NEW ORLEANS (Blugolds.com) – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field season Wednesday with Dan Schwamberger earning Assistant Coach of the Year and Alex Mess (Sr.-Lake Mills, WI/Green Bay Notre Dame) earning Men's Field Athlete of the Year honors for the Midwest Region.
Schwamberger, in his ninth year leading the Eau Claire distance crew, has athletes with six entries into the NCAA championships. His group captured the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title in the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) and swept the top three spots in the 3000-meter.
Mess is the division leader in the shot put and the No. 2 seed entering the NCAA meet in the weight throw. His bests of the year in both the shot (57-10½, 17.64m) and weight throw (63-10½, 19.47m) were achieved in winning the WIAC crown in both events. He was named the WIAC Field Athlete of the Championships.
Each of the eight regions honored both genders' top track athletes and field athletes, and the top men's and women's head coaches and assistant coaches. Award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches. Only those individuals from USTFCCCA member programs are eligible for awards.
In addition, five other men's athletes were named to the All-Region team; Kevin Brooks (Sr.- Roseville, MN), Ryan Graham (Jr.-Maple Grove, MN) Nick Petersson (Sr.-Brookfield, MN) and Josh Thorson (Sr.-Plymouth, MN/Wayzata) for the DMR and Darin Lau (So.-Eau Claire, WI/Immanuel) in the 3000 and 5000-meters. Petersson and Thorson also earned the honor for the 3000-meter, 5000-meter and mile.
On the women's side, seven Blugolds earned All-Region honors. Sarah Glidden (Jr.- Greenville, WI/Hortonville) led the way with honors in four events, the 200-meter, 4x400 relay, high jump, and pentathlon. Jessie Reineck (Jr.-Greenville, WI/Fox Valley Lutheran) was honored in three events, 200-meter, 400-meter and 4x400 relay while Jessica Rupnow (Sr. – Sussex, WI/Sussex-Hamilton) and Ashleigh Buergi (So.-Green Bay, WI/Bay Port) were honored for the 4x400 relay as well. Sam Anderson (Jr.-Forest Lake, MN) was recognized in the weight throw, JoHannah Theisen (So.-Eau Claire, WI/Regis) for the shot put and Steph Frempong-Longdon (Sr.-Minnetrista, MN/Waconia) in the triple jump.
The Blugolds will look to continue their success at the NCAA Division III Championships March 11 and 12 in Grinnell, Iowa.