Akron Track Coaches Mitchell and Forrester Honored

Updated 6/8/2009

Story courtesy of University of Akron athletic media relations 

AKRON ? University of Akron track and field coaches Dennis Mitchell and Brian Forrester were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Mitchell was named the Great Lakes Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year and Forrester was named the region’s Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Mitchell, the 2006 and 2008 Regional Outdoor Coach of the Year for women, led the Akron men to its second Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championship in as many years. He is the only coach in MAC history to lead both the men’s and women’s progams to MAC titles in the same year, also accomplishing the feat in 2008. After losing to perennial power Eastern Michigan by one point in 2007 (182-181) and then edging EMU by one point in 2008 (183-182), Akron dominated the 2009 MAC Outdoors, scoring 197 points to EMU’s 178.

Akron had nine MAC champions with six runners-up. Specifically, Mitchell coached MAC pole vault champion Mike Uhle and MAC pole vault runner-up Joe Wesley as well as Daniel Kinsey and Weston Lott, who went 1-2 in the MAC decathlon. Of the school-record 23 Zips that earned NCAA Mideast Regional berths (not counting decathlete Kinsey), 13 were men, including pole vaulters Uhle and Wesley. Kinsey, who scored a UA record 7,445 points in winning the MAC decathlon, earned a berth to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as he ranked 15th nationally in the event.

Mitchell, the 2009 MAC Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year, also coached women’s MAC pole vault champion Carrie Kayes as well as Katherine Lee, who placed third in both the pole vault and long jump. Also multi athletes Katie Nentwick and Alina Bocicor each registered top five finishes at the MAC Outdoors. The UA women’s program won its eighth straight MAC title this past month and has won nine of the last 10 league titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Forrester has overseen the development of one of the most dominant athletes in the region and has another waiting to carry the torch for the coming years. Stevi Large became the first MAC female field athlete ? and just the fourth female ever ? to complete a career sweep of an event when she set the MAC Championships record (213-10) in winning the hammer for the fourth time. And, for the second consecutive year, teammate and sophomore Valerie Wert was runner-up in the event. Both Large (second in the NCAA in the hammer) and Wert (16th nationally in the hammer) will compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Overall, Large competed in and won the hammer seven times in 2009, including her second NCAA Mideast Regional title, and set six records along the way. In fact, all of Large’s final four meet results would have ranked first in the Mideast Region and her “worst” throw of 199-5 still would have ranked third in the Mideast and 13th in the NCAA. In addition to ranking second nationally, Large’s hammer throw of 221-1 are both UA and MAC records. She also set the LSU Relays record (215-0), the MAC Championships meet record and the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships meet record, as well as the University of Louisville track record in winning the hammer at the region by 10 feet with a throw of 219-1. Forrester also coached Lauren Whitehill to her first NCAA Regional berth and Allison Lawyer qualified for her second regional, while Large (shot put and discus) and Wert (discus) also posted NCAA Regional marks. For the men, he coach MAC javelin champion and runner-up Tyler Sweet and Nick Erdesky, both of whom qualified for the regional.

Large, Wert, Kinsey, Kayes and Mike McCall will be competing in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held June 10-13 at the University of Arkansas.

Large and Wert will be competing in the women’s hammer Wednesday (June 10) at 1 pm (CT). The top 12 from that round will advance to the final, held Friday (June 12) at 11 am (CT). Kayes will be competing in the women’s pole vault qualifying round on Wednesday at 7:15 pm (CT). Like the hammer, the top 12 advance to the final, held on Friday at 7 pm (CT). Kinsey will be competing in the two-day decathlon, starting with the 100m on Wednesday at 11:30. Also on the first day, he will compete in the long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m. On Thursday, the decathlon concludes (starting at 2:30 pm CT) with the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500m. McCall will compete in the men’s high jump. That event has qualifying on Wednesday at 8 pm (CT) with the final (top 12 from qualifying) being held Friday at 7 pm (CT).

The 2009 USTFCCCA Regional Award Winners for NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field:

Region

Award

Name

School

Great Lakes

Women's Track

Tiffany Ofili

Michigan

Great Lakes

Men's Track

Adam Harris

Michigan

Great Lakes

Women's Field

Kara Patterson

Purdue

Great Lakes

Men's Field

Derek Drouin

Indiana

Great Lakes

Women's Head Coach

James Henry

Michigan

Great Lakes

Men's Head Coach

Dennis Mitchell

Akron

Great Lakes

Women's Assistant

Brian Forrester

Akron

Great Lakes

Men's Assistant

Rodney Zuyderwyk

Purdue