SUWANEE, Ga.—In exclusive voting by the head outdoor track & field coaches of the conference, Robert Willett and Tiarra Goode, both of Birmingham-Southern College, were voted 2012 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Men's and Women's Track Athlete-of-the-Year, respectively.
Jacob Carter of Centre College was selected the 2012 Men's Field Athlete-of-the-Year, while Emily Niehaus of Centre and Elizabeth Krug of Hendrix College were selected Co-Field Athletes-of-the-Year on the women's side.
In that same balloting, Jeremy Phillips and Sadie Yanckello, both of Rhodes College, were named Men's and Women's Newcomer-of-the-Year, respectively.
It is the second year that the coaches have voted for these awards. Prior to the 2011 outdoor season, the high-point scorers at the SCAC championship meet (man and woman) were named the league's Athlete-of-the-Year.
In additional voting, the Centre College coaching staff, led by head coach Lisa Owens, was selected as the Men's Staff-of-the-Year while the Rhodes College coaching staff, led by head coach Robert Shankman, was voted Women's Staff-of-the-Year.
Running on his home track, Robert Willett, a junior from Mobile, Ala., won both events he entered for Birmingham-Southern at the 2012 SCAC Championships. He won the 1,500 meter run in a SCAC meet record time of 3:52.52. His 1,500 meter conference meet performance currently ranks him 18th in the country. Willett, who also won the 800 meter run with a finishing time of 1:56.31, individually earned 20 points while helping guide the Panthers to a second-place finish at the 2012 SCAC Championships.
Tiarra Goode, a sophomore from Huntsville, Ala., won all three individual events she entered for BSC at the 2012 conference championship meet. She won the 100-meter hurdles along with the 100- and 200-meter run – all in SCAC meet record times of 14.36, 11.95 and 24.28 respectively. Her 100- and 200-meter conference meet performances currently rank her second in the country in both events. Goode also played a key role in the Panthers' second-place finish at the SCAC Championships in the 4x100 meter relay. The sophomore notched 33.25 individual points at the meet – the second-most points at the championships – while guiding the Panthers to a fourth-place team finish.
Centre's Jacob Carter, a senior from Bardstown, Ky., won the shot put, finished second in the hammer throw and was fifth in both the discus and javelin throws at the 2012 SCAC Championships. With 26 points scored at this year's championship meet, Carter won the "high-point" award and was named 2012 SCAC Male Athlete-of-the-Meet.
Elizabeth Krug, a sophomore from Heber Springs, Ark., earned all-SCAC honors in three events at the 2012 SCAC Championships, including a first-place in the pole vault. Krug earned 35.75 of Hendrix's 46 points at the championships and was recognized as the high-point performer with the SCAC Female Athlete-of-the-Meet honor. With a score 4,619 in the heptathlon this year, Krug is currently best in her region and sixth nationally.
Emily Niehaus, a senior from Mainville, Ohio, had an outstanding meet in her last SCAC championships performance as a Centre Colonel. Niehaus won two events – the shot put (40' 11") and the hammer – and set a new SCAC championship meet record in the later with a toss of 177 feet, two inches. The victory in the shot is her third straight and the hammer victory completes a career sweep for her (four years) in that category. She is just the sixth woman in SCAC history to win an individual event four times. Niehaus is currently ranked third nationally in the hammer throw, and her 28 total points was third best at the 2012 SCAC Championship.
Krug and Niehaus each received five votes from the head coaches in the league to earn the honor while Sally Warm of Sewanee received the lone remaining vote.
Jeremy Phillips, a freshman Norwell, Mass., had an outstanding first SCAC championship meet for Rhodes. Phillips earned his first-ever SCAC individual title with a 22'2.5" performance in the long jump. He also earned all-SCAC honors in the long jump with a second-place finish at the 2012 conference championships and was a part of the first place Lynx 4x100 relay team. His 24.75 individual points at the championships was tops among freshman and third overall as he helped to lead the Lynx to a third-place team finish.
Sadie Yanckello, a freshman from Oviedo, Fla., won a conference title in the 400 meter hurdles and finished all-SCAC in the 400-meter run in her first SCAC conference championship. Yanckello also ran legs on both of Rhodes' championship relay teams. She is ranked 16th nationally in the 400-meter hurdles and is a member of both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams who are currently ranked sixth and third respectively in the nation. The freshman helped Rhodes earn its fifth straight SCAC Women's Track and Field title at the 2012 championships two weekends ago.
Owens led the Centre College men to their second straight conference championship in the sport of men's track and field in the school's 50th and final year in the CAC/SCAC. Centre posted 168.5 points to edge second-place and host institution, Birmingham-Southern who finished with 164 points. The Staff-of-the-Year honor is the second time a Centre College coach has earned postseason recognition in the sport, although Owens was selected SCAC Men's Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year following the 2008 season and SCAC Women's Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year this season.
Shankman and his staff were named the league's women's track and field Staff-of-the-Year after leading Rhodes College to its fifth consecutive women's title. This marks the eighth time Shankman has won coach of the year honors on the women's side of the sport – having been previously honored in the team's other championship years of 1996, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He has also been the men's COTY/SOTY five times (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2010) – giving him 13 total track and field COTY/SOTY honors - the most combined track and field COTY/SOTY awards in league history. With his nine men's cross country Coach-of-the-Year honors and seven women's cross country Coach-of-the-Year honors, Shankman has earned COTY honors a combined 29 times and is the most decorated coach in conference history.