Stanford University's star miler Garrett Heath and Golden Gopher women's head coach Matt Bingle and his assistant Gary Wilson earned regional awards from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Heath, a Winona Senior High School alum, was named the West Region's top men's track athlete of the indoor season. Heath won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title in the mile and anchors the Stanford distance medley that has the nation’s third-fastest time behind Texas and Arkansas. Heath enters the NCAA Indoor Championships with the nation’s third-fastest time in the mile at 3:58.17.
Bingle earned the Midwest Region's top head coach honor after the U of M women defended their Big Ten Indoor title at the Minnesota Fieldhouse two weekends ago. Bingle has never lost at the Big Ten Indoor Championship in his two seasons as head coach.
Wilson was named the Midwest Region's top assistant coach. Wilson served for 21 years as Minnesota’s head women's coach before handing the reins over to Bingle in 2007. Wilson has stayed on as an assistant in charge of the distance events, and his runners played instrumental roles in the Gophers’ back-to-back titles.
On to Nationals ... Fields are set for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The #7-ranked Gopher women will send five individual competitors and a relay squad to the event. Big Ten champ Liz Roehrig will compete in the heptathlon as the #2 seed, middle distance heroine Heather Dorniden will contest the 800 as the #5 athlete in the event.
Dorniden will be joined by teammate Julie Schwengler in the event. Alicia Rue will compete in the pole vault as the #4 seed and Jamie Cheever will race the mile. The distance medley relay team of Gabriele Anderson, Rikita Butler, Dorniden and Cheever is seeded #6 in the meet.
The Gopher men will send Ibrahim Kabia to the championships in the 60 meter dash. Kabia, the 5th place finisher and an All-American a year ago in the event, is seeded 15th with a time of 6.67 seconds.
You can find solid coverage of the run-up to the NCAA meet HERE, at Trackshark.Com.