USTFCCCA Announces Outdoor Track and Field Regional Awards

June 4, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Four Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field student-athletes and coaches were among those honored by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) when the organization announced its 2012 Regional Awards on Monday.

Air Force’s Paige Blackburn was honored as Mountain Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, while TCU’s Whitney Gipson was named South Central Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year. Air Force track and field coach Ralph Lindeman was selected as the 2012 Mountain Region Men’s Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA, while Falcons vertical jumps coach Scott Steffan was named Mountain Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Blackburn, a senior from Soldotna, Alaska, was the Mountain West Champion in the javelin, scoring 21 points at the Conference meet with an added runner-up showing in the discus. Blackburn participated at the NCAA preliminary rounds in the discus and javelin.

A senior from Newark, Texas, Gipson ranks third among all collegians this year in the long jump with a mark of 21’-10.75” (6.67m). She won the Mountain West title in the event and is currently on the The Bowerman Watch List.

Lindeman led the Falcon men to the Mountain West Championship title, earning himself league Coach of the Year accolades. The Falcons recorded a program-record seven Conference champions (800m, 5000m, steeplechase, 4x400m relay, high jump, pole vault, hammer) as well as a program-record 17 all-conference selections. Air Force qualified 15 entries to the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds, another program best, with two advancing to the final rounds.

Steffan helped Air Force pole vaulters claim five of the top seven and high jumpers with three of the top four spots at the MW Championships, helping the Falcons to the Mountain West title. Clae Simmons was the pole vault Conference champ with a meet record 18’-1.75” (5.53m). He advanced three pole vaulters and two high jumpers to the finals site in Des Moines, Iowa.

In each of the country's nine regions, the USTFCCCA selects the top men's and women's track athlete, field athlete, head coach and assistant coach for the 2012 NCAA Division I outdoor season.