 17 events.

Mantalas led the Concordia women to the GNAC title despite the pall of the school’s announced closure at the end of the academic year. The Cavaliers scored 128.33 points to beat second-place Seattle Pacific by just over seven points. Mantalas and his staff coached five individual champions, including sophomore Paige Johnson to titles in the 60 meters, 60-meter hurdles and high jump; senior Kori Sprague in the weight throw and senior Katrina Linenko in the shot put. Johnson will compete at the national meet in both sprints as well as Sprague in the weight throw.