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Eight schools, 11 ACC championships represented among 2015-16 award winners
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Three NCAA gold medals, eight first-team All-America citations and 11 Atlantic Coast Conference championships highlight the collective achievements of the ACC’s 2015-16 Indoor Track and Field postseason honorees announced on Friday.
Eight representatives from eight different schools comprise this year’s list of award winners, as determined by a vote of the league’s head coaches.
Notre Dame distance runner Molly Seidel, fresh off her double-gold medal performance in last weekend’s NCAA Championships, was voted the ACC Women’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year. NCAA champion miler Henry Wynne of Virginia earned the Men’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year award.
NC State senior long jumper Jonathan Addison received ACC Men’s Indoor Field Performer of the Year honors, while Duke senior pole vaulter Megan Clark was recognized for the second straight year on the women’s side.
Wake Forest runner Robert Heppenstall was voted the ACC Men’s Indoor Freshman of the Year, while Georgia Tech multi-jumper Bria Matthews received the nod as Women’s Freshman of the Year.
Syracuse’s Chris Fox and Miami’s Amy Deem – each of whom led their team to the 2016 ACC Championship – were voted the league’s Indoor Track and Field Men’s and Women’s Coaches of the Year.
Notre Dame’s Seidel closed the indoor season in record-breaking fashion, claiming the gold medal in the NCAA women’s 5,000 meters at the Birmingham CrossPlex. The Hartland, Wisconsin, senior’s winning time of 15:15.21 broke her own ACC record by more than four seconds and was the third-fastest in NCAA women’s history. Less than 24 hours later, Seidel took first place in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:57.86.
Recently named to the Bowerman Trophy watch list, Seidel pushed her career national title total to four following her first-place finish in the NCAA women’s outdoor 10,000 meters last June and her NCAA cross country championship last November. Her 2015-16 indoor season also included a dual-gold medal performance at the ACC Championships in Boston on Feb. 26 and 27, where she set a meet record and a short-lived ACC record of 15:19.64 in the 5K, followed by a meet-record 9:02.24 in the 3K.
Virginia’s Wynne took the gold medal in the NCAA men’s mile with a winning time of 4:06.63. The Westport, Connecticut, junior’s winning effort came two weeks after his first-place time of 4:01.15 at the ACC Championships. His top time of the season came at the John Thomas Terrier Invitational on Jan. 30 in Boston, where he clocked in at 3:58.74 for the second-best mile time in Virginia program history. Wynne became the third Cavalier miler to break the four-minute mark.
Wynne also ran on the Virginia Distance Medley Relay team that set an ACC Championship meet record with its winning time of 9:36.27, and which posted the nation’s seventh-fastest time this season at 9:27.89 on Feb. 20 at the UCS Invitational.
NC State’s Addison cleared the 26-foot mark in the long jump four times this season, including a leap of 26-0.25 (7.93) that earned a silver medal at the NCAA finals. The Raleigh, North Carolina, native jumped the same distance to earn the gold medal at the ACC Championships.
Addison was named the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week after his jump of 26-9.75 (8.17m) at the Virginia Tech Elite on Feb. 5, a mark that tied for second-best in the world. The mark also qualified Addison for the USATF Olympic Trials to be held July 1-10 in Eugene, Oregon. Addison has now been honored as an ACC Field Performer of the Year twice after first being selected at the end of the 2015 Outdoor season.
Even before claiming her second straight women’s pole vault silver medal at the NCAA Championships, Duke’s Clark had put together a season to remember. The highlight came on Feb. 6, when her vault of 4.60 meters (15-1) at the Armory Invite placed her atop the ACC record book and the national leaderboard. The Fort Benning, Georgia, native is one of just five women collegians in history to clear the 15-foot mark.
Clark followed up with a vault of 4.52 meters at the ACC Championships, which earned a gold medal and set a meet record. Then came last week’s NCAA finals in Birmingham, where her 4.50 mark earned the silver.
Wake Forest’s Heppenstall turned heads the ACC Championships, racing to a gold medal time of 1:47.35 in the men’s 800. The time set a meet record and ranked 11th nationally. The native of Ontario, Canada, kept up the momentum at nationals with a time of 1:49.06, good for fifth place and first-team All-America honors.
In addition to setting a meet record at the ACC Championships, Heppenstall set a Wake Forest school record and a Canadian Junior record. The previous league meet record was set in 1998, while the school and Canadian Junior records had stood since 1991.
Georgia Tech’s Matthews earned Most Outstanding Women’s Field Performer at the ACC Championships by claiming gold medals in both the long jump (6.35m) and the triple jump (13.08m). She improved on both marks with two first-team All-America showings in the NCAA Championships, placing seventh in the long jump (6.39m) and the triple jump (13.16m).
A native of Morrow, Georgia, Matthews set a Georgia Tech school record with her 6.40m mark in the long jump at the Vanderbilt Invitational on Jan. 29, and her season-best of 13.33m in the triple jump at the Conference Clash on Jan. 22 ranked seventh nationally.
Syracuse’s Fox coached the Orange to its first ACC Indoor Track and Field Championship. Led by stellar efforts from Most Outstanding Men’s Track Performer Justyn Knight, hurdler Freddie Crittenden III, distance runner Colin Bennie and numerous others, Syracuse amassed 88 team points and finished 11.5 points ahead of second-place Clemson.
Fox’s team went on to an 11th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships, with Crittenden earning a silver medal and Knight a bronze. The ACC Coach of the Year honor is the first for Fox in track and field, and his fourth overall after leading Syracuse to the league’s men’s cross country title each of the last three seasons.
Miami’s Deem led her squad to the ACC Women’s Championship, as the Hurricanes emerged on top following a tight, hard-fought meet in which three points separated the top three teams in the final standings. Most Outstanding Women’s Track Performer Shakima Wimbley led Miami’s typical strong effort in sprints and relays, but the Hurricanes also held their own in the field events, led by Dakota Dailey-Harris’ gold medal in the high jump and other strong performances.
Miami went on to a 17th-place finish at the NCAAs, keyed by Dailey-Harris’ bronze medal in the high jump and Alysha Newman’s fourth-place finish in the pole vault. The ACC Coach of the Year honor is the fifth for Deem, who was honored twice in both 2005 and 2006 after the Hurricanes swept the women’s ACC indoor and outdoor title each of those years.
ACC Men’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year – Henry Wynne, Virginia
ACC Women’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year – Molly Seidel, Notre Dame
ACC Men’s Indoor Field Performer of the Year – Jonathan Addison, NC State
ACC Women’s Indoor Field Performer of the Year – Megan Clark, Duke
ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year – Robert Heppenstall, Wake Forest
ACC Women’s Indoor Freshman of the Year – Bria Matthews, Georgia Tech
ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year – Chris Fox, Syracuse
ACC Women’s Indoor Coach of the Year – Amy Deem, Miami