Scott Steffan and Juli Benson Earn Regional Coaching Honors
March 4, 2013
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Air Force track and field assistant coaches Scott Steffan and Juli Benson received regional distinction from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, the USTFCCCA office announced today (March 4).
Steffan was selected as the Mountain Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year, while Benson was honored as the Women's Assistant Coach of the Year for the Mountain Region.
In his sixth season at Air Force, Steffan coached two NCAA qualifiers in the pole vault, as senior Cale Simmons and sophomore Joey Uhle are ranked sixth and 15th, respectively, in the NCAA. As the Falcons' vertical jumps coach, Steffan saw his athletes combine for 40 points at the Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships, including five of the eight scoring finishes in the pole vault and two of the top-four finishes in the high jump. Under Steffan's direction, Simmons cleared an Academy record 18'2" in the pole vault, while Uhle earned his first conference title. It is the second regional honor for Steffan, who was also named the Outdoor Men's Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012.
Benson, who is in her fifth year at the helm of the Falcons' middle distance and distance programs, saw her athletes break two Academy records, earn a program-best two all-conference selections and account for nine incursions to the program's top-10 lists. She guided senior Jen Bremser to an Academy record in the 3000-meter run, bettering a time that had stood for 23 years, and to the second-fastest 5000-meter time in program history. Under her direction, the distance medley relay team captured its second consecutive Mountain West title and went on to shatter the program standard in that race by nearly 25 seconds last weekend. She is the second member of the Air Force women's staff to earn a regional coaching honor from the USTFCCCA, as throws coach Scott Irving claimed the award during the 2009 and 2010 outdoor seasons.
The recipients of the USTFCCCA Regional awards are selected by the coaches of nine regions (Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Mountain, Northeast, South, South Central, Southeast and West).
Steffan and Benson were two of six USTFCCCA honorees from the Mountain West, as Wyoming's Mason Finley (men's field athlete) and Joe Franklin (women's head coach) claimed honors in the Mountain Region and San Diego State's Shenieka Thomas (women's field athlete) and Shelia Burrell (women's head coach) claimed honors in the West Region.