Holdsworth, Townsend Named Indoor Athletes Of The Year
Holdsworth (left) had the top time in Division II in the men's 800 meters. Townsend was ranked in the top-three in Division II in both the women's 800 and mile. Photos by Loren Orr.
Holdsworth (left) had the top time in Division II in the men's 800 meters. Townsend was ranked in the top-three in Division II in both the women's 800 and mile. Photos by Loren Orr.

Monday, March 23, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two of the top middle-distance runners in the nation are also the top athletes in the conference as Western Oregon junior Derek Holdsworth and Simon Fraser senior Addy Townsend have been named the 2019-20 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Athletes of the Year.

Holdsworth was selected by coaches as both the Male Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year while Townsend was named the Female Athlete of the Year. Both athletes won championships in the 800 meters at the GNAC Championships and both were automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.

Concordia sophomore Paige Johnson was the unanimous selection for Female Newcomer of the Year. Western Oregon’s Maya Hopwood was named the Female Freshman of the Year while Simon Fraser’s Jeremiah Lauzon was tabbed as the Male Freshman of the Year.

The head coaches of the conference’s championship teams received the Coach of the Year awards with Western Washington’s PeeWee Halsell earning the men’s award and Concordia’s Jerret Mantalas receiving the women’s award.

Holdsworth not only finished the season as the GNAC record-holder in the 800 meters, but also ranked among the top in the nation at the distance at any level. The USTFCCCA West Region Male Track Athlete of the Year, the junior set the GNAC record with a blazing time of 1:47.74 at the UW Invitational, which also ranks as the fifth-fastest time in Division II history under all conditions (run on an oversized track). Holdsworth went on to win the GNAC title in the 800 with a time of 1:54.20.

An automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships, Holdsworth led Division II in the 800, was tied for fourth across all college divisions and had the 10th-fastest time in the U.S. this season.

Townsend automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in both the 800 meters and mile and captured conference championships in both events. She became a four-time champion in the 800 meters with a time of 2:10.87 and won the mile in 4:58.62. Townsend also ran the leadoff leg on the Clan’s title-winning distance medley relay team and ran a leg on Simon Fraser’s second-place 4x400-meter relay team. The performances earned Townsend selection as the GNAC Championships Female Track Athlete of the Meet and the USTFCCCA West Region Female Track Athlete of the Year.

Townsend finished with a season-best of 2:07.74 in the 800 meters, ranking No. 2 in Division II this season and No. 7 on the GNAC All-Time List, and 4:40.40 in the mile, which ranks No. 3 in Division II this season and No. 2 on the GNAC All-Time List.

Johnson earned the Female Newcomer of the Year award after an extraordinary GNAC Championships where she scored 35 points, which is the second-most ever in a single conference meet. Johnson won conference championships in the 60 meters, 60-meter hurdles and the high jump and took fourth in the long jump. Her winning time of 7.52 seconds in the 60 meters set the GNAC record and earned her the Women’s Performance of the Meet award. Johnson earned NCAA Championships provisional qualifying marks in five events and was scheduled to compete in the 60 meters and 60-meter hurdles.

Lauzon, the Male Freshman of the Year, was the GNAC champion in the 200 meters with a time of 21.71 seconds and also ran a leg on the Clan’s third-place 4x400-meter relay team. Lauzon set the GNAC record in the 200 meters with his time of 21.55 at the John Thomas Terrier Classic and then lowered it to 21.47 seconds at the David Hemery Valentine Classic. The time was an NCAA Championships provisional qualifier and tied for No. 23 in Division II this season.

Hopwood also excelled in the sprints to earn the Female Freshman of the Year honor. She opened the season by setting the Western Oregon record in the 55 meters and later set a school record in the 60 meters of 7.58 seconds at the Boise State Challenge. Hopwood went on to finish second at the GNAC Championships in the 60 meters in 7.64 seconds and seventh in the 200 meters in 25.25 seconds. An NCAA Championships provisional qualifier in the 60 meters, her season-best was No. 22 in Division II and No. 2 on the GNAC All-Time List.

Halsell earned his sixth Indoor Track and Field Men’s Coach of the Year award after leading Western Washington’s men to a dominant win at the GNAC Championships. The Vikings scored 137 points to finish 50 points ahead of second-place Concordia thanks in part to individual championships by Ethan Sterkel and Cordell Cummings and a win by the 4x400-meter relay team. Halsell and his staff coached 13 athletes who earned USTFCCCA All-West Region honors.

The Coach of the Year award is the 21st such award for Halsell in the GNAC era between cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field. In the fall, Halsell was named both the men’s and women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Mantalas led Concordia’s women to a seven-point win over Seattle Pacific at the GNAC Championships just a couple of weeks after the school announced that it would close at the end of the academic year. The victory was bolstered by Johnson’s three championships along with those by Kori Sprague in the weight throw and Katrina Linenko in the shot put. Seven Concordia athletes earned USTFCCCA All-West Region honors while both Johnson and Sprague earned invitations to the NCAA Championships.

The award is the second all-time for Mantalas and his first in indoor track and field. Mantalas was named the 2018 Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year after leading the Cavaliers to the title that season.

Athlete of the Year: Derek Holdsworth, Western Oregon
Newcomer of the Year: Derek Holdsworth, Western Oregon
Freshman of the Year: Jeremiah Lauzon, Simon Fraser
Coach of the Year: PeeWee Halsell, Western Washington

Athlete of the Year: Addy Townsend, Simon Fraser
Newcomer of the Year: Paige Johnson, Concordia
Freshman of the Year: Maya Hopwood, Western Oregon
Coach of the Year: Jerret Mantalas, Concordia