Ackerman, WWU Coaches Earn USTFCCCA Regional Awards
Ackerman (left) is No. 3 in Division II the javelin. Halsell (center) and Garlatz coached WWU to its second-straight GNAC championship.
Ackerman (left) is No. 3 in Division II the javelin. Halsell (center) and Garlatz coached WWU to its second-straight GNAC championship.

Friday, May 21, 2021

NEW ORLEANS – A standout season for Montana State Billings senior Beau Ackerman and another conference championship for Western Washington head coach PeeWee Halsell and assistant coach T.J. Garlatz have been singled out for regional outdoor track and field awards by the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Ackerman was named the 2021 West Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year by the organization. Halsell was named the West Region Men’s Coach of the Year while Garlatz was tabbed as the West Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

One of two GNAC men’s athletes to earn selection to next week’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Ackerman automatically qualified for nationals in the javelin with a throw of 232 feet, 11 inches, at the Battlin’ Bears/Yellowjacket Open on April 1. He became just the fourth athlete in conference history to throw over 230 feet and the first since 2015.

Ackerman went on to shatter the GNAC Championships record with his first throw at last week’s conference meet with a mark of 233 feet, 7 inches, ranking No. 3 in Division II this season and 26th across all college divisions. The effort was recognized as the GNAC Championships Men’s Performance of the Meet.

Ackerman is the second GNAC athlete to be named the West Region Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. He joins Alaska Anchorage’s David Registe, who earned the award in 2009.

Halsell, in his 34th season as Western Washington head coach, led the Vikings to its second-straight GNAC men’s outdoor track and field championship with a meet-record score of 289 points. In the meet, the Vikings won 11 of the 21 events and had 23 individuals earn All-GNAC honors.

The West Region Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year Award is the first for Halsell and the second for the GNAC. He joins former Alaska Anchorage head coach Michael Friess, who received the honor in 2009. Halsell has been named the USTFCCA West Region Men’s Indoor Coach of the Year on three occasions, in 2013, 2014 and 2020.

Garlatz is the West Region Assistant Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. He earned his first award in 2010 as a member of Alaska Anchorage’s staff. The distance coach for Western Washington, Garlatz saw his runners earn 10 all-conference awards at the GNAC Championships and score 105 of the Vikings’ 289 points and swept all four distance titles with Calahan Warren in the 1,500 meters, senior Eric Hamel in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and freshman Jeret Gillingham in the steeplechase.

Other GNAC past recipients of the Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year award include Western Washington’s Eric Dudley in 2019 and current Alaska Anchorage head coach Ryan McWilliams, who earned the honor in 2016.